Formatting Your Print Book in MS Word for KDP Print

formatting a print book KDP Print

If you are familiar with MS Word, then it is not too difficult to format your print book interior for self-publishing with CreateSpace (now KDP Print) using the formatted templates and this step-by-step guide.

TUTORIAL: Formatting Your Print Book Interior in MS Word for KDP Print

The first thing you will need to do is determine what trim size you want for your print book. You can find the list of available trim sizes here. I recommend that you use a standard trim size. The most popular choices are 5.25″ x 8″, 5.5″ x 8.5″ and 6″ x 9″. Have a look on your bookshelf and see which trim sizes you like. Once you have determined which trim size you would like to use for your book, you can go ahead and download the interior template for your chosen book size here. KDP offers formatted templates which include sample content or basic templates with the correct page size, margins and gutters. If you are a beginner, I highly recommend using the formatted templates. Make sure that you do not make any changes to the basic setup of the document such as page size or margins once you begin formatting.

You will notice that the text is not centered on the pages. The template is set up with mirror margins in place so that every page, depending on whether it will be on the left or right has a larger gutter margin in the center of the book for the gluing of the spine. Remember with a book layout that the first page, which is the title page of the book, will be a right hand page. The copyright page follows this and is on the left behind the title page. All right hand pages must be odd numbered pages.

Before you begin to format your book, your manuscript should obviously be professionally edited and proofread. You will only start with formatting when you are ready to self-publish. Begin by opening both your final manuscript and the KDP formatted template. You will be copying and pasting your text into the document section by section. It is very important that you do not paste the entire document at one time as this will throw out all of the correct formatting of the template.

Once you have the two documents open in front of you, the first thing you will do is go to the KDP formatted template and decide on which fonts, font sizes and spacing you want to use. You also need to decide whether you will be using block paragraphs (mostly for non-fiction books) or first line indented paragraphs (novels). You can either use the fonts in the template or change them to ones that you prefer.

IMPORTANT: To change any fonts, indents or spacing in the template you need to do it by changing the STYLES. To do this, click your mouse anywhere in the document where you want to make a change and you’ll notice one of the style boxes in the HOME menu at the top of the page is highlighted. If you don’t see one highlighted, then use the arrows to the right of the style box menu to scroll down and find the style that is highlighted. This is the style you will need to change. To do so, right click on the box in the menu and select modify. Here you can modify this style’s font, font size, line spacing, indents and so on. Make all changes to the document by modifying the styles and NOT modifying the text itself.

The KDP template only contains ten chapters. What I recommend you do at this point is to highlight chapters 1-10 and copy. Then go to the very end of the template just before the About the Author section (place your mouse just before the word About) and paste and continue to paste until you have at least the number of chapters in your book. You are almost ready to begin, but not quite. The template still needs a few tweaks. Firstly, you will need to delete the Table of Contents (TOC) that is in the KDP formatted template, because it is not set up well. To do so, highlight the table and hold down SHIFT and then DELETE at the same time. You will insert your own TOC later on. You will also notice that the text on some pages in the front matter starts halfway down or near the bottom of the page and that no matter what you do, you cannot get it to start at the top. There is a simple setting to change this. You need to navigate to Page Layout tab, then choose Margins > Custom Margins > Layout > Vertical Alignment and change it to TOP and apply to the whole document.

You also want to sort out your headers. You can ignore the footers for now as they are the page numbers, and hopefully if you set the document up right, they will stay as they are meant to. If they get jumbled out of place, you will need to Google on how to correct page numbers while using sections, but I warn you it is not easy so best to try and keep them intact. For the headers, the KDP template has the Book Title at the top of every right hand page and the author name at the top of the left hand pages. You can decide what you want in the headers or if you prefer nothing here and set it up now. An idea is to look at other books to give you some ideas.

You are now ready to begin adding your book’s content into the template, section by section. The book template works with sections. These are very important for the page numbers and headers and footers. You need to make the formatting marks visible. To show all formatting marks press CTRL-SHIFT-8 or click the ¶ button in the menu bar. You can turn these off at any time by clicking the button again. You will now be able to see where the section breaks are at the end of each chapter. If you need to add a new section anywhere in the book (for example to add a blank page in order to get a new chapter to start on a right hand page), do this by going to the Page Layout tab in the top menu and selecting Breaks and insert a Next Page section break (do not just use next page break!) at the end of the chapter before you need a new section.

