How To Convert A Document From Word To Epub Or Mobi

4.8/5 (109)

How to convert a Word Doc to epub or mobi

Every self-publishing author should know how to convert Word doc to epub and mobi files

While the epub format is used by most ebook reading devices, the mobi format, or Kindle format, is a file type that can be added and read on a Kindle.

It is easy to convert Word to mobi and epub, but why do you need to know how to do this?

Because it is the only way that you can check to make sure that your Word document is correctly formatted before uploading it to a self- publishing service such as Amazon KDP, Smashwords or Draft2Digital.

By converting and checking your Word document on your own Kindle, iPad or PC, you will be able to see if there are any formatting errors in your file before your ebook is published and goes on sale.

Poorly formatted ebooks are a sales killer, so it is highly advisable to take the time to learn how to check your ebook well before you publish.

Before you start converting, however, make sure your Word document is correctly formatted using Word Styles.

Good formatting in your Word document will make your ebook look and read much better for your potential ebook readers.

You should also perform a comprehensive grammar and spell check. Grammarly is a highly recommended grammar correction tool.

For authors, however, Prowritingaid is becoming the preferred writing tool because it works so effectively on analysing long documents such as a book manuscript.

Either tool will help ensure that your manuscript is as error-free as possible before you start proofreading your ebook.

Now you are ready to convert either Word to epub format, or Word to mobi format, which is in fact from Word to Kindle.

Don’t worry. The conversion process is very easy and you don’t need any special technical skills at all.

 

How to convert a file from Word to epub or mobi file format

The first step is to download a free software programme called Calibre. It is a free open source programme available for both PC and Mac.

Convert Word To Epub

Once installed, there are two basic ways to add your Word file to Calibre.

One is to save your Word file in .docx format. Note: Calibre will not accept .doc files.

The other is to save your Word document in .html.

To do this, click on ‘save as’ and then select the file type as .htm.

If you have a little knowledge of HTML, this is the best time to clean up your HTML file before file converting.

However, if you are new to ebook creation and don’t know how to work with HTML, use the Word .docx file type because it is much quicker and easier to convert.

If your Word document is in doc format, simply do a save as in docx.

 

More reading: Amazon KDP Keywords For Kindle Ebooks And Books

 

Preparing for the conversion from Word to epub and mobi

Once you have your Word docx file saved and ready, go to Calibre and click on ‘Add Book’ to select your book’s Word file.

Once it is added and listed on the main screen of Calibre, click on ‘Edit Metadata’.

In this screen, you can add all the details about your book and also add your book cover image.

Once complete, save, close and then click on ‘Convert Books’.

In the top right corner of the screen, select the file type epub and then click ok.

Your book will now be converted from Word to epub and saved in your Calibre Library.

Repeat if you wish to convert your book again from Word to mobi for Kindle.

 

Read your Word file as an ebook on your Kindle or iPad in a few minutes

Now go to your Calibre Library and copy your new mobi and epub book files onto your e-reader, iPad or Kindle and see exactly how your new book will look when it is published as an ebook.

You can now carefully proofread your new ebook.

You can open your epub file by using Apple iBooks, or for mobi, use your Kindle or the Kindle app for your iPad, iPhone, PC or Mac.

You can also use the ebook reader in Calibre to read your ebook on-screen.

 

Only for Mac users

If you use Word on an Apple computer, there is a quick and easy way to convert your manuscript to epub with Apple Pages.

All you need to do is open your doc or docx file with Pages, and then export it to directly epub.

Apple Pages epub

However, you cannot export to mobi format with Pages. But this is a simple way to prepare an epub copy of your ebook for beta readers or proofreaders.

 

Something went wrong!

If you discover formatting errors in your new ebook files, this usually means that there are issues with your Word document.

The solution is to take the nuclear approach. You can find detailed instructions in our article on how to apply the nuclear solution to your Word document to solve these problems.

By converting your doc or docx manuscript from Word to epub or mobi before you publish, you can check and be absolutely sure that your ebook readers will read a beautifully formatted Kindle or epub ebook.

