Important MS Word Formatting Tips

Here are the most important things you need to keep in mind as you work in Microsoft Word.

By sticking to these best practices, you’ll avoid formatting problems when you upload your file for conversion.

Please note: If we did the formatting for you and you've requested the source .doc file, any formatting issues that result after you open the file and make changes are considered additional rework. You will be billed an hourly rate based on how much time it takes us to do the extra rework.

Here are the things you can do to help avoid creating formatting issues for us:

  1. Keep the file in .doc format. We find that the majority of formatting gremlins get introduced when a .docx file is opened on different versions of MS Word (especially problematic between macs & pc's). Note: Word 2016 has solved a lot of the compatibility issues, but I'm not going to force you to upgrade to Word 2016.
  2. Limit the number of different styles (but avoid the default normal). Stick with the ones in the file already used in your file.
  3. Avoid blank carriage returns / empty lines (spacing should be defined in the style).
  4. Don’t use tab or spaces for indentation – indents and paragraph spacing should be defined by the style.
  5. Use Heading 1 for chapter headers, and Heading 2 for sub-chapters (for sections you want included in the Table of Contents).
  6. If you copy and paste from other sources, use paste unformatted text or notepad to clear all the formatting (this is the #1 source of formatting issues). Right click and choose the Paste pain text option:
  7. Utilizing the Navigation Pane (aka Document Map) feature in Word will help you stay on track as you jump around your book.
  8. All images should be inserted ‘in-line.’ (no wrapped text)
  9. Avoid going back and forth between a Mac and PC. Word is not the same (although comparability in Office 2016 is much better).
  10. If your word file looks different than your PDF, it's likely because you don't have the same fonts loaded on your system. I can provide any missing fonts and show you how to install them.

Here's a brief video walk-through I did for another client touches on several of the items mentioned above and should help you stay out of trouble.

My best,
Brian