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Old 02-13-2021, 03:54 PM   #1
Wabznazm
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Indesign-epub-kindle formatting problem: footnotes export with massive indent.

Hi there. I’m exporting a large file from InDesign to epub and when converted (any way) to kindle-friendly files it appears on all kindle devices with footnotes with vast and annoying indents. Seems to be a common problem, or one that other people on the interweb have had, but the solution — editing the css in Calibre — is beyond me. I can find the css file and footnotes ‘entry’, but it all looks totally normal. I’ve fiddled with parameters, but no dice. Always ends up the same. Can anyone help?
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Old 02-14-2021, 08:39 AM   #2
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Use good styles, links & bookmarks to-from and appendix* (instead of actual footnotes), save-as docx and convert in Calibre to epub2. Amazon KDP uses epub2 uploads.

Indesign is a kludge / fudge for epub or kindle. It's for PDFs and ultimately print.

Also actual footnotes work poorly and there is no assurance of correct rendering on an app or device.

* Make each footnote one paragraph in an Appendix Chapter. Each one is linked to from source text and has a text [Return to <some named text>] to click on to go back as 'Back' doesn't sensibly return from a link on many devices/apps.
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Old 02-14-2021, 09:48 AM   #3
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Thanks, but there’s no option to export to docx, and, with the size of this document, pasting into word and reconstructing styles would be a gargantuan task. Surely there’s some way to fiddle with the css somehow to get rid of this indent? I’ve noticed it happens with quite a few retail books, even from big publishers, so it might not be solvable.
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Old 02-14-2021, 09:58 AM   #4
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try with:

Code:
* {
margin-left: 0 !important;
padding-left: 0 !important;
text-indent: 0 !important;
}
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Old 02-14-2021, 10:22 AM   #5
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Lots of InDesign-generated EPUBs suffer from loads of redundant classes. That may be part of why you’re having limited luck tweaking the css, can happen when you’re adjusting .footnote-class_97 instead of an identical .footnote-class_62. Inheritance/specificity might be a factor too.

The DOCX tip above is definitely worth thinking about. If you can’t just roll back to your source manuscript, you could probably use something like calibre or pandoc to convert the messy EPUB to a new DOCX and rebuild from there. Usually faster/easier than cleaning up an InDesign ePub.
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Old 02-14-2021, 11:00 AM   #6
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Thank you both very much! Unfortunately the code doesn’t work and the faffing involved in tidying up the word file to spec is far beyond me.
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Old 02-15-2021, 09:25 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wabznazm View Post
Thanks, but there’s no option to export to docx, and, with the size of this document, pasting into word and reconstructing styles would be a gargantuan task. Surely there’s some way to fiddle with the css somehow to get rid of this indent? I’ve noticed it happens with quite a few retail books, even from big publishers, so it might not be solvable.
Word or free LO Writer.
it's not a gargantuan task.
Also InDesign is really a paper publishing tool, not a content creation tool. Use it to convert Word or Writer imports to PDF for paper publication, if the built in PDF output in Word (plugin on older versions) or Writer doesn't do what you want.

Note that margins, headers, footers, footnotes, styles, page size, page numbering (meaningless on ebooks) fonts, image resolution, front matter and rear matter are different for an ebook target and paper. Also ebooks have search so a paper style detail index/concordance is pointless).
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Old 02-16-2021, 02:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wabznazm View Post
I’m exporting a large file from InDesign to epub and when converted (any way) to kindle-friendly files it appears on all kindle devices with footnotes with vast and annoying indents. Seems to be a common problem, or one that other people on the interweb have had, but the solution — editing the css in Calibre — is beyond me. I can find the css file and footnotes ‘entry’, but it all looks totally normal.
Can you show the HTML for a footnote, and then show the relevant CSS?

I believe InDesign footnote sections always begin with a <div class="_idFootnotes">.

For example, here are the first 2 footnotes from a chapter:

Spoiler:
Code:
<div class="_idFootnotes">
      <div id="footnote-006" class="_idFootnote">
        <p class="Footnote-text"><span class="CharOverride-2"><a class="_idFootnoteAnchor _idGenColorInherit" href="../Text/Chapter_1_A_Realistic_Libertarian.xhtml#footnote-006-backlink">1</a></span>My emphasis. Murray Rothbard, “Big-Government Libertarians,” in Lew Rockwell, ed., <span class="CharOverride-1">The Irrepressible Rothbard</span> (Auburn, AL: Mises Institute, 2000), p. 101</p>
      </div>

      <div id="footnote-005" class="_idFootnote">
        <p class="Footnote-text"><span class="CharOverride-2"><a class="_idFootnoteAnchor _idGenColorInherit" href="../Text/Chapter_1_A_Realistic_Libertarian.xhtml#footnote-005-backlink">2</a></span>Murray N. Rothbard, “Egalitarianism and the Elites,” <span class="CharOverride-1">Review of Austrian Economics </span>8, no. 2 (1995): 45.</p>
      </div>


You see that part that says:

Code:
<p class="Footnote-text">
The important part is the "Footnote-text". That's called a class.

