How To Convert A Document From Word To Epub Or Mobi

How to convert a Word Doc to epub or mobi

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

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

It is very easy to convert Microsoft 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 and make sure that your Word document is correctly formatted 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 own Kindle, iPad or PC is vital.

When you convert Word to Kindle format, you will be able to see if there are any formatting errors in your docx or doc file before your ebook is published and 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.

But before you start converting Word 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.

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

But for authors, Prowritingaid is becoming the preferred writing tool because it works so effectively when 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 docx or doc to mobi Kindle format.

Don’t worry if you are not technically minded. The conversion process from Word to Kindle 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 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.

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.

Convert Word To Epub

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 do a save as in docx. 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 because 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.


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.

add books

Once you see that your book file is added and listed on the main screen of Calibre, click on ‘Edit Metadata’.

edit metadata

This will take you to the edit screen, where you can add all the details about your book and also add your book cover image.

edit screen

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.

convert file

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 mobi to epub or Word to mobi and epub.


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. 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 it is published 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. You can then convert your new updated Word file in Calibre to check again.

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 extensions with Pages. Then you can 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, 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.


Related reading

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

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

Free writing tools and apps: 42 Free Writing Apps And The Best Free Writing Software


Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

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

  • April 30, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    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!

  • October 22, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    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

  • September 27, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    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.


    • September 27, 2018 at 7:01 pm

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

  • September 2, 2018 at 12:15 am

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

  • August 17, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    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

  • May 31, 2018 at 10:56 am

    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.

  • May 29, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    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.

    • May 29, 2018 at 2:00 pm

      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. 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.

  • May 29, 2018 at 11:21 am

    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 Word@”. 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

    • May 29, 2018 at 2:05 pm

      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.

  • May 23, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    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.

  • May 23, 2018 at 2:11 am

    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?

    • May 23, 2018 at 10:27 am

      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.

      • May 23, 2018 at 10:51 am

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

        • May 23, 2018 at 11:00 am

          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.

          • May 23, 2018 at 11:18 am

            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.

          • May 23, 2018 at 11:36 am

            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.

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