How to Write a Book Using Microsoft Word (2023)

If you want to write a book, you'll need book writing software that's up to the task. Yes, you can invest in dedicated book writing programs. But you don't have to: a great writing tool is likely already at your fingertips, if you know how to write a book using Microsoft Word.

How to Write a Book Using Microsoft Word (1)

There's a lot of book writing software out there. Many of these programs claim to offer intuitive use, help with organization, and even say they’ll keep you from distraction. The options can be overwhelming.

There’s still one tried and true option if you’re not interested in all that (or can’t afford the fancier programs): Microsoft Word.

I write most of my books in Microsoft Word, not to mention short stories. Here’s the rundown of how to write a book using Microsoft Word, and why that might be your best choice.

Want to learn how to write a book from start to finish? Check out How to Write a Novel: The Complete Guide, or for you nonfiction writers, How to Write a Book: The Complete Guide.

The Benefits of Microsoft Word for Book Writing

You most likely already have it. And so does everybody else. Word is the standard, accepted across platforms, and is easy to access for non-writers (your beta readers). It’s been around forever, so most people know how to use it.

There are book formatting templates. A ton of them. They have them for short story format and for manuscript format. Personally, I don’t use those templates, but they’re a nice baseline for beginners, or even old hats that just want to hurry up and write without setting up their document first.

It’s simple and uncluttered. There are a ton of apps and programs out there that will allow you to keep your plot structure notes close at hand, to rearrange your chapters with the click of a button, and to keep detailed character profiles right in the program. That’s all a little too much for me. I prefer handwritten notes and nothing else blocking my screen while I’m typing and Word gives me that.

It is worth noting that if all that sounds appealing to you, you can do those things in Word as well, it just won’t be as fancy as other programs.

Hey writer: the first step to writing a book is coming up with a great idea. The second step is figuring out the structure of your book. If you have an idea but you need help with the structure, check out our new book The Write Structure. In it, we'll teach you how to apply timeless story structure principles to write a great book.Get The Write Structure »

How to Navigate Your Book in Microsoft Word

When you have a 90,000-word manuscript, navigating becomes daunting. Luckily there are ways to do it in Word that make it easier if you know where to look.

Chapter Headings

Word doesn’t divide your book into chapters for you like some other programs. There will be no easy way to click and drag to rearrange chapters.

What I recommend is using headings. On Word’s Home page, there are already standard headings listed. Definitely mess with them and change their formatting to something simple.

No one needs giant blue words as their chapter headings. (You can set your simpler formatting as your default style as well, so you don’t have to change it every time.)

Make the title or number of each chapter a heading. Then you can easily bounce around to different chapters through the navigation pane (check the Navigation Pane box under the View menu).

(Video) How to Write a Book in Microsoft Word [Tutorial]

Bookmarks

These basically work the same way as headings, but they’re for anywhere in your document. Have a specific scene you need to do more research on? You can bookmark it and jump back to it later.

Bookmark by going to the Insert menu and clicking Bookmark. Name your bookmark and voilà. You can delete them easily from the popup menu as well.

Find and Replace

CTRL+F brings up a simple search option to find words and phrases in your document. CTRL+H brings up the full gambit. From that dialogue box, you can search, replace certain words with others (i.e. Jennifer now becomes Julia all through the manuscript), and go to any page, section, heading, bookmark, etc. that you need to go to.

Microsoft Word is Great for Editing Your Book

Word has a ton of options for editing your story, including comments, tracking changes, and comparing documents. All of these are under the Review menu.

I use the comments feature to make notes to myself where I need to recheck facts or add description later. It’s easy to navigate through the comments with the search feature or the buttons under the Review menu. Don’t forget to remove them all before saving your document as a PDF or sending it off to an editor.

Tracking changes is awesome and a lot of editors (for short stories anyway) will use this feature to collaborate with you during the editing process. You can accept or reject changes or even revert back to the original.

Finally, make sure you have grammar and spellcheck on! Grammar check even allows you to check style issues (like how to use an ellipsis correctly) and passive voice. It’s invaluable.

Pro tip: To keep you on track while you’re writing, turn off some of the more fine-tuning features of grammar check. There’s nothing that will ruin your flow more than a bunch of underlining you feel like you need to take care of immediately. I recommend running the full check when you’re done (or at least done for the day).

