How to Format CreateSpace Headers

One of the most frustrating parts of prepping my Word .docx for print-on-demand (POD) publishing by CreateSpace was formatting the page numbers in the headers. The first step was easy to simply format the header to have a different even and odd page. That’s where “easy” ended.

The First Hurtle in Formatting Headers for CreateSpace

The problem is, books don’t start on Page 1. They have front matter: A title page, copyright page, dedication page, etc., which aren’t supposed to have any headers. Page 1 doesn’t appear until the first page of Chapter 1.

Troubleshooting CreateSpace Headers

Solution: I inserted a “section break, next page” at the end of my front matter. Then I opened the Formatting Palette to make it faster to move through the following steps. (It’s under View in the menu bar.) To open the portion of the Formatting Palette that controls your headers, double click on the header you’re trying to format.

Deselect Link to Previous at start of Chapter 1 when formatting headers for CreateSpaceSince I’d already formatted the headers, the formatting repeated itself for this new section.

Important Tip:

In the new section, be sure you deselect the “Link to Previous” option on both an even page header and an odd page header before you remove the headers in the section for the front matter. Also, select “Different First Page” and delete the text in the header for Page 1 of Chapter 1.

There, that was easy. Except it doesn’t end there.

Advanced Formatting for CreateSpace Headers

I realized professionally printed novels don’t have headers on the first page of any of the chapters, so neither should POD books. To achieve that, every chapter has to be a separate section. But how to get the page numbers to flow properly? Before we begin, be sure your file is completely formatted before you format the page numbers in the headers. If you change anything about your formatting that will alter the number of pages per chapter, you will create an annoying mess with the page numbers.

Step-by-Step Tips for Formatting POD Headers

How to Format Page Numbers in Headers for CreateSpace

NOTE: On the image above, “Header from Top” is set at 0.1. Be sure you set this to 0.5, or your header will be outside the printable area on the page.


1) Use the “Find” feature with the word “Chapter” to navigate quickly through your MS Word file. Once you get going, you just hit the double down arrows in the right scroll bar to “find next.”

2) Go to Chapter 2. If you have a page break at the end of the previous chapter, remove it. Insert a “section break, next page” just before the C in Chapter. The break will appear at the end of the previous chapter.

3) Since your previous section had a different header for page one (no header) the same should be true for this new section. One problem. The new section starts with the same page number as the previous section. So, double click on any header in the new section. (For Chapters 2 through the Epilogue, I leave “Link to Previous” selected.)

Select the page number formatting icon to change the page number in your MS Word documentClick on the last icon in the top row, to format the page number.

This window will appear. In the box for “Start at” enter the correct number for that section. (Example, if your previous chapter ended on page 14, enter 15 as the starting page for this section.)Change the Start at number in the page number formatting window in MS Word

4) Do this for every chapter.

5) For the back matter (author bio page, excerpts, blurbs, etc.) create a new section. This time, deselect “Link to Previous.” Be sure you do that for both an even page header and an odd page header. Then delete the header text, so those pages have no header.

That’s it. Done! You now have professional looking page headers and/or footers for you whole POD book.


  1. Terry Odell says:

    Where was this post last week when I was formatting my Create Space book! Actually, I modified the Create Space template, which already “knew” there were different headers and footers for odd or even pages. I’m using Word 2003, so your menus are different from mine.

    I thought about the ‘you don’t put the header on the first page of a chapter’ issue, but went through my bookshelf and did find a couple of traditional print books that did have it, so rather than go back and stick more section breaks in to see if that worked, I let it slide. (Given that I’ve sold maybe a dozen copies of my other 2 Create Space books, I figured it wasn’t going to irritate very many people if I left it there.)

    I also didn’t think to leave headers off the back matter, although I got the front matter done correctly. Again, will it bother the 5 people who might buy the book? Since I put it in print primarily for people like my mom who don’t read my ebooks, I’m not sure I’ll spend the time changing it for this one.

    But, since I’m still waiting for my proof to show up before clicking the put on sale button, maybe I’ll go try this.

  2. Julie: This is all great info, I figured out the section break trick to keep headers off chapter opening pages by blundering through on my own last year. I wished I’d had nice step-by-step directions!

    The good news is, once you have a book that is well formatted, you can use it as a template into which to cut and paste your next POD book (a chapter at a time works best, making sure you don’t overwrite the section breaks). Once you get the hang of cutting and pasting new text into your template (renaming the file first, of course, so you don’t delete the previous book), the page numbering and headers fall into line without having to click all the setup boxes every time.

    Everything needs to be rigorously checked, of course, but once you set it up, you can use the format over and over again. I’ve published I think six POD books so far, and I’m very pleased with how they came out.

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