Tag Archives: trim-size

Trim Size, Bleed, and Page Specifications

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Congratulations on completing your manuscript! Now that the writing is finished, it’s time to convert that simple Word file into a properly formatted book file that can be printed by KDP.

Paperbacks come in many sizes so the first step in printing your manuscript is to select the Trim Size.

Trim Size

The term ‘trim size’ refers to the finished size of your book – i.e. after the pages have been glued inside the cover and trimmed off neatly.

There are many trim sizes available, but the most popular sizes for novels are shown in the following table:

6 x 915.24 x 22.86
5.5 x 8.513.97 x 21.59
5.25 x 813.34 x 20.32
5 x 812.7 x 20.32

As the most popular trim sizes are quite a bit smaller than a normal A4 page in Word, the trim size you choose will inevitably change the total page count of your book. This will have consequences in terms of layout.

For example, you may find the odd chapter heading at the bottom of a page, or the last sentence of a chapter at the top of an otherwise empty page. As a result, some re-formatting will be required.

Furthermore, as the spine of the cover depends upon the number of pages in the book, trim size indirectly affects the width of the spine as well.

You can see a complete table of trim sizes available in KDP – in both inches and cm – at the web address below:



But if selecting the trim size is the first critical step in printing your book, ‘bleed’ can be the second.

To illustrate the concept of ‘bleed’, consider the two pages below:

Note: the dotted green line represents the trim line.

The image on the left extends past the trim line into the ‘bleed’. When the page is trimmed, the image will have a crisp, clean edge with no white showing.

By contrast, the image on the right does not extend into the ‘bleed’ and will have a thin white edge after it is trimmed:

Although most novels do not contain photographs, some do include maps and illustrations, and for them, bleed may be an issue.

If those images sit within the normal margins of the page, the book will not need bleed, but if they extend to the very edge of the page, the book will need bleed.

This point is illustrated by the two pages below: 

So keep ‘bleed’ in mind when you select the trim size of your book.

Another factor to consider is the length of your book.

A short book printed in a large trim size may end up looking too thin. A long book printed in a small trim size may end up looking too ‘fat’. More importantly, the spine may not be wide enough to allow for the printing of the title.

Note: KDP requires a minimum of 100 pages to print the title on the spine.

And finally, there’s the question of genre. Books are tactile objects and readers get used to a certain size in their favourite reading material.

Note: books that are either too big or too small for their genre may not be as ‘visible’ to a reader intent on buying a book.

Table of trim sizes – with and without bleed

The following is a table of trim sizes available with KDP:  

The column on the left is for standard trim sizes. The column on the right shows the total trim size required when bleed is included.

For simplicity, the screenshots and illustrations in the remainder of this guide will assume that the document does not require ‘bleed’.

Page Specifications – how to convert A4 to trim size pages

Once you have chosen your trim size, you will have to convert the A4  pages of your Word manuscript to the correct, book-sized pages.

Note: make a copy of your original Word manuscript and work on the copy. If something goes wrong, you can revert to the original. If all goes well, you can easily rename the copy and make it the new original.

To make the conversion process easier, KDP provides interior templates for all trim sizes. These templates come in two flavours, Basic and Sample.

Templates – Basic vs Sample

The basic templates provide page setup information such as page size, margin sizes, header and footer sizes etc. The sample templates contain the same setup information but also include formatting and sample text to show you how the interior layout should look.

The following screenshot shows the Chapter Heading, Header and Page number formatting of a sample template [circled in orange]:

Having the formatting pre-set can save time and effort, but this convenience comes with inherent problems:

  1. Each chapter of the manuscript must be cut-and-paste into the relevant sample chapter of the template,
  2. Text that is cut-and-paste into the template can bring the original formatting with it, overwriting the formatting in the template,
  3. There are only 10 sample chapters in the template,
  4. You have to create the Table of Contents manually,
  5. All the formatting in the template relies on section breaks.

Creating a Table of Contents by hand is tedious but doable. Everything else, however, is dependent on section breaks so even a simple mistake can quickly escalate to formatting hell. For example, if you accidentally delete a section break while cutting and pasting chapters from your manuscript, the headers will stop working properly.

In the example below, a missing section break has resulted in the header appearing on the same page as the Chapter Heading:

Section break related problems can be fixed, but only if you already know how to work with section breaks. This creates a catch-22 situation as writers often use sample templates because they do not know how to do the formatting themselves. Yet if they don’t have the skills to do the formatting, how can they fix problems arising from the formatting?

For this reason, How to Print Your Novel with Kindle Direct Publishing will show you how to format your own manuscript from scratch, using only the Page Setup information found in the templates.

How to find the KDP templates

To find the right template for your trim size, open your internet browser and type the following web address into the address bar:


On the KDP home page, click the Help button located near the top right of the screen [you do not need to sign in first]:

With the Help Topics page displayed, select the following 4 options from the navigation pane on the left:

  1. Prepare Your Book
  2. Format Your Manuscript
  3. Submitting Your Paperback to KDP
  4. Paperback Manuscript Templates

You should now see a video at the top of the page. This video provides a brief overview of the process.

