How to Quickly Create an EPUB File From Word (And Then Edit It)

This post by Jane Friedman originally appeared on her site on 12/19/14.

Here’s the situation: Your book is sitting in a word processing system (such as Word), and you’d like to get that material translated into EPUB format without using the automated meatgrinder process of Amazon or Smashwords. Let’s assume you’re not a coder or programmer, but can figure out some some simple HTML. These are the options I’ve found that don’t involve purchasing software or going through coursework to learn code. Caveat: These methods will really only be helpful if your book is predominantly text, with few images.

 

For Mac Users: The TextEdit to Sigil Method

Sigil is a free, open-source editor for EPUB (ebook) files. It’s intuitive even for a beginner, especially if you know a little HTML from blogging. To use Sigil, you can’t start with a Word file—but it can handle basic text or HTML files. So what we need to do is appropriately prepare our Word files to import into Sigil while retaining our basic formatting. This process requires using Mac’s TextEdit software, which is installed for free on every Mac.

1. Open TextEdit preferences.

2. Adjust the HTML Saving Options as shown below. Select “XHTML 1.0 Strict”, “No CSS”, and “Unicode (UTF-8)” and check “Preserve White Space.”

3. Open your Word document in TextEdit, then save it as an HTML file.

 

Read the full post, which also includes how-tos for PC users and users of other devices, on Jane Friedman’s site.

 

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