If you are a Mac user, it’s quick and easy to format an ebook in Apple Pages.
Yes, there are lots of program choices when it comes to ebook formatting. You can use Microsoft Word, Calibre or Kindle Create.
But Apple Pages has a few advantages that makes it simple to get your ebook ready for publishing. The first advantage is that it is a free download from the App Store.
The others are that you can import most common files such as docx, easily add images, and when you are ready, you can export in epub format.
How to format an ebook in Apple Pages
There are different versions of Apple Pages, depending on your Mac’s operating system. But all of the versions can help you get your ebook ready for publishing.
Pages is an excellent app for writing your book. You can select a template, and you’re ready to write.
But if you wrote your book in another program, all you need to do is import it.
You can import Word docx, RTF, or txt files. Apple does not state it, but I have even imported old Word doc files successfully.
Once you have your manuscript in Pages, you can start formatting your ebook.
When preparing an ebook for publishing, the most important factor is understanding that it needs to be in reflowable text.
It means that the text reflows when an ebook’s text settings are changed in an ebook reader, tablet, phone, or app.
The other area that always needs your attention is that the headings settings for chapter titles are uniform.
The table of contents is created automatically from these headings in an ebook, so they must be correct.
Formatting for reflowable text
The first part of your manuscript to format is the body text. For reflowable text, you need a first-line indent and single-line spacing.
The easiest way to do this is to select a few paragraphs or a whole chapter at a time.
You can select all, but it will include your headings and special formatting, so you will need to reformat these later.
Select the layout tab, and then set a first-line indent.
The second step is to set your line spacing.
Select the Style tab, and then you can set your line spacing. Select single line spacing.
You can see that I have set zero line space between paragraphs. It is the best setting for an ebook.
If you wish, you can add a little space between paragraphs.
But you will need to check if the space is retained when you export your epub file.
The last task is to add a page break at the end of each chapter.
Without this, your chapter headings will appear in the middle of the ebook pages.
From the Insert menu, select Page Break and insert after the last line of each chapter.
Formatting chapter headings
For your chapter titles, you need to ensure that all of them are formatted the same.
You can select any heading such as Heading, Heading 2, or Heading 3.
Then you can set some space After Paragraph to add space between the title and first line of text.
How to check your formatting
Once you have formatted all your text and headings, you need to check that all is fine.
One advantage you have when you format an ebook in Apple Pages is that you can quickly export in epub and check with the Apple Books app.
From the file menu, select export.
Make sure you select no book cover and Reflowable layout. Then click next to choose your file location, such as your desktop or downloads folder.
Now open the epub file with the Apple Books app.
You can scroll through your ebook to check that all your formatting is correct.
Also, click the Table of Contents icon to ensure that all your chapter headings appear.
If there are extra or missing items, you can go back to your Pages document and correct the issues by changing the heading settings for the extra or missing items.
If you plan to publish with Amazon KDP, you can open your epub file in the Kindle Previewer app to check your formatting for Kindle.
You can see your automatic table of contents in the left pane.
Again, if you see any formatting problems with your ebook, you can go back to your Pages document to correct any issues.
Publishing your epub file
Amazon KDP, Smashwords, and Draft2Digital all accept epub files for publishing.
It’s the best ebook file format because you can see exactly how your ebook will look before it’s published.
The only issue to be aware of is that you need to upload a separate file for your ebook cover.
If you include the cover in your epub file, it will be ignored by KDP, and it can possibly lead to duplication problems.
Format a print book In Apple Pages
Another advantage is that you can prepare your print book in Apple Pages too.
When you finish formatting your ebook, just duplicate your Pages document and save it as a new file.
Then you can format it to suit a print book.
Because you will be exporting to pdf for a print book interior, your can format your text any way you wish.
But the one element you need to add is your Table of Contents with page numbers.
It’s easy to do. From the Insert menu, select Table of Contents > Document.
From the Inspector panel, you can adjust the spacing to suit as well as the font and size.
If you make any changes to your formatting that changes the number of pages, the Table of Contents will automatically update the page numbers.
Once you finish formatting, you can check your print book with Apple Preview or any pdf reader.
Preparing a print cover
One last advantage is that you can prepare your print book cover in Pages.
You can drop a high-resolution book cover image into Pages, and then design your back cover and spine.
You can find the spine size you need on Amazon KDP by using the Cover Calculator.
Once your cover is ready, you can export your cover file in PDF. But make sure you use the setting, best quality.
It’s quick and easy to format an ebook in Apple Pages.
But if you have Word on your Mac, it’s a very similar process.
The major difference between Pages and Word is that you can’t export directly to epub, so you need to use a converter.
If you prefer to upload your ebook to Amazon KDP in a docx file, you can export your Pages file to docx.
Microsoft Word for Mac is quite expensive if you want to add it to your Mac.
That’s why Pages is a great free alternative as a word processor and for preparing your ebook publishing files.