Formatting in Word 2016 for a Print Book

You had this story bursting inside you, demanding to be set free. You’ve liberated it onto the pages of your Word 2016 program. You want to publish it, but you aren’t sure what you need to do to make the document publishable for a printed book. (For formatting for Kindle E-books, see my earlier post).

The size of the book will usually determine what size to go with. Most novels run between 200 and 450 pages in a 6” by 9” format. Although other sizes can be used, this is the most common size for a printed paperback.

However, first things first. You’ll want a fresh copy to ensure all your indents and page breaks are as you like them. “But Leigh,” you may protest, “It’s not how it looks that matters, it’s the content!” The truth is nobody is going to enjoy your work very much if they are distracted by formatting, margin, indentation, spelling, and grammatical errors throughout your book. Formatting is very important. One may not be able to judge a book by its cover, formatting, etc., but if an author truly loves the product of his or her imagination, would the author not do everything he or she can to make it the best it can be?

Open a new Word document. Go into “Layout”. Select ‘Size’. From the drop down select “More Paper Sizes”, like so:

More paper Sizes

Go in and change the paper size from 8.5 X 11 to 6 X 9, like so:

Page Setup 1

Page setup2.png

Next, change the margins from 1” to .5” (for up to 300 pages) or .75 (for 301-500 pages) all around with a .13” gutter, like so:


Copy your entire book, title page and all, and paste it to a new fresh word document in Normal mode. Make sure you paste it using Keep Text Only.

Normal mode is here:


Once that is done, you no longer have any indents, page breaks, etc. in your document.

Run spell check and grammar check. Take the time to read the recommended word in context. It makes the difference between “Of coarse” and “Of course”. Don’t assume Grammar Check is always right. Always Grammar Check the Grammar Checker!

The final step will be to place the indentations, page breaks, page numbers, footer, and header as needed. I will put out more tips on how to do these things in later installments.


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