Saturday, July 12, 2014

Creating 3D covers in Microsoft Publisher

Over the last week or so, I've been exploring my Microsoft Publisher program (it's part of the Microsoft Office group) to try to get some covers made up for my compilation and one other cover that I needed made up.  For a boxed set, a 3D cover makes sense.  It feels you are getting a box with four to six to even ten books, which you are, even if the stories are short stories. 

I've created two separate covers for my boxed set since iBooks doesn't accept 3D covers.  I don't like the flat cover for a boxed set because the titles just have to be placed randomly on the front and it doesn't look like you have several stories in there. 

So how do you go about creating covers?  It took several hours for me to figure out what I was doing but I've got it down to a small science now. 

First, open your publisher program (this is only for Microsoft Publisher as I don't know much about the other cover designer programs); open a new blank document.  It almost looks like a Word document but it's not.  Publisher was designed to be a picture tool.  If you have a picture you already are wanting to use for your cover, open it.  Once opened, you can stretch it to fit the page or make it whatever size you want it to be.  Add your text boxes (there is a tool on the home page that says "draw text box"; play around with your fonts, sizes, colors, until you get the look you want.  After you are satisfied with your text boxes, click off to the side of the page so no one particular item is highlighted.  Go to you home page and click on select (the drop down will ask if you want to select all objects or another choice); click on select all objects and then the box to the left of where the select button has a group, ungroup selection.  Click on group.  What this does is fuse all the items to make it one picture.  Right click on your picture and click on the line that says "save as picture".  Name your picture and go to the drop down menu below and save it as a JPEG file or whatever type is accepted where you are publishing your books.  Usually JPEG files are the most accepted, so it's pretty safe to save them all as JPEG files.

Now, open a new blank document.  Insert a template for a 3D book.  These are the two I've used for the covers I've created:

The boxed set obviously because I had four stories I combined into one.  The other because I was just playing around with single story covers.

After you pull up your template, then go back to insert and recall the picture you created of the cover.  Stretch it so that it matches the bottom and one or two of the "page" side corners.  Go to picture effects and scroll to the 3D section, play around to see which fits the angle of the book.  For the single story book, the perspective left works well.  Once it slants to the 3D look, adjust your picture until all the edges and corners line up.  Again, go to the select all objects and group them together and then save that file as your 3D cover.

Once you play around with your Publisher program and have the templates, you can do any cover you already have on file as a 3D cover. 

The boxed set is a bit different in that you have to do text boxes and turn them so they are like the spine and this was my first attempt at the 3D covers and it took me a few hours to get what I wanted.

My final 3D cover for the boxed set: 

But because iBooks doesn't like 3D Covers, I had to go with this:

For my Zombies story, again - no 3D for iBooks so everyone but kindle has a flat cover and kindle gets the 3D cover.

Same picture just added to the book template to give it that 3D look.

After I created these two covers, I then decided to take my previously created covers and came up with the following: 

That is how to use publisher to create your own 3D Covers.  Hope you enjoyed this article and if you have any questions, please leave a comment and I'll try to answer them as best as I can.

Elysabeth Eldering
Elysabeth's Blog
Elysabeth's email


Magdalena Ball said...

Your 'boxed sets' look terrific Elysabeth. Thanks for the very easy instructions - I've never used Publisher but I have it just sitting there so will have to get stuck in.

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Your covers are glorious Elysabeth, they should market well. Well worth all the time you've spent on this. Just one question. Where did you find your templates or did you create them yourself?

Shirley Corder said...

Fabulous post and instructions Elysabeth. I also have publisher but have done nothing with it. I need to sit down and do some work. This is great. Thank you.

elysabeth said...

Annie, I used the first template on this site - - it looks better than the second one. I saved the picture as ... - from this site - - If you try clicking on the image or the website it goes to a defunct website. If you search for ebook cover boxed set template you may pull up a few other. I've seen a 3-title set and a 6-title one but I needed one specifically with 4 spines. Some of the images are actually for like CDs or DVDs or some other items that come in a boxed set. I did have to play around with the single book image to have it fit the page, but easy adjustment - just stretching it out. Good luck with everything. -- E :)

elysabeth said...

Maggie, that's what happened to me - I decided to do a compilation and needed a cover and got stuck in publisher - lol. I'm having fun though and now that I can make 3D covers, I'm like wanting everything to be in 3D. The Zombies cover is actually a photo I bought from and cropped to fit my needs and then when I finally figured out how to get the text boxes to move with the image, everything just dropped right into place. Have fun playing with publisher and creating your 3D covers - just remember that if you use Apple's iBooks to load your ebooks, they won't accept a 3D cover - but everywhere else that I've sent mine to has accepted the 3D cover (I'm using and letting them put everywhere, although they only publish to 5 places right now but I'm sure soon they will have all the same places that smashwords has because that is their competition.). E :)

elysabeth said...

Good luck with everything, Shirley. If you have any questions, just drop me a note and I'll try my best to answer them. E :)

Karen Cioffi said...

Elysabeth, great post. I don't have Publisher with my Microsoft office - not sure why. I'm thinking of buying it though. I spend $5 a pop for 3D covers and I do a lot of covers. I wish I thought about this a long time ago. I would have had it paid off already. Thanks for the step-by-step instructions.

elysabeth said...

Karen, it may be the version of Microsoft Office you have - I have 2013, but then again I'm still exploring everything I have and finding new things. I've had 2013 since about March of this year since my word program wouldn't work with my work platform unless it had been fully upgraded, and when it was upgraded from the company I purchased the Office program from I had a whole slew of programs I've never even used or looked at or know what they are for, including Publisher. Good luck with it. And $5 a pop for 3D covers is a good deal. E :)

Karen Cioffi said...

Elysabeth, It's $5 through Fiverr. The woman I use is great.

elysabeth said...

I figured it was through fiverr, but even still - making 3D covers isn't for everyone and some folks just don't have the right programs. I was going to go through fiverr to get my Love Lingers cover done but the guy wanted $15 and something else which I couldn't do at the moment. That's when I started experimenting with my programs - lol. Good luck finding a copy of Publisher and using it to make your 3D covers. - E :)

Linda Wilson said...

Thanks for a great post, Elysabeth. The information is invaluable--a definite keeper.

Unknown said...

I have been able to get .jpg image of 3D book cover. However, can't get my flat .jpg image to "stretch" to 3D. Don't see a way to do it. Am I missing something?

Karen Cioffi said...

Hi, Billy, I'm not familiar with creating 3D covers, but I'll ask the author to stop here and see if she can help. Give me a day or two.

elysabeth said...

Hey Karen, he contacted me by email and I think I've gotten it fixed - lol. Hopefully it works. E :)

Unknown said...

Hello, Elyszebeth. Can you direct me to where I can buy/obtain boxed set cover templates for use in Publisher. I've Googled myself out??

Marshall Chamberlain

elysabeth said...

Marshall, the templates that I used are in the posting as pictures. I only have the two -one for a single 3-D cover and the other for the 3-title 3-D cover. I will try to find some others for you if you will let me know what you are needing. Thanks for stopping by - E :)

Unknown said...

Thanks for getting back. I need one 2-book and one 3-book cover templates for inserting into Publisher so I can design the box set covers. Hope you can point me in the right direction. Thanks.


Tracy Campbell said...

Thank you for this fabulous info. I use MS Pub. And didn't know about this feature. :-)

Karen Cioffi said...

Tracy, glad Elizabeth's article was helpful! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

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