How To Format A Book In Google Docs – If you’ve ever used Google Docs for school or to write blog posts, you know it’s versatile, intuitive, and free to use.
So while this might not be the first word processor you think of for writing books, there are plenty of reasons why it should be one of your top three.
How To Format A Book In Google Docs
This guide takes you from a blank page (or blog post) to a finished book, with simple step-by-step instructions and screenshots that show you what to do.
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If you ask “Why use Google Docs when you can have Microsoft Word, Scrivener, etc?” If you’re wondering, consider the following benefits of using Google’s cloud-based word processor:
As you’ll see in the steps that follow, Google Docs has all the tools you need to create, format, and edit manuscripts yourself. From there it’s just a matter of downloading it in the form you need for professional editing, book interior design and publishing.
It takes more time than writing a blog post – mostly because it involves a lot of articles and some tricks that you may not know yet. We’ll start with the title of your book in a Google Doc (using an ordered list) and go from there.
To insert page breaks, place the cursor where you want the break and go to the Insert menu and select Break, then Page Break, or press Ctrl+Enter.
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Continue dividing your outline with page breaks until you have a separate page for each chapter and book title (such as the title page).
Knowing how to use page breaks will come in handy when it comes time to add other pages to the front and back of the book.
Now that you have the beginnings of a book template, it’s time to set up styles for the book title, chapter headings, and body text.
Start on the Chapter 1 page, select Heading, and choose the “Heading 1” style from the Styles menu. Once you’ve applied the H1 style, you can edit the text to make it look the way you want.
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Next, choose your font, font size, and line spacing for the Heading 1 (H1) style, which you’ll use for chapter headings and other page headings in your book.
Once the header looks the way you want, select the text and return to the Style menu to update the Heading 1 style with the new format.
Do the same for each of your subheading(s), this time applying the Heading 2 or Heading 3 style. After you’ve set the font, size, and spacing, return to the Styles menu and update the selected title style.
Choose left, right, center, or horizontal alignment for the main text and headings by selecting the text, going to the top bar menu, and choosing the alignment you want.
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If the alignment you chose is not the default for the body text, you can go to the Style menu and update the style for “General Text” (or for the specific title style you want to change).
For margins (top, bottom, left and right), Google Docs defaults to one inch (1”), but you can change it in Page Settings (under the File menu).
If any of the proposed sizes are in mind for your book, choose the one closest to you. You can always change the page size (in Word) after downloading the book as a Word document.
Now that your subheadings are set up and formatted properly (with fonts, sizes, and line spacing), you have writing prompts on each page to get your brain working and the words flowing.
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This step will take a lot of time, unless you already have content ready to copy (say, from your own blog posts) and paste into your document.
The first thing you want to do is place your cursor where you want the inline visual to appear. Then go to the “Insert” menu, choose “Image” and then “Upload from PC” if you have a visual saved to disk, or find your image by searching the Internet or accessing Google Drive or Google Photos. You can also use your device’s camera.
Note: Only images marked for reuse and modification will appear in image search results.
Once you’ve inserted the selected visuals, you can use the image tools to resize each one. The alignment of each visual depends on your cursor position, but you can change it by selecting it and using the alignment tool.
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The first page of your document should have the title of your book. Add your subtitle (if you have one) and your author’s name to it, center the whole thing and change your fonts, font sizes and spacing to create your cover page.
After that comes your copyright page, which uses a smaller version of your normal body text – in the center and at the bottom of the page.
Chapter 1 Add an introduction by placing the cursor at the beginning of the header, pressing Ctrl-Enter (or going to the Insert menu and then Page Break) to add a page before it.
Go to the top of this new page and add the word “Introduction”. Then select it and apply the Heading 1 style to it so that its formatting matches the chapter headings.
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Go to the end of the book and add a new page by inserting a page break. Then title your new page “Conclusion,” “Now You’re Done… (or “Thank You”), “About the Author,” etc. Select your page titles and apply the Title 1 style to each of them.
After you’ve written the body of your book—with all the chapter headings and subheadings in place, as well as all the other pages—it’s time to create your table of contents (TOC).
Between your copyright page and the first page of the first chapter, insert a new page break at the top with the words “table of contents” (or “table of contents”) styled as Title 1.
Once your page title is completely set, go back to the “Insert” menu and scroll down to find “Table of Contents.” From there, you’ll choose the second of two options — Hyperlinked TOC, No Numbers (for an eBook).
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Simply share your finished book with the editor using the “Share” function and send it to their email address, if they prefer to work with Word documents, you can download your book in Word format.
You can download your finished book as a PDF to share with beta readers or upload to your publisher’s website. Simply select the PDF from the download options and click Download to open it in your browser.
Go to the “File” menu and “Make a copy” of your document. Name this new copy “Print Version”.
Make a copy of your finished eBook and rename it to the “Print” copy. You can now add page numbers and edit your content to include them.
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If you are skipping the first page (cover page) and want the first page number to be one (1), be sure to set the starting number to zero (0).
For a two-page spread to have your page numbers appear in opposite corners, go to Headers and Footers under the Format menu and make sure the Different Odd and Even option (as well as Different First Page) has a check mark.
You must add page numbers to both the “odd page footer” and the “even page footer”, ensuring that the first page (title page) remains unnumbered and the starting number is zero (0).
Wherever your cursor is in your document, Google Docs will set the page number for the entire book, so that the “different first page” is always the title page.
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Note: At the time of writing, the page numbering feature only accepts Arabic numerals for page numbering. If you want Roman page numbers between the title page and the first page of Chapter 1, you need to download your book as a Word document and change the page number there.
Once you set the page numbers, you can delete the hyperlinked content and use the page numbers (
At the very least, you now know how to create your own Google Docs book template. From there, it’s a matter of replacing the placeholder text with your own content.
You decide what to do with it – give it away, offer it as a free download from your website, or publish it with an online bookseller.