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Building Your Text-Heavy eBook with Kindle Create

When you import a book into Kindle Create in the .doc or .docx format, your file is converted to a "reflowable" eBook, which allows the reader to resize text and is available on all Kindle devices and free Kindle reading applications.

Kindle Create automatically detects chapter titles, adds styling to them, and makes it easy to use them to create a Kindle table of contents for your book. You can format paragraphs with styles, change the look and feel with themes, and preview how your eBook will display on tablets, phones, and Kindle E-readers. Kindle Create works with several word processing applications (e.g., Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, and Google Docs) that export to the .doc(x) format.

After installation, you can launch Kindle Create by selecting Windows key > Amazon > Kindle Create (Windows) or Launchpad > Kindle Create (Mac).

Note: If you're not sure whether this is the right format for your book, see Choosing your book type.
Video: How to use Kindle Create

Known issues: tables, lists, footnotes, indents, links

Kindle Create has limited support for tables, lists, footnotes, indents, and hyperlinks; they cannot be edited. If your book contains any of these content types, please Preview them before making extensive changes in Kindle Create. You might need to return to your primary authoring tool (e.g., Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, or Google Docs) to make changes and then re-import the document.

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Creating a new project from a .doc(x) file

To create a new project from a .doc(x) file:

  1. On the Kindle Create launch screen, click the New Project from File button. You can also launch a new project by selecting File > New Project or using the shortcut CTRL + N (CMD + N for Mac users). The Choose File dialog box is displayed. Click the Novels, Essays, Poetry, Narrative Non-Fiction option.

  2. In the Content Language list, select the language of your book. (This does not change the language of the Kindle Create menus.)

  3. Selecting your book's language

  4. Click the Choose File button, navigate to the .doc(x) file on your local hard drive, select the file, and click Open.

    Once you have selected a file, Kindle Create begins converting it to a Kindle eBook. Conversion optimizes font faces, line spacing, margins, indents, and other typography features to improve reading on electronic devices. It also converts every page break in your .doc(x) file into a new section.

    While your file is imported, Kindle Create displays rotating screens that tell you more about Kindle Create. When conversion finishes, the Import Successful dialog box is displayed. Click the Continue button.

    Note: If you get an error message while importing the file, click here for troubleshooting tips.

  5. The Automatic Chapter Titles dialog box is displayed. Click the Get Started button and Kindle Create begins finding potential Chapter Title elements in your eBook.

  6. The Suggested Chapter Titles dialog box displays a list of possible chapter titles. Uncheck any items that are not chapter headings and then click Accept Selected. The checked items will be part of the Kindle Interactive table of contents. From this dialog box, you can also click a chapter heading to go to that section and apply formatting while keeping the Suggested Chapter Titles dialog box open.

  7. Choosing chapter titles

  8. Select File > Save Project to save your imported eBook. The Save Your Project dialog box opens. Accept or change the file location and name, and then click Save.
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Editing your Kindle Create eBook with the .kcb file

When you click Save, Kindle Create stores your book’s .kcb file and other resources in the folder you specify. Amazon recommends saving and backing up this .kcb file, which is required for any future updates to your book.

You can resume a previously saved project by selecting Resume Existing Project or File > Open Recent and then choosing the relevant .kcb file.

When you click Publish, Kindle Create produces a publishable file (.kpf) that you can submit to KDP. (The .kpf file is only used for publishing; the .kcb file is used for updates.)

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Building your table of contents

A table of contents (TOC) is very important for a good reading experience, because it allows a reader to navigate between chapters easily. As part of conversion, Kindle Create detects possible chapter titles and displays them for your review. Once you revise and accept the entries, they are used to create two types of TOCs, the TOC page and the Kindle Interactive TOC.

TOC page

The TOC page, sometimes referred to as an HTML TOC, is a page in the beginning of your book that includes links to each chapter of the book.

TOC page example

How to get it:
  • If your document includes a Microsoft Word TOC, Kindle Create converts those TOC entries to hyperlinks as part of creating a TOC page in your book.
  • To add a TOC page, click the thumbnail of your first chapter in the Contents pane and select Insert > Table of Contents. The list of detected chapter titles is displayed. Click OK to accept it and the TOC page is added to your book. The TOC page is automatically updated as you add or remove chapters of your book and cannot be changed manually.

Kindle Interactive TOC

The Kindle Interactive TOC, sometimes referred to as the NCX, is displayed in the Kindle menu and can be accessed from anywhere in the book.

Kindle Interactive TOC on a Fire tablet

Users expect to see a TOC page when paging through a book from the beginning, while the Kindle Interactive TOC is an additional way for users to navigate books. The inclusion of a Kindle Interactive TOC is especially important for books that are longer than 20 pages.

