August 21, 2011 
Smashwords "Nuclear" Method

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"A Simplified Guide to the First Seven Formatting Steps" 

By: Hazel Hart 
Smashwords's Nuclear Method:
A Simplified Guide to the First Seven Formatting Steps
By Hazel Hart

I had trouble following the first seven steps of the nuclear method for formatting my books, so I broke them down. I have had four books accepted into the Smashwords Premium Catalog, so the steps worked for me. If anything isn't clear, send me a question at

Step 1.
Have a backup.
Save as a Word 97-2003 document.
If Track Changes is on, turn it off.

Step 2.
Activate Show/Hide formatting: the backwards P (paragraph sign) in the toolbar.

Step 3.
Turn off some of words Auto Correct features by doing the following:

In Word 2000-2003
Click Tools
Click Autocorrect options
Autoformat tab – Under the autoformat tab, unclick the following boxes: Heading styles, list styles, automatic bulleted lists, and other paragraph styles.
Autoformat as you type – Under Autoformat as you type, unclick the following boxes: All boxes under "Apply as you type" and all boxes under "Automatically as you type."

In Word 2007
Click the Microsoft Office Button in the upper left hand corner of Word.
Go to the bottom of the window and select Word options. This is in tiny print.
Select Proofing.
Select Auto Correct Options and unclick the items under Autoformat and Autoformat as you type as listed above.

Step 4. The Smashwords manual tells how to eliminate text boxes, but if you use the nuclear method starting in Step 5, any textboxes will disappear on their own.

Step 5. The Nuclear Method of purging Word files from sneaky formatting:
Open Notepad (Start->Programs->Accessories->Notepad).
Copy and paste your manuscript into Notepad (CTRL+A will highlight the entire manuscript).
Open a new Word document.
Copy and paste the manuscript from Notepad into the new Word document (Control+C for Copy and Control+V for paste or use the toolbar: Edit->Copy).
Name and save your clean file. (I use nuclear_book_title as a filename to distinguish it from the original Word (backup) file.
Click out of Notepad. No need to save.

Step 6. In the nuclear version of your manuscript, apply Normal Style by:

Word 2000-2003
Highlight the text (CTRL+A)
Select Normal from the toolbar at the top of the page. You may also want to select Times New Roman font and Size 12 at the same time.
Warning: If you have not already done so, you will lose centering, italics, and other formatting. You will have to put these back in.

Word 2007
Set a style window on the toolbar, so you can select the Normal style from there.
Click on the Office Button
Select Word Options
Click Add
Don't forget to save or apply or whatever the word at the bottom is.
This will put a style box at the top of the Word toolbar.

Step 7 Making sure the document is in Normal style:
CTRL+A to highlight text
Select Normal style
Times New Roman
Font size 12

Step 7b Fixing the first line indents:
Click on Format Paragraphs
See Smashwords how-to manual page 30 for the settings. You may download the free manual at

Now that you have a clean document with indents, go back and put in the centering, italics and other format items.

To finish the formatting of your book, download and consult the complete manual. There are instructions for a making a table of contents if you need one and for the front and back matter of the book.