Breakthrough Technology Cuts Book Formatting Time in Half

by | Feb 25, 2014

Yesterday I talked about the frustration of having to format your books twice, once for print and once for ebooks. And I promised to tell you about an amazing innovation that can literally cut your time in half.

Who wouldn’t want to get 2 totally different formats—print and ebook—with half the work?

I’ll let my associate Tracy Atkins from tell the rest of the story:

Over the past year authors have been generous with their feedback, kudos, and requests about our Microsoft Word pre-designed book templates. This valuable insight has not only allowed us to refine our existing templates (and our documentation) and has also given us direction on what authors really want.

This feedback led directly to the introduction last year of our non-fiction and children’s template lines. It also has helped us set the course for the future.

book design templatesOne of the things authors seem to want most is a template that can be used for both print and eBook formatting—from a single template file.

When we were first approached about building a unified template, I was a little unsure about how to tackle it. Because the requirements for printed books and eBooks often differ, we originally split our templates into separate formats for each.

Separate templates freed us to use heavily customized typesetting, fonts, and layout features for our print templates that didn’t have to conform to the limitations of eReader formats like Amazon’s Kindle. 

We could then simplify our eBook templates to meet the technical requirements for the eReader devices, which often exclude some of the fancier formatting that goes into print.

Stretching The Word Envelope

So we patiently studied the differences between all of the formats, the limitations of popular eReaders, and the upper limits for what we could build into a unified design.

book design templatesAfter several months we were able to create a single template format that will work for both print and eBooks, a template that pushes the envelope with the common features on both platforms.

Our new “2Way” templates were born.

We’re offering this technology in three new designs: Spark, Electric, and Lightning.

These templates have been specifically designed to give you the fastest way to format a great looking print book that can also be directly converted to any of the major eReader platforms from the same file. We took common fonts like Times New Roman and Arial, and pushed the limits on typography to deliver a clean and professional presentation that will make your books look as good on paper as they do on the screen of an ereader.

Design and Features, Not Just a Wireframe

We know authors have lots of different needs. That’s why we built a wide array of popular fiction and non-fiction features into each of these templates. Features like

  • Support for photos and table of contents
  • Stylization for pull quotes and body text
  • Options for bullet points, lists and even tables

We really want to provide you with all of the goodies that are common to both print and eBook formats. Although these designs aren’t as complex as our print-only templates, they are perfect for novels, short stories and collections, memoirs, and even photo-heavy works.

Simplicity Is Your Friend

book design templatesPerhaps the best thing about these 2Way templates is their simplicity. You use the same copy-paste-style formula as our existing templates to format your book interior.

You can then format, edit, and create the other elements in your book, from photos to footnotes, right in the template. When you’re done, you can create a PDF for print, or upload the same file to your favorite eReader platform for conversion.

The page numbers and running heads that show up in the PDF version for print will be automatically removed when converted to eBook, and replaced with the numbering system for the format you are using.

The other formatting elements for print will translate over to eBook format during the conversion process. It really does take a lot of the effort out of getting your book ready to go.

Product Details and Great Discount

As always, we include versions of the templates for Word 97 through the most current version, in both .DOC and .DOCX format. So, no matter what version of Word you have, on the PC or Mac, we have you covered.

Since the templates use standard fonts that come with Word or Windows, you don’t even have to install anything new. Simply open the template file and begin work.

book design templatesWhether you are looking to create a contemporary masterpiece or to format a professional looking piece of prose, our three new designs have something for everyone. 

And to celebrate the introduction of these new 2Way templates, all three are available right now at 35% off until Sunday night.

So have a look at “Spark”, “Electric”, and “Lightning” on our template gallery page.

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. Susan Bernhardt

    Can I use the 2 Way Templates to first publish an eBook and later a print book? Also if I buy this now, can I use it in 2017?

    Can we use these eBook templates on Amazon and iBooks?

    If I have my manuscript in Times New Roman, will it automatically convert to whatever the font is in the templates?

    Thank you.

    • Joel Friedlander

      Hi Susan,

      Yes, that’s the whole idea: you can use the template to create a PDF for your print book, and a file to convert into ePub. The instructions on this are all contained in our Formatting Guide.

      You can sell the books you create with the template anywhere.

      When you apply the styles in the template, they will change the font specifications to the ones we’ve embedded in the template.

      Usage depends on which license you decide on: with the single-book license you can only use the template for one book. When you publish it is up to you. With our multi-book license, for one fee you can use the template for as many of your own books as you like, in perpetuity.

