The template you create for a book contains all the formatting of that publication from typeface to layout of sections. In effect, the template is the skeleton on which you position your text and illustrations. POD services such as CreateSpace provide templates for your chosen trim size, which to the first time author can seem to be a solution to many problems and indeed provides a perfectly adequate structure on which to create your book.

CreateSpace offers two types of template for each trim size. The simplest contains formatting to control page layout including paper size and margins and font type and size. You simply copy and paste your manuscript into this but then have to create your own front matter, headers/footers and divide the work into sections.

The more complex template - equally easy to use - is in effect a mini-book including page layout and font formatting but also with several sections including front matter and the body of the text. This enables those who are less confident with word processing to simply copy and paste the sections of their book into the layout as presented in the template.

CreateSpace templates and those of other POD services are obviously tempting but create a book that when published will look like many others that have travelled the same publishing path. Your hard work will not stand out from the crowd - and that is something that you really should wish to achieve. So, create your own template - it is not difficult.

Creating a Template

Before you open Word and begin the task of creating a template, you need to first design it on paper. That is to say you need to at the very least have decided on the trim/paper size, page orientation, margins including gutter, distance of header/footer from page edge, vertical alignment and typeface.

Using British Isles Climate & Weather, which has quite a complex structure we will work through how its initial template was created. This works for the bulk of the book but had to be varied for various parts of the front matter and end matter.

The initial planning stage would be something like:

  1. Decide on trim size. I chose 8 x 10” which is fairly typical for a non-fiction book. The trim size is such a vital component of the publishing process that you really cannot change it once you have started to format the rest of the book so be quite sure from the outset that you are happy with your choice.
  2. Decide on chapter headings.
  3. Map out the front matter because that will require several different sections.
  4. Decide on header and/or footer text.
  5. Decide where to place page numbers.
  6. Decide on width of margins including gutter, page orientation, margins including gutter, distance of header/footer from page edge, vertical alignment and typeface.

NB CreateSpace and other POD services work in imperial units (ie inches) so you will probably have to become accustomed to moving between that and metric sizes.

Step One Make folder for your Word templates


File → Open → Microsoft Word → Templates → right click → New → Folder   

or simply click on Templates and then right click underneath the open Templates folder


(in this Templates example New Folder has been named snowgoosebooks)     


 That is where you will save your publishing templates and where you will subsequently find them. You can also open a template by

File → New → My Templates → snowgoose


Step 2

Create the Template

  1. Open blank document
  2. Page layout → Page Setup → Paper tab → Paper Size → select Custom Size
  3. Input: Width: 8” or 20.32 cm   Height: 10” or 25.40 cm
  4. Paper source - normally Default Tray
  5. Apply to: Whole document


Next you set the margins of the template:

  1. Page layout → Page Setup → Margins tab →
  2. Set the margins as follows: Top: 0.75” (1.9cm) Bottom: 0.75” (1.9 cm) Left: 0.75” (1.9cm) Right: 0.75” (1.9cm)   Gutter: 0.13” (0.33) cm   Gutter position: left.
  3. Orientation: Portrait
  4. Pages/Multiple Pages: Mirror margins (Note that selecting mirror margins automatically changes Left margin to Inside margin and Right margin to outside margin and the gutter position is no longer changeable.
  5. Apply to: Whole document and click  Ok

Next, the Layout tab:

  1. Page layout → Page Setup → Layout tab →
  2. Sections start: Odd page
  3. Headers and footers: select both Different odd and even & Different first page
  4. From edge: Header: 0.35” (0.89 cm) Footer: 0.35” (0.89 cm)
  5. Page / Vertical alignment: Top
  6. Preview/Apply to: Whole document


Now open the Home tab on the ribbon:

  1. Home → Font
  2. Select Font: Garamond Font style: Regular Size: 12



Finally, format the paragraph style:

  1. Home → Paragraph
  2. Indents and Spacing / Alignment: Justified
  3. Outline level: Body text
  4. Line spacing: Single
  5. everything else leave zero or blank


Line and Page breaks tab:

  1. Select: Widow/Orphan control   Keep with next   Keep lines together