If you’re writing a book, you know how hard it is to find your place sometimes, scrolling up and down through the document, squinting at text, trying to find a chapter head, a subtitle, or the phrase that your looking for. If you’ve applied Microsoft Word Styles to your chapter headings and subheadings, you can use the sidebar pane to navigate easily through your document. Display these headings in the sidebar of your Word document by clicking View > Sidebar > Document Map Pane. Go ahead and try it yourself.
You’ll note that the style applied to the “Publisher Name” section is “Heading 1.” See it up in the top left-hand corner. Because I applied that style (and many others), I can display the contents of my book easily. (I can also generate an automatic table of contents that updates whenever I make changes to my book.)
I can scroll up and down the sidebar and click to the section I want to edit. This example is from my Self-Publishing Boot Camp Guide for Authors which, like many nonfiction books, is divided into many subheadings.
Is this feature as useful to fiction and creative nonfiction authors? Yes, I think that it would be very useful to create titles and subtitles for scenes and sections of your novel or memoir, and then delete them later.
Another benefit to using Styles is that you are ready to publish your print book and ebook immediately, without hiring a formatter. One of my favorite ways to publish is with Joel Friedlander’s book design templates, a friend and affiliate. He’s got templates for fiction and nonfiction books, including reference and technical, and even children’s book templates, all for under $60. Choose the style you want and modify it to make it your own. My favorite are the 2WAY templates that create a beautiful print book ready to upload to CreateSpace or IngramSpark, plus ebook versions you can upload to Smashwords, Amazon KDP, Gumroad, or to sell from your own website.
Save yourself some time and money and learn how to use Microsoft Word Styles. By the way, Styles are not unique to Word. You’ll find them in OpenOffice, Google Docs, LibreOffice, NeoOffice, Draft, Scrivener, and many other writing tools. I urge you to learn this basic tool of the trade. Styles have so many benefits, you really can’t afford not to.
I’ll be writing more about Microsoft Word Styles in my first post for BookWorks on Tuesday, July 28. Check it out!
More on Styles
What every Author Needs to Know About Microsoft Word Styles by Carla King, free on BookWorks July 28, 2015
Style Basics in Word, Microsoft site