Formatting your novel in word

How to tame your novel in Word

Using the Styles Ribbon in Word

I’ve recently discovered some very handy features in the Word programme which make rearranging and navigating to chapters a doddle without endless scrolling or cutting and pasting. 

These functions are arranged under the Styles Ribbon

Setting up and formatting consistent chapter titles 

In Word 365, under Home ribbon, select Styles, then select a style called Heading.

Right click this option. If you wish you can rename this to chapters so it makes sense to you. 

Next, right-click Modify Style and you will see the settings for font size, point size, bold, line spacing on this menu. Change these to suit you.  Once you apply these style settings to your chapter titles they will be consistent throughout your manuscript, giving a professional appearance. 

You can choose to start the chapter on a new page with a page break before so that you do not have to add in return breaks or delete them.  

Further options are available under a button called Format on this page.  

Once you are happy with your settings save them and add, Add to Styles gallery and choose either 

Only in this document or New documents based on this template, depending on whether you want these chapter headings to be available to word documents for other projects. 

Creating consistent chapter titles 

Once the formatting is set up for your chapters you can start to apply it to your manuscript. 

Find your chapter headings, highlight them and click on the word heading in the styles button and it will apply the settings to the chapter headings you select. Work through your manuscript so that all your chapter headings will be consistent. If you click on a small arrow on the Styles ribbon, a small floating box appears on the document which has the same function. 

Navigating through your novel, finding chapters, and moving chapters

Once all your chapters have been had the Styles button headings assigned to them, this creates an outline of your novel in word, accessed on the navigation pane.

Open the navigation pane, by pressing Control +F or View > Navigation Pane, or in search type, ‘navigation pane.’

In the navigation pane there are three headings. Headings, Pages or Results. 

Click on Headings to see a list of your chapter titles. You can now easily manipulate your chapters. 

Pages shows a graphic representation of how many pages are in each chapter. Results shows anything you are searching for. 

Move to the start of a chapter instantly

In the navigation pane > Headings > Double click on the chapter title. The cursor will move you to the start of that chapter instantly.  

Change the position of your chapter in your novel 

In the navigation pane select > Chapter Title you want to move > Double click and drag the chapter title with your mouse to a different position on the navigation pane. The text will follow.