How do I layout my book?

Paul_LuluPaul_Lulu Admin
edited May 2018 in Interior Formatting

Laying out a book can be very challenging.

Print-on-demand uses a PDF to print from file, so we recommend creating a PDF for submission to Lulu. The most common Word processor and layout tools will export to PDF with ease.

If you are using a different word processor, please review their user manual for information about creating a PDF.


Microsoft Word and Open Office are powerful tools designed to layout a book. Both of these programs use style based formatting to define how text and images should appear on the page. Read the following resources to learn about style use:

Reminder: Write your manuscript completely before you begin laying it out for book creation. Editing and adding/removing content will alter the layout. As such, the file you work from to layout the book should be complete and clear of all formatting.

Now let's run through the most common elements used in book creation with a few instructions for how to organize them in your file. Remember to work through this list in order. If you begin by creating a table of contents, it will invariably be wrong when you finish the other formatting and need to be redone.

At the end of this article is a table with templates sized for each book option available on Lulu. We recommend taking your manuscript and pasting it into the correct template as the first step in the formatting process.

  1. Images – The first thing to do is add images and set them in line or tight to the text as you see fit. Carefully review how the images impact the text layout and adjust accordingly.
    Pro Tip: Make note of the pages with images. Once your content is complete and you create a PDF, pay extra attention to reviewing those pages. Images can do some tricky things with your content when converted from one file type to another.
  2. Front Matter/Back Matter – I suggest writing the front and back matter directly into the template. If you’ve already created it elsewhere, go ahead and paste it in. We’ll use Page Breaks and Section Breaks to control the layout.
    Pro Tip: For your Table of Contents in the front matter, add a placeholder page (just type “Table of Contents” and add a Page Break). You’ll want to come back and add the Table last.
  3. Page Breaks – If you have chapters or sections in your book, you’ll end each with a page break. This is going to force all content after the break to the following page. Control the layout of content on the pages with breaks.
    Be conscious of the position a page has in the actual book. Odd pages will be on the right, even pages on the left. This is opposite the way your manuscript would appear in a two-page view in MS Word or Adobe Reader.
  4. Section Breaks – There are a few instances where a Section Break is necessary, but for most of us, we’ll only use these for one reason: to start page numbering after the front matter. If you look at any professionally published book, you’ll see that the front matter is either unnumbered or uses a different number scheme (like Roman Numerals). Use a section break to define where those numbers should begin. Just add the Section Break like you would a page break, at the end of the page before numbering should begin.
    Even using Section Breaks for something relatively simple like this can be a pain. MS Word makes using sections far more difficult than it needs to be.
    Pro Tip: I suggest reviewing their help pages for more info on how Section Breaks work and how to use them.
  5. Header/Footer – With contents entirely added and breaks inserted to position all the content correctly, now you need to design the Header and Footer. If you thought dealing with MS Word’s section breaks was a pain, you’re going to love working with the Header and Footer.
    I cannot stress enough how worthwhile it is to go to MS Word’s support pages for Headers and Footers. Don’t just glance at this page either. Scroll down and review the linked pages too. There are so many ins and outs of Headers and Footers.
    So what are we doing with the Header and Footer? Primarily, you’re adding page numbers. Be sure you add them to the Section that actually gets numbered (so not your Front Matter).
    Pro Tip: Save your file before you start working on the Header and Footer, then save a second version so you have a file you can tinker on without having the Header and Footer cause any problems you can’t fix.
  6. Table of Content – Alright, last step. MS Word has a tool to add a Table of Contents using Heading Styles, so if you set up your chapters/parts that way you can just add it. Otherwise, you can manually create one. We hold off on this until the very last because it can change based on the layout of text or images, and it’s not worth worrying about until the page numbers are in there.

We recommend referring to our PDF spec sheet for additional guidelines for creating a file.

Print Book Templates

 Use these templates to ensure your page size and margins are correct.

Format Dimensions Templates
Pocket Book 4.25 x 6.87"
10.79 x 17.46cm
Download Zip
Digest 5.5 x 8.5"
13.97 x 21.59cm
Download Zip
A5 5.83 x 8.26"
14.81 x 20.99cm
Download Zip
US Trade
Perfect Bound
6 x 9"
15.24 x 22.86cm
Download Zip
US Trade
Dust Jacket
6 x 9"
15.24 x 22.86cm
Download Zip
US Trade
6 x 9"
15.24 x 22.86cm
Download Zip
Royal 6.13 x 9.21"
15.59 x 23.38cm
Download Zip
Comic Book 6.625 x 10.25"
16.82 x 26cm
Download Zip
Small Square 7.5 x 7.5"
19 x 19cm
Download Zip
Landscape 9 x 7"
22.86 x 17.78cm
Download Zip
Crown Quarto 7.44 x 9.68"
18.90 x 24.58cm
Download Zip
Large Hardcover 8.25 x 10.75"
20.95 x 27.31cm
Download Zip
A4 8.26 x 11.69"
20.99 x 29.70cm
Download Zip
Square 8.5 x 8.5"
21.59 x 21.59cm
Download Zip
US Letter 8.50 x 11"
21.59 x 27.94cm
Download Zip
Large Landscape 12.75 x 10.75"
32.385 x 27.31cm
Download Zip
Large Square 12 x 12"
30.48 x 30.48cm
Download Zip

Additional Information:

How do I make my content stretch all the way to the edge of the page (full bleed)?  

How much will my printed book cost?

Binding options and their page counts

Sign In or Register to comment.