How to get it: There are multiple ways to build a Kindle Interactive TOC in Kindle Create:

  • You can allow Kindle Create to detect chapter titles during .doc(x) import or by selecting Edit > Chapter Detection.
  • You can add a manual entry to the TOC by selecting the thumbnail in the Contents Pane and then selecting the Include in Table of Contents checkbox in the Properties Pane.
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Selecting your theme

Located next to the Save button, the Theme button lets you choose from pre-defined book styles. These styles have been created by professional book designers and produce a well-styled eBook that will be easy for your readers to enjoy. Select one of our themes to update your eBook appearance. Any element that you have marked in your eBook is updated to the style defined in the active theme. Modern theme is active by default. These themes cannot be edited by the user.

Language note: If your .doc(x) file is in one of the supported Indic languages (Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, or Gujarati), Kindle Create only displays two themes: Classic and Modern.

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Formatting the title page and other front matter

Start with the title page and apply the relevant formatting to each part of your front matter:

  1. In the Properties Pane, on the Elements tab, click the arrow next to Title Pages to display options for formatting the beginning of your eBook:
    • Book Title: Creates custom formatting for the book title on a new page and adds the book title page to the Kindle Interactive TOC.
    • Book Subtitle: Adds custom formatting and positions descriptive text for the book part in relation to the book title.
    • Author Name: Formats your name and places it relative to the book title on the title page.
    • Part Title: Creates a divider page and formats the selected text to identify a new book part in a multi-part book. (In both fiction and nonfiction, chapters can be grouped together and labeled as Part 1, Part 2, etc.)
    • Part Subtitle: Adds custom formatting and positions descriptive text for the book part in relation to the part title.

  2. In the Properties Pane, on the Elements tab, click the arrow next to Book Start and End Pages to display options for formatting other front and back pages of your eBook:
    • Page Title: Formats the title of the page. Used for sections such as preface, contents, list of illustrations, etc.
    • First Paragraph: Removes the indent for the paragraph, but doesn’t add drop cap.
    • Dedication: Formats the header for your dedication page and adds it to the Kindle Interactive TOC.
    • Opening Quote: Formats an opening quote for your book and places it on its own page.
    • Opening Quote Credit: Formats the originator of your opening quote separately and distinctly from the opening quote.
    • Copyright Text: Formats a paragraph of your copyright page.

  3. To save your work, click File > Save Project.
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Formatting the first page of each chapter

In the Contents Pane, the first page of every converted section is displayed as a thumbnail. Select a thumbnail and that section is displayed in the Edit Pane.

After you have formatted your front matter, apply the relevant formatting to the beginning of each chapter:

  1. Confirm that all of your chapters were converted correctly. If there seem to be chapters missing in the Contents Pane, they are probably embedded in a previous chapter. Highlight the previous chapter and then scroll through the section in the Edit Pane to locate the buried chapter heading and tag it with the Chapter Title element.

  2. In the Properties Pane, on the Elements tab, use the options under Common Elements to control the appearance of the first page of each chapter:
    • Use Chapter Title to add a font face and size, make an entry in the Kindle Interactive TOC, and add a page break so that the current chapter begins on a new screen.
    • Use Chapter Subtitle to decorate and position descriptive text about the chapter below the chapter title.
    • Use Chapter First Paragraph to remove any indent from the paragraph and add a drop cap whose appearance is set by the active Theme.
      • Adjusting the drop cap coverage: In the Properties Pane, on the Formatting tab, the First Paragraph element applies a drop cap to the first character of a paragraph. If your first character is punctuation, such as a quotation mark, Kindle Create automatically extends the drop cap coverage to include the punctuation and the first letter. For other situations, you can use the Number of Characters control to extend the drop cap, if needed.

  3. To save your work, click File > Save Project.
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Formatting other text

After you have formatted your front matter and the first page of each chapter, you can use the Formatting tab of the Properties pane to make any additional formatting changes. Amazon recommends applying Elements before making individual formatting changes, since Elements update positioning and formatting of paragraphs.

Text changes that you might find useful on the Formatting tab of the Properties pane include:

  • Adding Separators, which are a decorative element that indicates a transition in the text.
  • Using Block Quote to highlight long quotes that you want to distinguish from your narrative.
  • Using Poem to improve the formatting and readability of poetry.
  • Formatting special text for storytelling impact:
    • Adjusting paragraph indents: You can tweak paragraph indents (both first line and margins) using the Indents controls.
    • Adjusting the spacing between paragraphs: In Kindle Create, Elements apply to a single paragraph by default. You can apply the element to consecutive paragraphs and then use the Spacing controls to reduce or eliminate the top or bottom spacing to bring the adjacent paragraphs back together.
    • Specifying a Font style. [Language note: If your .doc(x) file is in one of the supported Indic languages (Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, or Gujarati), the Font options are grayed out because they are unavailable.]

