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eBook Manuscript Formatting Guide

This guide will show you how to prepare your manuscript for KDP publishing. The info below is specific to Microsoft Word 2016, but the steps are similar to other versions of Word. For directions on how to format your eBook manuscript using Mac, visit Publishing for Mac users.

Note: If you have already published your book as a paperback, you will need to reformat you manuscript using eBook format guidelines to prevent formatting errors. For more information about the eBook formats, visit Supported eBook Formats.

Set paragraph indentations and line spacing

To ensure that your book body text displays consistently, you'll want to indent paragraphs (Tab spacing doesn't convert to Kindle) and set line spacing. To ensure consistency and save time, modify the Normal style. This will automatically apply the formatting.

  1. On the Home tab, right-click the Normal style and choose Modify.
  2. Click the Format list (the drop-down at the bottom of the dialog box) and choose Paragraph. This opens another dialog box.
  3. Under Indentation > Special, set First line indent to 0.2" (5 mm).
  4. Under Spacing, set Before and After to 0 pt, and Line spacing to Single.
  5. Click OK.

Format Chapter Titles

As you write your book, apply Heading 1 to chapter titles. This will also help you later when you create your table of contents.
  1. Place your cursor next to the first chapter title.
  2. On the Home tab, click Heading 1.
  3. Set the alignment to Center.
  4. Repeat for each chapter title.

Create a Table of Contents

For an in-depth guide, visit our article on creating a Table of Contents in Word. You can also visit Prepare Reflowable and Print Books with Kindle Create to create your table of contents using Kindle Create, available for both PC and Mac users.

Add front and back matter

Your eBook should include a title page with your book title and author name.

Front matter includes:
  • Title
  • Dedication pages
  • Copyright. If you want to add a copyright page, here's a template:
    Copyright © 2018 Author Name
    All rights reserved.

Back matter can include:
  • “About the Author” page
  • Bibliography.

Insert and format Images

For an in-depth guide, visit our article on formatting Images in your eBook. You can also visit Prepare Reflowable and Print Books with Kindle Create to format images in your manuscript using Kindle Create, available for both PC and Mac users.

Add page breaks

Adding pages breaks ensures your text displays wherever you want one page to end and the next to begin:
  1. Place your cursor where you want your page to end.
  2. Go to the Insert tab.
  3. Click Page Break.

Insert hyperlinks

External links should enhance the reader experience and the content of your eBook. For details on our guidelines for links, see the "Links" section of our quality guidelines.
  1. Highlight the text you want to link.
  2. Go to the Insert tab.
  3. Under Links, click Hyperlink. This opens a dialog box.

  4. Enter the URL you want to link to in the Address field.
  5. Click OK.

Add footnotes

Footnotes in your eBook must have working links so readers can click easily from content to footnote and back.
  1. Place your cursor where you want the footnote to appear.
  2. On the References tab, click Insert Footnote.

  3. The cursor will jump to the footnote section at the bottom of the page.
  4. Enter your footnote here. When your upload your eBook, the footnotes will be automatically converted to endnotes.

Check for errors

After finishing your manuscript, check the following:
  • Spelling. Use Word's built-in spellcheck and grammar tools, but also proofread your file manually. The tools may not catch every error.
  • Hard returns. A hard return is anywhere you press the Enter key while typing your manuscript. Hard returns can change the design of your book in unintended ways. To avoid this, only use hard returns when you want to start a new paragraph or create extra space between paragraphs. You shouldn't use them at the end of every line.
  • Track Changes. Make sure the Track Changes option is turned off. You can check this by going to the Tracking section of the Review tab.
  • Cover image file. Don't include your cover image in your manuscript file. When you publish your eBook, we'll automatically add the cover image you provide during title setup.
  • Page numbers, headers, footers. eBooks are reflowable and can be viewed with different font sizes, so page numbers and page count don't apply. Also, eBooks don't have headers and footers, so you don't need to add them to your file. For in-depth instructions, see Creating Reflowable Books.
  • Text boxes and shapes. We don't recommend inserting text boxes and shapes to create diagrams. If you want to include visuals like these, insert them as images.
  • Drop caps. Drop caps are large capital letters at the beginning of a block of text with two or more lines of regular text. They're typically used for the first letter of the first sentence of a chapter. Drop caps are supported, but they may not appear the way you want them to if you add them in Word. We recommend using Kindle Create to add elements like drop caps.

For an in-depth guide, visit our article on about quality checks, see Guide to Kindle Content Quality

Preview your eBook

Preview your eBook before you publishing it. If you're formatting in Word, use Kindle Previewer, a free desktop application. If you're formatting in Kindle Create, you can preview your eBook by clicking the Preview button. Both versions of Previewer show you how your eBook will look on:

  • Tablets
  • Kindle E-readers
  • Phones

Previewing your eBook can help you find quality issues you should fix before you submit your eBook for publication. When you upload your eBook to KDP, you can also do one final check in the Online Previewer.

Upload your eBook

I only used Word I used Word and Kindle Create
  1. Save your file in DOC/DOCX format.
  2. Go to your Bookshelf.
  3. Upload the DOC/DOCX file.
  1. Prepare your file for publication in Kindle Create by clicking Publish in the top right-hand corner.
  2. Go to your Bookshelf.
  3. Upload the KPF file.

After you submit your book, we'll review it. If your files don't pass our reviews, you'll need to edit and resubmit them. Learn more about timelines for new publications.

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