How to Create a Text Dummy for a Picture Book in Microsoft Word

In my opinion, creating a text dummy in Microsoft Word is crucial for the writing stage of creating a picture book, and the great news is that the process is quick and simple. In this post, I’ll show you how to create a text dummy for the standard, 32-page picture book.

Keep in mind that for this dummy, the actual story part of your picture book will begin on page 6. On the pages prior to page 6, your title page, your copyright page, etc., will appear.

  1. Open Microsoft word and select the option to create a new document.

2.  Click on Blank Document

3.  On the top bar, click on the tab that says “Layout.”

4. From the Layout Options, select Margins.

5. Select the option to have 0.5″ margins. This will allow you more room for your dummy.

6. On the top bar, select “Layout” again. This time,  choose the option for changing the document’s orientation and click on the tab that says “Landscape.”

The landscape view is a horizontal layout, and it will seem more like the open spread of 2 facing pages of a picture book.

6. Click on the tab that says “Insert.”

7. From the Insert menu, click on the option to create a Table.

8. Click on Table and create a table with a maximum number of rows and 2 columns. [you can add more rows later]

9. Begin to add page numbers to the cells of your table. When you get to the final cell that you initially loaded, click on that cell, and from the drop-down menu, select to insert and then, on the right side, click to add to the rows to the bottom. Continue until you have enough cells to add enough numbers to enter page 32.

10. Because there are 32 pages, you want to end with 32 cells. 

11. Type the text of your document. This can be a tentative text. After I insert the text in my dummy, I ALWAYS change it. In fact, one of my purposes for creating a text dummy is to help me understand where and how I need to change my manuscript. I use my Text Dummy as an editing tool, and I begin with my first text dummy as soon as I write my first draft.

12. Although Word is not ideal for creating a picture book dummy for illustrations, you can elect to add images to the cells, too. The cells expand, according to how much you add to them. Go to the cell where you want an image, and click on Insert again, and from the insert menu, elect to insert a Picture. You will be allowed to select a picture that you have saved on your computer.

Note: the above text and images are from Randolph Caldecott’s picture book Hey Diddle Diddle, which was published in about 1908. Caldecott was one of the earliest creators of picture books. He may have been THE earliest. His text and images are in the public domain, and you can see a larger representation of the images for that book in my following blog post:

Hey Diddle Diddle – Illustrated by Randolph Caldecott c.1908