Publishing a book from Microsoft Word to Kindle?

If you’re thinking of Publishing a book from Microsoft Word to Kindle, careful formatting is essential for a polished product. The Kindle format is based on HTML, which Word offers has a save format for all documents. Word’s filtered web page format removes any proprietary HTML tags from the Word file that could cause a problem on the Kindle. All Kindle works also require a table of contents with hyperlinks to the different chapters or sections. Word helps you generate this easily through the use of heading styles and bookmarks.

Fix Text Formatting

Step 1Open the Word document you want to format for a Kindle.

Step 2Check for headers and footers in the document, including page numbers. If you find any, they must be deleted. To remove a header or footer, double-click that area of the document to open the header or footer editing window. Select the information and press the “Delete” key. 

Step 3Click the “Close” button on the Header and Footer Tools tab to exit the header/footer area and return to your document. 

Step 4Remove any tabs or spaces used to indent paragraphs. To locate them in your document click the “Replace” button on the Editing panel of the Home tab. Enter “^t” in the “Find What” box to search for tabs, or enter the number of spaces you used for your indents to search for those. Leave the “Replace With” field blank and Word will delete the found item instead of replacing it with something else. 

Step 5Click “Replace All” to process your entire document quickly. 

Step 6Indent paragraphs using the Paragraph dialog box instead of tabs or spaces. Select the paragraphs that need indenting, then click the bottom right corner of the Paragraph panel on the Home tab to access the settings dialog box. Select “First Line” from the Special drop-down box and enter “.5” for the value in the “By” field. 

Step 7Add extra space between your paragraphs for better readability. With the Paragraph dialog box still open, enter “10pt” into the “After” box under the Spacing category. This adds approximately one line of extra space between each paragraph. Click “OK” to exit. 

Step 8Verify that you have manual page breaks between each chapter or major section of your document. Click the “Show/Hide Marks” button on the Home tab that looks like a backwards “P” to view invisible page breaks. They appear as dark dotted lines across the page with a label in the middle that says “Page Break.” 

Step 9Use the “Page Break” button on the Insert tab if you need to add additional page breaks to your document. 

Create a Table of Contents and Convert to HTML

Step 1Prepare your document for an auto-generated table of contents. Highlight a chapter heading and select “Heading 1” from the Styles panel on the Home tab. Repeat for all the chapter headings in your document. If you have subheadings in the document you want included in the table of contents, change their style to “Heading 2.”

Step 2Navigate to the top of your document and type “Table of Contents” followed by a line break. 

Step 3Click the “Table of Contents” button on the References tab and select “Insert Table of Contents…” from the drop-down menu. 

Step 4Uncheck the box “Show Page Numbers.” Kindle doesn’t use them in its table of contents. 

Step 5Change the “Show Levels” value to “1” if you only have “Heading 1” styles in your document or “2” if you have subheadings as well. 

Step 6Click “OK” to create the table of contents automatically. Word places it where your cursor last was, which should be the line after your Table of Contents title. 

Step 7Click before the words “Table of Contents” and select “Bookmark” from the Insert tab. Enter “toc” for the bookmark name. Click the “Add” button to save the changes. This creates a jump-to link in the finished Kindle product to bring readers back to the table of contents when needed. 

Step 8Select “Save As” from the File tab. Choose “Web Page, Filtered” from the list of file formats. Click the “Save” button to save this document in HTML format. Click “Yes” when Word warns you that filtered format will remove any Microsoft-specific tags from the HTML. You now have a .HTM file to upload at for Kindle users. 


  • MS Word’s heading styles include font, type size and color specifications that may not match the design you had in mind for your publication. If you wish to change a heading style, right-click the button for it on the Home tab, select “Modify” from the pop-up menu, make changes to the font, color, size in the dialog box, and then click to check the box next to “Automatically Update.” Click the “OK” button to apply the changes you just made to all the headings in your document that are designated that style.
  • After you add the table of contents, insert a page break below the table to start a new page for the book’s front matter. Front matter includes your title page, copyright notice, dedication and any disclaimers you wish to add.


  • Do not put your book cover in the Word document. The Kindle upload process will ask for the cover as a separate file and join it with the content from your Word document automatically.
  • Always preview your work in your Kindle Publishing Direct account to check for any formatting problems before you publish it to the site.

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