  2. Barbara

    Same Barbara, new question. I have formatted my book in Times New Roman in Word. Will I need to change that if I choose a template not compatible with it in the template? I think I saw that a couple of them are only in Times New Roman, which I’m okay with, but I’ve also seen that you discourage using it. Any specific reasons?

    • Tracy Atkins

      Hello Barbara,

      Great question!

      In all of our 2Way templates we use fonts that translate or transfer well to all of the major eBook platforms that are in use today. Since most eReader platforms wont accept the majority of embedded fonts and generally strip them out, using “universal fonts” allow the 2Way templates to produce a print and eBook that look as similar as possible. It creates a great looking print book as you can see from the samples, and a great looking ebook that matches.

      We do offer non-2Way templates that have a wide variety of font choices that are specifically designed to give you an even better print book look and feel. Those are great choices if you want a higher-end print book. (We offer eBook template versions of all of our template products, and those eBook templates also use universal fonts that are eReader compatible.)

      Now, if you want the ultimate in Print and eBook design, our InDesign templates go a step above all of the Word ones. Because of the way InDesign works, you format your print book using all of the highest-grade typography components available, giving you a superior print book. InDesign then lets you use the same book file, just like our 2Way templates, to directly export an ePub file, stripping out anything that isn’t ePub compatible. So, all InDesign templates are “2Way” in that regard.

  3. Barbara

    I had thought so long and hard about buying your templates before that I thought I might have. But now that you have the 2-way templates, I definitely will, especially at the sale price. I tried yesterday, but never saw the discount. Is there a problem with your site?

    • Tracy Atkins

      Hey Barbara!

      The sale price is shown after you add to the shopping cart. If you have any issues, please don’t hesitate to contact our support and customer service staff here;

      Thank you for your business!

  4. Philippa Rees

    I am struggling to master Scrivener but I do not understand whether if I use the ‘compile’ feature in Scrivener I actually need your templates as well. I am trying to format 3 books of short stories ( roughly 100 pages apiece)

    The advantage is a greater choice of fonts like Georgia. Would the tactic be to compile for word and export straight into the template? I still have an unused coupon connected with the Scrivener purchase.

    • Tracy Atkins

      Hey Philippa!

      For print, you will want to do an expert from Scrivener into a .doc/.docx format file. Then you can use Word to paste that into the template and format it out.

      Thank you,

  5. Joe Ragland

    Have completed a non-fiction Christian book with footnotes for each chapter. Polishing on the last couple of chapters. Would like to format it myself on Createspace. The work is approximately 1,000 pages and hope to format it in two or maybe even three volumes at 8 x 10. It was produced in WordPerfect 7 and would like a tempalate where I can simply past in from this instead of having to convert it to MS Word. I will be talking with Createspace soon as Volume One is ready to format. Your initial wisdom would be received and appreciated. Thank you. Joe Ragland Proverbs 3:5-6, James 1:5

    • Tracy Atkins

      Hey Joe!

      The 2Way templates (or any of our other templates) will work very well for what you want to do. We have a variety of sizes, including 7×10 and 8.5×11, so you can have a large format book.

      Using WordPerfect 7 will disable some of the features of our templates, but most will function OK. If you find that they wont meet your needs in WordPerfect, we have a 30-day moneyback guarantee.

      Thank you,

  6. lidy

    For the 2 Way formats, which template would you suggest for a poetry book? Lightning or Electric? Or could I use either one?

      • lidy

        Thanks Joel,

        Also, do you know if the templates are accepted by Smashwords style guide and premium distribution?

        • Joel Friedlander

          Our templates go through Smashwords’ converter with no problems, they are fully compliant with the guidelines.

  7. Peter Lundell

    When you speak of a template for print, is that only sending the finished product for offset printing, or does it include print on demand?

    I would like to produce my book for ebook and print on demand but will probably not do a print run.

    • Joel Friedlander

      Peter, the templates have been specifically designed for POD, and we’ve tested them extensively in that environment. In fact, that’s what most of our customers use them for.

  8. Alisha Klapheke

    As an entrepreneur in my “other life,” I’m considering the indie pub route and would love to do as much as I can on my own.

    I use Mac Pages. And I’m not overly tech savvy. Any tips before I take a swing at these templates?

    Also, thanks for all your givegivegive. In my humble opinion, you are doing life the right way.

    Thank you,

    • Joel Friedlander


      Thanks for that. I’ve seen books that were created with our templates in Pages, but please be aware that some features rely on Word functions. But remember, the templates are guaranteed for 30 days, so not much risk.

  9. Scott B. Allan

    The timing for these is perfect. I have had several ebooks available but have been “procrastinating” getting them into print format because of the formatting process. I’ll definitely be giving these a try.

