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How to Prepare a Book for Printing As a book publisher, I've formatted many books for printing and learned that it's best to get it  right from the start. That should save you from fixing several formatting issues. The process is  much easier if you know how to format the file. This article will take you through headers, page  numbers and layout. Once you have completed all the following steps, it's recommended you  convert your file to a PDF file to ensure your formatting won't slip. Look under File for "Export as  PDF." You can also visit to convert a file for free. 

Instructions Formatting Your Book  o


Check that your manuscript is edited and proofed before you prepare your book for print. Set your file to the desired size (usually 5x8 or 5.5x8.5) with .50 or .75 margins. The longer the book, the wider the margins. You can also set a "gutter" in Word so the inside text will move out from the binding. o


Justify your text to both sides of the page. Highlight everything after your title and copyright page, then click "Justified." This stretches the lines all the way across to make a neat block. A few people prefer left alignment, but most published books are justified. o


Insert page numbers. On the very first page, click "Format," "Page," and then "First Page" to remove the page number from that page alone. Now click, "Insert," "Footer" and "Default." Click "Insert," then "Page Number." (Some programs have you click "Insert," "Fields," then "Page Number.") You can click the Center Alignment mark at the top of the page to center your page number. If you want your page numbers on the outside edge, go under "Format," "Page," "Footer" and click the box that says, "Same Content left/right" to turn it off. Now you can type different things on the left and right sides. Go to an even-numbered page like 2, highlight your page number and click "Left Align." Go to an odd-numbered page like 3, highlight your page number, and click "Right Align." o


Insert headers much the same way. Look under "Insert" and find either "Fields," then "Headers," or just "Headers." You can go under "Format," "Page," "Headers" and click "Same Content left/right" to turn it off. Now you can type the book's title on the left side and the author's name on the right. o


Insert a page break at the end of every chapter so chapter headings won't slip up onto the previous page. Place the cursor at the end of the previous page and hit Control and Enter and the same time, or go to "Insert" in the top menu, then "Insert Manual Break" and click "Page Break." o


Insert a blank page before chapters if they start on an even number. The even-numbered pages are actually the back of a page. You want your title page and chapters starting on the left, or front side, to look professional. Use page breaks to do this by hitting Control and Enter. Now go through the book and make sure all chapters start on odd pages.

Tips & Warnings  

Check your printer's site for guidelines, templates and instructions.

More Resources        

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How to prepare a book for printing  
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