How To Easily Convert Word To Mobi Or Epub Files
It’s very easy to learn how to convert Word to mobi and epub. But why do you need to convert your Word document?
Most ebook reading devices use the epub format. But the mobi ebook format, or Kindle book format, is the only file type that can be read on Kindle devices and Kindle apps.
Converting is the only way that you can check and make sure that you correctly formatted your Microsoft Word document for ebook reading.
You need to do this before you upload your manuscript to a self-publishing service such as Amazon KDP, Smashwords, or Draft2Digital.
How to prepare your manuscript
Converting and checking your Word document and ebook formatting on your Kindle, iPad, or PC is vital.
When you convert Word to Kindle mobi format, you can see if there are any formatting errors in your docx or doc file.
It’s always better to do this before you publish your ebook and it goes on sale.
Poorly formatted ebooks are a sales killer.
So you really should take the time to learn how to check your ebook well before you publish it.
But before you start converting Word docx to epub or mobi, 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.
The most important formatting element is to make sure you use Heading 2 for your chapter titles.
By doing this, your table of contents will be automatically created in your ebook.
You should use Hearing 1 for your book title and normal for your text.
Check for mistakes
You should also perform a thorough grammar and spell-check.
Use your choice of grammar tool to 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 doc to epub format, or Word docx or doc to mobi Kindle format.
Don’t worry if you are not technically minded.
The conversion process from Word to mobi or epub is very easy, and you don’t need any special computer skills at all.
How to convert a file from Word to mobi or epub file format
The first step is to download a free software program called Calibre. It is a free open-source program available for both PC and Mac.
Calibre comes with many features which you can learn about later. But as Word to a mobi and epub converter, it is one of the easiest and quickest tools to use.
Once you install Calibre, there are two basic ways you can add your Word file.
The easiest way is to use your Word docx file.
If your manuscript is in the old doc format, all you need to do is save it in docx format.
This will create a new copy of your manuscript that you can now use.
The second way 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 know how to edit HTML, this is the best time to clean up your HTML file before file converting.
But if you are new to ebook creation, you should use the Word .docx file type. It is much quicker and easier to convert.
But remember, if your Word document is in doc format, simply do a “save as” in .docx before you upload your file to Calibre.
Preparing for the conversion from Word to mobi and epub
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 you see that your book file is added and listed on the main screen of Calibre, click on ‘Edit Metadata.’
This will take you to the edit screen. This is where you can add all the details about your book and also add your book cover image.
Once you have added all your data and cover, click OK.
You will go back to the home screen. Now click on ‘Convert Books’ in the top menu.
In the top right corner of the screen, select the file type epub from the book formats list and then click ok.
Your book will now be converted from Word to epub and saved in your Calibre Library.
Repeat the convert books process if you wish to convert your book again from Word to mobi for Amazon Kindle.
You will then have both epub and mobi files in your Calibre library.
It is so easy to convert Word doc to mobi or epub, or from epub to mobi.
More reading: How To Print An Ebook
Read your Word file as a mobi ebook on Kindle or epub on iPad
Now go to your Calibre Library and copy your new mobi and epub book files. It’s a good idea to check your file size to make sure it isn’t too big.
You can then load them onto your e-reader, iPad, or Kindle. You can use Send to Kindle also.
Now you will be able to see exactly how your new book will look when you published it as an ebook.
You should carefully proofread your new ebook on your device or app to make sure everything is perfect.
If you find any formatting errors or other edits you want to make, go back to your Word file and make the corrections. Then you can convert your new updated Word file in Calibre to check again.
You can open your epub file by using Apple iBooks. 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 extensions with Pages. Then you can export it directly to 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!
What if you discover formatting errors in your new ebook files after converting Word to mobi or epub? It usually means that there are issues with your Word document.
If you can’t correct the errors, 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.
You should always convert your doc or docx manuscript from Word to epub or mobi before you publish.
Then you can check and be absolutely sure that your ebook readers will read a beautifully formatted Kindle or epub ebook.
Update to this article
Amazon announces changes to Kindle file formats.
The mobi ebook file format is being phased out and replaced by the more popular epub file.
The change will make it easier to manage your uploaded ebooks on a Kindle or the Kindle app.
Here are Amazon’s notes regarding the file change.
Note: Beginning in late 2022, you’ll no longer be able to send MOBI (.AZW, .MOBI) files to your Kindle library using Send to Kindle. This change won’t affect any MOBI files already in your Kindle library. You can still read them with Kindle. MOBI is an older file format and won’t support the newest Kindle features for documents.
Note: Beginning in late 2022, you’ll be able to send EPUB (.EPUB) documents to your Kindle library from the Kindle app.
Related reading: How To Format Ebook Chapters To Start Mid Way Down A Page
57 thoughts on “How To Easily Convert Word To Mobi Or Epub Files”
I hope someone has an answer to this. I have noticed that a lot of the books sold by Amazon can be set to move vertically like one long continuous page (like a scroll – Kindle calls it vertical scrolling). Does someone know how to get my own little “books” (presentation notes) to do this instead of just fixed length pages that need to be slid sideways (“turned”)?
