Chapter Headings

Whatever style of book you're writing, you'll want to have chapter headings. That will allow print copy readers to easily keep track of where they are and go back to it when they take a break. For ebook readers, it will mean they can jump to the area they want without much hassle. Both styles of readers are going to expect chapter headings.

The first key is, in Word, to use the "Headings" style for every heading. This will make your life SO much easier when you go to generate tables of contents, automated table of contents for ebook versions, and manage the look and feel of those headings.

In Word, on the main "Home" tab, the styles are over to the right. Select the text that is your chapter heading - let's say it says "Chapter 1", and then click on the icon that says Heading 1 up in the top bar. That's it. That text is now associated with the category of Heading 1.

What if it doesn't have the look and feel you desire? That's easy to change. Not only that, but you can change your mind later on. You just change the settings for this style entry and voila, your entire document will update to your new choice.

So right click on Heading 1, the icon in the top row, and then choose Modify.

First, set your font shape and size. Those are the first two basics. I like Cambria 26, but what you choose is up to you.

Next, you can have space automatically added above the chapter heading. This helps provide more of a visual clue that a new chapter is beginning. Many books do this. Go into Format - Paragraph. I set the "spacing before" value to 54 points. This gives me a nice amount of space before it says Chapter 1.

In this same Paragraph area, on the Line and Page Breaks tab, I tell it to add a page break before. That way the new chapters always start on their own page.

One last thing I like to do is go into Format - Border. I click on the lower edge of the sample box on the right hand side. This adds a thin line beneath the words "Chapter 1". I like the effect of that line.

When you save you're all set! Now every chapter title you tag with the Heading 1 category is going to have the same look and feel. It also makes all of your other tasks much easier. It also means, in Word, that you can turn on the Navigation window and easily hop around within your own document as you work on it.

Important Note on Section Breaks
Sometimes writers try to use "section breaks" to force the next page to be odd or even. They want the right hand page to have the beginning of the next chapter. While using a section break will get the PAGE NUMBER to be correct, it won't insert the blank page so that the PDF file has the proper number of pages. This will therefore screw up both the ebook and the real paper book printing / display. Just put in an actual blank page where you need to, in order to get your chapter titles to be on the right hand page.

If you're in this fix and already have section breaks, here is how to remove them. Go into find, and advance find. Use "more" then "special" and section break. You can now track them down and remove them. The only section break I would have is immediately after the first "Chapter 1" title, so that page numbers start after that point.

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