Is my own layout in Microsoft Word good enough to print as a book?

A manuscript in Microsoft Word, a book ready for layout Maybe—it really depends on how much time and skill you have put into it. Also what is your attitude about ensuring your book is easy to read and looks like a professionally produced book?

Printing a book with your layout directly from Microsoft Word, without the use of professional industry standard formatting and typesetting, is likely to result in an unprofessional and unattractive book. Publishing a book with a Microsoft Word layout sends a clear sign to readers that your book is amateur and self-published.

Microsoft Word is a great program to use to write your book, and it is ideal for working with book editors and proofreaders. However, when it comes to the layout most designers and publishers use professional publishing software such as Adobe InDesign. This program allows a book designer to combine the textual and visual elements, and complete the necessary formatting to make a book print-ready.

Adobe InDesign empowers your professional book designer to set the manuscript up on the exact page size for your book. It expertly, quickly and seamlessly manages left-right pages with different applicable margins to account for the gutter, bleed, page numbering, headers and footers, etc. InDesign also features paragraph styles, character and object styles (like website CSS) and master pages (page templates that vary across the book, eg. for back matter, front matter, body section etc.).

There is so much more to InDesign, such that the scope of this article could not possibly do it justice. Suffice to say that every aspect of presenting type in a readable and aesthetically pleasing fashion is handled by InDesign. This includes settings and styles for the following:

  • Fonts
  • Headings
  • Dinkuses
  • Justification
  • Hyphenation
  • Line spacing (leading)
  • Paragraph spacing
  • Tables
  • Columns
  • Images
  • Captions
  • Credits
  • Referencing (foot notes and end notes)
  • Hyperlinks
  • Cross-references
  • Page breaks

All this is just the tip of the iceberg

Once the typesetter has worked their magic, the book layout can then be saved appropriately for the printer to work with, in the right kind of PDF at the right resolution with the right dpi etc.

If you have the time and possess some creativity along with formatting and design skills you may be able to design your book in Microsoft Word or another program yourself. We may be able to take over if you find it is getting too much. We can provide our book design services at an hourly rate, so your book meets the requirements of the printer you choose. For example, you might get the interior layout done 80% and need us to finalise it, as well as design the book cover.

It is usually a better workflow to use Adobe InDesign, and saves a lot of time, while resulting in a professional and easy-to-read book design.

At PMBO, we offer professional book design services; please contact us today with your requirements so we can provide you with an accurate quote.

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