Hitting the Enter key in Word forces a "line break" causing subsequent text to begin on a new line. This is known as a hard return. You should only use hard returns at the end of paragraphs. Sometimes authors put a return in the middle of a sentence because they want the line to break in a certain place in their document. But your final formatted book will likely be a different page size with different fonts and spacing than what is currently in your Word manuscript, so you shouldn't worry about that sort of thing until after your initial interior formatting is complete. Using the return (enter) key in the middle of a paragraph or sentence will cause problems when we import your document into our design software (such as creating a paragraph where one wasn’t intended,) and will affect the overall look of your manuscript.
If you already have unintentional hard returns in your manuscript, we require that you remove the extra hard returns from your Word document before submitting your manuscript for Interior Formatting or ebook conversion.
Before removing the hard returns, we recommend saving a copy of your manuscript as reference.
You have two options for removing unintentional or unnecessary hard returns in your manuscript. You can either manually fix each hard return. Or you can delete all hard returns and manually add paragraph breaks back into the document. We recommend the first option, but are providing instructions here for both options.
Option 1 (Recommended): Remove unnecessary hard returns manually
Option 2: Remove all hard returns and then add paragraph breaks manually
WARNING: Only use this option in extreme cases where you have more unintentional hard returns than actual paragraph breaks. To remove all hard returns, follow these steps:
- Under the Home menu, click “Replace" (you may find this under "Editing" within the Home menu)
- Under the Replace tab, make sure you’re in the “Find What” field
- Click “More” and then “Special”
- Select “Paragraph Mark”
- Click onto the “Replace With” field
- Press the space bar once
- Click “Replace All”
- Click “OK” then close the “Find & Replace” box.
This will remove all the hard returns from your document, including the intended paragraph breaks. The next step is to manually add back in the appropriate hard returns at the end of paragraphs. You can reference your original Word document to duplicate the correct break.