Join Anne-Marie Concepción for an in-depth discussion in this video Comparing the looks of fixed vs. flowable EPUBs, part of Creating a Fixed-Layout EPUB.
Fixed-Layout eBooks are a special kind of EPUB, that's kind of like a hybrid of a PDF, with its complete control over page design and an EPUB, which is an open source format for digital books. I have open here one such example. It's a fixed-layout EPUB called Lost Highway, written by Nigel French, one of our author's here, and all the photographs are from him as well. And I have it open in my iPad and it automatically opens to a two-page spread.
And if I flip, if I just drag to the left, you can see that I'm paging through it as though it were a regular facing-pages eBook. When I get to a page that has some text on it, and here is a beautiful page with a two-page spread of a single image, which is something else you can do really cool with fixed-page layouts. Now just right here, notice it if I tap on the screen, we don't see a command to increase or reduce the size of the type. So if I want to zoom in closer to this type, I actually need to double tap, so that the entire image expands.
Now you might be thinking, well, this is just an image is getting larger, the text is part of that image, but no, that is something else that's unique to fixed layout EPUBs, is that, the text is all live. This text is sitting on top of the picture and I can press my finger against it and drag across it, and the text gets selected. I'm going to tap elsewhere to deselect. Let's look at another difference between fixed-layout EPUBs and what we call flowable EPUBs. I'm going to go to my Library and open up a Brief History of San Francisco.
Now this is the EPUB that I was using for a lot of the lessons in my InDesign to EPUB courses here at lynda.com. So if you saw any of those, this looks familiar to you. I am flipping through this book and let's say that I want to look at the navigational table of contents. So I tap on the little button to the right of the Library button, and it jumps to the navigational table of contents for iBooks. So, for example, I could just tap on The gold rush and it will bring me to that first page that begins with The gold rush. The table of contents is quite different in a fixed-layout EPUB.
Let's go back to Nigel's book and I'll just tap here to awaken that little button for navigational table of contents, and when I tap on that button, I see instead miniatures of every page. Now to the right on the bar going across the top, you can see that there's actually two icons here. There is one that shows thumbnails and then there is this other one that shows lines. And if I tapped on the ones with lines, here is where the navigational table of contents might go if you wanted it.
But it's not required by Apple iBookstore. You don't have to have actual text here, because most people will be simply using the thumbnails view. And in fact, if they're reading the book, let's opens to this beautiful image here, you can see at the bottom, there is always this little thumbnail scrubber, so I can drag through here and move from page to page. This is a very short book; let me show you a longer one. I am going to go back to the Library and open up this Missed Connections, which is a sample of a book that you can download a free sample from the iBookstore.
And here if I tap on the book to awaken the user interface around it, you can see as I drag across the tiny little thumbnails, larger thumbnails appear. Now this is not something that you have to create yourself. When you create a fixed-layout EPUB, Apple automatically generates these for you and this is the default TOC that you get. So these tiny little thumbnails, or if you tap up here, you see these larger thumbnails, or you can switch to the more traditional TOC if you tap on here, but only certain books have these usually, unless they're really long, you'll often just see one link to the beginning of the book here.
With a fixed-layout EPUB, you have complete control over the text and the images. As I said, text can lie on top of images, you can also specify where lines end, you can have text wraps, but these are all done manually, and once I show you the interior of a fixed-layout EPUB, you can see how it's quite a lot of work. But in many cases, it's going to be worth the effort. So, a fixed-layout EPUB has certain advantages over regular flowable EPUBs, and let's take a closer look at those advantages and disadvantages of working with fixed-layout EPUBs in the next video.
- Comparing fixed-layout and flowing EPUBs
- Replacing placeholders in the fixed-layout template
- Extracting content from PDFs with Adobe Acrobat Pro and Reader
- Using free scripts to streamline fixed-layout production
- Extracting text and its formatting from InDesign layouts
- Exporting InDesign layouts to single-page HTML files
- Adding viewport and orientation instructions
- Embedding your own fonts
- Creating faux text wraps around background images
- Validating the EPUB
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: What's new in the 11/12/2013 course update?
A: Since this title was first recorded, many commercial third-party solutions have come to the marketplace that help InDesign users convert their print layouts to the fixed-layout EPUB format. We added a video about one of these, Rorohiko's ePubCrawler, to the "Starting with InDesign" chapter.
Q: This course was updated on 7/03/2014. What changed?
A: The author added and revised movies to reflect the June 2014 updates to InDesign's EPUB handling features, including fixed-layout support and EPUB exporting options.