Kindle Formatting Tut + Free Template Download

Are you starting your Kindle quest? or are you in search of a good and detailed Kindle ebook Tutorial or template that you can use to create your Kindle publications. Read on and you will find answers to all your questions about formatting. You can also download a free template in the end of this post.

When I first started Kindle self Publishing, I had many questions in my mind but the most eager of them was “How do you write and format a Kindle Ebook?”. I had to read several different tutorials here and there to get  all my questions answered. I went through several trial and error methods to actually get a good hold of things. Here I am sharing a very detailed and complete tutorial and template for Kindle Ebook that can be easily used by adding your own text in it. Lets start the tut with some basic questions that pop up in a beginner’s mind:

Beginner Level Queries

I will start by answering a few questions that will arise in a noob’s mind just like me.:

Q: Do you need a special software to write and create a kindle Ebook?

A: No you don’t need any special application for that. Microsoft word is enough to take care of book writing part.

Q: Which format do you save the book in?

A: You can save it in default word format which is “.doc” or “.docx”. Amazon however accepts a range of other formats as well such as; html, pdf, txt, rtf, mobi, epub and zip.

Q: Which format is recommended and better than others.

A: I recommend you to keep things simple for you and save it in .doc or .docx format. You can do all the formatting you want in this format. All other formats just make things a little troublesome for beginners.

Tools Required

MS Word (2003 or later)

Scheme of The Document

In order to get more disciplined I follow a common scheme in all my books. This is the first and foremost thing to decide. My scheme goes something like this:

  1. Title Page
  2. Copyright/Disclaimer Page
  3. Contents Table Page
  4. All the modules/chapters of the book
  5. Advertisement of your other publications

You can come up with your own scheme but I think this will work with all sort of books. You may want to change a few things here for instance you may want to advertise your website in the end or ask readers to visit your kindle author page. Add your own twist to the scheme to see what works best for you.

Kindle Document Formatting Guidelines

Font Selection:

Following is a list of fonts that is compatible with all kindle devices. The standard Kindle E-readers show all the headings in Arial font but Kindle Fire shows them as styled by the author.

  • Arial
  • Caecilia
  • Courier
  • Georgia
  • Lucida
  • Times New Roman
  • Trebuchet
  • Verdana
Page Layout And Size:

Setting page layout or page size in MS Word does not effect its result on Kindle devices. Same is the case for page margins. Kindle sets these things by default according readers preferences.

Line Spacing:

For a better reading experience line spacing of 120% is recommended. In MS Word default line spacing is 1.15 which should be changed to 1.2. To change the default line spacing go to Home>Paragraph module>Line spacing options:

1

under the “Spacing” option select “Multiple” from drop down menu where it says “line spacing” and set value “1.2” where it says “At:”.

Automatic Table Of Contents:

A table of contents that is hyperlinked and updates itself as you keep adding more content in the book is called automatic table of content. Kindle readers like this option as they may at anytime jump at any chapter or part of the book they desire. An automatic table of contents can be added from the references tab in MS word 2007. Here is an image showing you exactly where to find the option to add table of contents (I am using MS Word 2007).

auto table of content for kindle

This adds an automatic table of contents that gets auto updated depending upon the headings being used.

Headings:

Headings play a very important role in your ebook, specially in creating an auto updating table of contents. The automatic table of contents detects different types of headings (h1, h2, h3 etc) in whole document to create a hierarchical table that shows different levels of headings with indentation as shown here:

Automatic table of content

In above example the headings “Introduction, Types of blogs, Free blog or paid” are  appearing without any indentation in the table because they have been made using Heading 1 style in the book. The rest are appearing with a little indentation in the table as they have been styled with Heading 2. Similarly heading three, if used anywhere in the book, will appear with a little more indentation in the table than heading two. It is recommended to style your headings accordingly. Title of a chapter for instance is to be style with heading 1 and any subheading with in it is to be styled with heading 2. Any further subheadings with a heading 2 goes with heading 3 and so on. In order to style any of your text with any heading go to Home tab in MS Word and in the Styles module that appears 2nd from right select appropriate styling:

Heading h1 h2 Kindle ebooks

These predefined text styling options (Heading 1,2,3 etc) have their default font selection and sizing. However you can change them as desired. To do so, select a text that has been styled with any of these headings, change its font face, size and color as you like, right click on the respective heading option as shown in above image and click on “Update Heading ? to match selection” that appears as 1st option (in MS Word 2007). All the headings of that type in the document will automatically be updated with the stylings that you have just selected.

