I am going to write a simple book on programming in Turkish but I am not sure how I design my MS Word doc.

It would be great to have a template to get a head start.

Do you know any?

closed as too localized by slhck, Journeyman Geek, Diogo, Mokubai, studiohack Sep 30 '11 at 2:44

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    Huh. If you want to write a book, the template I'd suggest involves using real typesetting software, not Word. (hint hint) – slhck Sep 26 '11 at 9:52
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    Also, if you are writing a real book that you want to publish later (even electronically), your future publisher will take care of formatting it the right way. If you use Word to write a book, you're basically locking yourself in right from the start. It's just a friendly recommendation—not that you can't do it—but you'll run into problems sooner or later. – slhck Sep 26 '11 at 9:56
  • Locking yourself into what? Word is more than capable of being used to write a book. If your writing a book you should be concentrating on the content, not the design. Take a good look through the links in RedGrittyBrick's answer below though... – Mesh Sep 26 '11 at 11:00
  • @slhck thanks. your answers helped a lot. The book is not so much serious but a publisher is going to publish it. So, if write it in a simple format, would my publisher format it for their own format? I mean, how those kind of things are working in general. (I am so rookie on this so I appreciate your concern) – tugberk Sep 26 '11 at 11:01
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    tugberk — yes, generally you should start out with the simplest format possible. It's always easy to go from lightly structured plain text to any given format. For example, if you write your text in Markdown, you can convert it to HTML, PDF, LaTeX, Word, etc. The other way round is much more complicated. Publishers will accept many formats, however it's best if you ask them for their specific manuscript submission guidelines. In computer science, LaTeX is not unusual. – slhck Sep 26 '11 at 11:17

Based on our chat and the comments, I see two ways for you:

1. Write the content, let the publisher take care of the rest

This is basically covered by RedGrittyBrick. Write your text first, concentrate on that. Then, convert it to whatever your publisher needs. They will take care of the rest.

If you use Markdown as a writing language of your choice, you can convert it to plenty of other formats with Pandoc, like HTML, LaTeX, PDF, OpenDocument, etc.

See RedGrittyBrick's answer for a couple of tools to help you start writing and organizing your book.

2. Write it in LaTeX

Almost every single book published in the field of computer science and programming is typeset in a flavor of TeX. If you are a programmer, it shouldn't take you long to pick up LaTeX and start writing your book using it.

Start out with a few beginner's examples and then try to include figures and code in your documents. On Windows, use MikTeX as your standard TeX distribution. I once prepared a paper kit for a university tutorial I held which should show you how to do all kinds of stuff in LaTeX. Wikibooks also has a good LaTeX resource.

LaTeX will take care of your table of contents, a proper typography, chapter and section numbering, formatting code and images, etc. Since the structure is more important to TeX than the actual design, you can just write your book using it, and worry about the design later. This is the main difference between WYSIWYG (… "what you get", i.e. Word and their likes) and languages that specify what you mean.

In most cases, a good publisher will (1) either provide you with detailed LaTeX templates ("classes") or (2) do the LaTeX design in-house. If something goes wrong in the publishing process, you could actually do it yourself and create an eBook, if you don't need a top-notch design. LaTeX is meant for writing books, so you will typically get pretty results very fast, once you learn the language.


Unless visual design is the most important feature of your book, most advice I've seen recommends you concentrate first only the text. Once you have the text finished, then worry about layout. If you have a professional publisher I would expect them to do that part for you.

Have you considered serious writer's tools for distraction-free typing like Q10, Darkroom, TextRoom and Scrivener?

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