So many people I run into on a daily basis have the same response when they hear I’m a self-published author. “Oh really? I’ve always wanted to write a book.”
When I hear that I instantly probe and ask what type of book. Nine times out of ten the answer is: a children’s picture book.
I write in many different genres but children’s books have always been my passion. Perhaps it’s because my mother ran a daycare most of my life. However, if you ask my wife, she’d say it’s because that’s where my maturity level and attention span peaked.
Whatever the reason, when all of these people would tell me they wanted to write a children’s book, my thought was…’Then do it!” The response I would get back every time was either they don’t know where to start or that it’s just too hard.
In honor of these passion-thirsty future authors, I’m going to show you just exactly how easy it is to make a children’s picture book in PowerPoint.
Please scroll past the video for a written tutorial with screen shots.
How to Make a Children’s Picture Book in PowerPoint
1 – Create Your Base File
- Open up PowerPoint and select a blank presentation
- Decide on the size you want your book. Then go to Design – Slide Size and select Custom Slide Size
- Enter in the width and height you want your final book to be and hit Enter. In my case, I entered 8.5 by 8.5.
- Then select Ensure Fit on the pop-up so that everything fits nicely on your screen.
- Remove all default text by pressing Ctrl + A and then pressing the Delete key
- Your first page will be your title page, so right click and select Duplicate Slide to create your copyright page, dedication page, etc.
- Now that you have the front pages created, create the first page of your story.
Note: the industry standard in books is that the story as well as new chapters always start on odd number pages (you can easily check if your page is odd or even by looking at the slide number at the top left of your slide), therefore, if after creating your front pages, the first page of your story falls on an even page simply add in a blank page by duplicating the slide again.
2 – Set Up Your Master Layout
Now that we’re in the heart of your book, you want to ensure that your pages are as uniform and consistent as possible. The best way to do that is by using Master Slides. A master slide is basically a template you can set up one time and use on some or all of your pages to ensure continuity.
Here’s how to create a Master Slide:
- Click on View – Slide Master
- Select Insert Layout
- Click inside the inserted layout and press Ctrl + A, then press Delete to remove all content
3 – Lay Out Your Work Space
Now that you have created a layout, it’s time to customize it. The first thing I always do is create my “working space”. I know that Createspace wants a 1/8 inch (.125 in) margin on all sides. Just to be safe, I always set up a 1/4 inch (.25 in) margin. Here’s how:
- Go to Insert – Shapes and select the Rectangle option
- Then place a rectangle on your layout (it doesn’t matter the size or placement yet)
- Now Right click inside the rectangle and select Size and Position
- You now want to make this the size of your working area which would be the size of your book minus your margin. In the case of my book:
Height: 8.5 inches – .25 top margin – .25 bottom margin = 8 inches
Width: 8.5 inches – .25 left margin – .25 right margin = 8 inches
So my box will be 8 x 8
- Move your box until it’s centered on your layout page. Turning on Ruler and Guides make this much easier. Just select View and then check the boxes for Ruler and Guides. You can test out and see if gridlines help you as well.
- Next, remove the fill color by right-clicking in the box and click fill. Select No Fill
This is now your working area. You can feel free to duplicate these steps to create any consistent layouts you’d like. (ie. if you want your text to always be in the same spot, create another box and place it where you want your text to go, etc.) Once you’ve set up your layout, I suggest giving it a useful name by selecting Rename at the top of the page. This will make it easier to find later.
4 – Put Your Master Layout to Work
It’s time to take the new master layout and put it to work. Click View – Normal. This will bring you back to your story pages.
To utilize your newly created layout go to the page in the book you’d like to use it, right click and select Layout and then choose the layout that you created. (this is where your renaming will make it easier to find).
You can now use this same layout on any of the pages you want. Do some of your pages need a different format? No problem, just follow the steps above and create another Master Layout. Just be sure to rename it to something clear so you know which page to use it on. (ie. Left layout, Right layout, etc.)
Be sure to SAVE regularly by pressing CTRL + S.
5 – Prep for Exporting
Once you’ve laid out your entire book it’s almost time to export your PDF…ALMOST! Remember those guides you created? It’s time to remove those, as I’m sure you don’t want them in your final files. This is where the Master Layouts really come in handy. Instead of going through and removing the guides on every single page of your book, you simply have to go to the Master Layout(s) you created (View – Slide Master), select the boxes that you added and select Delete.
DO NOT SAVE!
You want to make sure that your saved file has the guides left in so they’re available for any possible future updates you need to make to the book.
6 – Export Final Book to PDF
After removing all of the guides from each Master Layout you created, it’s time to create your pdf file. Go to File – Export – Create PDF/XPS
There you have it; you’ve now successfully created a children’s picture book in PowerPoint. Children’s books with Bleed are slightly different, but we save that for another post.
Do you have any questions or comments? Leave them in the comment section below.
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