Document Templates Using Standard Manuscript Format

Copyright 2002 Terescia Harvey

See my reprint guidelines.

How to create a document template in MS Word to achieve an ideal manuscript format

First, I should make clear the format guidelines I'm encouraging you to use when you set up your document template.

Okay, so you're ready to start a new book... Wait! Take this opportunity to create a reusable document template so that the next time you start a writing project, you don't have to go through this process again.

Open Word and create a new document. First things first, change the font to Courier New, 12 point. Then go to the menu either with the mouse or by pressing Alt --> Format --> Paragraph. A box will pop up, and this is where you're going to make those changes that will give this document the tweaking it needs to become a manuscript template.

Under the Indents and Spacing tab, set your options as follows:

Under the Line and Page Breaks tab, uncheck every box, except for Don't Hyphenate. Be careful here, because a grayed box is not unchecked. To be correctly unchecked, each box must be completely empty. When you get done with this, only the Don't Hyphenate box should have a check in it.

Now, close the popup box by clicking OK.

Return to the menu and click on View (or press Alt --> View) --> Header and Footer. Here's where you set up your page numbering and your name and title in the upper right and left corners, respectively.

A little dashed box appears at the top of the page, with the word Header over it on the left. The cursor should be blinking inside the box, but if it isn't just use your mouse and click inside. Type your last name followed by a space and a / and another space, then type Title. (This is nothing more than a place holder. When you're ready to use this document, you'll go into the header and change it to the real title of your manuscript.)

Hit the tab twice (or however many times it takes to get you to the right side of the header. Then move to the menu at the top and click on Insert --> Page Numbers. If your cursor is where it should be, the Page Numbers popup toolbox should have the Position option grayed out. Set the Alignment option to Right, make sure the show number on first page box is checked, then click OK. When it disappears, you can also close the Header toolbox.

If the font of your header doesn't match your document font, click beside the grayed out text of your header. It will bring the header toolbox back, but you won't need it, so ignore it. Now, highlight the text of your header, and set the font to match your document font (preferably Courier New 12 point). You will also need to highlight the page number and also set the font on it. Then close the header toolbox, and your text and page number will gray out again.

You're almost done!

Choose Save As from the menu. Ignore the stuff in the file browser window and go straight to the Save as type option. From the pulldown menu, choose Document Template (*.dot), and only then give it a name (I prefer to call it Close the document.

You're done! The next time you need to start a new document in manuscript format, just choose New... from the menu. Instead of choosing Blank Document, you can choose, and your formatting will already be set.

Hope you've found this mini-tutorial helpful!

© Terescia Harvey

Please do not copy, reprint, or redistribute this article in any way without permission. Thanks.

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