How to Create a Family Cookbook Template in Microsoft Word

Alright friends.  Today I’m sharing the motherload of tips for creating a family cookbook template in Microsoft Word.

My family has LONG been a collector of recipes.  It might be a problem, actually.  Besides collecting recipes, my family has been generous in sharing those recipes and has been aggressive in asking for recipes from neighbors and friends.  In fact, just the other day, my son text me during church to tell me to “get Angie’s cinnamon bread recipe.  puuuuulllleeeeeeez.”  I kid you not, AND he is 9 years old.  Ha!  So it seems that my children have already caught the bug.

I remember the cookbooks my mom typed up on the library typewriter and photocopied for family from my youngest years.  If I had to guestimate the number of cookbooks she wrote, I’d say there were probably at least a dozen, but that number is on the conservative side.  These cookbooks were her labor of love and a way for her to document family favorites, which often included funny stories from the farm.

As I got older, I started helping her compile recipes into digital cookbooks for printing.  In total, I’ve worked on 5 different cookbooks for family and our church.  With that, I’ve learned a trick or two about the best way to work in Microsoft Word to create a cohesive cookbook with a proper table of contents.

Before I move on to how to do this, let me address that there are cookbook printing companies that will do this all for you.  When our church was looking at printing a cookbook, we found that it was costly.  Not only that, but you are handing over the reins to someone to create your cookbook.  (I realize I may be a bit of a control freak because I didn’t want to hand over any control to a company.)  We opted for my homemade Microsoft Word version for our church, saved a ton of money, and never looked back.

So first things first.  If you are using Microsoft Word, you must create a word document with a style that can be applied throughout the entire cookbook.  I refer to this as a template,, but I actually think this is an incorrect term.  It is a template in the sense that all recipe titles, ingredient tables, directions, notes have the same style depending on the recipe element.  I am by no means a Microsoft Word guru, and I often need to Google how to do something unique.  With that said, forgive me if I do not use the exact technical terms.

Second things second.  I created a video where I walk you through how to actually make a “template” in Microsoft Word.  This end product is available here as a download.  The video is longer than I wanted it to be, but it really does go into the details of how to make your cookbook and update as you see fit.  I hope to put up another post on how to bind your cookbook should you choose to print it in the near future.

For the cookbook template and the video, the three fonts I used are Bodoni 72 Small Caps, Catandra Script, and Century Gothic.  If you do not have those fonts, it’s not a game-changer.  Just know that when you open the document, you will need to update your template to the fonts you wish to use.

To do so…

  1. Select text that a font is missing.
  2. Choose the new font from the fonts you have loaded on your computer.
  3. Make sure you are on the “Home” tab and have the newly applied font text selected; click the Styles Pane.
  4. Whatever portion of the template you are editing, click the specific style’s far-right triangle and select “Update to Match Style.”

Here is the video that thoroughly explains using the template or how you can make your own.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *