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By Yvonne Perry
When writing a book, and submitting it to a publisher it is important to give your manuscript a professional look. The best way I’ve found to do that is by using styles.
Some people may tell you that MS Word is not the best program to use for a book manuscript, but it is the program most users have on their computer, and Word is a format accepted by most publishers. Publishers have their own typesetters and use book set up programs they like best. Since Word is easy to use and has a lot of good features for writers, I’ll share some tips about using styles in Word.
You will use a variety of formatting styles in writing a book:
* chapter headings
* page headers and footers
* body text
* italicized text
* works cited/bibliography
* table of contents
* bullet points
To set a style, go to format on your tool bar. Click on styles and formatting, then click new style. A box will open and you will give the style a name such as regular book text, italic book text, etc. You may change the style type in the drop-down boxes below. For example, you may want body text to follow your chapter headings.
If you want your newly created style to be available next time you open a new document. You will need to add it to the template. While you have the window open, look at the bottom of the dialogue box, check the box for “add to template” and “automatically update”. This means that whenever you decide to change something to one section of text, Word will automatically change all sections of text which have been assigned that particular style. Don’t close the box yet. There’s more to do.
Now click on the format button on the left side of the dialogue box. Set your font and paragraph or any other feature you need such as tabs or bullet styles. Click ok to close.
Now highlight an area of text that you want to assign to the style you just created. On the toolbar just below “file” in the upper left side of your Word document there is a box next to the font type that you may have noticed and wondered what it is for. This box has a drop down menu from which to choose a style. In the list, find the style you just created and click on it. Close the box. The highlighted text will then be formatted to the style you just specified.
You can modify the style at any time by going to “format” on your toolbar at the top of your document screen. Select styles and formatting which will open another window. There is a list of all the styles you have available to choose from. Right click on the style you want to modify and use the regular toolbar to make the changes.
I’ll be teaching a class on the advanced features of Microsoft’s Word program, so be sure to check my blog for information on upcoming classes and events.
Yvonne Perry is a freelance writer and the owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services (WITS). She and her team of ghostwriters are ready to assist you with writing and editing for books, eBooks, Web text, business documents, resumes, bios, articles, and media releases. For more information about writing, networking, publishing, and book promotion, or to sign up for free email delivery of WITS newsletter, please visit http://www.writersinthesky.com New subscribers receive a free eBook Tips for Freelance Writing.