What you'll want to do is go into your CSS file, and find where it says:

Code:
p.Footnote-text
In plain English, this means "a paragraph with a class called Footnote-text".

In my InDesign book's CSS, it looks like this:

Spoiler:
Code:
p.Footnote-text {
	color:#000000;
	font-family:"Minion Pro Medium", sans-serif;
	font-size:0.75em;
	font-style:normal;
	font-variant:normal;
	font-weight:normal;
	line-height:1.2;
	margin-bottom:0;
	margin-left:0;
	margin-right:0;
	margin-top:0;
	orphans:1;
	page-break-after:auto;
	page-break-before:auto;
	text-align:justify;
	text-decoration:none;
	text-indent:0;
	text-transform:none;
	widows:1;
}


Once you give that answer, we can probably help further.

- - - - - - - -

CSS Side Note: In English, the above CSS says:

"Hey, find a paragraph with a class called Footnote-text", then make the:
  • color black
  • font "Minion Pro Medium"
  • font size 0.75em
  • font style, variant, and weight "Normal"
  • line-height 1.2
  • [...]

What's probably the issue in yours is a huge margin-left OR something fishy with padding.

InDesign Export Note: InDesign's HTML+CSS is usually quite a tangled mess.

Ultimately, what you'd want to do is actually clean and make everything human-readable.

This is what that same code looks like in my final version of the EPUB:

HTML:

Code:
<p class="footnote"><a href="#ft1" id="fn1">[1]</a> My emphasis. Murray Rothbard, “Big-Government Libertarians,” in Lew Rockwell, ed., <i>The Irrepressible Rothbard</i> (Auburn, AL: Mises Institute, 2000), p. 101.</p>

<p class="footnote"><a href="#ft2" id="fn2">[2]</a> Murray N. Rothbard, “Egalitarianism and the Elites,” <i>Review of Austrian Economics</i> 8, no. 2 (1995): 45.</p>
CSS:

Code:
p.footnote {
    margin-top: 1em;
    text-indent: 0;
}
The HTML is nearly as easy as reading the book.

And the CSS just says:

"Hey, don't indent footnotes... and add a little margin above them too!"

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

Last edited by Tex2002ans; 02-16-2021 at 03:11 AM.
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Old 05-04-2021, 02:50 PM   #9
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I bought a book today that seems to be an Indesign export. Every word has its own formatting. On my ereader there are huge margins, so it's not readable.

I have tried changing/removing stuff, but haven't been able to make anything helpful.

Ideas?

Code:
<body id="xx" lang="en-US" style="width:396px;height:612px" xml:lang="en-US">
		<div class="Basic-Text-Frame" id="_idContainer250">
			<div style="width:5760px;height:9540px;position:absolute;top:0px;left:0px;-webkit-transform-origin: 0% 0%; -webkit-transform: translate(0px,5.83px) rotate(0deg) scale(0.05);transform-origin: 0% 0%; transform: translate(0px,5.83px) rotate(0deg) scale(0.05);">
				<p class="Chapter-Title ParaOverride-1"><span class="CharOverride-6" id="_idTextSpan41405" style="position:absolute;top:0px;left:1513.44px;letter-spacing:-0.24px;">Time </span><span class="CharOverride-6" id="_idTextSpan41406" style="position:absolute;top:0px;left:2402.9px;letter-spacing:-0.32px;">to </span><span class="CharOverride-6" id="_idTextSpan41407" style="position:absolute;top:0px;left:2917.84px;letter-spacing:-1.76px;">Forgive</span></p>
				<p class="Drop-Cap ParaOverride-1"><span class="CharOverride-14" id="_idTextSpan41408" style="position:absolute;top:2537.09px;left:-34.4px;">“</span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41409" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:326.11px;">I </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41410" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:515.94px;letter-spacing:0.87px;">want </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41411" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:1107.67px;letter-spacing:-1.22px;">you </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41412" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:1567.94px;letter-spacing:-0.62px;">to </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41413" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:1877.72px;letter-spacing:1.83px;">imagine </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41414" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:2773.35px;letter-spacing:-0.23px;">your </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41415" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:3321.68px;text-rendering:optimizeLegibility;letter-spacing:0.73px;">reflection </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41416" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:4357.37px;letter-spacing:1.21px;">in </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41417" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:4666.41px;">a </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41418" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:4887.07px;letter-spacing:1.9px;">beautiful </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41419" style="position:absolute;top:2853.14px;left:326.11px;letter-spacing:1.48px;">mirror—the </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41420" style="position:absolute;top:2853.14px;left:1662.32px;letter-spacing:0.75px;">person </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41421" style="position:absolute;top:2853.14px;left:2481.02px;letter-spacing:-0.64px;">who </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41422" style="position:absolute;top:2853.14px;left:2968.21px;letter-spacing:1.02px;">caused </span>
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Old 05-04-2021, 03:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrik View Post
I bought a book today that seems to be an Indesign export. Every word has its own formatting. On my ereader there are huge margins, so it's not readable.