    Thanks Joel!

  10. joycefler

    Thank you for sharing this information… I really believe in keeping it clean and simple with subtle design. I am still stuck in doing formatting the old school way.. It really is a continous learning process to get better and better at designing books. Thank you for all your guides.

  11. Ken Farmer

    I sent you an email, but got no response. I don’t use Microsoft Word, rather be whipped with a wet rope. I use Lotus Word Pro (much more flexible and easy to work with) and have a print ready copy when I finish with a specialty font (Anderson Four Feather Falls – an old west type) for my Chapter headers and sub-headers. I send my copy our for conversion to E-Pub and Mobi. Would be interested in looking at what you have, but you only cater to MW.
    Ken Farmer

  12. Joann Sondy

    Sounds to good to be true.

    In fact, it is. MS Word is NOT a suitable tool for producing high-quality printed materials. Here’s why:
    1. fonts
    2. RGB vs CMYK. MS applications can handle on RGB.
    3. Resolutions: MS applications can not easily handle anything ver 200 or 250 dpi.

    Based on my own experience, MS Word, Publisher and Power Point are NOT the best choice for designing a print book.

    • Joel Friedlander

      Hi Joann, thanks for your thoughts. I’ve written for years about the difference between trying to do book in a word processor versus using professional layout software, which I’ve been using since Ventura Publisher days.

      However, I don’t dictate to people what they should be doing, and the fact is that many people do books in Word regardless of what your or I think. It was to help those people that we started the Book Design Templates site and made these available.

      You should check out the full size PDF samples on the site, I think you might be surprised.

      1. We use professional fonts that are licensed for distribution
      2. Virtually all our clients are doing books in black and white, and a few in “commercial” color. These templates are not intended for books that need highly accurate color reproduction, but it would be more prudent to have a professional book designer involved in a project like that anyway.
      3. See #2.

      And I agree that there’s much better software for typography, but many authors simply aren’t going to buy it and try to learn how to use it. By offering these templates we’ve helped thousands of authors produce better-looking, industry-standard books without the hours of frustration trying to figure it all out themselves.

      That seems like a good thing to me.

  13. Ken Farmer

    While I appreciate your efforts, I wish it included what I do. One, I hate Microsoft Word with a passion. Rather take a whipping with a wet rope than use it. I have used Lotus Word Pro since ’96 and have written nine novels in the last three years with it. It is far easier to use, more flexible than MSW. I write in the format by which I intend to print, 5.5 x 8.5, mirrored pages. Each chapter has it’s own separate division. When finished, It’s ready to convert to PDF and send to the printer. For E, I change the format to 8.5 x 11 with half inch margins all around, convert to PDF and send to BookBaby. Wouldn’t mind trying your system if you had it for Lotus. For my western novels, I use Anderson Four Feather Falls for Chapter and sub-headings and Times New Roman for the rest of the text. Could save about $200 per book if I knew how to convert to Mobi and E-Pub…that’s why I send to BookBaby and pay them to do it, but always looking for a better way.

    • Joel Friedlander

      Ken, it seems that for most of your work you wouldn’t need our templates, and I have no idea if they would work in Lotus Word Pro. You could, however, save quite a bit of money by just purchasing one of our ebook templates and converting it yourself. There’s instructions on how to do it with free software in our Formatting Guide, available free here:

  14. Regina Ryerson

    The project I’m planning is 2 booklets, on 3.5 x 8.5 sized pages. From what I understand, these templates don’t work for that size.

    But down the line, I hope to come out w/ a book. And these templates are the first I’ll check out!

    • Joel Friedlander

      Regina, the problem is that our templates are mostly used by people planning to print via POD, and none of the major POD vendors offers your selected trim size. Depending on your plans, check back with us when you’re ready and inquire about having a template custom-built for you:

  15. BBS

    Dear Joel – Sorry for the older English approach.

    I have been steadily following and much appreciate your patient approach, although only contributing twice.

    Your DIY templates are tempting. Why: Because i’ve landed on a formatter which my friend term as from hell. The formatting after year is still half-way. Questions:

    Although the book uses Georgia 11, it’s a long tale.
    1. Could this font be transferred to one of your templates?
    2.Is Ariel now acceptable? I recall you warning against this, as my readers might find it wearisome reading.
    3. Is Times Roman now acceptable? I recall some of your respondents’
    distaste for this old, unattractive font – only for newspapers etcetera.
    4. If i manage to have the non-fiction book published – here i’m tempted
    to LOL – which of the three templates would you advise to use for serious poems?
    5. Will your template offer practical advice on how to avoid large, obvious spacing gaps in a line? My formatter loves that.

