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Advanced eBook Formatting for Kindle

This post is part of a series called Profiting with Business eBooks.
How to Plan an eBook Series

Formatting an ebook for the Amazon Kindle is simple - when you know how. In my previous Kindle formatting tutorial I showed you the basics of formatting an ebook, including headings, fonts, paragraph indents and line spacing.

In this tutorial, I'll cover some more advanced formatting options, including adding a Table of Contents and inserting images.

Top tip: If you've got access to a copy of Scrivener, use it! It makes formatting ebooks a breeze.

Tutorial Assets

To complete this tutorial, you will need:

  • Microsoft Word (2003 or higher)
  • an internet connection
  • an Amazon account
  • a web browser
  • an ebook formatted according to this tutorial
  • electronic copies of any images you want to include in your ebook

1. Add a Table of Contents

Especially for nonfiction ebooks, adding a Table of Contents at the beginning of your book gives it a professional touch. Having a table of contents also helps your readers navigate through your ebook on the Kindle.

Step 1: Check that All Your Headings are Present and Correct

Microsoft Word creates a Table of Contents based on the headings in your document.

You can choose whether to include only chapter headings, or whether to also include subheadings. I'll explain how you do that in a moment, but for now simply check whether all your headings are the right type and in the right place.

In particular, your chapter headings should be formatted with the style Heading 1.

Step 2: Decide Where to Place Your Table of Contents

Typically, the Table of Contents is placed before the Introduction.

Create a blank page for your Table of Contents, making sure there is a page break both before and after the page. Page breaks can be inserted by pressing CTRL+Enter.

Give your contents page a title. I suggest "Contents". Make sure the title is formatted with the style Heading 1.

Place the cursor where you'd like your Table of Contents to appear, and make sure the style is set to Normal, as here:

Image 1

Step 3: Insert the Table of Contents

In the main menu, go to Insert > Field, as here:

Image 2

From the menu that comes up, scroll down the list on the right and click TOC. Then click the button Table of Contents to set the advanced options, as here:

Image 3

Step 4: Customize Your Menu

You'll be taken to an options menu that looks like this:

Image 4

Here, you get to choose what appears (and doesn't appear) in your Table of Contents.

Most important is to deselect the option Show page numbers, as page numbers are irrelevant on the Kindle. Additionally, you should select the option Use hyperlinks instead of page numbers, as this will allow your readers to click through to the chapter they want to read.

Leave Formats as From Template.

This is also where you decide which headings to include in your Table of Contents. You do this in the Show Levels section.

  • To show only chapter titles in your contents, select "1" under show levels.
  • To show chapter titles and section headings in your contents, select "2".
  • To show chapter titles, section headings and subheadings, select "3".

In other words, selecting "1" will only show headings formatted to the style Heading 1. Selecting "2" will show headings formatted to the styles Heading 1 and Heading 2. Selecting "3" will further add headings formatted Heading 3 into your table of contents.

I prefer to only include chapter titles in my table of contents, as it keeps it neat and concise. However, what you choose to include depends on the type of book you've written, and how you've organized your headings throughout your book.

Here is the menu set to my preferred options:

Image 5

Finally, click OK.

Step 5: Proofread Your Table of Contents

A table of contents will have appeared in your book, and it should look something like this:

Image 6

Read through your table of contents to check everything is as it should be. You can manually edit everything in the Table of Contents. For example, I'd prefer the title "Contents" wasn't in my table of contents, so I can manually delete this.

You can also check the hyperlinks are working correctly by using CTRL+click on the chapter titles.

Step 6: Export to Kindle

You're now ready to publish your book! You can do this following Part 3 of my previous Kindle formatting tutorial.

2. Add Images to Your eBook

With more and more people reading on full color devices, from the Kindle Fire to the iPad to their smartphone, ebooks will increasingly become multimedia. Images will play an important role in that.

That said, you shouldn't feel obliged to include images in your ebook. Only include them if they add value to what you're saying. Millions of people still read on greyscale e-ink devices, and images are often disappointing on these. What's more, Amazon charges you for "delivery costs" whenever someone buys your ebook. Delivery costs are related to the file size of your ebook, so including images in your book can drastically increase costs. Though in all likelihood it will only be pennies for each book purchased, this can create a big dent in your profit margins, especially if you're selling your book below $2.99.

Here's how to add images to your ebook.

Step 1: Make Sure You Have the Correct Format

The Kindle displays images in JPG, PNG, GIF and BMP formats. If your image is in a different format, you will need to convert it.

Step 2: Resize the Image

Amazon only allows images under 127kb to be included in Kindle ebooks.

To make your image a suitable size, you'll probably have to resize it. I do this using the free photo editing suite, GIMP.

Open your image in GIMP, then in the main menu go to Image > Scale Image.

Typically, an image of around 400x300 pixels in JPG format will be small enough for the Kindle. My image of the camera I'm using for this tutorial is 500x366, and is 85kb.

Step 3: Insert the Image into Your eBook

Place the cursor in your ebook where you'd like the image to appear, and go to Insert > Picture > From File, as here:

Image 7

Find the image you want on your computer, and click Insert.

The image will appear in your ebook, as here:

Image 8

Step 4: Format Your Image

Typically, the formatting Microsoft Word applies by default is fine.

However, if you want to make double-sure, click on your image and align it to the center. Then double-click the image, which takes you to the Format Picture menu, and click the Layout tab, as here:

Image 9

Make sure the Wrapping Style is set to In line with text.

Step 5: Save as Filtered HTML

Once you've inserted all your images, you're ready to save your manuscript to a format Amazon can convert into an ebook. For manuscripts with images, this is slightly more complicated than those without.

However, the process begins in the same way.

In the main menu, go to File > Save As. Under Save as Type select Web Page, Filtered, as here:

Image 10

You’ll be asked to confirm, and you’ll be told that your document will lose some formatting. Click Yes. Take a note of where you saved your file, as we're going there next.

Step 6: Convert to Zip File

When you save your manuscript to filtered HTML, it's automatically divided up into a HTML document and a folder of images.

You need to combine these into a single ZIP file, which isn't as scary as it sounds. You can use WinZip or the software that's built into Windows, but I use the free and open source software 7zip.

Head over to the folder where you saved your ebook. You'll find your book saved as bookname.htm and the images saved in a folder called bookname_files. Select both of these using CTRL+click.

Then right-click one of the files and click Send To > Compressed (zipped) Folder. This will create a ZIP file of your ebook manuscript which you can upload to Amazon KDP.

Step 7: Upload to Amazon KDP

Finally, upload your zip file to Amazon's KDP Dashboard. You can do this by following Part 3 of my previous tutorial on basic Kindle ebook formatting.

Job Done!

Now you've added your table of contents and images, your book is ready to be published to Amazon. Good job!


Graphic Credit: Iconochki Set by Brave475 Vector Icons by talrevivo.

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