Book Building in Word 2007

Pulling Word 2007 files together into a Word 2007 book structure and then doing all the necessary things to create a real book is daunting. But here goes . . .

Create a Master Document

A master document is any ordinary Word document—it's not a special template or any such thing. It's what you do to it that makes the difference.

Nice procedures for these topics can be found at Creating a Master Document in Word 2007 and at Inserting a Subdocument into a Master Document in Word 2007. And this page answers its question How can I best use the Master Document feature? with "Don't use it." Here's Microsoft's take on master documents and subdocuments.

To create a master document:

  1. First, create a folder in which you place all of the files for your book, including the master document.
  2. Start a new Word document, using whichever template you prefer. Name this document something like book.docx.
  3. If you are playing along at home, download these documents into same folder:

  4. In your master document, click the Outline icon (fourth from the left).

If you've done everything to this point, let's hope your screen looks like this:

Add Subdocuments

Subdocuments are like the chapters, sections, documents contained within your book. When you add them to your master document, they are linked in, not copied directly in. To add subdocuments:

  1. To begin, click Show Document, which you can see in the screen capture above. Word will change to this:

  2. To see everything that's going on, click the paragraph icon (in the Home tab):
  3. Click Insert to insert your first subdocument into this master document. If you insert headings2.doc, things will look similar to this:

    Experiment with Show Document and Collapse Subdocuments to see what they do.
  4. To ensure that each subsequent chapter begins on a new page, add a page break where you see the cursor in the following screen capture (true, it seems wrong, but it turns out okay):

    Here's what the results look like:

  5. Now, add the other two files as subdocuments to this master document, always remembering to put a new page break before each new subdocument you add. With some luck, your completed master document should look like this (in collapsed view):

Fix Formatting

If you are like most of us, the formatting of your book will be messed up. Here are some ways to fix:

  1. Turn off the paragraph symbols, click Print Layout, and see how things look. You may notice some extra spacing above chapter titles or blank pages. Just delete those. However, my book still has problems—hanging indents on ordinary paragraphs and lack of bullet symbols on bulleted-list items:

  2. To fix the hanging-indent problem, place your cursor on one of the paragraphs, click Paragraph and change Left to 0 and Special to (none). To ensure these setting stay usable, click the southeastern pointing on the Paragraph tab, click the New Style icon, and name your new style with your initials and an identifier (for example, mine is called dmz_paragraph0 to indicate it's mine and left margin is zero). Apply this style to all your regular paragraphs.
  3. To fix the lack of a bullet on a bulleted-list item, put your cursor on one of the bulleted-list items, click the bullet icon (in the Home tab). If you have a left margin of zero on your paragraph, the resulting default one-inch indent on your bulleted items will be too deep. I prefer zero indent (Left) but keep the 0.25 hanging indent (under Special). As with the paragraph problem, name this style; I named mine dmz_bullet1 (to indicate a level 1 bullet).
  4. To add page numbers that alternate (left edge for even page numbers, right edge for odd page numbers), first, click the Page Layout tab, then the southeast-pointing arrow in Page Setup, then click the checkbox for Different odd and even, and select Whole document for Apply to.

    Move your cursor to an odd-numbered page, click Insert Home tab) and then Page Number and then select a page-number format that has the page number on the left edge. Move to an even-numbered page, and select a page-number format that has the page number on the right edge.
  5. To add text to your footers (the following is just one standard format), position your cursor in front of a page number on an odd-numbered page, add a single space, enter an em dash and another space, and then type your footer text (typically, the chapter title). Next, position your cursor after a page number on an even-numbered page, add a single space, enter an em dash and another space, and then type your footer text (typically, the book title). Your results might look something like this forshortened, collapsed image:

    To change to top and bottom margins, double-click within the footer area, and in the Design tab experiment with Footer from Bottom. To change left and right margins, click Paragraph and change the values for Before and After as normal.


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