Formatting Your Book in Microsoft Word

Make sure you’re familiar with standard manuscript format for novels and formatting short stories. Take a look at those links and follow their instructions. You don’t want to get rejected out of hand because you tried some weird formatting that’s hard to look at.

One of the biggest gripes I see from editors is writers using spaces to indent paragraphs. Don’t do this. It makes it super hard on them when they’re putting a book together. Instead, use the ruler in Word (under the View menu) or the paragraph settings (under the Home menu) to adjust your tabs. A half inch is standard.

Despite what most of us were taught in school, the standard is now one space after periods, not two. This is another sticking point with editors, so don’t do it. If you’re used to two, there’s a grammar check feature in Word you can turn on to highlight every time you use two spaces.

Finally, use the page break option to break for a new chapter, not enter or a million spaces. You can find the page break under the Insert menu.

Pro tip: When in doubt about your formatting, you can turn on the Show/Hide option under the Home menu (looks like a paragraph symbol) to see all your formatting symbols.

Now That You've Mastered Microsoft Word, Go Write Your Book

Don’t let choosing writing software stagnant your writing. Don’t overthink it. You don’t need to keep up with the Joneses with the latest writing technology that’s trotted out on tech forums and in writing chats.

The important thing about writing a book is actually writing it. No fancy book writing software is going to help you with that.

So get writing!

Ever used Word to write a book? Do you have any more tips for how to write a book using Word? Let me know in the comments!

(Video) How To Write A Book In Microsoft Word

How to Write a Book Using Microsoft Word (2)Want to make plotting your book EASY? Check out our new book The Write Structure which helps writers make their plot better and write books readers love.

Get The Write Structure – $9.99 $5.99 »

PRACTICE

Take fifteen minutes to write. Just write. Don’t worry about page setup, formatting, or which program you’re going to use. Open up Word or get out a pen and paper if you’d like!

When you’re done, share your writing in the comments. Don’t forget to comment on your fellow writers’ work!

Sarah Gribble

Sarah Gribble is the author of dozens of short stories that explore uncomfortable situations, basic fears, and the general awe and fascination of the unknown. She just released Surviving Death, her first novel, and is currently working on her next book.

Follow her on Instagram or join her email list for free scares.

(Video) HOW TO FORMAT A BOOK IN WORD 📚 basic novel formatting using microsoft word

FAQs

Can I use Microsoft Word to write a book? ›

Yes, you can invest in dedicated book writing programs. But you don't have to: a great writing tool is likely already at your fingertips, if you know how to write a book using Microsoft Word. There's a lot of book writing software out there.

How do you write answers in Word format? ›

And notice see where it says click here to enter text. Now I can start adding the person's name same

How do I Create a book content in Word? ›

On the toolbar ribbon, select References. Near the left end, select Insert Table of Contents. (Or select Table of Contents > Insert Table of Contents. The table of contents is inserted, showing the headings and page numbering in your document.

How many pages should a book be in Microsoft Word? ›

Originally Answered: One Microsoft word paper is equivalent to how many of an average novel page/s? Generally a paperback novel contains 250 and 300 words per page. That means, a 50K words novel takes 175 pages. By default, a MS Word is set at 8.5 x 11 inches with 1 inch margin on four sides.

What platform should I use to write a book? ›

15 Book Writing Software Programs That Can Make Your Life Easier
  • Scrivener. Scrivener is the ultimate book-organization tool. ...
  • Google Docs. Google Docs is a great collaborative tool. ...
  • Freedom. ...
  • ProWritingAid. ...
  • Grammarly. ...
  • Novel Factory. ...
  • Hemingway Editor. ...
  • Evernote.
17 Mar 2020

What is the best format to write a book in? ›

Contents hide
  • Use black, 12-point, Times New Roman as the font. ...
  • Use the U.S. standard page size of 8.5×11 inches and set your margins to 1 inch on all sides. ...
  • Set alignment to left justified. ...
  • Use a single space after periods. ...
  • Use double-spaced line spacing.
10 Aug 2022

How do you write questions and answers in Word? ›

To create a word answer question, click on the blue "Create" button in the upper left hand corner of your screen. Choose "Questions" and then select "Word Answer." From there you will be provided with the question building framework in which to build your multiple choice question.