Page Break:

Page breaks in MS Word can be inserted using a short key Ctrl+Return(Enter). In our normal documents that are meant to be used in PCs, we don’t bother about creating a page break in this manner. We press return key several times until the blinking cursor reaches the next page. If in such a document you change the font size or you change the page width or height, all your desired paging gets disturbed. Same is what happens when such a document is viewed in Kindle device. The default page width/height and default font size of the Kindle Device changes the paging done this way. Therefore it is important to use the Ctrl+Return(Enter) technique to insert page breaks. This page break indicates devices that the content that follows must start on a new page. When you press Ctrl+Return(Enter) your cursor will jump to new page but there will be no indication visible on the previous page about existence of a page break. To show that indication you will have to click on the paragraph button “¶” that appears on Paragraph module in Home tab:

Applying Page break in Kindle

This will make any page breaks in the document appear like this:

”   ………………………Page Break…………………. ¶   “

Text/Image Alignment:

This is not a must in Kindle formatting but this will surely add some great looks to your ebook. As far as text is concerned, I recommend and like to keep that in “Justified” alignment. This makes the lines of text appear balanced just as you can notice in this very article. Normally I like to keep images center aligned. I dont use them in line with text either left or right aligned. If in any case I have to do that, I use a little technique. I create a table with one row and two columns and insert the image in one column while the text in the other. I also remove the boundary lines of table so that it appears as a use of images inline with text. To insert table click on Insert tab and the Table module is 2nd from left. Insert a table with one row and two columns. Write your text in one column and insert image in the other. To remove border click on Design tab and find a little drop down menu with Border written on it. Click on it and select No Borders from the drop down to remove the borders.

Perfecting The Formatting

The only way to do it is by uploading it in the KDP and previewing it through your dashboard. There only, will you see the actual results of your formatting. If you find any mistakes or problems, correct them in your document and reupload it.

These techniques are all that I use in my ebooks. Your free Kindle Ebook template download is here:

Video Tutorial

Your precious suggestions and comments are welcomed. If any of your questions have gone unanswered please throw them onto me.

16 comments

  1. I have searched everywhere and cannot find instructions for creating the ability for the reader of my books to navigate through chapter and subchapter headings using the Kindle navigation key. Can you help

    1. Hello Stephen,
      Got your email and replied there as well mate. As far as I know readers can jump to a certain chapter or heading through “Go To” function. But for that thing to work, you must always have a hyper linked table of content in the beginning of your ebook. To add a table content please watch the video in the end of the article.

      1. thanks dude! just to let you know, your site is great! I have bookmarked it… keep up sharing good stuffs in your blog!
        You just got a fan here!

  2. Hey Nabeel, Is this a wordpress site? If not what did you use for your site? Also, more importantly how did you do the lock file thing to prompt a response for your targeted audience? This is a great tool to cause a prospect to take action
    Thank you for your time and keep up the great work.

    Very Respectfully,
    FrankJ. Atwood.

    1. Hey Frank. Thanks for visiting and dropping a query. Yes this is a wordpress site and I am using Simpatico theme. To lock the files I am using two different plugins opt in panda and layered popups. If you need more details on how to use them. I am here to help you out.

      Regards

  3. Wow I have four books and none of them are on Kindle if this works it will be a God send! Thanks. Btw I knew a person named Nabeel from the University of Miami. It’s a unique name where I’m from though you’re probably not him. I’ll let you know I have success with your template!

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