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How do I import a Word file into Leanpub, and convert it into plain text, so I can write on Leanpub in the Browser writing mode?
How do I import a Word file into Leanpub, and convert it into plain text, so I can write on Leanpub in the Browser writing mode?

Keywords: Word, Microsoft Word, import, convert

Leanpub Support avatar
Written by Leanpub Support
Updated over a week ago

It's easy to import a Word file into Leanpub, so you can write in our plain text Browser writing mode!

Just Do It for Me! Some people love learning new processes. But some people hate it, and some don't have the time, and some would just rather pay for it to be done without having to think about it! If your book is written in Word, and you want us to import it for you, just email your Word document to with a subject line of Convert to Markua, and ask us for a free quote.

(Just a quick side note: if you have already set up a book on Leanpub using our "Upload" writing mode, you won't see the Word import option. It will only be available if your book is the Browser or Cloud (GitHub or Dropbox) writing modes. You can learn how to switch writing modes here.)

First, Create a Book in Our Browser Writing Mode

You can create a book in our Browser writing mode here:

The Browser writing mode is selected by default, and you can use it for free - just make sure to select the Free account, when you get to the bottom of the page!

Second, Edit Your Word Document to Match Our Style Guide

All self-publishing services (and book publishers, for that matter!) have "style guides" that your Word manuscript needs to match, before you can submit your Word document.

The Word style guide template you download from the link above is a working example of how you need to style your Word document.

Basically, you need to make your chapter headings are in the "Heading 1" style, and delete any formatting we do not support.

For example, if you have formatted a Table of Contents or a List of Figures in your Word document, you should delete those.

What happens when I import my Word file to Leanpub? When you import your Word document into Leanpub, it will be converted into Markua, our plain text markup syntax created specifically for generating books. It's basically our "Markdown for books".

(If terms like "plain text markup syntax" and "Markdown" are unfamiliar to you, you're in the vast majority of people! We've got an article here that explains what Markua is. If you're into technical details the full technical Markua specification is published here.)

A quick note: some authors have told us the easiest way for them to get their Word manuscript to match our style guide was just to modify the style guide! That means you download the style guide from the link above, and just do a copy-paste of your chapter contents from your own Word document into the style guide file, and copy/paste/modify the chapter headings in the style guide Word document itself to create new chapter headings.

Next, Import Your Word File

To import your Word file, go to your "Import from Word Documents" page here:

...making sure to replace YOUR_BOOK with your book's unique web address.

You can also find a link to this page on your book's "Overview" page:

On the "Import from Word Documents" page, click "Choose File":

Select the file on your computer.

Next, click "Start Import":

You will then see an "Import In Progress" message, and a progress bar at the top of the page:

When the import process is complete, the page will re-load and it will look the same as when you first went there:

But something IS different! Click on the "Write" tab at the top left:

On the Write tab (this is actually the in-browser text editor where you'll be doing all your writing on Leanpub), you will see your Word file has been imported, and added to the end of the list of text files on the left:

The first two files you'll see in the list, "Chapter 1" and "Chapter 2", are the helpful default content added to the beginning of each new Browser writing mode book. You will learn how to delete them in the tutorial we will link to at the end of this article.

(You can also go ahead and see the tutorial here right now if you want to!)

Now, Check the Preview of Your Ebook

With your Word content successfully imported into Leanpub's in-browser editor, you can now create your first "Preview".

Creating a "Preview" means generating an ebook from what you have written. Previews are only visible to you, so you can see what things look like currently.

To create your first preview, click "Versions" at the top of the page:

This will take you to the "Preview" page for your book:

You will see that the preview of your ebook has already been generated, and can be downloaded as a PDF or EPUB file, or viewed in your browser:

We suggest you download the PDF to see what it looks like.

Update! Writing in the "Write" Tab

When you are are writing a book in our Browser mode, you will see a link to the "Write" tab at the top left:

Click "Write" and you'll go to the Write tab:

You will see your imported Word document added as new file in the list of files on the left:

If you click on the file, you'll see the contents of the Word file have been imported and converted to plain text, in our Markua markup format for creating books:

You may want to delete the default files, if any, that are still included in the book:

Editing and Writing in Browser Mode

Now that your Word manuscript has been converted to Markua, you can edit and write in our Browser writing mode.

For a full tutorial on writing and publishing in our Browser writing mode, please go here:

You may also have to do some "curating", that is, fixing any artifacts left over from the conversion process.

If you get stuck trying to do something, try searching the Markua manual here, and searching or posting in our Authors forum here.

If you're interested in learning what Word formatting features we support, please see this article.

If that article helps, you may want to re-format your Word file and import it again.

If you have any feedback or questions about this article, please email the Leanpub team about it at!

If you have any questions or thoughts on writing and self-publishing with Leanpub, please join our global community of authors in our Authors Forum here!

Interested in creating your first Leanpub book? Here are some quick tutorials for our most popular writing modes:

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