How do you type fill in the blanks on word? ›

Word 2016 : How to Create a Fill in the Blank Form - YouTube

How do I fill in a fillable form in Word? ›

Fill Forms in Word
  1. Click the “File” menu's “Open” command, then navigate to and click the document containing the form you need to fill in. ...
  2. Click the “Insert” menu, then click the “Text Box” button.

How do I print a Word document like a book? ›

Booklet Printing in Word
  1. Choose Page Setup from the File menu. Word displays the Page Setup dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Margins tab is displayed. ...
  3. Using the Multiple Pages drop-down list, choose Book Fold. ...
  4. In the Margins area of the dialog box, make sure the margins are set appropriately for your document.
  5. Click OK.

How do you create chapters in Word? ›

How to make chapters, sections and subsections in word - YouTube

Is 50 pages enough for a book? ›

It isn't even long enough for a middle grade (which should be between 30,000–50,000 words). If you're writing a chapter book (a lower grade book for early readers) 30–50 pages could work. If you're writing a picture book, 30–50 is fine.

How many pages is 50000 words? ›

A typical manuscript page (8.5×11 paper, 1-inch margins, standard 11- or 12-point font, doublespaced—like you would type in Word) is considered to be 250 words. So a 25,000-word manuscript is about 100 pages. A 50,000-word manuscript is 200 pages.

How many words does a 100 page book have? ›

A 100 page book is about 30,000 words. If you write more than 1500 words per week, you can expect for it to take 2 – 4 months to write a 100 page book.

What app do authors use to write books? ›

Scrivener is the premier book writing app made by writers for writers. Scrivener's “binder” view allows you to break up your book into chapters and sections and easily reorganize it with drag and drop interface.

What free program is best for writing a book? ›

Best Free Online Writing Tools to Write a Book
  • Google Docs.
  • Kindle Vella.
  • Scrivener app.
  • Milanote.
  • Pomodoro Timer.
  • Ulysses app.
  • Cliché Finder.
  • yWriter.
19 Jul 2022

How many pages should a book be? ›

When wondering how many pages a book should be, it is notable that the average book length is between 200-400 pages. With this in mind, what considerations should be taken when deciding how long a book should be? Check comparable titles. Go to a bookstore and find your book's genre.

How do I write my first book? ›

How to Write Your First Book
  1. Write the first draft. Once you've figured out your book idea, the hardest thing is to just start writing. ...
  2. Commit to a rewrite. ...
  3. Get feedback. ...
  4. Publish your novel. ...
  5. Market your novel.
4 Nov 2021

How do you write a book in 7 days? ›

How It Works
  1. Identify your ideal reader.
  2. Come up with a collection of great book ideas based on your ideal reader.
  3. Create an easy outline for a book idea of your choice.
  4. Write your book in daily segments based on your outline and complete it within 7 days.

How do you do multiple answers in word? ›

A multiple-choice question can be formatted by typing the question number and question text. Below the question text, place each answer choice on its own line. The answer choices must begin with a letter (a-t), followed by a period, followed a space, followed by the answer wording.

What is a word answer question? ›

Word answer questions are designed for free-response submissions. If you'd like for the question to be auto-graded you'll want to stick to answers of one or two words. Alternatively, you can create a polling or survey question by not indicating a correct answer.

Does Microsoft Word have a quiz template? ›

In the My forms tab, select New Form or New Quiz. Name your form and give it a description. Select Add Question and choose the type of question you want to add. Select Preview to see how your form will look on a computer or mobile device.

How do I turn a Word document into a fillable PDF? ›

Create a fillable PDF in Word with these steps.
  1. Within the Word program, select File > New Document.
  2. Create the form. Type out the necessary details of your form. ...
  3. Save as PDF. Once you're happy with your Word document, you'll need to save it as a PDF. ...
  4. Open PDF with Acrobat Reader. ...
  5. Prepare the form. ...
  6. Save your form.

How do I create a fillable form? ›

How to create fillable PDF files:
  1. Open Acrobat: Click on the “Tools” tab and select “Prepare Form.”
  2. Select a file or scan a document: Acrobat will automatically analyze your document and add form fields.
  3. Add new form fields: Use the top toolbar and adjust the layout using tools in the right pane.
  4. Save your fillable PDF:

How do I create a Word template? ›

Open the Word document that you want to save as a template. On the File menu, click Save as Template. In the Save As box, type the name that you want to use for the new template. (Optional) In the Where box, choose a location where the template will be saved.