 

Related reading

Converting Ebooks: How To Convert Epub To Mobi To Read Ebooks On Your Kindle

Recommended free book writing software: Choose Your Free Book Writing Software For Your New Book

Free writing tools and apps: 25 Free Writing Software And The Best Free Writer’s Tools

 

How helpful was this article for you?

1 2 3 4 5

Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

37 thoughts on “How To Convert A Document From Word To Epub Or Mobi

  • Thank you for your article, it filled in a very important piece of the puzzle for us. Being able to read along on the Kindle while we listen to the book on a PC has proven invaluable in bringing my wife’s latest book to life.
    From MS Word to Kindle in less time than it takes to boil an egg!!!!

    Reply
  • I absolutely love this little jewel I came across today! So simple to use.Thank you!

    Reply
  • Fantastic, up-to-date article! Thank you! I’ve been doing this for years as a small publisher, and yet, I still read up on it.

    Reply
  • This is brilliant. You’ve made my work so much easier with this.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  • I’ve published a few books in ebook form and in the past I just submitted the Word document – formatted with Style boxes and careful spacing, and saved as html – and it looks fine, at least on my Kindle and tablet. This time I thought I’d experiment with Calibre, which is very easy to use but played around with my indents – placing them far across the page rather than using the 1cm indent. I then tried Draft2Digital and again, very easy to use but apart from centring the chapter titles (which I didn’t want), their indents and spacing are also weird. For example they removed the spacing between chapters in my chapter notes for some reason. I also have a few ‘Part One/Two/Three’ etc which I formatted in style box large and centred, and they come out tiny and left aligned. I guess I will either have to learn html or stick to what I’ve done in the past, but it is frustrating.

    That said, your website is fantastic, one of the most useful out there, for which I am HUGELY grateful.

    Cheers
    Patsy

    Reply
  • Thank you great and informative.

    Reply
  • I have never seen a program that is such a frustrating piece of crap. Theoretically it is DESIGNED to convert a program in WORD to one of three formats that will work on a Kindle. I have tried converting DOCX, RTF and PDF to EPUB, MOBI and AZW3 and the results are worse each time. It started by not carrying over the quotation marks and apostrophes. Now it fills my manuscript with random letters and symbols that I could not possibly find and replace without making it even more insane. I am not converting a manuscript in Egyptian hieroglyphics. I am using the English language with all the common letters and symbols that Calibre is obviously not designed to use. The instruction above says “Edit Metadata”. Seriously? I spent 2 years writing my novel and now I have to spend another 2 correcting the deficiencies in this program where, incidentally, the instructions give no idea what needs to be done. No thanks. I am done, I am out. Goodbye.

    Reply
    • The errors you describe are the result of a Word file that has a lot of erroneous code, and not a problem with Calibre. This can be the result of working on a file, such as a book manuscript, over a long period of time. The easy solution is to clean your Word file. Convert to plain text, and then copy back into a new, clean Word document. Also, Word files created by exporting from Google Docs or Apple Pages can also have a lot of background code. Check by saving in html to find any errors.

      Reply
      • Got to love how people get so self entitled about something that is free.

        Reply
        • You mean beggars can’t be choosers? I think we’re entitled to be critical of things, even when they are free.

          Reply
          • I mean , what do you want for nothing? All people seem to do is abuse those who selflessly give to communities and act as though they are entitled to everything for free. If you feel so strongly about someone needing to create what you want, then feel free to teach yourself how to programme and develop it.

      • Transferring a Word (or any other word processing file) to text, called The Nuclear Option in some places, is an insane maneuver that undoes 40 years of progress. You lose all font formatting, paragraphs, indents and you might as well have written your manuscript in “ed” or “vi”. Then you have to redo the entire manuscript, comparing it to a formatted version to put back italics, or underlines or bold, or special fonts. If that’s the solution, then the whole process isn’t worth doing. If there isn’t a more reliable way, then someone needs to create one.

        Thanks for your response.

        Reply
        • Unfortunately, the nuclear option is often necessary, Marc. This is because Word was not designed to produce ebooks; only printable documents. In fact, your mention of 40 years of progress is apt, because Word is old now.