I have tried changing/removing stuff, but haven't been able to make anything helpful.

Ideas?
Spoiler:

Code:
<body id="xx" lang="en-US" style="width:396px;height:612px" xml:lang="en-US">
		<div class="Basic-Text-Frame" id="_idContainer250">
			<div style="width:5760px;height:9540px;position:absolute;top:0px;left:0px;-webkit-transform-origin: 0% 0%; -webkit-transform: translate(0px,5.83px) rotate(0deg) scale(0.05);transform-origin: 0% 0%; transform: translate(0px,5.83px) rotate(0deg) scale(0.05);">
				<p class="Chapter-Title ParaOverride-1"><span class="CharOverride-6" id="_idTextSpan41405" style="position:absolute;top:0px;left:1513.44px;letter-spacing:-0.24px;">Time </span><span class="CharOverride-6" id="_idTextSpan41406" style="position:absolute;top:0px;left:2402.9px;letter-spacing:-0.32px;">to </span><span class="CharOverride-6" id="_idTextSpan41407" style="position:absolute;top:0px;left:2917.84px;letter-spacing:-1.76px;">Forgive</span></p>
				<p class="Drop-Cap ParaOverride-1"><span class="CharOverride-14" id="_idTextSpan41408" style="position:absolute;top:2537.09px;left:-34.4px;">“</span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41409" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:326.11px;">I </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41410" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:515.94px;letter-spacing:0.87px;">want </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41411" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:1107.67px;letter-spacing:-1.22px;">you </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41412" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:1567.94px;letter-spacing:-0.62px;">to </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41413" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:1877.72px;letter-spacing:1.83px;">imagine </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41414" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:2773.35px;letter-spacing:-0.23px;">your </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41415" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:3321.68px;text-rendering:optimizeLegibility;letter-spacing:0.73px;">reflection </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41416" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:4357.37px;letter-spacing:1.21px;">in </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41417" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:4666.41px;">a </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41418" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:4887.07px;letter-spacing:1.9px;">beautiful </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41419" style="position:absolute;top:2853.14px;left:326.11px;letter-spacing:1.48px;">mirror—the </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41420" style="position:absolute;top:2853.14px;left:1662.32px;letter-spacing:0.75px;">person </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41421" style="position:absolute;top:2853.14px;left:2481.02px;letter-spacing:-0.64px;">who </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41422" style="position:absolute;top:2853.14px;left:2968.21px;letter-spacing:1.02px;">caused </span>
Looking at the code, what you have is a fixed layout epub3 file. You need an application or ereader device that will handle that format. Try renaming it from filename.epub to filename.fxl.kepub.epub and see how it looks on your Forma (the fxl.kepub.epub extension tells your Kobo ereader it's a fixed layout epub3). Check the Kobo Epub-spec at Github under the Sideloading for Testing Purposes for more information.

Last edited by DNSB; 05-04-2021 at 03:30 PM.
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Old 05-04-2021, 04:53 PM   #11
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Thanks David, will check out the link.

I did read it as a kepub, but there is no changing of font size, margins, etc.

It's available for free here if you, or anyone else want to take a peek
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/petrified-minds
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Old 05-04-2021, 07:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrik View Post
Thanks David, will check out the link.

I did read it as a kepub, but there is no changing of font size, margins, etc.

It's available for free here if you, or anyone else want to take a peek
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/petrified-minds
That's because it is a fixed layout ebook. The only change you can make is using the zoom option and that is pretty much useless for this ebook. I was also noticing that the dropcaps (another idea that should never be used in an ebook) are not done properly.

Other items: the ebook does not have a cover image as such. When I imported it into calibre, the title was "Petrified Minds TRIPLE KINDLE FINAL.mobi" and the author was unknown. The xhtml navigation document has a PageList but no ToC entries which is yet another standard violation. It looks as if a goodly chunk of the stylesheet is missing (Indented-Paragraph, Drop-Cap, Chapter-Title, etc., etc.).

