4. Format chapter titles, subtitles, and section titles

In this step, youll style the titles in your manuscript as headings. This is the most important step of formatting! Headings help our conversion tool recognize and design your book’s part titles, chapter titles, subtitles, subheadings, and so on.

We also use the headings in your manuscript to create your book’s Table of Contents. Retailers require a well-formatted Table of Contents, plus, this makes for a much better experience for your readers.

There are four heading styles. Here’s how they might look in your .docx file:


These headings will look different in your converted book. Heres how they might appear (using the layout Shelley):


And heres how they might look in your books Table of Contents (using the layout Lamott):


We recommend styling chapter titles as Heading 1 and subtitles as Heading 2, 3, or 4(Or, if your book is divided into parts, we recommend styling part titles as Heading 1, chapter titles as Heading 2, and subtitles as Heading 3 or 4.) However, its completely up to you, and you can always edit/re-convert your manuscript, so feel free to experiment.

Please note that in order for the headers to be added to the Table of Contents, you must have a higher level header above it. (For example, Header 2 won't show up in the Table of Contents unless there’s a Header 1 somewhere else before it in the chapter.) 

How to apply the heading style in Microsoft Word:

  1. Highlight your part title, chapter title, or subtitle.
  2. Go to the Styles panel at the top of the screen.
  3. Click on Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, or Heading 4. The look of your title will change slightly. (This styling will not be maintained in your converted book.)


Heading tips:

  • If your book doesnt have chapters or parts, we recommend adding an Acknowledgments page before the book starts, a heading of your book title before your first paragraph, and an About the Author page after the book ends. Then itll appear that you have three “chapters.”

  • Make sure your chapter titles are not formatted as lists (Microsoft Word sometimes does this automatically).

  • Make sure there’s only one line of Heading 1 text per chapter in your book. If your book has back to back lines of chapter title text (like “1.” on one line and “The First Chapter” on a new line), we suggest styling the second line as Heading 2 rather than Heading 1.

  • Press ENTER (not SHIFT + ENTER) to insert a hard line break after your chapter title. Otherwise, dont worry about spacing. To check that you used hard line breaks, you can turn on non-printing characters in Microsoft Word. Hard line breaks are represented by little pilcrows, and soft line breaks are represented by little arrows.

  • To check if your titles are formatted as headings, you can use the Styles Inspector or Styles Guides.

<< Step 3: Insert page breaks   |   Step 5: Format scene breaks and line breaks >>
Overview of all steps