How to Format Your Book With Atticus

Once you’ve written your book, you will need to add certain formatting to make it a fully functional book. Atticus makes this easy.

In fact, if you’re writing your book in Atticus, you can add the formatting as you work, speeding up the entire publishing process. 

This tutorial will explain all the features you will need to know and understand in order to format your book like a professional. 

Front Matter

Every book in Atticus will have a Front Matter section separated from the Body section. 

Industry standards require the standard pagination of your book to begin with the first page in the body section. For this reason, Atticus will number all the pages in your Front Matter using Roman numerals, if they appear after the Table of Contents [TOC]. Any pages that appear in your book before the TOC will not have any pagination.

Screenshot of the Front Matter section in Atticus with pointers showing where the pages are not paginated, where they will be numbered with Roman numerals, and where the standard pagination for the book begins
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Auto-generated pages

New books will begin with an automatically generated Title Page, Copyright Page, and Table of Contents, and you can add additional pages as your book requires. 

Atticus auto-generates a Title Page using the information you set in the book details. If you don’t like the basic design, you can delete this version and create one of your own.*

Screenshot of the title page options showing the one click to Convert to Full Page image
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You will also find a Copyright page template in the front matter. If you have your own, you can delete the text that is included and paste your preferred details. Alternatively, you can update the template provided by entering the year your book was first published and your Author or Pen Name. If you click the three dots beside the Add Chapter button, you can even choose alternate versions of the template to suit your needs. 

screenshot of the copyright templates available within Atticus
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Finally, Atticus auto-generates a Table of Contents [TOC] that will update as you add, move, or change the content and formatting of your book.

The TOC is the one page you cannot delete. It is necessary and specially formatted to meet eBook publishing criteria. If you click the three dots beside the title in the left navigation panel, you can choose to Include in > None, which will remove the page itself from the content of your book, but the navigational TOC will always export in the digital ePub version of your book. 

NOTE: Atticus cannot support internal links programmed in outside programs, including Word. Always delete the TOC from your source .docx file before importing.

Screenshot of how to adjust adjust your TOC to be included in different versions of your book
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Adding Pages to Your Front Matter

Many books include additional pages in their front matter, such as Blurbs, a Dedication page, and Epigraph, or some type of Introduction or Prologue. If you click the three dots beside the Add Chapter button, Atticus has a variety of presets that come with special formatting that you can further adjust using the chapter formatting settings available for each page. 

Screenshot of the preset layout page options within Atticus
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We have provided a brief description of how the page type is normally used and formatted with each preset, for your convenience. You will want to remove the placeholder text before adding your own content. We also have an entire tutorial dedicated to Preset Layouts!

If you have imported Front Matter pages with your content and find it in the Body section, you can click the three dots beside the title of any page and Convert to > the preset of your choice. You can also drag and drop it to the Front Matter section, where you’d like it to appear in your book.

Screenshot of the Include In feature to turn specific pages within Atticus on or off for different versions of your book
Right click to Open image in new tab for a larger image.

There may be some situations in which a certain page is perfect for the eBook version of your book, but you don’t want it included in the PDF copy going to Print, or vice versa. If you click the three dots beside any page title in either your front or back matter, you can choose to Include In > All, eBook Only, Print Only, or None.

Body Content

The Body section of your book will include all your standard chapters and pages, as well as the Back Matter. 

Chapters and Scenes

If you are importing your book into Atticus, you’ll want to first reference our tutorial, How to Prepare Your Manuscript, in order to make the formatting process as efficient as possible. 

Once imported into Atticus, or if you are writing your book within Atticus, you can add or adjust Chapters and Scenes as needed. 

To add a new chapter, click the Add Chapter button at the bottom of the left navigation panel. You can drag and drop chapters and Atticus will automatically adjust the numbering sequence for you. 

If you’d like to add a scene within a chapter, place your curser where you’d like the scene break to occur and click the asterisk icon from the toolbar. 

NOTE: To create a scene break in your .docx file before importing, use three asterisks in a row, with no other formatting or styling applied. Atticus will automatically convert this to a scene break.

Screen shot of a scene break in Atticus, pointing to the image element in the Writing section and the drop down menu to separate scenes within a chapter
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If you look to the left navigation panel, any chapter that includes a scene break will have a little arrow. Click the title of the chapter to open the scenes. 

The first section will automatically become Scene 1, and all subsequent scenes will be named according, and adjust automatically if you move them around.

