How to Make a Children's Book on the Computer
By Filonia LeChat
If Grimm’s fairy tales are just too grim and Mother Hubbard’s stories are a little too common for your youngsters, let your creativity fly by creating your own children’s books. When you use Microsoft Word to make children’s books, you get to focus completely on the words, design and images for the story. Word takes care of the setup through templates included with the software, so you can simply choose one and start pouring your words onto the page. Using Microsoft Word to make a children’s book will have your readers turning the pages to get to their happily ever afters.
Start Microsoft Word. Click the “File” tab, select “New” and then double-click the “Books” file folder icon. Double-click the “Other books” file folder icon. While Word may not have a template that matches your story idea, you can choose one of these as a base and customize the template from there. If your children’s book will have many pictures, you may want to choose one of the coloring books. You can swap out the images for your own in a later step. After you double-click the chosen template, it opens in a new Word window.
Scroll through the pages of the book to get an idea of what needs to change and for brainstorming suggestions. Scroll to the first page in the book. If it has a placeholder cover page, highlight the generic text and type over it with your own, such as the name of the book, the author, publication date and a dedication to your family, child or someone else.
Add a picture to the cover of the book by clicking the “Insert” tab, then clicking “Picture.” Browse to find the picture for the cover and double-click it.
Scroll to the first page after the cover page. If you chose a template with generic text, highlight it and type over it with your preferred text, such as “Chapter One,” the first paragraph or the first few lines of a rhyming poem.
Replace any image on the page by clicking it once and pressing the “Delete” key. Repeat the “Picture” insertion process as you did with the cover. You can add multiple pictures per page if desired.
Instead of simply typing on the page in a linear format, place text in specific areas on the page. Click the "Insert tab," click the "Text Box" button and choose "Simple Text Box." Type within the text box. This is optimal if you want to place text directly below an image, for example, or just have a few lines per page.
Move through the included pages of the book template and change the placeholder text and images as desired. Word will automatically add pages to the book as you come to the end of the last page, so you can continue adding to your story until it is complete.
Add page numbers so readers can follow along. Click the “Insert” tab, click the “Page Number” button on the ribbon, roll your cursor over “Bottom of Page” and choose one of the options.
Glance over the pages and look for Word’s telltale red and green squiggles under words and lines, which indicate possible spelling and grammar errors. You can also click the “Review” tab and click the “Spelling & Grammar” button to perform a spell check. Note that Word may pick up certain terms it thinks are spelled incorrectly, such as unique children’s names, even though you’ve typed them properly.
Click the “File” tab and select “Save As.” Choose where to save the book on your computer and type a file name, then click the “Save” button.
- These instructions take you through setting up a children’s book in a traditional trade paperback size format. If you prefer your book to be standard 8.5 inch by 11 inch paper size, after you have chosen the template and it opens in Word, click the “Page Layout” tab. Click the “Size” button on the ribbon, then click the “Letter” option. If you have already entered your book text and images, they will shift, and the book will become shorter, since you have bigger pages. Scroll through and make any adjustments as you see fit.
- The information in this article applies to Microsoft Word 2010. Earlier or later versions of this software may present several differences.
Fionia LeChat is a technical writer whose major skill sets include the MS Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher), Photoshop, Paint, desktop publishing, design and graphics. LeChat has a Master of Science in technical writing, a Master of Arts in public relations and communications and a Bachelor of Arts in writing/English.