How to Convert Your Manuscript from Word to Kindle Format in 5 Easy Steps (Part 2)

Styling, Headers and Footers, and Pagination

In the first part of this series, we looked at some initial considerations when preparing a manuscript for Kindle. Today, we’ll be covering Steps 1-3 of the 5 steps, which discuss issues related to styling, headers and footers, and pagination.

Step 1: Check your Styles and Fonts

Main Text

The main textual content of your manuscript should use the default “Normal” style. It probably does so already, but check to make sure. To check, place the cursor anywhere in your text and check the Styles group in the toolbar. It should have the “Normal” option highlighted:

If it does not, just select any text that needs to be changed and click on the “Normal” style option to update it. This can be a laborious manual task and it may be simpler to select the entire main body of text, restyle it to “Normal” and then go back and reformat your headings, subheadings, etc. However, the chances are that you won’t need to do this at all.

Headings, Subheadings, and “Special Paragraphs”

Amazon “encourages content creators to use creative styles for headings, special paragraphs, … and so on.” This means that you can be a bit more creative with your choice of font, and font size, for your headings (e.g. Chapter titles) and subheadings but I recommend choosing a standard font nonetheless. I generally use Times New Roman for the “Normal” text and Garamond for headings.

TIP: Remember to make sure that your headings and subheadings are formatted consistently. If you know how to use Word’s styles, use the same style for each heading, subheading, etc.

“Special Paragraphs” may refer to, for example, your Dedication, Acknowledgements or other front matter or back matter pages, as well as quotations or any other “special” text. Again, I recommend using a standard font. You can also use a font size that is either larger or smaller than “normal” as well.

Step 2: Remove all Headers and Footers

Because Kindle books do not have headers and footers, any such content in your Word file either needs to be removed entirely or moved to within the main body of the page.

If you don’t have any headers or footers, you can move on to Step 3

If your manuscript has been formatted for printing, or uploading to CreateSpace, it may already have what are known as “running heads” (or “running feet”). These are the book titles and author names that you frequently see at the top of most pages, which will need to be removed completely. Any page numbers will also need to be removed as Kindle books do not have page numbers.

However, if you have any footnotes, or other footer content that must be retained in the Kindle book, they will need to be converted to either inline content or endnotes. Word can convert footnotes to endnotes for you (see below). After having used footnotes in the first book I ever formatted for CreateSpace, I learned the hard way that endnotes, or completely inline references are much easier to work with when formatting for Kindle.

If you don’t have any footnotes, you can move on to Step 3

Converting All Footnotes to Endnotes:

  1. Click on the References menu
  2. Click the small arrow in the bottom right corner of the Footnotes group, which will bring up a small window with the title “Footnote and Endnote”
  3. Click the Convert button, which will bring up another window, entitled “Convert Notes”
  4. Make sure the Convert all footnotes to endnotes option is selected and click the OK button

Step 3: Fix the Pagination

Insert Hard Page Breaks between Chapters and Sections

Each section heading or chapter heading that needs to begin on a new page should be immediately preceded by a Page Break. This includes front matter and back matter content. To do this, place the cursor at the beginning of the heading and select Insert > Page Break from the Word menu.

If you’ve used carriage returns (represented by the ¶ character in Word) to move a heading down until it moved over to the next page, those unnecessary carriage returns need to be deleted too.

Before: With unnecessary carriage returns

After: With a Page Break

Remove Blank Pages

If your document has been formatted for printing, it will almost certainly have some blank pages on the left (“verso”) side so that each chapter or main section begins on the right (“recto”). These blank pages serve no useful purpose on a Kindle and should be removed (which usually means deleting a Page Break or Section Break from the document … or possibly some carriage returns, as above).

No blank pages remain

TIP: To check that the pagination is correct for a Kindle, which has no fixed page size, change the page size of your Word document. Either smaller or larger will work, but I recommend making it smaller. If your chapter and section headings all appear at the top of a new page in Word, with no blank pages before them, the pagination has been done correctly.

Next time, we’ll look at some more layout issues, creating a Kindle table of contents, and some final considerations.

About Ian Feavearyear 6 Articles
Ian was born and bred in the rural county of Suffolk, England but feels very much at home in the mountains of California. He is married to the Inspire Board President, Robynne, and is currently working on his first non-fiction book. Ian is Inspire's Blog and Social Media Director, webmaster, and general tech go-to person. Ian is a law school valedictorian with a Juris Doctor from Concord Law School and a paralegal certificate from Humboldt State University.

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