Friday, August 23, 2013

How to Have No First Line Indent for Kindle eBooks

I hear this very often on Kindle formatting forums:

"I have no indents in my book, but when I publish it on Kindle there are indents on the first lines of every paragraph. Why are they there? How do I get rid of them?"

This most often happens when you format your book using Word (or any other word processor).

The sad truth is that if you set your first line indent to 0in in Word, you will get indents in your final Kindle book.

It seems that when you set the indent to 0 in Word, it doesn't actually set it to 0in, it set it to 'none'. What's the difference, isn't that the same thing? Well, in html (which is what all eBooks are based on) there is a difference.

If there are "no" first line indents:
What it Means: This means there is no mention of text-indent in the html.
The Result: The default indent of the device or program is used, for Kindle the default is a slight indent.

If first line indents are set to "0":
What it Means: "text-indent: 0" will be added to the style of the paragraph.
The Result: No indent.

So, what do you do if you want no indent?

In Word you can set the first line indent to a very small number (0.01in for example). This will set a very small indent (so that it won't go to default) and visibly it's not very different from 0in.

This could also happen if you edit your book as html or an ePub. In this case, the default indent can occur if you have no "text-indent" style for your paragraphs. To fix this simple add in "text-indent: 0".