Let’s start formatting your content into the template. Insert your book title, subtitle and author name on the first page known as the Title page. Try to keep these in the center of the page vertically. Again, have a look at other books for examples. Remember, to change any fonts or font sizes, use the Styles menu. The go ahead and insert your text into the copyright page. For now, you can leave the ISBN numbers blank if you don’t know what they are yet. You can either get a free ISBN from KDP Print, or use your own. You may want to add in other information on the copyright page such as a disclaimer and book contributors.

I like to have the template set to two page view so that I can see the entire two pages when formatting. Do this on the View menu and choose ‘two pages’. In the template, remember that with the two page view, it is opposite to how it will be printed. In other words, all left hand pages will be printed as right hand pages.

To add in any content in the front matter or in the chapters, you will first type in your heading over the current heading. Those must stay as the ‘CSP – Chapter Title’ style. Then section by section, copy and paste your content into each chapter. To do this you need to highlight your chapter text, then in the template, highlight the sample chapter text and paste your text over that. It is then very important to click on the little paste option icon that appears and choose ‘Match Destination Formatting’. Otherwise the correct styles will not be applied.

Once you have your book content all pasted into the template, you’ll want to go the beginning and carefully check through everything. If you are using the Word two page view remember the right hand pages are actually left hand pages in print. You may want to have some blank left hand pages between sections. These blank pages should be inserted as instructed by adding a new section break. If you added the blank page correctly, it will not have a header, only a page number at the bottom and you can delete this one page number without it deleting any of the rest of the page numbers. This will only work if you followed the instructions and inserted the blank page by adding a new section. Blank pages in books should not have any headers or footers on them. To understand more about sections in MS Word read more here.

The last thing you need to do is add your Table of Contents. You’ll need to make one more small tweak to the template here. Place your mouse on any chapter heading. Right click on the CSP – Chapter Title style box at the top and click modify. In the dialogue box that comes up, find ‘Style based on:’ at the top and change that to Heading 1. Make sure the chapter titles still look like you want them to, or update them by modifying the font now. If all your styles were applied correctly to the chapter headings, adding the TOC will now be easy. Place your mouse below the Contents page heading, make sure the formatting is LEFT aligned and insert a TOC by navigating to the References tab on the top menu and clicking on Table of Contents and then Insert Table of Contents. Uncheck ‘Use hyperlinks instead of page numbers’ and click okay. Voila! Your TOC will now be added to the Contents page of your book.

Your book should now be correctly formatted for print with KDP! The last thing you will need to do is save it as a pdf file for upload to the KDP dashboard. There are many free pdf conversion programs, but I have found this one works well.

Once you have the pdf file of your book, you will want to check it carefully before uploading to KDP. And the good news is that now you can view the book exactly as it will be printed. Open the pdf file with Adobe Reader and make sure to view it in the two page view with a cover page. To do this, navigate to the VIEW tab, hover over PAGE DISPLAY and check both ‘Two Page View’ and ‘Show Cover page in Two Page View’. If there are any changes that you see are needed, you can make them in Word and re-save the new pdf file for upload to KDP.

Well done! You have successfully formatted your book for print! If you need any help with the formatting of your print book, I do offer these services. Feel free to email me to find out more.


7 thoughts on “Formatting Your Print Book in MS Word for KDP Print”

  1. Hi,
    I’m following your steps carefully but I have an issue. I can’t find in Paste Options, Match Destination Formatting. I only have 3: keep source formatting, Merge formatting and Keep text only. Non of them are working. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Silvia,
      You can try the following: In Word 2010, 2013, or 2016, click File > Options > Advanced. In Word 2007, click the Microsoft Office Button , and then click Word Options > Advanced. In the Cut, copy, and paste section, select the Show Paste Options button when content is pasted check box.

      If that is already selected and it’s still not working, you can try disabling any Word Add Ins and see if that works. For other troubleshooting, you may need to Google! Hope that helps and you find it!

  2. Hi Leila,

    Thank you for this very helpful article. One problem I ran into was that after pasting more than 10 chapters into the Createspace Word template, (my book has more than 10 chapters and template only goes up to 10) I found that the page numbers started over again with chapter 11.

    I called Createspace about this and they said they cannot advise on this. Do you have any suggestions for how to get the page numbers to continue beyond chapter 10? Thanks and I love your hair color.


    1. Hi David,
      Yes sure. First of all, every time you make a page break to start a new chapter, be sure to use SECTION BREAKS next page rather than Page Breaks next page. Then click in the footer where your page numbers start from 1 again (in Chapter 11) and in the DESIGN tab at the top of Word, click the drop down menu under PAGE NUMBER, choose FORMAT PAGE NUMBERS and then select the radio button CONTINUE FROM PREVIOUS SECTION. Hope that helps!

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