NOTE: The scene titles will not export or show in the book in any way. It is for your reference only. If you’d like your scene to have a title, consider adding a sub-heading to the body section in your scene. 

If you are clicked on the main chapter title, you can work on the chapter as a whole. If you click on one of the scenes, you can work on just that scene. You can also drag drop scenes within a chapter or even elsewhere in your book. 

To watch a live demonstration of how scenes work in Atticus, check out Scenes: Writing vs Formatting

To remove a scene, remove the scene break by clicking the trash can icon to the top write of the placeholder image in the main chapter Writing section. This will combine the scene with the previous portion of the chapter, it will not delete your content itself. 

If you decide you would like to split a chapter into multiple chapters, rather than scenes, place your curser in front of the sentence you would like to be the first sentence in the next chapter and click the Split Chapter icon from the toolbar.

Screenshot of the Split button from the toolbar in Atticus as well as the Merge with next chapter feature
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If you decide to combine chapters, click the three dots beside the first chapter title in the left navigation panel and choose to Merge with next chapter. This will bring the following chapter into the end of the first chapter.

The chapter title of the second, merged chapter, will be converted to a sub-heading automatically.

Full Page Images

If you click the three dots beside the Add Chapter button at the bottom of the left navigation panel, you’ll see Full Page Images as an option. 

These will insert between any page or chapter within your book, and can be set to show your image with full bleed. 


If your book uses Parts, you can create them in Atticus easily. 

With your book open in Atticus, in the left navigation panel, right click on the title of the first chapter or page to be included in the first Part. Choose Create Part. 

Atticus will create a new part with the chapter selected nested within it. You can set a Part Title and Subtitle as you’d like. 

Screenshot showing how to highlight chapters in the left navigational panel and right-click to group them into a new part
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Scroll down the navigation panel and repeat with the rest of the parts. 

Once you have all your parts set up, you can drag and drop the remaining chapters into their respective Parts. 

Deleting Parts

If you decide you no longer want a Part in your book, click the X next to the Part title in the left navigation panel. Atticus will ask you if you want to “Keep Children” or “Delete Children”. 

Screenshot of the popup menu that pops up when you try to delete a part. It gives you the options to Delete or Keep Children
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“Children” is formatting jargon for the chapters within that part. If you would like to delete all the pages and chapters currently nested in the Part, choose Delete Children. If you would like to keep the content, choose Keep Children and Atticus will place them back in the normal organization of your book. 

Volumes and Box Sets

If you are creating a box set, anthology, or any type of publication that requires you to separate the content into multiple volumes within a single book, you can do so using the Volumes feature in Atticus. 

Combine Books in Atticus

Primarily designed to make the creation of box sets as easy as possible, Atticus allows you to combine multiple books within your account into one single, publish-ready file.

From your Home dashboard, click New Boxset. 

Screenshot of the New Boxset button from the Home Dashboard of Atticus
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From the list of books provided, choose which books you would like to include in your new box set. Make sure you click in the order you would like them to appear in your book. Atticus will number the order for you.

Press Next and enter the details for your box set. 

All your books will be imported into the Body section, each with their own Front Matter section, but also with a Front Matter section for the book as a whole. 

If you’ve imported in the incorrect order, you can drag and drop entire volumes, as well as each page or chapter within each volume. 

You can also add back matter outside of the volumes by adding new pages to the end of your left navigation panel or dragging and dropping pages out of a volume and into the bottom of the navigation panel. 

Upload a Single File with Multiple Volumes

If you have written your manuscript in Word or Google Docs and haven’t yet formatted any of the volumes in Atticus, you can also combine them into a single .docx file and upload it as a new book in Atticus, separating the volumes from within the program. 

You’ll want to follow the same guidelines for preparing your manuscript for importing.

From your Atticus Home dashboard, click Upload. 

Find the file with your box set and fill in the details. 

Atticus will import all the content into the Body section. 

If you have Front Matter pages that you imported that is designed to be the front matter of the entire box set, move those into place first. 

Next, find the first chapter or book title of the first book and click it. Scroll down the left navigation panel to find the last chapter or page in the first book. Press and hold SHIFT as you click the page, which should highlight all chapters in the first book. Right click on the first highlighted page or chapter and choose, Create a Volume. 

Screenshot of how you can highlight chapters in the left navigation panel of Atticus and right click to create a Volume
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Atticus will create a separate Front Matter section for this book. Click Volume to fill in the volume details and move or remove any front matter pages as needed. 

Repeat for the remaining books in your box set.

