Standard Manuscript Novel Template For Microsoft Word

Hey folks, I’m putting up some templates for MS Word that make heavy use of styles and make it easy to put your manuscript into the standard manuscript format that most editors and agents request. These templates should work in MS Word 2007 and 2010. They allow a writer to make use of the navigation pane (document map in 2007) to easily manipulate and navigate through their work. Bill Womack of the site Words For Writers originally created the templates, but I’ve modified them to put my own spin on things.

The two templates vary slightly, one uses the standard double-spacing as configured by word. The other uses spacing set exactly to “25pts”. Here is a brief explanation as to why.

A 12 point font, such as Courier New, should print exactly 1 pica high, or 1/6th of an inch. That works out to .0167”. Singled-spaced you should fit 6 lines per inch. Double spaced you should fit 3 lines per inch. For whatever reason, MS Word defaults this setting to .0187 inches between lines if you choose ‘Double” for spacing. So it throws the line spacing off, and instead of getting 25 lines per page as is recommended, you wind up getting 23 or 24, and only 15 on your first page and first pages for each chapter. By changing the paragraph spacing to ‘exactly 25’ we are setting it to 2 picas (exactly 2 picas would be ‘exactly 24’) and gives us 16 lines on the chapter first pages, and 25 lines on normal pages. Most of the time this really shouldn’t matter, but just in case it does, I’ve made a template to accommodate that.

For the most part, these templates adhere to the standard manuscript format recommendations present in the Writer’s Digest Book Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript, 3rd ed.

Features included in these templates:

NavPane/Document Map integration
1″ Margins standard
Widows/Orphans turned off
Title Page set up w/o numbering
Header in all caps w/ page number (header differs from the WD book’s example slightly, but is easy enough to change if you don’t like the way I’ve done it.)
Each new chapter starts on its own page, one-third of the way down the page. (This works only if you use the style HEADING 1 for the Chapter titles.)
New paragraphs in both Heading 2 and Normal styles indented 5 spaces.
Entire text double-spaced or at least separated by 1 pica, yielding consistent number of lines per page.
Can put notes in the author-only notes within the text that you can easily find and remove in your subsequent drafts.
If anyone finds anything wrong with these templates, please let me know so I can correct them.


And here is a brief video that goes over how to use the templates. I recommend pressing on through to youtube, maximizing the video to full screen and watching it at 720p.


Due to popular demand, I’ve added a new file for Word 97-2003. These template have not been tested as thoroughly as the ones for 2007 and 2010.  So far, it looks like everything works like it should, it just looks a little different on the menu. Be aware that all the functionality of the 2007/2010 templates may not be there.


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