Somewhat interestingly, from the content.opf, this epub is intended to be read in landscape with the pages carefully labelled as left/right and the Apple metadata to allow using embedded fonts is present:

Code:
    <meta property="ibooks:specified-fonts">true</meta>
    <meta property="rendition:layout">pre-paginated</meta>
    <meta property="rendition:orientation">landscape</meta>
    <meta property="rendition:spread">both</meta>
Code:
    <itemref idref="Petrified_Minds_TRIPLE_KINDLE_FINAL.mobi-1" properties="page-spread-right"/>
    <itemref idref="Petrified_Minds_TRIPLE_KINDLE_FINAL.mobi-2" properties="page-spread-right"/>
    <itemref idref="Petrified_Minds_TRIPLE_KINDLE_FINAL.mobi-3" properties="page-spread-left"/>
    <itemref idref="Petrified_Minds_TRIPLE_KINDLE_FINAL.mobi-4" properties="page-spread-right"/>
    <itemref idref="Petrified_Minds_TRIPLE_KINDLE_FINAL.mobi-5" properties="page-spread-left"/>
    <itemref idref="Petrified_Minds_TRIPLE_KINDLE_FINAL.mobi-6" properties="page-spread-right"/>
Overall, the kindest thing I can say about the structure of the epub is that it's an abomination. I've attached some screenshots from my Forma. Likely the same crap you've already seen.
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 05-05-2021, 01:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrik View Post
I bought a book today that seems to be an Indesign export. Every word has its own formatting. On my ereader there are huge margins, so it's not readable.

[...]

Ideas?
Yep, like DNSB said, that's a Fixed Layout EPUB.

The way you can tell is InDesign wraps every single individual word in a <span> and absolutely positions it:

Spoiler:
Code:
<p class="Drop-Cap ParaOverride-1"><span class="CharOverride-14" id="_idTextSpan41408" style="position:absolute;top:2537.09px;left:-34.4px;">“</span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41409" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:326.11px;">I </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41410" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:515.94px;letter-spacing:0.87px;">want </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41411" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:1107.67px;letter-spacing:-1.22px;">you </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41412" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:1567.94px;letter-spacing:-0.62px;">to </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41413" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:1877.72px;letter-spacing:1.83px;">imagine </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41414" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:2773.35px;letter-spacing:-0.23px;">your </span><span class="CharOverride-3" id="_idTextSpan41415" style="position:absolute;top:2589.14px;left:3321.68px;text-rendering:optimizeLegibility;letter-spacing:0.73px;">reflection </span> [...]</p>


Compare to:

Code:
<p class="Drop-Cap ParaOverride-1">“I want you to imagine your reflection [...]</p>
And as you noticed, only zooming + panning/scanning, no changing fonts, and missing all the other fantastic advantages a true ebook brings!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DNSB View Post
Somewhat interestingly, from the content.opf, this epub is intended to be read in landscape with the pages carefully labelled as left/right and the Apple metadata to allow using embedded fonts is present:
Bah, that's another problem with InDesign's fixed layout EPUBs, they export code that only works in Apple's iBooks.

And I have no idea how that passed Kobo's Quality Control in the first place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DNSB View Post
Overall, the kindest thing I can say about the structure of the epub is that it's an abomination. I've attached some screenshots from my Forma. Likely the same crap you've already seen.
Woof.

And the book looks like it's a basic Fiction book, just pure text. There's absolutely zero reason for that to be a fixed-format book.

Last edited by Tex2002ans; 05-05-2021 at 01:30 AM.
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Old 05-05-2021, 09:32 AM   #14
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Just for fun I printed the ebook (from Calibre viewer) to pdf, which I would run through Finereader.

The result contained a bunch of blue squares, which Acrobat says are links. This messes up the ocr.

Any ideas to not have that included in the "printout"?
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Old 05-05-2021, 10:01 AM   #15
Hitch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrik View Post
Just for fun I printed the ebook (from Calibre viewer) to pdf, which I would run through Finereader.

The result contained a bunch of blue squares, which Acrobat says are links. This messes up the ocr.

Any ideas to not have that included in the "printout"?
Well...maybe, but what is it, exactly, that you're trying to do? I mean "printing" or exporting an FXL ePUB to PDF...that's not going to work spectacularly well, as you've seen. For that matter, neither will doing nearly anything else, because of those word-wrapping and sometimes, letter-wrapping spans.

What's the desired end result? There are myriad things that you can try to do, (all of them laborious) but the destination matters.

I will say, trying to do almost anything with a fixed-layout ePUB is...let's just say it's an uphill battle.

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