Kindle Tips: Create a Kindle Template, Body Style

In this lesson, we will create the Style that we will use for most of our Kindle book.

We could start from scratch and decide each detail, but it will be easier if we start with one of the Styles that MS Word has already provided for us... Body Style... and modify it to suit ourselves.

Just as you did before, display the [Apply Styles] box.

There are several ways to display the  [Apply Styles] box, some depending on the version of MS Word you are using.

You may have to look around in your Menus... In some Word versions it is under Format | Styles & Formatting.

One of the easiest is... when you are in Draft or Outline View... issue SHIFT-CTRL-S.

The [Apply Styles] Box appears:

Type in "Body Text", then click the [Modify] button.

The [Modify Style] box appears:

You will quickly see that Body Style is pretty much like Normal Style... that's because it is based on Normal Style.

But... unlike Normal Style, Body Text Style stands alone, so we can modify it without causing any change to any other style.

Let's look at each selection to see if this is how we want our text displayed in our Kindle books.

Now, just as we did with Normal Style, let's look at this box to see how Body Style will format our text.

The big window shows how our text will appear in our document, and the text above and below the big window tells us the details.

Remember, it is based on Normal Style, so many of the options are now the same as Normal Style.

We can either leave them as is, or "Modify" to suit our own need, which is to create a nicely formatted Kindle ebook.

To Modify this Style, click the [Format] button at the bottom left to display the drop-down selection box shown below:

Choose the second item on the list... Paragraph, so we can change anything we want to change about the paragraph style.

Ok, now we are ready to go to work.

When you get this box right, you will eliminate about 90 percent of the indent problems that plague Kindle ebook writers.

Let's start with [Indents and Spacing]. (tiny letters on the tab, just under the title word [Paragraph])

In the little selection window titled [Alignment], we see that paragraphs with this Style will be "Left" aligned, which is what we want for our general text.

The next selection window shows that the Outline Level for this Style is "Body Text"... that's good, because we sure don't want all these paragraphs to appear in the TOC.

Next is the "Indentation" group.

Selection boxes under "Indentation" show no Indentation ("0 px"... zero pixels) from the left or the right.

That's what we want for our general body text.  If we want indented paragraphs, we will create a different Style to format them.

Now, look at the little selection box to the right:

It's  titled "Special", and it's blank in our example.

As unimportant as it looks... that is a real biggie!

If you leave it blank, Kindle will impose its infamous default first line indent.

We can leave it that way, but it's better I think, to take control, and set your own indents.

So, press the tiny arrow at the end of the box and choose:

First Line

Then, in the selection window, type in the Indent you want in pixels.
I'd recommend 25 pixels, to start.  So type "25 px".

If you decide later that you want a larger or smaller first line indent, you can always come back here to change it.

And remember... this is the only place you will have to change it.

One change here -- if you have applied this Style to your entire file -- will change all your body text indents in your whole document... even if you have thousands.

The next group (tiny blue letters) is [Spacing].

This shows us that paragraphs styled with this "Body Text" will have no space above (0 px before) and a fair amount of space (14 px after) below each paragraph.

You may want to come back here later, to change that spacing. That is a matter of personal preference... and depends what you need for a particular publication.

Next (to the right) is [Line Spacing].

The Kindle ignores this setting, so leave it alone or set it to the spacing you want in  your manuscript.  If you are preparing a manuscript to send to an agent, for example, you might want to set "Line Spacing" to "Double".

Now, look back at the top for the tab [Line and Page Breaks].

We will set some of these options for other Styles, but for Body Style, ignore all but the first, [Widow/Orphan Control].

Kindle may not honor what we choose there, but at least we will have pages correct in our manuscript.

You will observe that there are other options I haven't mentioned, on this, the [Lines and Page Breaks] tab, and as well as on the other tab, the [Indents and Spacing] tab:

We will use some of those other options for other Styles, but just ignore them for now.

Next we will look at how to format our Chapter Titles or Headings for our Kindle format eBook.

Format Chapter Titles or Headings


  1. Hey there CJ...thanks for all your hard work. As someone who has done a ton of production, I sure appreciate it. Would you be willing to share your "why" for having a Normal style and a Body Text style?

  2. Hi MamaRed,

    The reason for having both a Normal Style and a Body Text Style...

    MS Word's built-in Normal Style is the "parent" of all other Styles.

    If you make a change to Normal Style, that change will be made to all other Styles... change it to italics, for example, your entire file will be changed to italics... add a first line indent, and all other styles, even Headings will now have a first line indent.

    On the other hand, Body Text stands alone... make any change you want, and it does not affect any other Style.

    All this is explained in more detail in articles that can be found by entering keywords into the Search Box under the Birds on a Tight-Rope photo.

  3. Your blog is invaluable. Thank you so much for dedicating yourself to helping out fellow writers!