    I realise that you may consider me pernickety. My excuse is that in this endeavour i have to be treated like a simpleton – alas.

    My very best wishes for your continued energy in furthering your readers’ active interest.

    • Joel Friedlander

      Formatting most fiction books should take a few days to a week at most, depending on how busy the formatter is. The actual work takes less time. Nonfiction books can be quite a bit more complex and time-consuming, but I’ve never worked on one that took more than a few weeks, and I’ve done some massive, complex books.

      1. Yes, the templates can be customized to use a different font.
      2. I don’t typeset books in Ariel because I prefer serif book fonts and find them easier to read. However, many Kindle and other ereader users are quite fond of Ariel!
      3. Times is not an ideal typeface for book typography, but used carefully it can create a quite acceptable book.
      4. We don’t have a template right now that’s preformatted for poetry, so any of the fiction or nonfiction templates will work about the same. We will have a poetry-specific template this spring.
      5. Our templates do not create large, obvious spacing gaps in the lines.

      I don’t consider you persnickety, typography is all in the details.

      Thanks for your good wishes and I suggest you go over and have a look at the templates yourself. Each one has a full size PDF sample you can download to see the actual output you’ll get:

  16. Trishia Jacobs

    Could you please hold my hand and answer some questions for me:)? I kept this post up all day on my computer yesterday but couldn’t garner the courage to ask my “stupid” questions. Today I feel braver!
    I have a newspaper background and I’m used to Quark Express (and yes, I realize I just dated myself:). I HATE Microsoft Word. And yes, that’s with all caps!
    Could you please clarify for me: IF I use your “template,” do I still start in Word and then copy and paste the text to let it flow into your template OR can I simply type directly into your template like I would a Quark document?
    I’ve started a novel that features a lot of photos (antique postcards). I like to design as I write. Being able to see it as I go along helps push me and the novel along. Word just isn’t conducive to that (or I don’t know how to use it:) It seems your template is the modern equivalent of Quark Express for me. Am I right or am I misunderstanding how the template works?

    • Joel Friedlander

      Hi Trishia,

      Sure, let’s hold hands and walk through this together.

      I’m a longtime Quark user who switched to InDesign in 2009. I never composed a book in Word and for a long time thought you would have to be crazy even to try it. Now I know better, and thousands (literally!) of authors are publishing books from Word and doing quite well.

      You can treat the Word templates simply as one step in your output workflow. You don’t have to create your manuscript in Word if you don’t want to, OR you can type directly in the template, since it’s just a Word file, after all. And you can place photos into the template while you’re working on it, so no problems there.

      Structurally, Word doesn’t work like QXP or ID, so no, even with our templates, it’s not going to be an equivalent of those programs.

      What the templates do is supply with what are in effect “master pages” in the document (not separate, re-assignable pages) and a complete set of paragraph styles. This allows you to flow your text into the template, then style it and pretty much be done, ready to output.

      The templates also come with a Formatting Guide you can download separately for free here: Download Formatting Guide and that might give you a better idea of how they work.

      And remember, we have support available as well as a 30 day, money back, no questions asked guarantee, so if you want to mess around with one for a few weeks, there’s no financial risk.

      Hope that helps.

  17. Melanie Jongsma

    Thanks for producing these, Joel, and thanks for addressing the ebook side of things. I have used Smashwords to convert my text into ebook formats, but the style is pretty basic, and the process was tedious. I would like to try your templates, but I use Pages on a Mac—how well would the template transfer over?

    • Joel Friedlander

      Melanie, I’ve had reports—and actually seen the results—of a client who used them in Pages, and the book looked great! There will be functions supported by Word that don’t appear in Pages, but by all accounts, I’m optimistic. And remember, the templates are guaranteed, so if it doesn’t work, you have no risk on our 30-day guarantee.

  18. Jeremy Kerr

    JUST yesterday I announced to my friends and family that I would finally self-publish the book I wrote 2 years ago. And then I thought, “Oh, crap. I don’t have any idea how to format this thing.” Then I found your site and found this. Needless to say, I’m breathing a little easier now. (Though I know I still have a lot of work ahead of me, this will help tremendously.)

  19. Rick Toyne

    How many books is the multi-book license good for?

    • Jeremy Kerr

      from the FAQ on the website: “The Multi-Book License will allow an indie author to use the same template to format several of his or her own books, or even a whole series, without having to buy a template license for each title.”

      Commercial license is for those who want to use the template on other people’s books.

      • Joel Friedlander

        In other words, Rick, there’s no limit to how many books you can use the template, on as long as you are the author of those books.

