4.4 KiB

format-novel formats an existing Word novel document in a standard style for sharing and submission. You might find this useful if you're producing your novel document programmatically with another tool like ebook-convert and want to add automatic formatting to your your writing workflow.

Example usage:

$ format-novel manuscript.docx

This assumes the document already contains a single title page, which is skipped for formatting purposes. It applies the following formatting, modifying the file in-place:

  • apply double spacing
  • indent the first line of each paragraph (0.5 inches) except for the initial paragraph in a chapter or section
  • remove vertical spacing between paragraphs
  • set a default font of Times New Roman
  • put the author last name, project title, and page number into the page header (e.g. "Corey / Leviathan Wakes / 99")

Chapter excerpts

You can optionally filter the output to only include certain chapters by number. For instance:

$ format-novel manuscript.docx --chapters 5 6 7

This will only include chapters 5, 6, and 7 in the output file, excluding all other chapters. For this to work, the input document must indicate chapter titles with a "Heading" style.

Page header

When constructing the page header, format-novel tries to determine the author last name from the first line of the manuscript and the project title from the filename. But if it gets those wrong, you can specify them on them on the command-line. For example:

$ format-novel manuscript.docx --author Corey --title "Leviathan Wakes"


Start by cloning the project with git. Then install it with pipx. Example:

pipx install /path/to/format-novel


format-novel takes a single argument: The path to your novel file in Word .docx format. For instance:

format-novel /path/to/your/novel.docx


format-novel is licensed under the GNU General Public License version 3 or any later version.

If you'd like to contribute to development, please feel free to submit a Pull Request or open an issue first to discuss your idea.

Source code

To get set up to hack on format-novel, first clone master via HTTPS or SSH:

git clone


git clone ssh://

Then, install format-novel "editable" so that you can run format-novel commands while you're hacking on them to make sure your changes work.

cd format-novel/
pipx install --editable .

Automated tests

Assuming you've cloned the format-novel source code as described above, and you're in the format-novel/ working copy, install tox, which is used for setting up testing environments:

pipx install tox

Finally, to actually run tests, run:

cd format-novel

Code formatting

format-novel code uses the Black code formatter, the Flake8 code checker, and the isort import orderer, so certain code style requirements will be enforced when running automated tests. See the Black, Flake8, and isort documentation for more information.

If when running tests, you get an error from the Black code formatter about files that would be reformatted, you can ask Black to format them for you via the following:

tox -e black

And if you get a complaint from the isort Python import orderer, you can ask isort to order your imports for you:

tox -e isort

Continuous integration

Each pull request triggers a continuous integration build which runs the test suite. You can view these builds on, and they're also linked from the commits list on each pull request.

Build Status