How do you fill in a Word document without moving the lines? ›

How to Write On a Line in Word Without the Line Moving - YouTube

How do I convert a Word document to a fillable PDF without Acrobat? ›

To create a fillable PDF form, the first thing you'll need to do is set up a Jotform account. Once you've created an account and signed in, navigate to the PDF Editor > Fillable PDF Forms page. Click the Create a fillable PDF form button. Here, you can either create a new PDF or import an existing fillable PDF form.

How do I make a Word document fillable and not editable? ›

Head on to the "Protect" section on the ribbon and click the button labeled “Protect Document.” You should then click the button named “Restrict Formatting and Editing.” On the options that appear, select the one that says “Allow only this type of editing in the document” and pick “Filling in forms.” Once you're done, ...

How do I print pages like a book? ›

Print a multi-page document as booklet:
  1. Choose File > Print.
  2. Select a printer from the menu at the top of the Print dialog box.
  3. In the Pages to Print area, select which pages you want in the booklet. ...
  4. Under Page Sizing & Handling, choose Booklet.
7 Jan 2022

How do I print a PDF like a book? ›

Print a booklet
  1. Choose File > Print and select the printer.
  2. Specify which pages to print: To print pages from front to back, select All. ...
  3. Click Booklet.
  4. To print certain pages on a different paper or paper stock, specify those pages using the Sheets From/To option. ...
  5. Choose additional page handling options.
15 Jun 2022

Is there a template for writing a book? ›

There are layout templates for formatting your manuscript in Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Adobe InDesign, Pages, and pretty much any other word processor you might use. Many self-publishing platforms like Lulu, IngramSpark, and BookBaby also include ready-to-use layout templates.

How long a book should be? ›

Typically, a book that is published in paperback format at a length of 300-400 pages will come in between 80,000 and 100,000 words. For adult fiction (especially crime, thrillers, women's fiction, saga and romance), 100,000 words is a good benchmark to aim for.

How do you number your pages on Word? ›

On the Insert tab, click the Page Number icon, and then click Page Number. Select a location, and then pick an alignment style. Word automatically numbers every page, except designated title pages. To change the numbering style, select Format and then choose the formatting you want to use.

How do I create a chapter in Word 2022? ›

Create your Numbering Format
  1. In the HOME tab, in the PARAGRAPH section, click the down arrow next to the numbered list (1-, 2-, 3-) to open the NUMBERING LIBRARY.
  2. Click on DEFINE NEW NUMBER FORMAT.
  3. For “Number Style:” Select “One, Two, Three”
  4. For “Number Format”, type “Chapter” before “One”
  5. Click OK.

How do you write a thesis in Word? ›

To use the outline function, click the “View” tab at the top of the Word menu and select “Outline”. This will give you the outlining toolbar. From here, you can start your thesis outline by jotting down your main headings for each chapter and building a plan for each section.

How many words self-help book? ›

The average word count for a self-help book is 50,000 words.

This number can vary but most self-help books' word count falls between the range of 30,000 to 70,000 words. Some are shorter than 30,000 words, and some are longer than 70,000. But don't let your word count take precedence over the book's content.

How many chapters should a book have? ›

However, there is no exact minimum or standard for how many chapters a novel should have. Because chapters are just places where the author decides to break up the flow of their story, you could go a more traditional route and end up with 12-28 chapters or choose to be more experimental and have as many as 200.

What font size are books written in? ›

For most books, a font size between 10 and 12 is generally used for fiction and non-fiction printed books. Basic recommendations for font selection: Fiction, memoirs, and (auto)biographies: A classic serif font that is easy to read is the safest choice.

What is the normal size of a book? ›

The standard book size is six inches wide and nine inches tall (6"x 9"). Your book will probably be cheapest to print, easiest to read, and easiest to sell (e.g., it'll fit on bookstore shelves) in this size. Larger books are harder to hold, carry, or put on a shelf.

Is 20000 words enough for a book? ›

Word counts for novellas

A novella typically starts at about 20,000 words and tops out at 50,000, which is the minimum length for a short novel.

