Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How to create an awesome eBook Template using Word or Apple Pages

Today I received some requests about The Woork Handbook template I published yesterday. Some readers asked to me to distribute that template for their eBooks. So in this post I want to illustrate some guidelines to create an awesome eBook template, quickly and in few steps.

I prepared the template which you can download (for Apple Pages and Microsoft Word) and reuse it for your eBooks (I used Apple pages to write the eBook!).

Download Apple Pages template Download Microsoft Word template

eBook Format
You can print the eBook on A4 format page (2 pages for each facade). This is the screenshot:

Document structure
The document is divided in sections. Each section is a chapter. Use "section break" to separate each chapter in this way:

Adding a section break:

- Apple Pages: Insert > Section Break
- Microsoft Word: Insert > Break > Section break (next page)

Page header
This is a not necessary element but i like have a short description in the header of the my pages. It's a simple text on top of your page with above a line which separete the header from the rest of the page:

In general "page header" isn't placed on the first page of the chapter:

- Apple Pages: select layout button on the inspector and flag the option: First Page is different.

- Microsoft Word: double click on the page header and select different first page from the header/footer toolbar.

Chapter structure using document styles
When you work with a text document (using Word, Apple Pages, OpenOffice...), a very good practice is to define your custom styles for the elements of your pages. In this way, every time you decide to modify the look of an element (for example "chapter title"), it will be update automatically in all elements of your document which use that style. For example take a look at the following picture which represents a generic chapter structure:

We have the following elements with related styles:

Chapter title -> Heading 1
Article title -> Heading 2
Paragraph header -> Sub header paragraph
Normal text -> Body
Code box -> Code
Footnotes -> Notes
Article footer -> Small header + small body

You can define your custom style in this way:

- Apple Pages: View > Show Style Draver and then selecting a style and modifying style properties, or creating a new style.
- Microsoft Word: Format > Style and then selecting a style and modifying style properties, or creating a new style.

Note: I used Qlassik font for the title of chapters and articles. You can download it here. In this version of template I used Arial in case you don't have Qlassik font.

Table of contents
Adding a TOC it's very simple:

- Apple Pages: Insert > Table of content.
- Microsoft Word: Insert > Document element > Table of content

Your TOC will be updated automatically every time you add a new content in your document but (this is really important!) you have to use style elements created for the chapter title and article title (Heading 1 and Heading 2).

It's all! I hope this template can help you to prepare quickly your eBook.

Every suggestion is appreciated :)

Note: I used Apple Pages to create my eBook, and I simply converted Pages template for Word. I experienced there are some litte problems with formatting which you convert a document in Word from Apple Pages... tell me if you have them!

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