Taking your content and creating an ebook/pdf out of it may seem like quite a complicated process, but it is actually much easier than you may think!
When designing an ebook, most of the work happens upfront – before you even start adding any words into your book.
Setting up the layout, deciding on the design, selecting fonts and colours etc – this will take a bit of time. But it is worth investing the time upfront and setting up your template, because then it is simply a case of copying over your text, inserting your images, adding some finishing touches, and you are done.
Follow along as I take you through the steps of creating an ebook from scratch.
If you’d like to save this for later, please save it to Pinterest.
Step-by-step to creating an ebook using PowerPoint
Open a blank PowerPoint document – it doesn’t matter just yet what the slide size is.
The PowerPoint menu is made up of tabs and ribbons. The labels across the top are called tabs. Each tab has a ribbon menu, with its own options that relate to the tab name.
You are going to select the ‘Design’ tab.
Once you click on the tab, you will see options that relate to the design and layout of your document.
On the left, you will have the various themes you can choose from, and to the right of that, you can select the different variants of the theme and colour options to go with that theme. The first thing you are going to do, however, is to set up the page size. Click on the ‘Slide Size’ drop-down to the right of the ribbon and select ‘Custom Slide Size’.
A popup will give you the opportunity to change the slide size, and the orientation. Choose ‘Letter’ from the drop-down, and ‘Portrait’ for the orientation.
You will see this scaling popup – as you don’t actually have any content yet you can select either option.
Ok, so now you have the right page setup, we are going to start with the general design of the ebook.
You have three options for this:
- You can create your own design from scratch,
- You can download an ebook template specifically for PowerPoint, or
- You can use a pre-loaded theme and adapt it to your needs.
For today’s purposes, we are going to use one of the themes that come with PowerPoint and adapt it slightly.
I selected this theme with the fresh, clean cover pattern. You will notice it looks quite stretched out – that is because the design was for a landscape slideshow. But we can fix this easily.
If you select a theme that is within the program, have a look at the different variants offered with this theme, and the different colour options, and choose the one you like the most.
I actually like the original version best, so I will keep it as is.
So now we are going to tweak the theme a bit so it works as an ebook.
To make ‘global’ changes to your template, you work in the ‘Slide Master’ view. Click on the ‘View’ tab, then select ‘Slide Master’.
Any changes you make in this view will affect your whole document.
Scroll to the top slide – this is the ‘Master Title Slide’. Changes to this slide will affect the other slides in the ‘Slide Master’ view. Here you can check the spacing and layout, as well as make changes to the fonts and colours.
I like the font that is used here, but the space for the heading is too big and there isn’t enough space for the actual content.
I have made thee heading narrower, moved the blue shape up, and now I will make the content block bigger by dragging the text box higher. I won’t make the boxes wider, as it is important to have plenty of white space around your text. It will make it easier to read.
Now I’m going down to the cover slide, where the pattern got a bit squashed.
I click on the pattern and drag it wider until it looks more rounded. You don’t have to do this if you preferred the pattern as is. You can see some of the pattern sticking out on the side – don’t worry about this, once we save as a PDF at the end it won’t be visible.
The slide styles you will be using most often are:
- Title and Content
- Title Only
Now I’m going to go back to the ‘Normal’ view by clicking on the ‘View’ tab and selecting ‘Normal’ on the ribbon.
I forgot to mention earlier – save often!
Ok, now that we have our template set up, we can start putting in content.
Start with the cover page, which is the page that should be open currently in your document.
Now you can add a contents page. The ‘Title Only’ slide is a good option for this page. Click on the ‘Home’ tab, then click on the ‘New Slide’ drop-down. Select the ‘Title Only’ slide and type ‘Contents’ in the slide title.
You can then add in a table for the contents. Using a table will make it easier to keep the alignment neat.
Now I will show you how to insert the pages for the content.
Click on the ‘New Slide’ drop-down again and select ‘Title and Content’.
Here you start adding the content you have for your ebook. You can copy and paste the text into the text boxes. When pasting – click inside your text box, then right-click and select ‘Keep Text Only’. This will ensure that the formatting doesn’t carry over from your Word document (or wherever you are copying the text from), and the formatting will then be consistent throughout your ebook.
You can include images onto your pages quite easily.
The next page I’m going to create will have an image on top, and the text at the bottom, so I select the ‘Title and Content’ slide again from the ‘New Slide’ drop-down. I have dragged the text box down to about halfway down the page and added the text.
Now you can copy your image and paste it onto the slide.
If you are using hi-res images, just adding a few photos will make your ebook a very large file. This trick will keep the quality of your images intact, but reduce the file size.
- Click on your image and ‘Ctrl x’ (i.e. cut)
- Under the ‘Home’ tab on the far left, you will see a ‘Paste’ dropdown.
- Select ‘Paste Special’
- On the popup select ‘Picture (JPEG)’ and click OK
Your image will now be 10% the original size (in MB/KB) but have the same quality).
Then you can move and resize the photo to fit the space (hold the ‘Shift’ button down while resizing to keep the aspect ratio of the photo the same and to avoid a photo that looks squashed or stretched out). In this case, the photo is too high, so I’m going to take some text out and resize the text box.
Bonus tip 2
If you need images to use in your ebook and you don’t have the funds to purchase them, there are plenty of stock photography websites that offer their images for free, either with or without attribution. Make sure to read their terms of service carefully – some sites only allow you to use their photos if you are not making money from your ebook.
Carry on adding content to your pages. You can try out different layouts for the pages, but don’t make each one completely different to the next. Choose 2 – 3 layouts and keep to these. Have a consistent layout provides continuity and will make your ebook easier to read.
I’ve gone a very simple layout for this ebook. And looking at it now, I know how I want to change the content page.
I’m going to change up the colours, and add in an image (the same way I showed you how earlier). You will see that I used a table to lay out the contents, but it doesn’t necessarily look like a table.
Now you are ready to add the back page.
Select the ‘Blank’ slide from the ‘New Slide’ drop-down. I want to make my back page a solid colour. You can simply place a shape onto the page.
Select the ‘Insert’ tab, click on the ‘Shapes’ drop-down and select the rectangle.
Adjust the shape to fit the page, then fill the shape with your selected colour. (Make sure to select the shape first, otherwise, the ‘Shape Fill’ drop-down will be greyed out.
On this last page, you can include any disclaimer you may have. Insert a blank text box (‘Insert’ tab, ‘Text Box’ button), and paste your disclaimer. You can also include your logo on this last page.
As a pre-final step, I always recommend a final spell-check, in case something snuck in there along the way.
And now, for the final step – saving your ebook as PDF.
There are two ways to do this. I will show you my preferred way first.
Click ‘File’, then go down to ‘Save As’. Select the folder you want to save your PDF in. The folder’s location will come up. In the drop-down at the bottom of the window where it currently says PowerPoint Presentation, click on that and go down to PDF. Click ‘Save’.
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Option 2: If you have an older version of PPT that doesn’t have this option, you can ‘print’ to Adobe PDF. This will, unfortunately, leave a white border around the edges of your page.
And there you have it! You have your gorgeous ebook ready to send to your readers!
What will the topic of your ebook be?