How to Create an eBook with Calibre

All of us work hard to create the content of our books, leaving the messy business of creating the .epub or .mobi files to someone else. However, every once in a while we need to create a draft of our ebook. You either need to get an idea of how the end product will look or to send to a beta-reader who doesn’t want a PDF. I’m going to tell you how to create a quick and simple ebook with Calibre.

According its website, Calibre is “a free and open source e-book library management application developed by users of e-books for users of e-books”. I’ve used it for many years and it’s great.

Now Let’s get to the meat of the matter. Follow these steps to turn a .doc file (or another document file) into a .epub or .mobi file. (Note: the following pictures contain LibreOffice instead of Microsoft Office because that is what I have installed on my laptop.) You can click any image to get a larger version.

  1. Open your .doc file
  2. Heading1
    Change all your chapter headings to Heading 1. You can do this by selecting Heading 1 from the style menu.
  3. html-save
    Now, save your document as an HTML file
  4. Open Calibre
  5. add-book
    Click the “Add books” button. After the dialog box appears, you can browse to where your HTML file is located.
  6. edit-metadata
    Once the new HTML file is added to the Calibre library, select the new file and click the “Edit metadata” button. From here you can add the following information: Title, Author, cover image, description and more. When you’re done, click “OK”.
  7. convert-books
    Now click the “Convert books” button. From the top right of the new screen, you can select pub or mobi. There are quite a few options available, but your don’t need to use them all.
  8. remove-spacing
    Select the “Look & Feel” tab from the left side of the new dialog box. Now, select the “Remove spacing between paragraphs”.
  9. table-of-contents
    Next, select the wand icon to the right of “Level 1 TOC (XPath expression)”.
  10. table-of-contents-h1
    In the new window, select “h1” from the drop down menu under “Match HTML tags with tag name”. Click “OK” to close the window. Click “OK” again to convert the file.
  11. Once the conversion has finished, you can click the “Convert book” button again and select a different format.

Well, that was fairly easy. I hope this tutorial helped you.

Let me know if you have any questions.


John Paul WohlscheidJohn Paul Wohlscheid is the author of  Church Triumphant: 25 Men and Women who Gave Their Lives to Christ, Don’t Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth and Trouble is My Client, and A Battle for the Faith (with Theresa Linden).  He blogs at John Paul Wohlschied, Author.


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