How to Create A Text Dummy in Microsoft Word for Your Picture Book

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.  On the top bar, click on the tab that says “Layout,” and select the option to have 0.5″ margins. This will allow you more room for your dummy.

3, On the top bar, select “Layout” again. This time,  choose the option for changing the document’s orientation. Select the Landscape layout. This is a horizontal layout that will allow you even more space to create your text dummy.

4. Type the text of your document. This can be a tentative text. After I insert the text in my dummy, I always change it.

5. Beneath the document’s text, insert a table. From the top bar, select the “Insert” tab, and elect to insert a table. For a standard picture book, insert a table with 2 columns and 14 rows, The two columns represent the facing pages of a page spread. Sometimes, I only have text on one column–or one side. The text of your book begins on page 6. The pages before that page are reserved for the title, the copyright, etc.  I create this text dummy immediately beneath my temporary manuscript. That way, I can easily copy-paste to change the manuscript, if the pacing or the feel or even the wording is not correct. 

6. Insert the text of your document. The cells of your table will resize to fit your text. Notice that the very final page [the would-be page 33, if there were such a thing] is blank. That is an endpaper. Page 32 is the last page of your book. I try to add the “aha” text or the “jaw-dropper” on that page. That being said page 31 should be your biggest page-turner.  The text on page 31 should absolutely drive your reader to page 32. I strive for every page on the right side of the dummy to be a page-turner, but page 31 should be your greatest page-turner, and on page 32, the reader’s jaw should truly drop.

This is sort of how your text dummy will look.

I am also an illustrator, and I create my final illustrated dummy in Adobe InDesign, but you can also place images inside the cells of your dummy created in Microsoft Word, and the cells will continue to adjust for your images.