Layout of book cover in MS Word or Publisher

July 28, 2019 at 07:15:18
Specs: several
A few months ago I used OpenOffice Writer to lay out the
cover and the interior of a book which was then printed to
my complete satisfaction. Now I have been given a .docx
file for the interior of another book. I believe MS Word was
used to lay it out. Since it uses formatting features that are
not available in OpenOffice Writer, I need to use MS Word
to complete the layout and final editing.

I'm going to make the cover from scratch. The cover of the
new book also has formatting requirements that apparently
cannot be done In OpenOffice Writer. But in that program
I was able to divide a single page into three parts, for the
back, spine, and front of the cover. I don't know how to do
that in MS Word or MS Publisher.

As on the previous book, the text on the spine goes vertically
instead of horizontally.

One requirement is for the edges of the photograph that
will be used as the background of the front cover to extend
at least 1/8" beyond the edges of the page, to ensure that
it prints all the way to the edge. The left edge of the photo
should be at the line dividing the front from the spine.

Which program should I use to lay out the cover?

How do I use it to divide the cover into back, spine, and front?

How do I set up a picture to print beyond the page edges?

Is there another place where I should ask about MS Office
programs besides here at

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

See More: Layout of book cover in MS Word or Publisher

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July 28, 2019 at 07:27:47
MS Word could allow what you want?

Divide the page into three columns; the centre being for the spine?

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July 28, 2019 at 10:06:41
I saw that that is possible, but I was afraid that if I did that,
later on I would discover a problem with doing it that way,
and I don't have time to make major mistakes. I don't have
time to read a user manual, either!

Do you know that I will be able to put text on the spine
rotated 90 degrees?

Do you know that I will be able to place a picture with the
edges extending beyond the edges of the paper?

I took a quick look in Publisher and found lots of templates,
but none were for a spread with back, spine, and front.
I don't understand why not.

I have a tiny bit of experience with Word, none at all with
Publisher, but I'll use whatever you recommend.

I should have said: I have MS Office 2010.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

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July 28, 2019 at 11:03:10
Here is a site that might be of interest, it's a DIY for make a Book Cover with Word:

The actual tutorial starts about a quarter of the way down the page.


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Related Solutions

July 28, 2019 at 14:07:04
I have Office (and thus Word) 2011 - Mac Office version.

I did a quick look-see; test using three columns.

You can format the columns independently - width etc.

I set width of centre column (2) to say an inch and left the defaults (template settings) as is for the other two columns.

There is the standard Word option to insert a text box - i.e. in the middle column in your case. Text in that box can is entered vertically (by default).and it can be rotated to display whichever way you wish on the spine...

Probably you can insert more than one box and format each accordingly?

I have done similar to what you seek for a book cover, using Word only - for a three fold flyer; which had content in both horizontal and vertical layouts. One column had text at right angles to the other two...

You can also of course insert images in any of the columns; and rotate etc. as required.

Publisher is a lot more flexible ad allows more options; but for a relatively simple design Word ought to allow what you seek?

I have used Publisher too - and for projects similar to the above. However it ain't around for Mac OS as best I know; so if I had to produce such output again I'd at least give it a go with Word for a starter..

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July 28, 2019 at 14:18:56


That page seems to ignore the spine and back of the cover.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

message edited by Jeff Root

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July 28, 2019 at 14:36:48
Check using word as above in my #4..?

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July 28, 2019 at 15:08:30
Office Libre (Libre Office) available for windoze and Mac systems... Has very similar options to Word; and is compatible with .dccx files...

I have it on my Mac (it's phree - as the name suggests...)

The Format drop down includes Page; which gives you assorted options including columns.

The Insert - drop down gives you text box option.

Enter text into the box and right click on it and you get assorted options - rotate it etc.. Bizarrely you select Character to get those options.

message edited by trvlr

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July 29, 2019 at 09:25:49
Sorry for the first link, did not realize it was for ebooks.

Here is another site, but it is apparently for paper back books:

It has a link for Createspace which has templates you can download,
the sizes range from 5 x 8 to 8 x 11 inches
and it does discuss the spine and how to include in design.
(The Lightning Source link is dead)

The page has a number of links to other sites, but I did not inspect them.

I went to the authors web site, but he wants your email before you can enter the site.

and just in case you need it here is a site to calculate your spine width:

Who knew designing a book cove could be such a pain. :-)
Good luck.


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August 1, 2019 at 07:46:26
It still looks like I should use columns to divide the cover into
back, spine, and front. Agreed?

I estimate the spine thickness at 0.3 inch. The front cover will
have a picture that bleeds off the three outside edges, so the
page needs to be bigger than the actual size of the book by at
least 0.125 inch. Let's make it 0.2 inch. To be safe, I'll add this
to the back as well as the front. Since the book will be 7" wide,
the total page width is 14.7".

When I set up three columns, and try to set the width of the center
column to 0.3 inch, it always changes to 0.5 inch. That appears
to be the minimum width that Word allows a column to have.

I may be able to work with that. The column width shouldn't matter
as long as the text in it is centered. But is that the best I can do?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

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August 1, 2019 at 08:12:07
In Word 2011 Format >>> columns - there is an option to set column widths to your preference. The default setting is for each column to be equal width. The check box (checked by default) can be unchecked and thus you set widths as you wish.

I've just tested on my Mac Word 2011 and it works fine...

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August 1, 2019 at 08:20:13
Here is a site that raises a question I did not think of:
Are you designing a Book Jacket as opposed to a book cover?
I get the impression your doing a book jacket.

Site has a pdf template you can down load.


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August 1, 2019 at 08:33:33
And equally I think Word can allow that too; simply create 6 columns.

One for each fly leaf, a wee one for each fold over of the fly leaf; one for the front cover, one for the back cover and a column for the spine.

But is there a free and viable template too - worth pursing that avenue.

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August 1, 2019 at 08:51:41
Is this the same project as the one discussed in your "display pages side-by-side" thread?

If so, how are you planning to deal with what you said in that thread (my emphasis added)

"The "printer" in this case is a company a few miles away that I have
never visited. The author does almost all of the communication with
them. So whatever I send them is what gets printed. No tweaking".

When you start tossing around measurements like 0.125" and best guess estimates of the spine thickness - without the ability to test/tweak these numbers - I have to wonder about the odds of success.

message edited by DerbyDad03

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August 1, 2019 at 09:11:00
My limited experience with making "print this as formatted etc." items is that one can either use pdf file format for the print - but that has its limitations; or sends a postscript file. The latter requiring a post script capable printer of course...

Pending more info I suggest you try a simple test of a multi-columns document; send as a doc file, as a pdf, and if possible/viable as a postscript document too?

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August 1, 2019 at 09:45:00
This is a paperback book. The cover is printed separately from
the inside pages. The cover will be one PDF file, the inside pages
will be another PDF file. I send the PDF files to the printer via a
file-transmission website the printer has contracted. I can send
test files to the printer to ask them if they are formatted okay.
I don't want to do that more than necessary.

I did this once before, using OpenOffice Writer, a book finished
last December. Same size (7" x 10") and same kind of cover.
It had 108 pages and a spine thickness I estimated to be 0.22",
although I actually don't know what paper stock the author chose.
It is white, fairly glossy, and fairly heavy, so when calculating the
thickness I selected a paper that seems to match that description.
The cover printed perfectly.

This book has about 142 pages, for which I estimate a thickness
of 0.3". If Word will only let me set a column width of 0.5" or more,
I'll go with that and leave space on each side of the spine text.
Getting everything centered correctly is a bear, though, because
of the front cover image.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

message edited by Jeff Root

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