Below the video are five, numbered steps which all open out into more detailed information.

Click ‘Step 1 – Choose a template’: 

You should now see two template options – Blank and Sample:

As discussed at the start of this section, the Blank template will contain only the Page Setup information you’ll need to change your existing Word file to a book file. Making the necessary changes to your Word file may entail a little more work in the short term, but it will save you a great deal of frustration in the long term.

Click the option for Blank templates.

KDP will now display a list of links, one for each trim size:


Click the link for your chosen trim size.

The template will be a Word file, and KDP will prompt you to download it to your computer.

Note: you should always have your anti-virus software updated and on before you download anything from the internet.

Click OK to save the template file to your computer:

Once the template file has been saved, open Word, find the file and open it.

The template file will be in Protected View and look something like this:

The bright yellow warning message reads:  

‘PROTECTED VIEW Be careful – files from the Internet can contain viruses. Unless you need to edit, it’s safer to stay in Protected View.’

Next to the warning message is a button labelled ‘Enable Editing’.

As the page setup information is on the Ribbon, and the Ribbon is locked in protected view, you will have to get out of protected view.

First, ensure that your anti-virus software is on and up-to-date.

Next, click the Enable Editing button.

Once editing is enabled, the Ribbon will be unlocked and you will see the tabs that are normal for your version of Word.

Finding the Page Setup information

The Page Setup information is found in the Page Setup dialog box of Word. This dialog box is the same across all versions of Word covered by this guide, but it is not always found in the same place, so its location will be shown for each version of Word from 2016 to 2003.

…in Word 2016

Select the Layout tab as shown. Next, click the PageSetup symbol:

…in Word 2013

Select the Page Layout tab as shown. Next, click the Page Setup symbol:

…in Word 2010

Select the Page Layout tab as shown. Next, click the Page Setup symbol: 

…in Word 2007

Select the Page Layout tab as shown. Next, click the Page Setup symbol: 

…in Word 2003

Select the File tab and click Page Setup as shown:

Using the Page Setup information of the template file

The Page Setup information in the template file is found in the Page Setup dialog box. This dialog box contains three tabs – Margins, Paper and Layout – and the following examples illustrate the types of information you will need from each one.

Paper Tab

Note: the settings shown below are for trim size 5.5” x  8.5” only. 

Margins Tab

Note: the settings shown below are for trim size 5.5” x  8.5” only.

Note: ensure that ‘Mirror margins’ is selected from the ‘Pages’ drop down list.

Layout Tab

Note: the settings shown below are for trim size 5.5” x  8.5” only.

Once you have found the Page Setup specifications for your trim size, open your manuscript file and type or copy this information into the Page Setup dialog box of your manuscript file.

When you finish the page setup specifications, click the OK button to save and exist from the dialog box.

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How-to guide is now free!

Good morning all. 🙂 It’s 6:57am here in lovely Melbourne, and I just realised I forgot to post about the freebie here on WordPress. So….

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Using the Createspace cover template with Corel X8

This post is a bit premature as I haven’t yet shown you how to find the exact number of pages of your manuscript, but…I’ll do it now while it’s fresh in my mind. So, here goes. To create the cover, you will need:

  • the trim size of your finished book – i.e. the finished size you want the book to be. Mine is 5.5 x 8.5. You’ll find info. on trim sizes here.
  • the number of pages you end up with when you pour your manuscript into the appropriate trim size template – i.e. with the margins, etc., preset by the template.
  • and some kind of graphics package. The one I use is Corel Draw X8.

Finally, you will need the Createspace cover template for the trim size of your choice:

You can find the ‘Build Template’ here:


To use the Build Template, simply select the trim size of your book from the drop down list like so:

Then type the total number of pages into the box for ‘Number of Pages’ and click the ‘Build Template’ button. The little app. does its thing, and in a moment you should be looking at something like this:

Click the ‘Click here to begin Download’ button and save the file to your computer. As the file is a compressed zip file, you will need a program to unzip it. Most people use Winzip. I prefer a non-Microsoft product called PowerArchiver. Whichever product you use, the file will be unzipped to look like this:

5.5×8.5_BW_230 is the name of the unzipped cover template and it comes in two versions – pdf or png. As I don’t have an app that works with pdf files, I imported the png version of the file into Corel X8.

This is what it looks like:


The instructions for using the template start with ‘Create a new layer in your image editing software. This layer will serve as the design layer.’ In other words, keep the cover guide separate from the graphic you build on top of it.

This is good advice as you don’t want to accidently meld the guide and your cover, with potentially drastic results. Nevertheless, I didn’t use the layers in that way. After tracing the dimensions of the cover template, I superimposed the tracing over my background image and worked with the tracing on the same layer as everything else. That’s what the faint white line is on the cover:


I could have used the guidelines in X8, but at one point I had so many of them all over the place, it would have been impossible to see what I was doing. Now I just have to remember to delete the guidelines before I send the image off to Createspace. [And boy do I hope I haven’t just jinxed myself!]

