If you’re ready to get organised, your first task is to type up your manuscript, book notes or loose-leaf hand written pages into manuscript form on a computer. The next section explains how to go about it and also explores the available free programs and the file formats required.

Transcribing Manuscript to a Computer:

To transfer your manuscript to a computer, you’ll require the use of a word processor. There are many word processing programs out there on offer, some free, others you’ll have to purchase. Essentially though, they all have a common goal.

They create text documents.

Emphasis on “text”.

You simply open the downloaded and installed program and start typing. The text appears as you type on the screen document in front of you. Once you finish, you save it to a file and folder in your computer. It can be saved anywhere but it’s good practise to put it in an appropriate area, usually in the Documents section. You can open it back up at a later date. Then make changes, edits, or additions and resave.

Simple as that!

There are a range of settings you can change to alter the appearance of your document and all at the press of a few buttons (this process is commonly known as formatting) but you don’t need to fiddle with anything just yet.

Your initial objective is to get the manuscript to an electronic format on a PC in the standard or default font and spacings. Don’t worry about the text as it spills over the page and into the next document…

Just keep typing.

The most important thing if you’re starting from scratch, is to put it all into the one document file. You will find more information about the advantages and reasons why later, in the SAVING THE MANUSCRIPT CORRECTLY section.

How and Where to Obtain a Word Program?

Free versions of word programs are available to use online or download. But surprise, surprise…you might already have a basic version installed on your computer when you bought it, that you didn’t even know about.

You need to do a quick check to see if you have one. For instructions on how to do that:

Click here for Search My Computer for A Program

If you discover you have a free version, then that’s a bonus.

The free programs despite their limited features, are more than suitable. You don’t need anything elaborate to transcribe your notes. Remember, if you want to take advantage of the free or low cost method, be prepared to use programs with basic features only if that’s what you already have. It might mean doing a few things in a slightly more labour intensive fashion, but at least it is no additional cost to you. There are some advantages to full versions of a word program but only with the set up of particular types of books.

So if you want to milk the free resources, be prepared to work with what you have.

Should you on the other hand, stumble upon a full version of a word program on your computer, this means access to all areas and yes, you’ve hit the jackpot by way of extra features and tools. This is a definite advantage as mentioned but only some styles of books.

You can also skip the section below on recommended programs unless you want to check the info.

Available Word Programs (Free Versions)

For the ones that need to locate a fully functioning but basic word program, view the link further down for a list of the best 10 free programs. These include popular platforms like:

  • Microsoft Works
  • Open Office
  • Google Docs

My best recommendation for a freebie is Microsoft Works or what is commonly known as WPS Office 2016 Free. It’s a free and simplified version of Word with the basic tools and you will be able to save your text files in a range of acceptable formats. If your printer needs a particular text file format for your internal pages, they will specify the type they require. The above mentioned programs are some of the most popular used and all of their file formats should be compatible. This is due to the massive demand for file sharing across the world that has exploded in the last few decades.

As mentioned already, just download and install the program, create a desktop shortcut or icon, if prompted.

Then you’re ready to roll.

For those who don’t know how to download and install a program, you’ll need to get acquainted with the procedure.

Click here for How to Download and Install a Program

Always make sure you download your programs from an official website. This should avoid you being conned into downloading dodgy files, viruses and stuff you plain don’t need.

If you want more information on other word programs that won’t cost you a cent:

Click here for information on 10 Free Alternative Word Programs

Be wary, there are no updates or support for free to use programs. You’re effectively on your own but you must go with what works for you.

Available Word Programs (Full Versions)

If you want to go with a full version you will either have to purchase the program outright, usually for a few hundred dollars paid in advance annually. Alternatively you can go for a monthly paid subscription.

I recommend Microsoft Office 365. As well as Word, it offers a full suite of other office based programs like Power Point, Excel and Outlook. The cost is around $14 AUD per month. I’ve definitely found the complete version invaluable, especially for retreiving older files with different extensions from earlier versions of Word.

Available Word Programs (Trial Versions)

Avoid trial versions unless of course you’re just trialling them as they are exactly that. A trial run. A test period, usually 7 days, sometimes a month but mostly it’s a very short amount of time. You have to not only get your head around the program, but you then have to execute the . So they come with limited access time. You may be able to use all the features, but a small window of opportunity is the last thing you need when you are fluffing around, setting up and publishing a book.  That will put added pressure on you that you simply don’t need. And unless you time it right when you complete your absolute final book set up, then forget any kind of trial programs. So if you want to take your time or have no extra cost then a free version with basic or limited tools is of much better use to you.

File Formats

When transcribing your manuscript and then saving to a file on your computer, you will have the option of a range of formats to choose from. These are usually compatible across the board, so if you send files to somebody else, they will be able to open them easily. Some commonly used Microsoft Word file extensions or formats for popular versions of Word:

  • DOCX   
  • DOC  
  • WPS

For links and further info on full versions of Microsoft Word or Office 365 suite subscription go to:


or access the Links and Resources from the Home Page

When ready to proceed you will require further instruction.

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