Images can add flavor to your content; however, if you format them improperly, they can be more of a hassle than a supplement to your work. I’ll show you here how to format your images so that they will render properly on Kindle.
Before you begin, make sure all of your images are of a high enough resolution to be used in your ebook. If you don’t know much about creating print-ready images for inclusion in ebooks, you may want to consult a graphic designer, who can assist you with getting your images in a proper format. You can also learn a bit about image resolution and print-ready artwork in the advanced version of my How to Design a Book Using Adobe InDesign.
We are going to be using Microsoft Word’s image editing features to adjust the size of images and place them within the document. Then we will create paragraph style for the images so they will behave like the text when Kindle reads the information. Following these simple steps will avoid a lot of hassles.
Let’s say you want to insert a chart on a specific page in your document. You’ve already added a placeholder in your document to remind you to place the chart. You would go to that placeholder (the information in carets) and delete the information. Then go to the “Insert” tab at the top of your window and click Pictures.
Then select the image you want to place. You should see the image appear in your document.
If you click anywhere within the image, you will see a bounding box appear around it. With this box you can adjust the size of the image. If your image appears too large for the page on which you are working, you’ll want to resize the image so that it will fit within the borders of the page. Just go to one of the corners and then, while holding down the Shift key, move the cursor to increase or decrease the size of the image. Using the Shift key assures that the image will remain proportional to the one you had originally placed. Without using the Shift key, you run the likelihood of distorting the image.
If you want text to wrap around an image, you can select the icon that looks like an upside down “U,” located to the right of the image, and select the type of text wrap.
Just as with the text, you will now want to create a style for the images in your book. Let’s say you want images to show up centered on the page and you want to add some space above and below so it doesn’t run right into the text.
In your Paragraph Styles, create a new style called “Images” (assuming that all images will be formatted the same way). For this style, we don’t have to worry about a font, or whether the font is boldface, underlined, or italicized. But we do want the image to show up as centered with a little space above and below. Remember, don’t manually add spaces into your document; create spaces through the formatting features!
Your image formatting should look like this:
Just for fun, let’s see if you can handle this minor adjustment. How would you create a caption for the image you just inserted? What if you wanted it to be a different size font and you wanted it to appear directly below the image? How would you adjust the formatting of the image paragraph style and the caption style to make this work?
First, you’d have to create a style for the captioned material. You could call it “Caption,” and then add it to your Styles list. If you remember back to when we created the style for images, we added some space before and after the image so that it would appear to float. But now that we have a caption, we don’t want the space to go between the caption and the image. Now, instead, we’ll take out the space that comes after the image and then add it to the Caption style. That way there will be space between the caption and the body text.
Keep in mind that any changes you make to a style will be reflected in every instance where the style is applied. If you have images where you don’t want a caption, for example, you’ll need to create a new style that will add back in the space after the image. The simplest way to make alterations to an existing style is to go to your styles list and locate the style. Then right click on it and select “Modify…”
This will allow you to make alterations. Note than any changes you make to a style will changes every other instance of that style.
Keep formatting your book accordingly. When you are done, go back a do a little proofing to make sure you have no extra spaces and that all of your content is formatted—even the images. Click on a paragraph or an image to see what style is assigned to it. If you don’t see a style show up (or if it just shows up as Normal) you will need to assign a style.