Creating Epub Ebooks with Sigil: #2 – Styling and Chapters

In a second part of the Sigil tutorial Paul Salvette gives tips on how to style the document. What is especially interesting is how to deal with headings and how to split an ebook into chapters.

Read a first post here and get free updates of the blog, if you don’t want to miss the next part, where Paul will explain how to add images, metadata and table of contents as well as share tips on finalizing a file and converting it to Kindle format. Check also Paul’s book How to Format Your eBook for Kindle, NOOK, Smashwords, and Everything Else.

Styling text

Content with all the same font and characteristics is probably not how you want your finalized eBook to look. For instance, you probably want to add some italics, bold, or underlined text. To do that you simply select the text and then click on the appropriate button in the top menu:

Some self-publishers might prefer the paragraphs to be justified, which is when the text aligns vertically on both the left and right side. Also, for your title and chapter headings, you probably want them centered. You can click the cursor in any paragraph and then click one of the justification buttons in the top menu to align your paragraph left, center, right, or justified:

The next step is to declare your title and chapter headings as “Heading X”. Headings have a larger font size than the regular content and are bold. When you generate the meta Table of Contents, it will find any text that you have defined as “Heading X” and include that in the Table of Content. Click your cursor inside the paragraph of any text and make it a heading with this button:

Here is an example of how your eBook might look in the WYSIWYG pane after adding some styles:

Splitting up into chapters

When eReaders first came around, they were very primitive devices that had trouble reading large files. That is why splitting your single HTML file into many smaller ones, or “parsing”, is continued as a best practice today. Additionally, everywhere you split your HTML file, the eReading device will recognize it as a page break. It is advisable to split your HTML file before each chapter. So if you have 13 chapters in your novel, you probably want to have 1 HTML file for the title page, and 13 more for each chapter (14 total). To split the HTML file, you simply press Ctrl+Enter or press the Chapter Break button in the top menu:

Paul Salvette is an author who lives in Bangkok, Thailand, with his wife, Lisa, and newborn daughter, Monica. He grew up in the United States and served in the Navy from 2002 to 2009, with some time in Iraq. His day job involves working at a Thai foundation that focuses on poverty eradication, philanthropy, and education. He hopes to stay in Thailand until he is deported or dies of natural causes, whichever comes first.

Learn more about Paul at or follow him on Twitter @PaulSalvette.

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