          While it is not always necessary to revert to plain text, it is good practice to check what code is hidden in a Word document. There is an explanation on how to do this in this article:
          https://justpublishingadvice.com/how-to-prepare-your-word-manuscript-for-self-publishing/

          There are very good programs available for writing books and ebooks, such as Scrivener, but they can be expensive, so Word is usually the choice for authors. But it is certainly not perfect.

          Reply
        • If you save your Word file as .rtf – i.e. Rich Text Format – instead of straight .txt, it will retain things like Bold, Italics etc, but it will lose all the horrible extra stuff Word adds. This is particularly true if you have used Track Changes on your document. I discovered this the hard way the first time I submitted a manuscript to an editor who used Track Changes on it.
          Another tip is to use Word Styles for everything instead of using the manual formatting. It just comes out ‘cleaner’.
          Good luck with your publishing.:)

          Reply
    • I had similar problem. Problem was the “curly smart quotes” and apostrophes which html doesn’t accept. I uploaded book I thought was fine and !!!!!!!!. Had to immediately remove. To change, set options in Word to old-style apostrophes and quotes. To change, do a FIND and REPLACE using the appropriate ASCII code to find and an old style quote or apostrophe to replace. Make sure you changed options before starting!

      Future problems were prevented by making sure option for old style quotes (vertical stabs, same for opening and closing quotes, NOT curly style!).

      I’m surprised I haven’t heard more about this, or maybe I was the only one out there that didn’t know this stuff….

      Reply
  • Hi,
    I tried my Persian book (which is from right to left). All signs were mixed up as well as alignment. can you help on this

    Reply
  • Hi. all. Unfortunately, I have an old windows laptop that only saves in .doc, not .doc.x. What are my other options besides calibre to convert my manuscripts to ebook? I notice there is software to install for doc.x, but the results aren’t that encouraging as some computers won’t accept it. Not at all complaining. :) Just doing my homework as to what conversion software to use for a word manuscript saved in .doc., without having to use html as well, ‘if at all possible.’ It’s already proofed, edited (several times!), headers and page numbers ‘gone.’ I really appreciate the help. :)

    Reply
  • When I convert my docx files to mobi it adds a number to the headings (a number list bullet point) and puts a page gap between the heading and the text. I can’t figure out why. There is no issue when uploading to kdp or when converting to epub. Do you know how I can fix this?

    Reply
    • Hi Bert. KDP strips a lot of stuff when it converts, but Calibre doesn’t. This is why you see these formatting problems. It’s a good clue that your Word file has a few issues that could affect epub and mobi. The solution is to copy all of your text into Notepad (PC) or TextEdit (Mac) and convert to plain text. Then copy the plain text into a new Word document and re-apply your formatting. Then run your new Word file through Calibre.

      Reply
      • Hmm… I was afraid you were going to say that. Thanks for your answer though.

        Reply
        • I know it’s a real a pain, Bert. But I always do this to any new ebook I am going to publish to make sure it will be as perfect as possible for all retailers and formats. And thanks for reminding me to add a link to this article about how to take the nuclear solution.

          Reply
          • My books are very image heavy. I dread having to re-insert them all. But I just realized I can download the mobi preview version from my KDP dashboard. When I load that into calibre its perfect.

          • Yes, good shortcut! :) You could also try to convert your mobi file to epub in Calibre to see if it produces a clean ebook for publishing on other platforms.

  • My original docx converts cleanly to Epub, but just for curiosity’s sake, I did the convert from Mobi to Epub also. It’s good.

    Reply
  • I HATE WORD. I put that first for all the people who will not read any further.

    After successfully sending a docx file to my Kindle over and over again as I edited the manuscript I turned to another document and it is a nightmare. Contractions appear as “don = t” and direct quotes as “AI hate [email protected]”. I have tried to replace the apostrophe and quotation marks by all the usual Find and Replace methods:

    1. Replace typed in character with the same typed in character.
    2. Replace character with unicode
    3. Replace unicode with character
    4. Replace unicode with unicode

    Nothing works, after Replace often finds as few as 53 characters, in a 50,000 word document. I’ve even tried replacing the incorrect character with a third character, like “*” and then replacing that with the correct character. The ONLY thing that works to go to each incorrect punctuation mark, manually deleting it and then typing in the new one. That is a LOT of punctuation to retype one at a time..

