Formatting of Chapters & Sections

Beginning a Chapter

99% of the time, each chapter begins on a new page. Often, but not always, book designers will position chapters to begin on the right side of the book. Pages on the left side will always be even numbered in the file; pages on the right-hand side will always be odd.

Therefore, if you want your chapters to consistently begin on the right side, you will want to make sure the beginning of each chapter falls on an odd-numbered page. Keep in mind that you may need to insert a blank page to do so.

Chapter Headers

Chapter headers are an important design element which can be flashy or subtle. Depending on what type of book you are printing—novel, poetry, nonfiction, etc.—you may have chapter headers which are wordy, numeric, or simply not have headers at all. No matter what, it is important to keep your chapter headers consistent throughout your document.

Every chapter header should start in the same place on the new page, whether that’s right near the top, a quarter of the way down, or in the middle of the page. Every chapter header should also be the same font and same font size throughout. Sans Serif fonts often make effective chapter headers. Consider using a complementary font in a larger size than the body of your text (increase 2 pts or so) or in bold.

Section Headers

Section headers are most common in nonfiction books or textbooks, where it can be helpful to have chapters broken down into smaller elements. Every section header should also be the same font and same font size throughout. Often designers will use the same font for section headers that they used for chapter headers, but in a smaller size or not in bold.