I’m a first time Kindle publisher and this information is really helpful, thank you. I am also an EFL teacher and CELTA trainer!
EFL teacher and CELTA trainer? We must be twins, Helen :)
I have a book of poetry that I am converting using Calibre (thank you for the recommendation).
It looks okay so far, except for spacing after page breaks. Should poems have a lot of space after each one before the next one starts? Should I not be using page breaks after each page, and instead only at the end of a poem?
No, you don’t need a page break after each page. Only add one after the end of a poem or chapter.
Thank you so much for providing this invaluable information. I am brand new to authoring a book and to the publishing process. I am writing a nonfiction interactive e-workbook (on career selection). It contains links to websites, questionnaires for the reader to complete and charts to be filled in. The goal is to tailor the responses to the specific reader.
What advice do you have for converting my Word manuscript to an epub file, while incorporating these interactive elements ?
Interactive elements are difficult if not impossible to add to an epub file, Diane. The best is to link to them from your ebook to a web page.
I am just getting ready and learning to publish my first eBook. What i have learned reading through the comments here is a mountain of knowledge. Thank you so much
Very happy to hear that our articles are useful for you, Olusegun.
All well in good for a simple fiction book, but what about Non-fiction with subheads? And section breaks from printed version to epub? You mention “make sure your Chapters” are heading 2. But what about subheads when doing non-fiction? I ran into huge problems with that and KINDLE. The KDP only creates one level chapter and all the subheads link EXCEPT one. I also had to take the print version and remove all the interesting fonts and dumb them down even though they are supposedly embedded; I also had to remove all section breaks and turn them all into page breaks. Any advise on how to handle all the links as well? Can you use bookmarks for example to jump around in an epub or KDP (for example, we have a list at the back that refers to earlier subheads. I created links for all these. They all work, except one, though they all SHOW as working. The TOC also doesn’t actually always go to the correct page. It may go to the bottom of the prior page or middle of the page. Any way to correct that?
The only solution when you have complex formatting in an ebook is to use Calibre to edit in html. Then you can edit with much more precision.
This was fantastically helpful. I’ve been self-publishing since 2012 and only taking it seriously since 2018. Now am about ready to hit the bricks asking for reviews, and everyone wants MOBI. In the past forty minutes I have downloaded & installed Calibre, converted my nine published novels, and scanned through one of them to confirm the format is clean. THANK YOU.
Thank you so much, this is a really useful post.
What a life & time saver?
I have just run a test with some large documents, publications, and books. It is an easy way to check all the work I edit before forwarding to anyone. Thank you for this.
Glad to hear it helped.
You are awesome! Nothing was working until I read this. I copied my pc word file to my wife’s mac, opened with Pages and exported as an epub and bangorang! it worked beautifully.
I emailed the epub to myself, opened with my ipad and save as an ibook. Everything looks great; except the cover. Now I just need to figure out how to add the cover art. Perhaps that’s an iTunes Producer function.
You can add a cover very easily by using Calibre. Just import your epub file, add you cover and export it again in epub.
It might be that your map is not embedded correctly in Word, Valerie.
If your image is not embedded in line, then Calibre is probably calculating that it is the book cover. That would explain why it disappears when you add a cover.
Thanks so much for this article. I’m having a problem where I have a map of the world I’ve created in the front of my Word doc. When I use Calibre to convert it to Mobi, the Mobi doc recognizes the map as my cover. When I go in to add the “true” cover, the map disappears. How can I avoid this? Thank you!
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
You can’t add pdf to an ebook. Change to a jpeg or png file.
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.
All you need to do is locate your book’s mobi file in your Calibre library, and then you can send it via email.
Thank you for this article! Super easy to follow your instructions!
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
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.
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.
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.
As for TOC, use H2 headings for chapters and Calibre will create your TOC automatically.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
Hmm… I was afraid you were going to say that. Thanks for your answer though.
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.
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.
Hi Corrine. There are alternatives you can use to save in docx. Most free word processors can do it.
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. :)
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
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.
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.
Got to love how people get so self entitled about something that is free.
You mean beggars can’t be choosers? I think we’re entitled to be critical of things, even when they are free.
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.
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 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.
This checking is important not only for files to be converted to e-formats. If a person or company is sending out documents in .docx format, they need to ensure the document is clean. Often people will reuse an “almost correct” document (precedent, not template), making only needed changes. The problem is that word has saved all the changes, and a knowledgeable person can go back and see everything that was ever in the document. Depending on what the document contained in past, they other party may learn some damaging or embarrassing information from the document. Either alwasy start clean, or clean the new document before sending it out.
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.:)
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….
Thank you great and informative.
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.
This is brilliant. You’ve made my work so much easier with this.
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.
I absolutely love this little jewel I came across today! So simple to use.Thank you!
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!!!!
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