How to easily add images to your Kindle book in Word, on a Mac

My friend Vivian – aka A. Phallus Si – and I wrote a non-fiction book, inspired by our friend Reflection on Goodreads. It’s an affectionate satire on all those self-improvement books I love so much (truly, I do love them). If you have Kindle Unlimited you can read it for free. Yes, Paul Lightfoot is us. Because we love the sweet, sweet flavor of male privilege.

blur cover tuesday.jpg

It’s got awesome illustrations in it by Tatiana Davidova. I’ve never added images to a Kindle book before. I wanted to inflict bodily harm on myself by the seventh ugly failed preview. Then I realized it is genuinely easy. It’s just a shame it took me so many hours to realize it was easy. Here is the process spelled out, aka mistakes I made so you don’t have to.

This tutorial assumes you have previous experience with a text-only Kindle book, you’re familiar with using Styles, you’ve got a firm handle on Photoshop and image file management, and you’re just not sure how to put all those things together to make images that behave on the page. Readers of the future, feel free to ask a question if you don’t have any of those steps nailed down.

To reiterate, these instructions are for Mac, and are for when you want to add illustrations to a mostly text book. Do not do this for an actual picture book.

  1. Save your image at 72 ppi in JPG. Not TIFF, and definitely not png.
  2. Open your book file.
  3. Hit the pilcrow, aka the paragraph symbol, so you can see your punctuation.
para marker.png

4. Determine where you want to insert your image in the text. I want mine here, between points two and three.

image position.png

5. See the pilcrows in blue?

pilcrows 2.png

They mark the end of one paragraph and the beginning of the next. We have to put the image on its own paragraph so we can format it.

Put your cursor in front of the pilcrow at the end of the paragraph that’s going to go above your image.


Now press Return/Enter again to make a new paragraph. This will give you a pilcrow sitting all by itself between the paragraphs.

Screenshot 2016-06-17 10.44.55.png

6. Place your cursor in front of this new, solitary pilcrow. Use Insert–>Photo–>Picture from file to insert your image. Do not copy and paste your image. The image now sits on a paragraph all by itself.

pilcrow image.png

See the pilcrow? That’s how we know the image is on its own paragraph. That lets us format it. Currently the image is formatted the same as the other paragraphs: for me that’s left justified.

pilcrow image left.png

6. Right click the image to bring up the dialog box and choose Format Picture.

format pic.png

7. Select Size in the format option. Uncheck Lock aspect ratio. You want this to be unselected. Manually change the Height and Width boxes to 100%. Click OK.

lock aspect ratio.png

Absolutely do not touch the Wrap Text commands. Leave that shit alone. You do not need it. You’re going to leave Wrap Text on In Line with Text – this is what it comes up with by default.

Screenshot 2016-06-17 11.09.03

8. You’re going to select the whole paragraph that holds the image, including the pilcrow.

Screenshot 2016-06-17 11.00.32.png

See how the picture above is highlighted in blue, as well as the pilcrow that marks the end of the paragraph? This is correct.


not this.png
Okay, see how the picture here is selected, but the pilcrow is not? This is incorrect. Don’t do this.


9. Now just apply a style with centered text to this whole paragraph. I know, it has no text, but it will centre the image.

centre style.png

Remember, you’re doing this with a Style, just like you normally do with your Kindle text. Do not just click the center text button. You have to do it with Styles. The image will look exactly the same on your page, but it will now display as centered.

10. Repeat steps 1-9 for each image you wish to insert.

11. For a book with images you cannot just upload the Word doc to Amazon KDP like you can with text only. You have to save it in html. This is also easy. When your book file is finished, Save as Web Page. Pick the destination folder as normal.

save as web page.png

12. Now find the folder where you saved your book. When you save for web you actually produce two files: one with the text, and one with the pictures. Find them both.

Screenshot 2016-06-17 11.29.26.png

13. Select both files, and choose Compress 2 Items. This will make a zip file.

Screenshot 2016-06-17 11.31.56.png

14. By default the zip file will be called, but you can change it to whatever you want (hint: the book name). It can take a while for the compressing to finish.

Screenshot 2016-06-17 11.38.13.pngThis zip file is the file you will select and upload to KDP.

That’s it! When you have uploaded and the converter does its thing just check the previewer to see beautiful images which are centered on the page and flow with the text without causing any ugly page breaks.

If you find any problem with these instructions, or alternatively, if they were helpful, please let me know.


One thought on “How to easily add images to your Kindle book in Word, on a Mac

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s