View Full Version : Questions about best practices: InDesign CS5 to ePub (file formatted for printing)


mtrahan
05-14-2011, 03:15 PM
I'm working for a small publisher who wants to make available ePub versions of the books he publishes. I'm getting better and better at ePub formatting but until now I've always started with text very simply formatted.

I've read Liz Castro's book, and also this one: http://www.amazon.com/Create-eBook-Adobe%C2%AE-InDesign%C2%AE-ebook/dp/B0048EK1P8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AZC9TZ4UC9CFC&s=digital-text&qid=1305396233&sr=1-1 Both covers the process of going from InDesign to ePub, but they start with very simple formatting so the process is quite straightforward.

I'm not an InDesign specialist. I'm ready to put the time and energy it takes to learn to do this the best way possible. The publisher gave me a couple hours of training so I can understand how his books are formatted exactly. My problem is that the .indd file has very complex formatting, ready to be printed as a paper book. For example, there are many, many different paragraph and character styles that are not needed for simplified ebook formatting. What is the best way to proceed? Between a) try to simplify the formatting by removing some styles while preserving formatting or b) create a simplified template file for ePub versions and import the text in it? If you have general advices on this part it will be much appreciated.

If I understand correctly, one of the most important thing here is to remove all the local formatting?

To export in ePub, does the book have to be all "linked"? By that I mean that the main text is a very long text box all linked, but for example the very first pages (title, copyright, etc.) are separate are different masters (not 100% sure it is the good term though). Do I have to do something special here or I can leave them like this?

Finally, about fonts: there are many different fonts in the print-version, some PostScript, some TrueType, etc. I don't want to embed fonts, so I will uncheck this in ePub export from InDesign. My question is: do I need to change all the styles to an OpenType font before exporting or something (that's what the publisher thought)? Or if I choose to not embed fonts, InDesign will just ignore all fonts selection anyway so no need to change the formatting there? Not too sure I'm clear.

After the ePub export my plan is to finish the editing with Sigil. All advices are appreciated—and if you got more reading suggestions, I would appreciate it.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Jellby
05-15-2011, 05:06 AM
I have never used (or even seen) InDesign, so this is probably more wishful thinking than useful advice. Ideally, you would export/convert the book to XHTML or ePUB, and then you'd just need to edit the CSS stylesheets and convert inline styling into classes et al. Some complex formatting (tables, sidenotes, etc.) might need more tweaking. That is assuming InDesign does not create the sort of HTML generated by MS-Word, of course.

cmdahler
05-15-2011, 01:23 PM
Between a) try to simplify the formatting by removing some styles while preserving formatting or b) create a simplified template file for ePub versions and import the text in it? If you have general advices on this part it will be much appreciated.

If a specific style isn't needed for the ePub version, you can just delete it. InDesign will ask you what to do with the elements that use that style, and you can just reassign them to another style that you'll be keeping.

If you are wanting to copy the entire text with no styles at all, you can just copy the text and then do a "Paste Without Formatting" into your new document, and then just block everything and assign it all to a single style. If, however, you are wanting to preserve some of the styles in the original, it would be way less work to just delete the styles you don't want and reassign the elements to another style than going through the entire document and selectively copying some parts of the text with formatting and some without.

One hint: if you have a style in your InDesign file and you copy text with formatting to a new document, InDesign will copy the style over to the new document unless your new document already has a style that is named exactly the same. If that's the case, then InDesign will not create a new style in your new document, but your copied text will take on the formatting of the style in the new document.

If I understand correctly, one of the most important thing here is to remove all the local formatting?

It depends on the version of InDesign you're working with. In CS4 you don't really have to worry about removing local formatting because InDesign will just ignore it. CS5 does keep the local formatting, but it makes your CSS file a mess if you have a lot of it.

To export in ePub, does the book have to be all "linked"? By that I mean that the main text is a very long text box all linked, but for example the very first pages (title, copyright, etc.) are separate are different masters (not 100% sure it is the good term though). Do I have to do something special here or I can leave them like this?

I haven't tried this with CS5. I know with CS4, the ePub export would fail miserably if you tried to export a single, long document - there was some page limit it imposed which basically required that you set up each chapter of your book as a separate .indd file and then put it all together as a .indb book file, and then export the book as an ePub. Basically, if a single .indd file was too long, you'd get an ePub with the first two or three pages and then a bunch of blanks, so it forced you to split your book up into chapters. A typical book chapter was more than short enough for the limitation unless you really had some long writing; I can't remember the actual page limit off the top of my head. Anyway, the solution sounds cumbersome, but it was actually a more organized way of doing a book and a lot of folks did their books that way anyway, so it wasn't really a problem. CS5 may have fixed this issue for all I know; I got into the habit of just doing it the CS4 way and haven't ever tried to export a single long document like that on CS5.

Finally, about fonts: there are many different fonts in the print-version, some PostScript, some TrueType, etc. I don't want to embed fonts, so I will uncheck this in ePub export from InDesign. My question is: do I need to change all the styles to an OpenType font before exporting or something (that's what the publisher thought)? Or if I choose to not embed fonts, InDesign will just ignore all fonts selection anyway so no need to change the formatting there? Not too sure I'm clear.

If you're not going to embed fonts, don't worry about it, they'll all be ignored.

