Tag Archives: Formatting for CreateSpace

How to Format Bullet Size

Microsoft Word is powerful software and generally the Indie author’s friend, but sometimes its intuitive automatic tweaking can cause headaches that can take days to get to the bottom of, and at other times lead to giving up on certain looks we want for our books altogether. Non-fiction books in particular regularly have bullet lists in them, and if you have lots of bulleted lists in any particular book you can end up with dodgy margins, among other unattractive changes.

It’s common knowledge among self-publishing authors that Word generated bullet lists and Kindle books are not the best of friends. The easiest ways around this are to either to manually insert bullet symbols at the beginnings of each sentence of the list, or to create the lists as images in software built for the purpose, or to use Canva or some similar online image creation site. Here’s an example of using a screenshot of a list as an image.

We can be much more creative with our POD paperback books  than with the limitations Kindle books give us because once the fonts are embedded, and the manuscript is saved to PDF, what you see there is locked in and will appear that way in your print book. Sometimes with bullets though, Word itself gets creative in ways that are hard to fathom or change. For instance, certain bullets mysteriously change size, leaving your lists looking patchy and irregular. There is no obvious place to change them no matter how deeply you dig into your formatting ribbons. Luckily there are ways, not only to change or regulate your bullet sizes without at all affecting text size, but also to get creative and add personalised-particularly-for-your-book bullets. Once they’re embedded in the PDF file, they will appear beautifully in your paper book. Here’s how you do it.

Firstly, to change bullet size without changing text size, simply use the Show/Hide function (Click on pilcrow emblem in the Home ribbon ¶ and these will appear where formatting is used in your manuscript). Next Highlight ONLY the pilcrow sign at the end of each item in the bullet list one at a time and change the font size bigger or smaller. This will change the size of the bullet only while leaving the text font size the same.

For a bit of fun, why not try making your own bullets. Firstly apply a bullet to the page and then right click on it. From the dropdown menu select Define New Bullet from the Bullet Menu. Choose Symbol or Font, or for your own personalised bullet, choose Picture and browse your computer for an image, load it up and there you have it!

If it’s too small use the above process to enlarge your bullet picture without making the text to large at the same time. This way you can make your non-fiction print books wonderfully individual to you or your book’s topic.


Next EMBED and Print to PDF for upload to your POD platform.


Quick Tips for Paperback Page Numbering

When numbering the pages of your paperback manuscript, the thing quite a lot of Indies have trouble with is that they use Page Breaks rather than Section Breaks. A Page Break is just that—starting a new page within the same section of a book. With a Section Break you can have totally different numbers and Headers and Footers for each section. The way to ensure that your numbering doesn’t bounce back from the first chapter of your book to the front matter is to get rid of all the Page Breaks in first pages and replace them with Section Breaks.

Section Break after title page, and again after the table of contents, and every other page you have in your front matter.

Then double click into your Headers and Footers up to and including the first page of your first chapter, and unlick Link to Previous. This will ensure that all your previous book “sections” remain separate.

Finally, go to the page where you want your numbering to begin and click on Insert > Page Number. Choose how and where you want your numbers to appear, and then click back out again. Your page numbers will now begin in the first chapter, leaving your front matter lovely and number and header free.

If you choose to use the Different Odd & Even Pages function so that you can have your author name on one page and your book title on the page facing it, sometimes all the numbering on either odd or even numbered pages will disappear. Simply click in to that footer and Insert page numbers again—it will automatically use the correct numbers.

Rather than be nervous when getting stuck into formatting for CreateSpace, make a copy of your manuscript and mess around with these things a little first to build your confidence. Try different things with different sections. Play with your numbers. Put them left or right, or be really daring and use Roman numerals. And remember, once you’ve got it right once, you have a template to use for your next book if the thought of doing it all from scratch is just too daunting.

How to Get Page Numbers to Start in Chapter One for CreateSpace

Getting the page numbers and book title in the headers starting on the correct page for CreateSpace can have you pulling your hair out in bunches sometimes. You can download an already formatted template from CreateSpace and copy and paste your manuscript into that rather than going for the bald look, or you can make a nice clean template of your own.

Trying to reformat a couple of hundred pages of an already otherwise formatted Word document sometimes causes strange things to happen, so after many trial and errors along the way, I finally figured out that the easiest thing to do was to type my manuscripts without any formatting at all, and then copy and paste them into my own template before working on paragraphs, margins, and styles for CreateSpace. It’s wonderfully simple to do.

Open a new word document. Hit Enter twice, and then go to Page Layout > Breaks > Next Page to insert a Section Break. Repeat this for as many pages you need for your front matter. Three times is enough though, because you can always add more later.

On the first page of what will be the first chapter hit Enter twice and then Insert > Page Break. Insert page breaks between chapters rather than section breaks.

Double click to open Headers and Footers and unclick Same as Previous on all of them, working your way back through to the first page for your front matter.

Go back to the first page of the first chapter and Insert > Page Numbers. Then double click to open the Headers and Footers again, and you can type in your book title in the header. Save it, and whenever you have a book ready for paper just copy and paste it into your template, change the title in the header, complete your front matter, and Save As your book title. Once that’s done, the rest of the formatting is a piece of cake.

FC Page Numbers