  20. Frances Caballo

    I think it’s amazing what you (Joel) and Tracy are doing for writers. These templates really do help writers cut the cost of book production. We all know that laying out a book can be a major cost to publishing. Kudos to you both!

  21. Michael Kelberer

    Great stuff! Non-fiction 2-way coming soon?

    • Joel Friedlander

      Michael, if you have simple nonfiction, these templates will work just fine. They have support for pull quotes which can also be used for extracts, and they all have A-level subheads. In addition, we offer a customization service if there are any other elements you need that aren’t included.

      • Jerry Lobdill


        I have purchased Custom Interior Processing at CreateSpace for my history book, Last Train to El Paso–the mysterious unsolved murder of a cattle baron. The book has full page images, endnotes, TOC, Table of Figures, and an Index.

        Do these new templates support these requirements?

        • Tracy Atkins

          Hello Jerry,

          The new 2Way templates support the full feature-set of MS Word, including full page images, endnotes, a TOC, etc. We include master pages for the TOC, and styles to titling and inserting a Table of Figures and Index too. Please feel free to give us an email for support if you run into any trouble.

  22. Jo Michaels

    This is flipping brilliant! I’ll be sharing next week on my own blog. Love it! Great work, Tracey and Joel. WRITE ON!

  23. Howard

    Very interesting templates and a lot less expensive than having the self publishing companies do it for you.. Very helpful to new authors. Will certainly consider it for my next book now in process. Mine have no images so it makes it easier. All the other info you provide is also very useful for new authors struggling to learn the ropes..

  24. Greg Strandberg

    Seems like these could help out a lot.

    I really need to get some of my books into print, perhaps with CreateSpace. One of the problems I’ve run into while transitioning my eBook over to their templates is the Table of Contents. It’s just kind of a pain when you have too many chapters for the templates they give you.

    Anyways, you can work around that usually. Another thing is pictures. I’m a little leery of even doing some of my non-fiction books with pictures because of the cost, mainly for the reader. The fact that I’m worried inserting those into the template will throw it off is also something that keeps me from doing it.

    Small little hurdles like that are probably hurting my earnings potential, and maybe these templates would help me solve some of those issues.

    • Tracy Atkins

      Hello Greg!

      The TOC can sometimes run long on books with a lot of chapters. We have the TOC in the templates formatted to look good, and not take up a ton of space. There is some play in there for adjustment too, if you have a ton of chapters.

      With photos for eBooks like kindle, there is also a lot easy of ways to format or include photos that are painless for both the reader and author. If you like, please contact me directly through the contact form on the bookdesigntemplates website and I will be happy to help you find the right balance and solution for your project.


  25. Bill Peschel

    I clicked over to the templates site, signed up for the mailing list, and got a “problem loading page” “Firefox can’t find the server at”

    I’ll carry on, however.

    One question: Does your templates handle footnotes?

    • Tracy Atkins

      Hello Bill,

      My apologies here, but our bulk email provider, Aweber is currently having technical issues. We expect them to be back up and running soon. The timing is terrible, and we apologize for the trouble.


  26. Jewel Allen

    Great idea! Do you have a money-back guarantee? I bought one of your fiction templates and tried it, but whenever I cut and paste, the font was too small and messed up the template. I haven’t touched it since.

    • Joel Friedlander

      Jewel, yes we do have a no-questions-asked money back guarantee, but we also provide great support if you’re running into a problem. Please use the contact form here and we’ll try to find out what’s going on with your fiction template: Book Design Templates Support

      • Jewel Allen

        Thank you Joel, I appreciate that! I’ll be in touch.

  27. Maggie Lynch

    I am soooooo happy to hear about these 2-way templates. I’ve always recommended your templates to everyone I know, but the pain of converting from print to ebook has been overwhelming for some. I’m going to go download a template now and post about this innovation on my DIY Authors blog.

    Thank you for keeping up with technology and always providing fresh, new options.

  28. Mia Sherwood Landau

    This is a tremendous innovation, Joel. I will let my associates know right away. Very thoughtful of you to include the .doc format,too. Thanks for the heads-up this morning.

    • Frances Harrison

      This could be extremely useful to me as a first-time author learning the ropes. I’m a keen amateur photographer and would like to insert quite a few photos in my text. Do your templates support this?

      • Joel Friedlander

        Hi Frances,

        Yes, the templates fully support adding photos or other graphics, as you can see in two of the samples shown in the article.

    • Joel Friedlander

      Great, hope you find them useful, Mia, and thanks for passing the word to your associates, I really appreciate it.



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