An eBook (electronic book) is simply a digital book that uses a PC, mobile phones, tablets or a special eBook reader to display digital pages. Mainly, eBooks use three basic formats – PDF, EPUB and MOBI to enhance the readability and portability across devices. Though there are various professional tools for creating an eBook, you can create your own copy using any Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) document, and later convert the copy any of these format. We offer lot of free eBooks in PDF format created with Microsoft Word.
Create eBook in Microsoft Word
Microsoft Word is one of the most popular word processors, and offers both basic and advanced features for authoring an eBook. These features allow to structure, format, edit and publish your eBook effortlessly and at no cost.
1. Designing an E-book Layout
Ideally, you can organize the content of an eBook to mimic a novel, textbook, or a magazine depending on your topic. However, you should maintain a uniform and simple design that enhances readability. To set up a basic design template for your eBook:
- Open a new Word document by clicking the “File” menu and select “New” from the drop-down menu. Then click the “Save” button, provide the file name and save your document in the desired location. You can save periodically to avoid losing your content.
- Under the “Layout” tab in Word 2016 or later (and “Page Layout” tab in Word 2013 or earlier) set all page size, hyphenation, page numbers, headers and footers settings, since different devices will dynamically resize the pages to their display.
- Under the “Indents and Spacing” tab, you can set left and the right indentation to zero or any desired value. Click on the paragraph settings by clicking the down-facing arrow on the “Paragraph” section.
- Indent the first line of every paragraph by choosing “First line” under “Special” tag and set it at 0.1 inches. Ensure to apply the changes only to your document and not on the template level.
- Use the “Double” line spacing for better readability and setup spacing before and after paragraph. Click the “Set as Default” button to ensure a uniform layout throughout the book.
Remember, there are no rules to setup indent and spacing. You can setup this before starting your document so that it looks uniform throughout.
2. Theme and Color Design
Once you have completed the initial page layout then the next step is to choose theme for your eBook.
- Click the “Design” menu and under “Themes” select your preferred them.
- Choose a color scheme from “Colors” drop-down list or customize to your liking.
- You can also change the fonts, page background color, borders and add watermark if required.
Remember, themes, colors and fonts will decide the look of your document.
3. Designing the Cover Page
Your readers will judge your eBook by the cover. If possible, you can hire a professional designer to do the task. If you have to create the cover, here are some guidelines.
- Go to the “Insert” tab, click on “Cover Page” (the left-most option) and select one of the Microsoft Word designs.
- Insert the title of the book, author and a subtitle (Slogan) for the book. You can also add visual elements such as an image. Below is a sample eBook cover created with Microsoft Word.
Now you can visualize the simple Word document starts looking like a beautiful eBook.
3.1. Tips for Cover Page Design
The cover page layout may vary based on your Word version. In general, you can use one of the free templates supplied with your Word software or look for more options from Office.com website. Be innovative when creating your cover page and here are some of the tips.
- Ensure that the title and the background colors are different.
- Use a large and readable font for the title.
- Use high quality image (300 dpi), not pixelated and with no outline borders.
4. Designing the Table of Contents
It is a good idea to design your table of content to navigate your users. It will also help you to navigate through the document quickly using “Navigation” pane.
- Under “Insert” menu click on “Page Break” to start a new page. Click on the new page and go to “References” tab. As in normal hard binding books, you can insert table of contents (TOC) next to the cover page.
- Click “Table of Contents” and choose one of the existing style for your document. If you do not like any of the existing styles then select “Custom Table of Contents”.
- A new pop-up will open where you can customize the TOC settings. You can show or hide page numbers, align the page number, choose TOC format and set the number of heading levels shown in TOC. Click on the “Options” and “Modify” buttons to style your TOC further.
- When you have no content with headings, inserting TOC will display the text “No table of contents entries found.” Nothing to worry about as you can update the TOC every time you make changes to your documents.
In order to have a proper TOC, structure your content with H1 to H6 headings and update the TOC. You can enable “Navigation Pane” under “View” menu for easily going to the particular section of your document.
5. Authoring Your E-book
You are now set to start writing the book. Below are some of the guidelines to make your eBook beautiful and readable.
- Mark the end of each chapter or section with a page break.
- Use different styles for different text levels. For instance, use the “Title Style” for the book title.
- Use “Heading 1 Style” for chapter headings (1st level), “Heading 2 Style” for chapter sub-headings (2nd level) and “Normal Style” for chapter content.
- Set the font type, color and size from “Home > Font” section. Use some readable font like “Arial” or “Time New Roman” and click “Ok”. Remember, when you setting style and fonts for elements, it will overwrite theme style and fonts. Therefore, we recommend setting fonts and choosing styles under “Design” tab as explained above. You can use custom font and style for few elements which you want to differentiate from the entire document.
6. More E-book Formatting Tips
Here are some additional tips to format your eBook.
- Use Hyperlink to direct readers to sections of the book or other sites.
- Use quality images in an unwrapped and centered format. You can insert caption to images and format image using picture tools.
- Do not use references such as ‘refer to page…)” as the page numbers may change depending on the screen size of the reader device. This will still work for fixed PDF format eBooks.
Proofread the book and correct both grammatical and formatting errors.
- Use the paragraph marks for editing your document with advanced layout settings.
7. Converting Document to eBook Format
You can offer eBooks in different formats. However, PDF format is more popular due to simplicity and support across devices.
- When your Word document is ready, go to “File > Save As”” menu.
- Select the location on your computer to save the file and choose PDF format.
- You can optimize the size for printing or online publishing.
- If you have lot of pictures on the document, click on the “Tools” and choose “Compress Pictures” option.
- On the pop-up, choose your preferred resolution and delete cropped portion of the images.
- Now, save your document as a PDF file and test your book before distributing.
Creating an eBook is interesting yet involving task. You will need time to organize ideas, put them into text, and publish them for your readers. Though most professional authors go for sophisticated eBook development tools, Microsoft Word provides flexible and customizable layout tools for eBook design and formatting. If you are proficient with the Word processor, you have the right tool to create your eBook.