Chapter and Page Layout Settings

Once your manuscript is in Atticus, with all your chapters, scenes, parts and volumes properly separated, you’ll want to start adding your chapter and page level formatting settings. 

Click Formatting from the top center and choose a theme from the options. If you’d like to customize one of the theme or create one from scratch, we have a separate tutorial to help with that – Create a Customized Theme.

Once you have a theme set, you can adjust each chapter individually, if necessary. 

Click on a chapter from the left navigation panel. Under the chapter title, click the gear icon for a list of additional, chapter or page specific options. 

Screenshot of the gear icon menu in each chapter that displays the chapter level formatting options
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Book Layout Settings

For Print versions of your book, you may want each Chapter to begin on a certain side of your book. To set this, you can click the three dots beside the title Body and choose Begin On > Either Side, Right-Side, or Left-Side. If you only want certain pages to begin on specific sides of the book, you can also click the three dots beside each individual page or chapter title.

Screenshot of the Begin on feature in Atticus that allows authors to start each chapter on a specific side of the book
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If your book doesn’t use numbered chapters, you can choose to remove the numbering from the entire book by clicking the three dots beside the title Body and unchecking Numbered. You can also remove the numbering from specific chapters by clicking the three dots beside an individual chapter or page title and unchecking Numbered. This will interrupt the numbering sequence but ensure that the rest of your chapters remain in proper order. 

If you later decide you do want it numbered, clicking Numbered again will reset the numbering automatically.

Content Stylization

Atticus offers further content stylization options, similar to standard word processing programs. 

The toolbar at the top of your bar has common options such as bold, italics, underlined text. If you highlight a section of text within your page, hover over the little arrow in the toolbar, you can apply even more options to selected pieces of text.

Moving on through the toolbar, you can also apply sub-headings to further organize your content, add bulleted unordered lists or numbered ordered lists. You can add links that will be live in the ePub digital versions of your book. This includes creating links to chapters or pages within your book, and even universal book links, powered by Booklinker.

The asterisk symbol will insert a scene break, as we’ve already discussed, and the picture icon will allow you to insert an image into the content of your chapter. Once an image is inserted, click the gear icon to the top right to make adjustments in size, alignment, or text wrap. You can also set the image to appear on a separate page, by itself and add a link to the image, if needed. 

The @ symbol will open the Social Profiles feature within Atticus.

Next in the toolbar are your alignment options, including the ability to format a section of text as either a Block Quote or a Verse. 

Atticus also allows you to create endnotes, if you’d like to provide further information or a source for a specific piece of content in your chapter. In the Formatting theme options, you’ll be able to choose how you would like your End Notes to display in your book.

We’ve already discussed the Split Chapter button, and next to it is the Page Break feature. This can be used to insert a page break within a chapter, which will start the following at the top of the next page. This can be used in conjunction with a scene break, or on its own. 

NOTE: The majority of eBooks are designed to be reflowable, so this feature will not make a difference in those books. For any device that “flips pages” it will be honored, but this feature is primarily designed with the print version of your book in mind. 

Next, you have Undo and Redo, if you make a mistake in your process you can use these to go back or forward one step.

The Smart Quotes feature will tell you if you have mixed straight and curly quotes in your book, and the Apply Smart Quotes button will ensure all quotation marks in your book are converted to smart/curly quotes.

Finally, at the very end of the toolbar, you have the Sprint Timer. This is not a formatting feature, but it is an extremely useful tool!

This tutorial is a basic outline of your options, but please click through any of the links above to read more about each of the individual features. 

Back Matter

Once you have your Chapters laid out and designed as you’d like them, you can also add Back Matter. Just as you added front matter, you can click the three dots on the Add a Chapter button at the bottom of your left panel and choose the type of back matter you’d like to develop.

If you have any pages that you plan on re-using in multiple books, such as an Also By page, you can create a Master Page to be saved within Atticus and used across your account. 

Screenshot of the Save as Master Page feature inside Atticus
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In this comprehensive tutorial, we covered the basic process of formatting your book using Atticus. From creating front and back matter, organizing your body content, incorporating images, working with parts and volumes, to applying advanced layout settings and stylization options, Atticus provides an easy-to-use platform for authors to professionally format their books. 

By following the steps outlined in this tutorial and utilizing the features offered by Atticus, you can efficiently create a well-formatted and professional-looking book ready for publishing. Don’t forget to explore the additional resources and tutorials linked throughout the tutorial to further refine your formatting skills and master the art of book creation with Atticus.

Last Updated: 06/27/2023

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