Format Your Manuscript on Word

This is in response to queries from my last blog, ‘how to format your manuscript like a pro’ due to questions about formatting in MS Word. I’m giving Word 2007 as an example, as it’s what I use. Yes I know it’s an older version, but being a bit of an old fart myself, I like to stick with what I know. As I have said before, always check your publishers guidelines when it comes to submitting manuscripts. The following instructions are standard guidelines.

Before we begin, back up your manuscript. I usually email a copy to myself as well as keeping a copy on my hard drive, in case my computer breaks down.


Page Layout

Open your manuscript and highlight the text. You can do this by clicking Ctrl and A together, but for goodness sake be careful. One false move and you can delete the entire text. If this happens, press Ctrl and Z which is the undo button.

Click on the ‘Page Layout’ tab at the top of the screen, then click on ‘Margins.’ They should be set to 2.54cm (1 inch) all around, which is standard.

Select ‘Paragraph’ from the home tab and click the bottom right hand corner. This will expand the panel into a bigger box. (There’s probably a fancy name for this box but does it matter?)

Find the drop down menu ‘Special’ and choose ‘First Line’ from the drop down menu. Ensure that .5 is in the box next to the menu.

Cool, now it’s time to move on to line spacing.


Line Spacing

Choose ‘Exactly’ from the drop down menu and enter 25 pt in the box beside it. Tick the box next to “Don’t add space between paragraphs’ and ensure boxes for spacing, before and after are both 0.

Now click the tab ‘line and Page Breaks’. Ensure the only box ticked is ‘Don’t Hyphenate’ then click OK.

To add a header, select the ‘Insert’ tab at the top of your screen, click ‘Header’ and ‘blank’. Type in your last name and your book title, for example Me/MYCOOLBOOK. If your book title is very long, just put a shortened  title in the header and the full name on the title page. Press your tab key twice on your keyboard. This will space the header over to the right hand margin.

Almost there…now you want to add page numbers. Click on ‘Page Number’ icon. You can find this on the Insert panel, under Header and Footer. Click ‘Current Position’ then ‘Plain Number.’ Click close and save your choices.


Title Page

Open a new document and save it as your title page. On the home tab, click ‘Paragraph’ to open the bigger box and choose ‘Single’ from the spacing box. Click OK.

Now click on ‘Paragraph’ and expand it. Click ‘Tabs’ box on the bottom. This is to add a tab stop. You will need this as you will have information on both the right and left margin of the page. Type in 6.5” for stop position and click ‘Right’. Save it by clicking OK, and OK again to leave the box.

Type your real name on the top left margin of your document. Press your Tab key on your keyboard to move to the right margin and type in your word count, rounded off. Press enter and type in your full address, phone number and email address. Press enter.

Now press enter until you are half way down the page, centre alignment. Type the name of your book in capital letters, press enter twice, then type ‘by’, press enter twice more, then type in your name / or pseudo name if you are using one. Save your changes and bingo! You have completed your title page.


I hope you have found this guide useful. As always, comments and reblogs are welcome. 🙂


My little disclaimer: I hope my guide is useful, however I can’t be held responsible if things go horribly wrong, sorry!

Credits: Many thanks to Flickr, creative commons.

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