How to format an ebook for Kindle

The important thing in formatting for ebooks is to keep things as clean and simple as possible.

Basic requirements are:
1. No page numbers.
2. One space only after a full stop.
3. 1.5 spacing between lines.
4. Left align. Do not justify.
5. Times New Roman 12 (Don’t use fancy font. Kindle will change it to TNR anyway, so you might as well save it the job of converting.)
6. It is essential not to use the tab key. Instead use the return key, or the slide rule just below the toolbar to 0.5cm. Better still use the Format/Style manager section.

Step 1
Start by clicking on Edit/Select All
You’ll find Format/Style somewhere on your toolbar, depending which version of Word you are using. It will list All Styles available. You might not wish to mess with Normal so choose Body Text or something similar. (I use Body Text First Indent). Stick to one only. You can modify it to the requirements listed above by clicking on font, then paragraph, (see below) and finally choose the language. To add an indent click on Special/First Line, and in the By: box put 0.5
Set the before and after spacing to 0 pt.

Click OK and apply. The document should be reformatted. This format should also now be offered on your toolbar.

Step 2
To see what you are doing when formatting click the show/hide feature on your toolbar designated by the mark. (This will show paragraph returns, extra spaces as dots, tabs or any other strange formatting. If it’s not in your toolbar, you can usually find it in Tools/Options/View and then under Formatting Marks.) If it shows up any odd little right facing arrows this is evidence that you’ve used your tab key.

Here’s a quick way to delete them:
Click on Edit/Select All
Click Find/Replace/More.
Click Special and select Tab Character from the list.
Leave the Replace box blank
Click - Replace All.
(The screen will tell you how many tabs were deleted.)

Now use Find and replace to change two spaces to one space after a full stop.
You can also use Find and replace to change straight quotes into curly ones, which Smashwords prefer.

Hyphens which were put in with the ctrl key and found at the end of lines in a print book, can be anywhere on the page of an ebook. They will create a break in the word which irritates the reader. To eliminate them click on Find/More/Special and choose optional hyphen. Leave Replace blank. Click Replace All.

Step 3
As you go through the document you may choose not to indent after a time break, in which case just manually delete the indent.
Alternatively you can select the line - right click/click Paragraph/By… and replace the 0.5 with 0. OK (or Enter)
Check through till you’re happy with what you’ve done.

1 comment:

  1. Although I have done 5 short novels of my own as e-books I found this a useful reminder now that I want to do some more. It is so easy to forget some of the details. Thank you Freda