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Old 08-09-2013, 08:39 AM   #1
argomax
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Question New user, need clarif. on several format issues.

Hi, i'm new to the world of Ebooks but I already wrote 4 titles and formatted them all on ePub and Mobi using OpenOffice and then running them thru Calibre.

By simple trial-and-error procedure I was able to figure out several shortcuts to create clean indents (5 spaces: works wonders!), chapter breaks, page breaks, formatting choices, and they all work - for now.

I only edit in OpenOffice, don't do any HTML work. However, I'm not a newbie and I know what I'm doing, albeit home-made style.

I respect the fact that ebooks cannot be as freely formatted as printed or PDFed works can, but I still have issues with images, and have some questions about text.

Do I get it right that having images (jpg) floating around the general area where they shoud be originally, rather than having them break the text, is a MAJOR work and might still not carry thru perfectly onto all devices? If you answer yes, I'll just lay a stone upon the matter and let it rest.

Do I get it right that, although colour and fonts will not carry thru, BOLD, UNDERLINE and ITALIC always will? And what about center-alignment?

And do I get it right that only some RELATIVE font sizes will carry thru, such as 10, 12, 18, but not intermediate ones? By "relative" I mean bigger or smaller than the adjacent ones.

Thanks for replying in English, not in PHP3... :-)

Max, Italy.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:32 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by argomax View Post
By simple trial-and-error procedure I was able to figure out several shortcuts to create clean indents (5 spaces: works wonders!)
for best results, pretty much any kind of spacing should be done using CSS

Quote:
Originally Posted by argomax View Post
Do I get it right that, although colour and fonts will not carry thru, BOLD, UNDERLINE and ITALIC always will?
i don't recall seeing a reader that didn't render <b> / <strong> / <i> / <em>, but <u> is deprecated and will invalidate the epub. as an alternative, you can:

Code:
<span class="underline">underlined text</span>
with the CSS:

Code:
.underline {
    text-decoration:underline;
}
Quote:
Originally Posted by argomax View Post
And do I get it right that only some RELATIVE font sizes will carry thru, such as 10, 12, 18, but not intermediate ones? By "relative" I mean bigger or smaller than the adjacent ones.
this is sort of unclear because i'm not sure what 10,12 and 18 refer to (ODT font size?), but in the CSS you'd be specifying 'font-size:1em' or some relative unit of measurement.

Sigil is a really good (and free) epub authoring tool, that you might be interested in checking out if you haven't already. it's great that you've found a solution using OpenOffice and Calibre, but the relatively slight learning curve moving over to sigil i think will give you much better control over how your book is going to look, and help you more quickly resolve layout issues you might be having.

Last edited by mzmm; 08-09-2013 at 09:42 AM.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:44 AM   #3
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For indenting you should use styles in OpenOffice and let the converter convert them to CSS. In this site there is a forum on an OpenOffice add on that can convert your document. It is called writer2ePub. Once you have the ePub you can use KindleGen (a free download from Amazon) to create the mobi. Calibre is a great tool for private use and managing eBooks but it gives you less control over the creation of eBooks you might want to sell.

Images can be floated left or right to allow text to flow around them if desired. This is the only movement supported. Otherwise they should be just inline or between paragraphs.

Color will normally carry through although on grayscale devices it will be showed as a shade of gray so this should be considered in color choices. Bold, underline, italics, paragraph centering will be preserved. Fonts should be left as a choice for the user unless there is a need for a specific one. It is possible to embed a free font inside a document for ePub but this may or may not transfer to the mobi depending on the target device. Better to choose a generic serif or sanserif and let it go at that. Sizes are better left relative as the screen size of the reader is unknown to you. Intermediate sizes can be used. You can leave the base font alone and then scale special needs using ems to size them any increment you need.

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Old 08-09-2013, 09:47 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by argomax View Post
Do I get it right that having images (jpg) floating around the general area where they shoud be originally, rather than having them break the text, is a MAJOR work and might still not carry thru perfectly onto all devices? If you answer yes, I'll just lay a stone upon the matter and let it rest.
It's not a major work, it's IMPOSSIBLE. There's just no way of floating images up or down with standard ePub (nor with any extension I know of). At most, you can "float" them left or right and have the text wrap around them, but that does not always work and, of course, requires the image to be narrower than the screen.
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Old 08-09-2013, 11:12 AM   #5
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thanks!

Gee, thanks a lot guys.
As for the UNDERLINE that invalidates epubs, noted; I did get validated, though, but never mind, I'll take all underlining off.

As for indents, and CSS: I did install that OpenOffice Epub tool - fuggedabboutit. Couldn't figure it out and frankly, can't deal with learning curves right now. But I will check Sigil out even though I did some time ago then deleted it because, again, couldn't figure it out at a glance.That's my meter, figuring things out at a glance, or they're not for me. .

As for images, which were my main concern: floating them left or right is pretty much what i want. I havent' figure it out yet, every setting i try with Open office keeps them apart from the text, or seriously messes stuff around, like placing text across them. i did size them all around 250 px, in order to make them viable for any size screen.

@ DaleDe: how would I increase relative font sizes with ems? please explain?