Good luck!

amarie0
05-15-2011, 08:37 PM
Those are great ebooks, but I think you'd find more of your questions answered in the series of video tutorials, "InDesign to EPUB, Kindle, and the IPad" that I did for Lynda.com this spring: http://www.lynda.com/tutorial/75445 (that's the CS5 version, I also did a CS4 version ... you can find it on the site).

The videos have a ton of info on fixing styling and local formatting for EPUBs in InDesign, manually or with free scripts, and also how to manage the layout flow for complex docs.

There are few free sample videos you can watch but to see them all you need to get a sub to Lynda.com... it's just $25/mo and you can cancel anytime though.

But I have to tell you, especially for complex docs, you'll find InDesign CS5.5 MUCH easier to use to make EPUBs. If you can possibly upgrade, do so. In CS5.5 you still have the same layout options as in earlier versions, but you also have the option of dragging and dropping frames to an Articles panel, and then rearranging them in the Articles panel to force an export order. (I'll be doing a CS5.5 version of the EPUB title in a few weeks).

Anne-Marie
co-host, InDesignSecrets.com
twitter: @amarie

amarie0
05-15-2011, 08:41 PM
Forgot to add that you can learn more in a blog post we wrote all about the new features in InDesign CS5.5 -- including the Article panel and other EPUB-friendly fixes.

http://indesignsecrets.com/indesign-cs-5-5-announced.php

Anne-Marie

Adjust
05-16-2011, 12:19 AM
I know you want CS5
But take a look at my write up on CS3
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=123439

You may get some hints and tricks out of it...
And quite frankly I find CS3 less buggy (stuff missing etc) then CS4, 5, 5.5

mtrahan
05-16-2011, 11:41 AM
Jellby, cmdahler, amarie0, Adjust, thank you. That is a lot of information & ressources you just gave me. It will take me a couple days to process all this (and decide about getting CS5.5 or not), make some test and get back to you. I'll be sure to report in the thread what worked best for me.

I must admit I'm quite impressed by the quality of the help/advices I've received on MobileRead forums... It really is appreciated!

wannabee
05-24-2011, 08:27 AM
would fail miserably if you tried to export a single, long document - there was some page limit it imposed which basically required that you set up each chapter of your book as a separate .indd file and then put it all together as a .indb book file, and then export the book as an ePub.

If you are going to the trouble of copying the content into a new file then you may as well copy chapter by chapter and use the book function and export from the book panel. However, I've been lazy with a couple of the books and exported the whole book. There was an occasion when the export didn't work and I got the blank pages as mentioned but most of the time it worked.

You end up with one big XHTML file in the package.I split it up in Sigil so new chapters started on a new page, added the cover in Calibre and it passed the ePubcheck and flight crew validation.

Text flow

When there is more than one text box on a page the export takes it from top left to right and so on down the page. It was mentione in Straight To The Point.

Local formatting

You don't need to remove it. There's a check box you can turn off in export.

Adjust
05-24-2011, 07:39 PM
I'd Hold off on CS5.5 for the love of all things holy, I think there's a bug!
I think it has to do with the local formatting tick box

mtrahan
05-25-2011, 06:04 PM
After hesitating for a while, I finally decided to follow amarie0's advice and try Lynda.com for a month. And it didn't take me long to realize it should have been my first step! Anne-Marie's video is great — the "InDesign to EPUB, Kindle, and the IPad" serie. I highly recommend it.

And while there I also watched a couple hours videos about InDesign training (the CS5 essential one) and also CSS. It's $25 for a month, and it saved me countless hours of reading & research—totally worth it.

Thanks again!

amarie0
05-27-2011, 10:33 AM
That's *great* news, mtrahan, so happy it helped! I'll pass your kudos on to David Blatner (author of InDesign CS5 Essentials on lynda.com) too.

AM
Twitter: @amarie
Co-host, InDesignSecrets.com

N13L5
06-11-2011, 08:42 AM
Got update to InDesign CS 5.5 just for the advertised epub features.

I found out in short order that there's multiple ways to format a document, where InDesign will simply crash on epub export.

Hello error handling code? Anybody there?

I'd not even bat an eyelash over that on a volunteer driven open source package, and just try the forums to figure out a workaround.

But for the kind of cash Adobe charges, this is heinous. There was a guy on Adobe's own support forum from Summer 2010... he posted 3 times about his troubles and non-progress with epub exports crashing InDesign. You think he might have gotten an answer by now? nope.

So, while I think Jobs is a prick, I think he's right bashing Adobe. Kings of half-baked, buggy software.

I have some books that were exporting no problem. Then I added some font formatting, Bashes, bleeds and such for print, and whammo, guaranteed crash on epub export. You think I can remember every single change I made since the export worked?

Nope... and Adobe's crash error sure ain't telling me.

</rant>



P.S. Can anyone tell me why the 'open-from-template' option was cut? I liked using templates... how do I do that in this crummy new version?

wannabee
06-12-2011, 02:31 AM
Hi N13L5, I had a similar problem when I had to turn someone else's iddn file into an ePub. It hung halfway through the export. I got around it by exporting to indesign ml and opening it in 4 and exporting to indesign ml or xl whatever it's called now and whatever was making it crash went away.

Adjust
06-12-2011, 03:01 AM
indesign ml or xl whatever it's called now
:D .IDML file from CS5.5
.INX from CS3 and 4

wannabee
06-12-2011, 03:04 AM
Thank you smarty pants

N13L5
06-17-2011, 04:43 AM
cool beans!

thanks so much for the workaround!!! :thanks: