How To Optimize Your Manuscript for Typesetting

You’ve written a book, and it’s finally ready for book design and typesetting. That’s great! While your content may be ready, there are still a few things you can adjust in your manuscript that will optimize it for your typesetter. The following tips are meant as guidelines, not hard and fast rules; however, they’ll help make your book production experience seamless.

Let’s dive in.

Note: While we refer to Mircosoft Word throughout, we can accept other text files for typesetting too. These include Google Docs, RTF or TXT files, and ODT files.


Proofreading your manuscript is the most important thing you can do prior to sending it to be typeset. Upon proofreading, there are usually a substantial amount of changes—some big, some small. If proofreading occurs before typesetting, there will be less changes upon reviewing first page proofs. This makes your life easier (and ours too!). While some changes are to be expected after typesetting, substantial changes to the text can be difficult, time consuming, and costly to make. So, it’s best to make as many editorial changes to your manuscript as possible before sending it to us.


During typesetting, we’ll format your book based on how you’ve formatted your manuscript. Perform a quick look-through of your Word file and double check each element is formatted correctly. For example, if you want a list set in bullets, be sure you use bullets in your Word file.

If there are elements in your book that require special formatting that isn’t possible to achieve in Word, write out what you’re envisioning and we’ll do our best to design it as you described. We can also copy the layout of a design made in a different application or sketched out on paper.

Remove Extraneous Text

Throughout the writing process, you may have written notes, ideas, and queries throughout the book. Ensure you’ve removed all extraneous text. If it’s left in the final copy, we may incorporate it into the book unknowingly.

This also includes any outstanding queries or edits made with Word’s “Track Changes” feature. In Word, go to the “Review” tab and click “Next Change.” If there are still edits in your book, you’ll be taken to them. Complete this process until there are no more edits or queries left in your file.

Front and Back Matter

Front and back matter is the material before and after your main content. Front matter includes your title page, copyright page, table of contents, preface, or foreword. Back matter includes your index, glossary, author bio, afterword, or appendix.

While not strictly necessary, it can be useful to include these elements in your Word file so that we can plan for them. If you plan to include, say, an introduction but don’t yet have the text for it, you can still leave a page for it in the file. This way, we’ll know it’s to come and can plan a space for it.

Incorporate Imagery

Not every book has images in it, however if yours does, here are a few tips for incorporating imagery in your file:

  • If your book has a few images interspersed throughout, place the image in the exact spot you want it to be within the text.
  • If your book has many images and it would be complicated to add the images to the Word file, write the file name of the image in the Word file in the location you want the image placed.
  • If your images have captions, write your captions next to your images as well. You could also create a separate document listing out your image captions.

In general, we’ll be able to follow the way you’ve arranged your images.

That’s it! Most of these tasks are relatively simple and will make your book production experience all the better. Have questions about any of the items described above? Feel free to get in touch and we’ll be happy to give you personalized help based on your needs.