My Word Template for Novels

Folks have asked me about this, so it’s time to share. Here’s the Word template I use for writing novels. It’s pretty stripped down, but with an additional style and a dusting of macros.

Download it

After you download, open it in Word. This is a macro-enabled template, so agree to run macros. Don’t agree if you don’t trust me and you never wanted to use this thing anyway.

Using Notes for Easy Outlining

The template has a style named Note that you use for, well, notes. These help with outlining, and you can easily hide or remove them. I insert notes before each scene. Switch to outline view (that’s the image at right) and you can see them clearly.

  • To temporarily hide those notes, right-click on the Note Style in the Style gallery, or choose Format > Styles, click on the Note style, and format the Font to Hidden.
  • To delete all the notes, Save as the Word file under a different name (safety first!), then right click on the Note style in the style gallery, choose Select all instances. All the notes in the file will be selected. Right click on one of them and choose Cut.

Quick Navigation

The template includes macros for Forward and Backward navigation, so you can easily move to chapters (which are in the style heading 1) and scene breaks (which are in the style heading 2).

Set up your keyboard shortcuts to use these navigation macros. You can choose any key combination you want.

  1. Choose Tools > Customize Keyboard.
  2. Under Categories, choose Macros.
  3. Under Commands, click on each navigation command and pick a keyboard shortcut that will trigger it. The four commands are
    Next Break (I use Option + Down arrow for Mac, Control + Down arrow for windows)
    Previous Break (Option + Up arrow)
    Next Chapter (Command + Down arrow)
    Previous Chapter (Command + Up arrow)

Easy E-book Creation

It’s too much to go into here, but using Heading 1 for your Chapters and Heading 2 for your scenes makes it easy to create your own Epub and Mobi ebooks. Google for Calibre, the free e-book creation tool, and Download it. Calibre can open your Word Doc, and transform it into an epub or mobi. Calibre’s default settings will automatically create a table of contents for your chapters and scenes.