Is 30000 words enough for a book? ›

If you're writing your first novel, the general rule of thumb for novel writing is a word count in the 80,000 to 100,000 range. While anything over 40,000 words can fall into the novel category, 50,000 is considered the minimum novel length.

How many writers actually finish a book? ›

In the United States alone, over 200 million people dream of writing a book. Yet, the number of writers who go on to actually finish their manuscript is estimated to be just 3%. Of those, only 20% will go on to become published.

How many pages should a self help book be? ›

The average word count for a self-help book is 30,000 to 70,000 words. A 30,000 word book, after formatting for a 6″ by 9″ paperback, can run about 180 pages.

Which free software is best for writing a book? ›

The Best Novel Writing Software of 2022 (+ 5 Free Programs)
  • Reedsy Book Editor (word processor, formatting, and conversion) — free.
  • FastPencil (word processor and exporter) — free.
  • Bibisco (story planning and word processor) — free.
  • Evernote (word processor and organizational tool) — free.
31 Dec 2021

Is there a template for writing a book? ›

There are layout templates for formatting your manuscript in Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Adobe InDesign, Pages, and pretty much any other word processor you might use. Many self-publishing platforms like Lulu, IngramSpark, and BookBaby also include ready-to-use layout templates.

How do I print a Word document like a book? ›

Booklet Printing in Word
  1. Choose Page Setup from the File menu. Word displays the Page Setup dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Margins tab is displayed. ...
  3. Using the Multiple Pages drop-down list, choose Book Fold. ...
  4. In the Margins area of the dialog box, make sure the margins are set appropriately for your document.
  5. Click OK.

Is Google Docs good for writing books? ›

TLDR: Google Docs is not a good book writing software. It is excellent for short-form content like blogging and collaborative projects like corporate documents. But Google Docs struggles to handle documents of more than 15k-25k words.

What do most authors use to write? ›

Best Writing Software: Contents
  • Scrivener.
  • Google Docs.
  • Google Sheets OR Microsoft Excel.
  • Atticus.
  • Vellum.
  • ProWritingAid.
  • Publisher Rocket.
  • Evernote OR Ulysses.

How do I start writing my own book? ›

How to Write a Book
  1. Establish a consistent writing space.
  2. Hone in on your book idea.
  3. Outline your story.
  4. Do your research.
  5. Start writing and stick to a routine.
  6. Finish your first draft.
  7. Revise and edit.
  8. Write your second draft.
2 Mar 2022

How long does it take to write a book? ›

On average, a first-time writer can take up to 6-12 months to write a book, unless you use our 90-day book writing system. The typical timeline to write a book is between 4 to 8 months otherwise. How long it takes to write a book largely depends on how much time the writer puts into actually writing it, though.

Is there a novel template on Microsoft Word? ›

Does Word have a book template? Yes, Microsoft Word offers several templates within the application, including book templates to choose from. Different sizes and formats are offered, depending on the type of book you are writing.

How do I print pages like a book? ›

Print a multi-page document as booklet:
  1. Choose File > Print.
  2. Select a printer from the menu at the top of the Print dialog box.
  3. In the Pages to Print area, select which pages you want in the booklet. ...
  4. Under Page Sizing & Handling, choose Booklet.
7 Jan 2022

How do I print a PDF like a book? ›

Print a booklet
  1. Choose File > Print and select the printer.
  2. Specify which pages to print: To print pages from front to back, select All. ...
  3. Click Booklet.
  4. To print certain pages on a different paper or paper stock, specify those pages using the Sheets From/To option. ...
  5. Choose additional page handling options.
15 Jun 2022

Should I write my book in word or Google Docs? ›

As a quick answer, yes. You should use Google Docs to write a novel if you like using Google Docs to write a novel. There's no correct way to write a novel, and if Google Docs is what's most comfortable for you, then go ahead.

Do writers use word or Google Docs? ›

They don't find much use in the traditionally non-collaborative pursuit of writing copy. However, a big part of picking a tool is finding which one makes you more productive. And that ultimately comes down to what you can use most quickly and easily. For the majority of writers, that's MS Word.

What font size are books written in? ›

For most books, a font size between 10 and 12 is generally used for fiction and non-fiction printed books. Basic recommendations for font selection: Fiction, memoirs, and (auto)biographies: A classic serif font that is easy to read is the safest choice.

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