Using Microsoft Word for writing and editing a book

If you are looking to write a book for the first time, you must first decide which writing software you are going to use. There are a number of dedicated writing software out there, with options to offer help with organisation and even avoid distractions. But with the multitude of choice, it can be very easy to feel overwhelmed by it all.

If you’re a complete novice, you might want to start simple. Look no further than Microsoft Word. It has everything you need, and we have a selection of Word templates for you to use.  We’ve pulled together our reasons for using Microsoft Word for writing and editing a book so you can decide whether it might be the best option for you:

The benefits of Microsoft Word

Unlike other writing software, you most likely already have Microsoft Word on your computer. It’s a universal program, which has been around forever, so it is understood and easy to use, and is much more likely to be accepted across a multitude of platforms.

It has a range of formatting templates; such as the Microsoft Word novel template. These are ideal for beginners who want a bit more guidance for the best way to write a book.

Unlike other writing software it is relatively simple to use. There is no room for confusion with different tabs or add-ons for subsections such as plot structure notes or character profiles whilst you write. You can simply have one document for writing, and then either choose to have another document for notes or simply have them hand written.

Navigating in Microsoft Word

Writing and editing a book can be a daunting task, but there are ways to navigate through Microsoft Word to make it easier for you.

Chapter headings: Help to easily divide the book for ease of viewing. On Word’s Home page, there are some standard headings listed – so use these as your baseline. Edit them to find a style to suit you and use them to help split your novel up effectively. By making the title or number of each chapter a heading, you can easily move around the different chapters through the navigation pane box under the View menu.

Bookmarks: Work in a similar way to headings but can be used for anywhere in your document. For example, if you have a specific scene which you want to do more research on, or come back to, these are perfect to bookmark and jump back to at a later date. This can be done by going to Insert number and clicking on Bookmark. You can name your bookmarks and easily delete from the popup menu as and when needed.

Find and replace: is a great tool if you decide to change a name or a place throughout the book. Rather than wading back through all the text to make changes, you can simply press CTRL+F which brings up a simple search option to find words or phrases in your book. CTRL+H brings up every time it is used. And from the dialogue box you can search and replace words easily and efficiently.

Editing in Microsoft Word

There are loads of options for editing in Mircrosoft Word, such as comments, tracking changes, and comparing documents. Simply click on the Review menu to see which works best for you. Just remember to turn them all off before you convert your book into a PDF for printing.

Comments: Are ideal for adding notes where something might need to be reviewed at a later date for say fact checking or a better description.

Tracking changes: Is ideal for editors who you might be collaborating with. They can offer suggestions and you can either choose to accept or reject the changes made.

Grammar and spellcheck: Ensure you don’t have any errors in your document. They are particularly useful for checking you’ve used certain grammatical terms correctly. Although, sometimes, it might be useful to add these on after you’ve written a section or finished for the day. As the red and blue lines can sometimes stop the flow of writing if you feel you must correct them every time you see an error.

Formatting in Microsoft Word

There are certain ways to format a novel or short story, so make sure you are familiar with these before you start, as presenting a novel without the right formatting could result in an instant rejection before they’ve even read the book!

Don’t use spaces to indent paragraphs as this can prove difficult in the later stages of putting the book together. Use the ruler under the View menu instead or adjust your paragraph settings under the Home menu – half an inch is standard.

Leave one space after periods, not two – and if you need to check through your document to ensure you’ve only used one, use the grammar check feature to highlight where two spaces have been used.

Use the page break option when you start a new chapter to clearly break between sections. This can be found in the Insert menu.

Choose Print2Demand for your publication

Now you know the basics, it’s time to go and write your book. And once you’re happy with it, consider choosing Print2Demand to print your own book. 

We are an all round UK book manufacturing and printing service, printing books for publishers, self publishers and authors. We have a state of the art factory, complemented by our sales and marketing office in Westoning, Bedfordshire. We have invested in the very latest digital and litho printing technology, to integrate with a fully equipped craftsman bindery.  The conclusion of which means we are offering both softback and hardback books, to a very high standard of quality. 

Order your digital commercial book printing online or contact our team for more information.