Living just east of Crazy

Text Formatting (Typesetting your manuscript – article 3)

Written By: Eddie Snipes - Feb• 28•12

Setting up Word

Before formatting the text, it’s important to configure Word with only the features necessary for your book. Fortunately, with word, you can make as many changes as you want and have them ONLY apply to the document you are using. When making a change, you’ll see something like the image below:


I have two new documents open. I can apply my change to my current document (which is the default action), another open document, or I can apply this to all new documents. Unless you’re making a change you want to apply to every document, leave your current document as the default option.

One thing I highly recommend is to strip away all downward compatibility options. To do this, go to File, Options, click advanced, and scroll down to compatibility options. Click the ‘Lay out as if created in’: and choose the version of word you are using. In my case, I have Windows 2010.


The downward compatibility options enables features that allows your document to be printed in an older version of Word. This won’t be necessary for typesetting. The finished product will be saved as an Adobe PDF document, so there will be no need for compatibility with other word processing applications.

To make a book printed page look good, the text will have to be justified. Word has a tendency of stretching the text when trying to fill up a line. Though newer versions are much better, the Word Perfect Style of justification is much better for typesetting. Word allows this option, but it is buried out of site. To enable Word Perfect justification, click on File, Click Options, then click Advanced. Scroll to the very bottom and you’ll see Compatibility Options.

Click the arrow to expand in order to reveal the various setting options. Scroll to the ‘D’s’ and you’ll see ‘Do full justification the way WordPerfect 6.x for Windows does’. Check this option and click OK. See below:


While you’re in this area, also check the box, ‘Don’t use HTML paragraph auto spacing’. This formatting option can produce unexpected results.

One last option you should turn off is, ‘Use Printer Metrics to layout document.’ Uncheck this box. This option can alter the layout based on the printer’s driver your computer uses. Since this is not going to be printed with a personal computer, this should not be used. It can cause the document to look one way on your computer, but different when printed in book format.

From this point on, formatting is an easy task.

Formatting the text

Depending on how you put your book together, you might have various fonts. I cut and paste from another application, and sometimes it creates a mixture of fonts. Try not to have more than one font in your final document. In rare cases, you may want to use a second one, but the less fonts the better.

To make sure your entire document has only one style of font, follow these steps.

Press Ctrl-A. This will highlight all the text in the document.

Now select a font. Choose a font that looks good in print. Times New Roman isn’t as readable in book format as some of the other fonts. I prefer Century Schoolbook. It formats well and looks good in print, but feel free to use what fits your book.


Leave the font size blank. This is important because any headings or formatted text will be changed and will produce undesireable results. If you have mixed font sizes, you may have to manually change them where needed.

Aligning the Title Page

The title page should be centered. Press Ctrl-Home. This will take your cursor to the very top of the document. Hold down the shift key and press the down arrow. Press it until you get to the bottom of the title page.

With the text highlighted, Click the Center Alignment icon. You can find this on the Home tab on the Word menu. See Below:


Justifying the Body.

Move your cursor to the beginning of chapter 1. Make sure the cursor is in front of the first letter of text. See below:


Now hold down the Shift and Control keys and while holding, press the key labelled ‘End’. This will highlight all the text from your cursor until the end of the manuscript. Now press the Justify icon.


This will justify the text throughout your document and should look something like the image below:


The jagged look of the text has been replaced with neatly aligned paragraphs.

The paragraph symbol at the end of my paragraphs are from the formatting codes. They will not print and can be turned on or off by clicking the paragraph symbol on the main tab of the Word menu.

To verify that the paragraphs look good, browse through your manuscript and look for any stretched out text. Odd looking paragraphs can be resolved by hyphinating words, adding or subtracting a word, or tweaking the text. You’ll need to play around to resolve any issues, though there should be few – if any. Turning on the Word Perfect formatting resolves most odd paragraphs.

If your manuscript has an index or other addition at the end of the book, you may want to leave these out of your justification and align them separately.

Once completed, the look and feel of your manuscript should be book-ready

Authors pay hundreds of dollars or more to get their manuscripts typeset. Researching these things took a lot of work and I’ve made them available to you for no cost. If you want to show a small token of thanks, purchase one of my books on Amazon. The ebook versions are only .99 cents.

Eddie Snipes © 2012

View the other articles in the series by going to http://www.eddiesnipes.com/writers-tips/

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  1. Jackie Layton says:

    Thanks so much for this! Very helpful and informative.

  2. Jane F Thompson says:

    Thank you, Eddie. I appreciate you’re sharing these links on the ACFW loop. I’m not formatting a book right now, though I may be some time this year, but this info is useful for song sheets and other things I’ve been frustrated with on formatting since upgrading my Word version.

  3. Thanks for sharing the link to your post. I’m not doing this, but it’s good to know.

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