@mzmm: I have my basic writing font at 12, which is standard, then increase for titles and decrease for notes. 12 points is, I think, standard for any word processor? Like I said, i don't use html.
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Old 08-09-2013, 04:02 PM   #6
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Don't use fixed sizes like pt, your readers will not be happy. You effectively will kill any scale options. Use relative sizes like percentages and em's.

Your mindset is not going to help you. ALL tools have learning curves.

Due to the reflow character of an ebook, what you want with pictures is not possible, like Jellby already said.

Also, <u> can still be used and will work. Heck, officially <i> is also depreciated.
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Old 08-09-2013, 04:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toxaris View Post
<u> can still be used and will work. Heck, officially <i> is also depreciated.
i'd meant that it was deprecated and not included in the epub 2 spec, and will invalidate the epub.
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Old 08-09-2013, 06:07 PM   #8
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Let the reading device set the size of the font. All readers have the ability to increase it, so don't specify it.

For bigger letters style them as 1.1 em to 1.5 em. Good not to go too overboard without knowing what device you particularly want it to look good on.

The foundation of epubs is HTML. So there is no getting around it unless you want to work in a word processor then feed it into calibre and be content with what calibre does or can be made to do. Atlantis Word Processor and Jutoh allow you to work in more familiar surroundings and put out an epub. But AWP publishes the epub, you can't edit the output epub in AWP.

Last edited by mrmikel; 08-10-2013 at 07:45 AM.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:41 PM   #9
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As Mrmikel said. To resize a font use something like font-size: 1.2em which means a little larger than an em where an em is the size of the basic default font.

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Old 08-10-2013, 09:55 AM   #10
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Hi guys.
I did dowload Sigil, as suggested, and imported my text, then started working on it. It seems Sigil is setup to be your actual word processor for later epub publishing, isn't it?

However, it appears Sigil's Page breaks are not seen by readers, except as a grey line; also, i added pictures in it and then tried to wrap text on them left or right, but there's no menu for any of that. What am i looking for exactly here?

As of now, apparently OpenOffice + Calibre still work better: page breaks are real page breaks, and most other features carry over onto readers.

In fact, where i am now, I only need to figure out a way to wrap text around images in OO that actually carries over onto epub format, then I'm all set.
It works in OO, but once i publish epub it's all messed up.

I might just add that images are probably not a strong point in OO as I've noticed some bugs already regardless of epub publishing. But that's what i got and that's what i have to work with.
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Old 08-10-2013, 10:07 AM   #11
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@mrmikel: i got AWP right now, i already like it at first glance, and will let you know how it handles pics which are my main trouble.

@Toxaris. unfortunately my mindset is what i was born with. A learning curve i can handle, but i need to be able to find my way around immediately at least to the basic architecture, or else i know i will never be at ease with that tool.
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Old 08-10-2013, 07:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by argomax View Post
Hi guys.
I did dowload Sigil, as suggested, and imported my text, then started working on it. It seems Sigil is setup to be your actual word processor for later epub publishing, isn't it?

However, it appears Sigil's Page breaks are not seen by readers, except as a grey line; also, i added pictures in it and then tried to wrap text on them left or right, but there's no menu for any of that. What am i looking for exactly here?

As of now, apparently OpenOffice + Calibre still work better: page breaks are real page breaks, and most other features carry over onto readers.

In fact, where i am now, I only need to figure out a way to wrap text around images in OO that actually carries over onto epub format, then I'm all set.
It works in OO, but once i publish epub it's all messed up.

I might just add that images are probably not a strong point in OO as I've noticed some bugs already regardless of epub publishing. But that's what i got and that's what i have to work with.
Sigil page breaks are just a marker, You need to caue the splits at the markers (when ready. some folk like to wok on 1 big file). Tap F6 and sigil will now split (and remove) at the marker
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:48 AM   #13
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Sigil page breaks are just a marker, You need to caue the splits at the markers (when ready. some folk like to wok on 1 big file). Tap F6 and sigil will now split (and remove) at the marker
Ok, noted, will try that.
However, text wrapping around pictures (left or right doesn't matter) is my main concern, and it does not work anywhere at the moment. How do i do that in Sigil?
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:47 PM   #14
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Ok, noted, will try that.
However, text wrapping around pictures (left or right doesn't matter) is my main concern, and it does not work anywhere at the moment. How do i do that in Sigil?
Argomax:

I hate to tell you, but...

Quote:
@Toxaris. unfortunately my mindset is what i was born with. A learning curve i can handle, but i need to be able to find my way around immediately at least to the basic architecture, or else i know i will never be at ease with that tool.
...probably means that you won't be able to. You can't wrap text using Sigil's WYSIWYG BookView interface, you're going to have to do it with HTML and CSS. Sorry to tell you this, but maybe AWP has a workaround for you. Best of luck!

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Old 08-13-2013, 04:50 AM   #15
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@ hitch:

hmmm. too dangerous. I dabbled in html before correcting some bugs in my website and it worked but i really work like a butcher there, i am not a real programmer.

Unless you do have a portion of code to provide me that i can try out...
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