How to Format a Book in Google Docs: A Step-by-Step Guide

Formatting a book in Google Docs can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! With a few simple steps, you’ll have your manuscript looking professional and ready for publishing. This quick guide will walk you through the process of setting up your page, styling your text, and adding those important final touches.

Step by Step Tutorial: Formatting a Book in Google Docs

Before we dive into the steps, know that following these instructions will help you create a clean, organized document that meets the standards for most publishing platforms.

Step 1: Set Your Page Size and Margins

Adjust your document’s page size and margins to match the requirements of your publishing platform.

Setting the correct page size and margins is crucial as it affects the overall layout of your book. Most novels use a 6"x9" page size, but check with your publisher for their specific requirements. To adjust this in Google Docs, go to File > Page Setup. Here, you can also set your margins, which typically range from 0.5" to 1".

Step 2: Choose a Readable Font and Size

Select a font and font size that ensures your text is easily readable.

The industry standard for book fonts is either Times New Roman or Garamond at 12-point size, but feel free to choose a different font that suits the style of your book. You can change the font by highlighting your text and selecting your desired font and size from the toolbar at the top of the page.

Step 3: Style Your Headings

Apply heading styles to your chapter titles for easy navigation and a professional look.

Using heading styles not only makes your document look good but also helps when creating a table of contents. You can find the heading styles in the toolbar under the Styles dropdown menu. Customize these to fit the theme of your book.

Step 4: Insert Page Numbers

Page numbers are a must in any book; insert them in the header or footer of your document.

Go to Insert > Header & Page Number > Page Number to add page numbers to your document. You can choose the position and style that best fits your book’s layout.

Step 5: Add a Table of Contents

A table of contents is essential for a professional-looking book; create one using Google Docs’ built-in feature.

After styling your headings, click where you want your table of contents to be, then go to Insert > Table of contents. Choose the style you prefer, and Google Docs will automatically generate it based on your heading styles.

After completing these steps, your book will be formatted with a professional appearance, ready to be shared with readers or sent to a publisher.

Tips for Formatting a Book in Google Docs

  • Tip 1: Always backup your work. Google Docs autosaves, but it’s a good practice to keep a separate copy just in case.
  • Tip 2: Use the "Show Ruler" feature to adjust margins and indents visually.
  • Tip 3: Consider using section breaks for different parts of your book for better organization.
  • Tip 4: Make use of Google Docs’ "Explore" feature to find images or research without leaving your doc.
  • Tip 5: Regularly check your formatting in "Print Layout" view to see how your book will look when printed.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I ensure my book’s formatting will look good when printed?

The best way to ensure your book’s formatting will look good when printed is to use the "Print Layout" view in Google Docs and also to print a test page if possible.

Can I create both digital and print versions of my book in Google Docs?

Yes, you can create both digital and print versions of your book in Google Docs, but be aware of the different formatting requirements for each platform.

What is the best font and size to use for my book?

While Times New Roman or Garamond at 12-point size is standard, choose a font and size that’s readable and fits the style of your book.

How do I add images to my book in Google Docs?

Add images by clicking Insert > Image and then choose how you’d like to upload your picture.

Can I collaborate with others on my book in Google Docs?

Absolutely! Share your document with editors or co-authors by clicking the "Share" button and inviting them to edit.


  1. Set your page size and margins
  2. Choose a readable font and size
  3. Style your headings
  4. Insert page numbers
  5. Add a table of contents


There you have it, folks – a straightforward, no-fuss guide to formatting a book in Google Docs. By following the steps outlined above, you can transform your manuscript into a polished, professional-looking document ready for the eyes of eager readers and meticulous publishers alike. Remember, the key to a well-formatted book is attention to detail. Take the time to choose the right font, define your headings, number your pages, and create a comprehensive table of contents. With these tips and tricks under your belt, you’re well on your way to making your literary mark on the world.

And don’t forget, if you hit a snag or feel overwhelmed, Google Docs is renowned for its collaborative features. Enlist the help of a friend, editor, or fellow writer to get a second pair of eyes on your work. After all, writing may be a solitary act, but preparing a book for publication is a team effort. Now, go on and give life to those pages – your story deserves to be told, and now you know exactly how to format a book in Google Docs to share it with the world.