I hope you’ve all had a pleasant weekend,



Self-publishing via Word and Createspace – page setup

This is the second post in this series and this time, I’ll be showing you how to setup your Word document to match the Createspace template for your chosen trim size. If you’ve forgotten about templates and trim sizes, you can find the post explaining what they are, why you need them and where to find them…here.

Right. So in this post I will assume that:

  1. you have typed up your manuscript in Word or in a Word compatible format – e.g. Rich Text Format or .rtf for short.
  2. you want to change that manuscript to make it compatible with Createspace so the printing process goes smoothly
  3. you have decided on a trim size
  4. you have downloaded the appropriate template [from Createspace] specifically for that trim size
  5. you have looked at the template but did not change any of the settings

If any of these assumptions are incorrect, please go back to the overview article linked above and make sure you have everything that you need.

How to easily change the font and font size to match the Createspace template [of your choice]

The first step is to open Word. Then, open both your manuscript and the template document. The template document will look something like this:

I chose a trim size of 5.5 x 8.5 so this is the template for that trim size. Garamond is a common font, and 12 is an average font size. Your template may be different. One thing, however, is most most certain to be true – the font in the template will not match the font you used in your manuscript. Assuming you want to change the font in your manuscript, the following is the simplest, easiest way to do it. But…be warned before you begin – this method will change your title and chapter headings as well.

First, we have to select the entire document. There are two ways of doing this.

The first way is to hit the Ctrl key and the ‘a‘ key at the same time. Ctrl-a is a keyboard shortcut and will ‘select all’ on most apps.

The second way is to use the ribbon:

Microsoft Word 10 uses tabs so the ‘Select’ options are on the Home tab, at the top right of the ribbon as shown. Click ‘Select’ and then click ‘Select All’ from the dropdown options.

Your manuscript should now look like this:

WARNING: hitting the ‘Delete’ key or the spacebar when everything is selected can lead to the loss of your entire document. If you make a mistake and everything disappears, DO NOT PANIC. Simply click the ‘Undo’ button to cancel whatever you last did. The ‘Undo’ button can be found here:

You can also undo your last action by hitting Ctrl Z [Ctrl and ‘z’] on your keyboard.

Moving on. With the entire document highlighted as above, click the small arrow next to the font box as shown:

Select the appropriate font for your template. For mine it was ‘Garamond’.

With the document still highlighted in blue [i.e. selected] click the small arrow next to the font size box as shown:

Click on the appropriate font size and then click inside your document to de-select it. The blue highlighting should disappear.

The next change we will make is to adjust the alignment and first-line indent of each paragraph. To do this, click the small button in the Paragraph category on the Home tab of the Ribbon:

You should now be looking at the Paragraph dialog box as shown below. Here, you can specify how all the text in the document is aligned. As most books are justified, that is the option I’ve chosen under ‘General’. I’ve also chosen a first-line indent of 1 cm so that everyone can easily see where a new paragraph begins. This is important, imho, as I’ve also chosen ‘Single’ line spacing.

Finally, I’ve clicked on the option ‘Set as Default’ down at the bottom. Word then wants to know what I mean by default. Choosing ‘All documents…’ would change the Normal style for every Word document I create from here on in. I don’t want to do that so I selected ‘This document only’.


Click on ‘OK’ and you will notice that…nothing has changed!

Don’t panic. In reality, the Normal style has changed, we simply have to tell Word to reflect those changes in the document. To do this, Select All again, and when the whole document is highlighted in blue, click the Normal style as shown:

Ta dah…the first big change is complete. The headings still need to be fixed up but that can wait. The next thing we need to do is change the size of the ‘paper’ so that we can start to see roughly how many pages this document really contains.

Changing the paper size to reflect the trim size of our ‘book’

To find out what is the correct paper size for our book, open the template document. Then open the ‘Page Layout’ tab of the Ribbon. With the Page Layout tab open, click the small button under the Page Setup group of functions:

You should now be looking at the Page Setup dialog box for your template. Under ‘Paper size’ you should have a number in cm for width and height. Write those 2 numbers down. Then click on the Margins tab. Again, you should write the margin numbers down and note whether ‘Mirror margins’ are specified. The following screenshots are from my template:

Now, go back to your own document, open the Page Layout tab and click on the small button to open the Page Setup dialog box. You should be looking at the tab for Paper. Click inside the ‘Paper size’ boxes and type in the dimensions that were shown in the template document. Mine looks like this:

Next, click the Margins tab and again, type in the numbers you found in your template. Mine looks like this:

Congratulations! You’ve changed some of the most important aspects of your manuscript to reflect the Createspace template.

But there is still a great deal to do. The Title and Headings will have to be fixed and to do that we will change the default styles to make the changes quick and easy. The book will also need page numbering, but some parts should not have page numbers – e.g. the Title page – so first we will have to insert section breaks. As well as making sure the page numbering is correct, section breaks are necessary to ensure that the first page of every new chapter always starts on an odd page. Nothing shrieks ‘amateur’ in a print book like wonky formatting.

And finally, there’s the cover. Front page + back page + THE SPINE! Plus ISBNs, pricing, royalty calculations….

I hope you guys are in for the long haul as this could take a while. 🙂




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