How to Prepare Your Word Document for Upload

In this article, you’ll learn the best practices for preparing a word document to import as efficiently as possible into Atticus.

Most importantly, we’re going to focus on a few easy steps that will ensure Atticus understands how to break up your book into chapters properly, as well as what text to import into the Chapter title space, if any at all.

There are ways to completely format your manuscript from within Atticus itself, but that is material for another tutorial.

Before we look at a document, I want to share with you all the ways you can tell Atticus where you want your chapter breaks to occur.

What Creates a New Chapter in Atticus in a Word Document

  • Header 1 font
  • Font size 20px or larger
  • Inserting a page break
  • Adding 3 blank paragraphs by hitting the “Enter” key 4 times

What Adds/Imports Chapter Names

  • Header 1 font
  • Font size 20px or larger

If your book includes Chapter Titles, we highly recommend you format your chapters using one of the first two above options. If you ensure all your Chapter Titles are either tagged as a Header 1 or are in font that is at least 20 points in size, not only will Atticus know where to start a new chapter, but it will also import your Title into the appropriate Chapter title location. This will automatically include your chapter title in the left navigation menu as well as the auto-generated table of contents.

If you don’t use chapter titles, a simple page break or three paragraph breaks between chapters will work perfectly well for your book.

Now that you know how to format your word document to tell Atticus where to break up your chapters and how to import your chapter titles as necessary, let’s look at an example.

Here’s what it looks like when you import your document into Atticus. You can see that Atticus read the first line of the document as a chapter title.

Here’s what it looks like with a page break:

And here’s what it looks like with a Header 1 tag:

And as you can see in the Word document, it noted the paragraph break in the document with the 3 lines by hitting “Enter” 4 times and created a chapter there.

And finally, here is how it looks when Atticus creates a chapter from font size 20:

Importing vs Copy and Pasting

Whenever possible, we recommend importing your finished, final manuscript from .docx format rather than copy and pasting individual chapters, pages, or sections. This is because pasting from other programs will often bring foreign coding with it, causing the odd formatting issues and sometimes preventing export capabilities.

If you do find yourself needing to paste a section into Atticus, we recommend pasting without formatting

  • Windows Keyboard Shortcut: Press CTRL+ SHIFT + V
  • Mac Keyboard Shortcut: Press CMD + SHIFT + V
  • Right Click: choose “paste as plain text” or “paste without formatting”

This should clear up the formatting issues but you will have to go back and reapply any special formatting you may want, such as URLs, italicized or bolded text, etc.

Additional Tips

Before you import your document, I want to cover one final piece of important information. Atticus does not have the ability to understand the difference between Front Matter, such as titles pages and copyright pages, and the content of your book. When you import a manuscript, it will all upload into the main body of the book.

Atticus is designed to either automatically include certain pages, such as an auto-generated Title Page, Copyright Page and Table of Contents, or easily add various types of front or back matter pages into the appropriate section.

For the smoothest and most effective importing of your manuscript, we recommend deleting all your front and back matter page and creating them from directly within Atticus. This is especially important for the Table of Contents, which is automatically generated by the app.

Once your book is imported, there are a variety of ways you can further customize your content.

Let’s start by looking at the Front Matter.

Creating Subheadings

Word and Atticus use different coding in their programming, and most of the styles applied using Word are not understood by Atticus, especially styles that have been custom created. For the most part, you’ll want to avoid using Styles in your original manuscript, with a few exceptions.

As previously discussed, Heading 1 style pulls in your Chapter Titles and is the most useful.

Heading 2 style will be imported into Atticus as a subheading. This is not to be confused with subtitles!

Currently, Atticus only has one level of subheading, but there may be more added in the future.

Importing Ornamental Scene Breaks

Another really useful tip for preparing your manuscript is to use three asterisks in a row, with no other styling or spacing, to indicate your scene breaks. Atticus will automatically convert these to an ornamental break and you’ll be able to add design to your book instantly!


Adjusting Front & Back Matter

As mentioned, Atticus automatically creates a title page, copyright page and table of contents for your book.

You can also add additional Front matter by clicking the three dots on the Add a Chapter button. Each of these pages are stylized according to industry standards and will insert directly into the front matter section.

In your Table of Contents, any front matter pages will be identified with alternative numbering so as to keep them separate from your body content page numbers.

You can also add Back Matter in the same way, and it will automatically insert into the Back Matter section of your book.

Adding custom content

If you have need of a full page image or a custom chapter type, you can also add those and they will import to the bottom of your Body content. You can drag and drop them wherever you need that page to be within your book.

Version specific inclusion

Sometimes, you may want to include certain elements of your Front or Back matter in a specific version of your book, or you may want to include different versions of certain pages. For example, you may want to include a page that encourages eBook readers to click through to leave you a review, but you don’t want that page to show up in your Print version.

You can choose to Include any front or back matter page in either ePub only, PDF only, or none.

Page Layout [print only]

One further way you can adjust your imported content is to choose to start your chapters on a specific side of the spread. This is obviously only applicable to print versions of your book, but you can set each chapter to Begin On either Left, Right, or Either Side.

While there are more ways to customize and design your book once it’s imported, that will all be covered in a future tutorial.

I hope you’ve found this lesson in preparing your Word document for importing into Atticus useful and I look forward to meeting you again in the next tutorial where you’ll learn how to format your book from inside Atticus.

Last Updated: 10/20/2022

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