    It’s like Word cannot tell the difference between the incorrect character and the correct one.

    Before I settle into virtually retyping my novel one punctuation mark at a time, can anyone suggest a valid solution? Before I’m told, I have already tried copying to, or saving as text, rtf and html with no valid result.

    Thanks and, I HATE WORD

    Reply
    • I sympathise with you, Marc. Word is hopeless at find and replace for punctuation. One of my old manuscripts had single quotation marks, and when I tried to replace with double, every apostrophe became a double quotation mark. Worse, all the quotation marks were opening and not open and close. My solution was the same as yours. Retype every single one. Sorry, I can’t give you a better solution.

      Reply
  • My manuscript is correctly formatted in MS Word. But Calibre has ignored the font selection. I have .jpg images placed as ‘Insert > Picture’, which are distorted in Calibre ebook view. Indents in the Word generated TOC are also ignored after the second level. How do I fix these problems?
    On the plus side, Calibre picked up the Properties in Word to fill in the meta data.

    Reply
    • Okay, Aparna. First of all, ebooks don’t use fonts. Fonts are selected by the reader. You can only format text to bold, italic, underlined etc. Use a standard font such as Times New Roman.

      For images see this article. https://justpublishingadvice.com/how-to-add-images-to-an-ebook/ It is important to set your image In Line With Text.

      As for TOC, use H1 headings for chapters and Calibre will create your TOC automatically.

      Reply
  • Well, I solved the problem, to a certain degree. At least enough to satisfy my “90/10 Rule” (if you can fix 90% of the problem the easy way, then the 10% you have to do the hard way isn’t too bad). I thought that my problem was the incorrect conversions happened when the text was sent to the Kindle, but I found that they were in the docx file as well.

    For example, a search (Ctl-F) for the equal sign (‘=’) would also find the incorrect apostrophes that showed up in the Kindle as an equal sign (i.e. don=t). So I could do a Search/Replace (Ctl-H) and change all equal signs to the correct apostrophe. Fortunately there is no math is my manuscript. The same was true of the incorrect closing quotation mark by searching for the AT sign (“@”) which I could change all at once.

    The difficult one was the open quotation mark which changed to a capital A. I could search for the capital A but would find both the incorrect open quotation mark and the correct use of the capital A. This one I had to do one at a time. If the search found what appeared to be an open quotation mark I pressed “Replace” and if it was the capital A (such as “Atlanta”) I would pressed “Find Next”. I was trying to do it fast so sometimes I pressed the wrong command, changing “Always” to “lways. There weren’t many of these and the SpellChecker found most of them, which I could correct manually.

    In any case the corrections were a lot easier than I thought that would be since I wouldn’t have to change each one manually.

    I hope this helps someone.

    Reply
  • Tried to use Calibre for editing to edit a epub document but is only useful for short documents, i.e. a few pages. I found the best way is to use Libre Office, no I am not advertising the software but you cam save to E Pub straight from word both doc and docx formats. Libre Office will open up MS Office files direct. Tried various other Office programmes but are not as good. You cannot edit the epub document in Libre Office but it does a good job converting it.
    Once converted it opens up in Calibres e read screen.
    Thanks for the great advice on converting to Mobi

    Reply
  • Thank you for this article! Super easy to follow your instructions!

    Reply
  • Hi: This very useful article made the uploading of a Mobi file easy. Just one question. Once you have the book, how can you send it to a Kindle file. I can’t find anyplace on the completed e-book. I like to furnish Mobis to book reviewers.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • All you need to do is locate your book’s mobi file in your Calibre library, and then you can send it via email.

      Reply
  • I have pdf files embedded in my word docx. I converted to an ebook on Calibre, but you can’t open the pdf files> How can you fix this? Thank

    Reply
    • You can’t add pdf to an ebook. Change to a jpeg or png file.

      Reply

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.