Formatting for Createspace in LibreOffice/OpenOffice

Sunday, June 17, 2012

After my trials and tribulations over formatting Tartarus for Createspace, I thought that I could probably help others who are suffering through the same problems by uploading the template I created. This is a mix of a couple of other Createspace templates I downloaded with various changes of my own, tweaked until I finally managed to get it to work consistently. Createspace offers its own templates in Word .doc format and after importing and editing in LibreOffice… they don’t work.

Createspace Template (5″x8″)

The template includes placeholders for title/copyright, two chapters, some headers and some notes and a bio at the end. You can adjust the paragraph formatting as required (it defaults to Verdana, which isn’t an ideal font for print but I wanted something different for the modern scenes in Tartarus) and then cut and paste your own text into the document. You may also want to increase the font size; I picked one that looked OK, but I’ve yet to see the printed copy to check whether it is easy to read on paper.

The way it works is this:

  • The initial front matter uses a Front Matter page style which doesn’t display header or footer.
  • The end of the front matter is typically a right-hand page, so select the No Header-Footer style for a completely blank page on the left.
  • At the start of each chapter, add another page break and set the style to First Page Of Chapter. This removes the header and then switches to Successive Pages Of Chapter for the following pages, which do have header and footer. On the break at the start of the first chapter, reset the page numbering to 1 so your story will start on page 1.
  • Use the Heading 1 style for chapter titles. That leaves a large gap before the heading and a small one after.
  • Set the header and footer as appropriate for your design. I have author and title on alternate pages as a header and the page number as a footer.
  • Each time you need a blank page because the chapter ends on a right-hand page, insert a manual break to the No Header-Footer style. Then start the chapter with a page break to First Page Of Chapter.
  • For any text at the end of the novel, such as the included author notes and bio, insert a page break to the No Header-Footer style.

This will give you a basic format for the book which should get through the review process with no problems, and you can then adjust it to your heart’s content. Note that if you change the page size or margins you’ll need to change all of the styles you’re using to match as LibreOffice page styles are independent.

When you’re satisfied with the formatting, export the novel as PDF. You can upload to Createspace in .doc format, but it will not interpret the headers and footers correctly so that’s a waste of time.

Tartarus Formatted

These are the PDF output options I use, the other settings are left at defaults:

PDF export options

Then just upload that file and check it in the Createspace interior preview tool. I’ll explain how to make a cover shortly.


  1. L. B. Conahan says:

    Thank you! As I am an avid Linux user, this really set me in the right direction. It is difficult for me to express how much I appreciate your help, sir, shining through the darkness of formatting ignorance. May you sell copious amounts of unforgettable works.

  2. emg says:

    Glad it helped; I use Linux too, and I wished I could find that information when I was first making Createspace books.

  3. Dawn Howard says:

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!
    I am new to Libre Office and you saved me a very bendy learning curve!
    Dawn Howard.

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