      Note: If you specify a font to identify your special text in Kindle Create, readers will not be able to change that font on Kindle devices and reading applications, so this feature should be used sparingly.

      Amazon encourages authors to use creative styles for headings, special paragraphs, footnotes, tables of contents, etc., but the majority of body text should be all defaults. The reason for this is that any styling on body text overrides the user’s preferred default reading settings and users report this as a poor reading experience.
If you have made so many changes that you can’t figure out a way to recover, clicking the Clear button returns your paragraph to plain body text so that you can start fresh.

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Editing text

For eBooks imported from a .doc(x) file, you can edit the text in Kindle Create. The most frequent reasons for this are to correct typos and spacing issues.

Tables, footnotes, lists, and inline images imported from your .doc(x) file cannot currently be edited in Kindle Create. Make any changes needed in the source file and then re-import it.

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Adding text

If you have a large quantity of text to update, you can copy the text from a .doc(x) file and paste it in the Edit Pane. Pasted text takes on the formatting active at the cursor location in the Edit Pane. Copy/paste commands are available from the Edit menu or by shortcut: CTRL + C for Copy (CMD + C for Mac users), CTRL + V for Paste (CMD + V for Mac users).

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Adding and changing images

Kindle Create provides support for inserting, resizing, and deleting images in your book. You can quickly edit the size and alignment of your images with preset options based on professional book layouts. Kindle Create requires images in the JPG format and recommends at least 100 pixels on the longest side and 300 ppi to ensure image clarity on Kindle HDX devices.

Images inside a paragraph (inline images) cannot be edited, but you can delete those images in the source and then insert them in Kindle Create. If you face any issues, please contact us.

Note: Using bleed on full-page images in a .doc(x) file is currently a pre-release feature. With Early Access, you can choose to try pre-release features and provide feedback. This feature is disabled by default. To enable, select Help > Settings > Early Access (Windows) or Kindle Create > Preferences > Early Access (Mac) and then check the Enable Beta Features box. Kindle Create restarts to complete the process.

Adding images
Replacing images
Deleting images
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Previewing and publishing your eBook

When you have finished creating your eBook, you are ready to preview and publish it.

Video: Saving and Exporting with Kindle Create

Previewing your eBook

After you have made all the improvements and changes you wish to your eBook, you can review the layout and formatting on a simulated device by launching Previewer. To use Previewer, select the Preview button.

Previewer launches with its own controls for changing device type, text size, and font face. You can move through your eBook page-by-page, chapter-by-chapter, image-by-image, etc. You can type a book location or drag the scroll bar to change the position dynamically. There is also a Table of Contents view that shows the Kindle Interactive TOC.

While previewing your eBook, use this checklist to confirm that it does not contain blatant errors:

  • Go to the TOC (where applicable).
    • On the TOC page, confirm that each item is clickable and links to the correct location in the book. There should be no page numbers.
    • In the Kindle Interactive TOC (CTRL + N), confirm that each part, chapter, and/or section is clickable and links to the correct location in the book. There should be no page numbers.
  • Go to any location in the book (reflowable eBooks only).
    • Font size: Change the font size in the Kindle menu; the book font should change accordingly. All body text should not be bold or italicized.
    • Typeface: Change the typeface in the Kindle menu; the book font should change accordingly.
  • Go back to the first page and flip through every page of the book.
    • Front matter: Make sure that the page breaks and formatting are correct.
    • Chapter title pages: Make sure that chapter title pages are formatted consistently throughout the book.
    • Images: Images should not be too small. Make sure that all text in images is legible. Large pictures should be scaled to fit the page and display in their entirety on one screen.
    • Tables: Tables should appear correctly. Make sure that all text in tables is legible.
    • Material only included with physical book: There should not be any references to material (such as a CD or DVD) that is only included with the physical book.
    • Background settings (reflowable eBooks only): Confirm that your text is legible in all background color modes (white, black, mint, and sepia).

Publishing your eBook

Once you have completed previewing and updating your eBook, create a publishable file with the Publish command. This process produces two files: a work file (.kcb) that allows you to update the eBook at a later date, and a publishable file (.kpf) that you can submit to KDP.

  1. Save your work file (.kcb) by selecting File > Save Project.
  2. Click the Publish button. The Save File for Publication dialog box is displayed.
  3. Accept or change the file location and name, and then click Save.
  4. When packaging is complete, the confirmation box is displayed. Submit the .kpf file to KDP to publish it.
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