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Well, the good news is that Adobe has paid a fair amount of attention to the needs of EPUB publishers, e-Book designers, that is, exporting your InDesign document to the EPUB format so that it can be read on EPUB readers like iPad iBooks or the Barnes & Noble NOOK or the Kobo and lots of other e-readers out there. A couple of new features that we can look at right here while the book is open in front of us--let's see. Down here in is here we have an inline frame that I added and I've applied an object style to it called quote.
What is new is that this background color and the width of the frame and the fact that it's an object style called quote, this will all make it through into the EPUB. In previous versions, we would have to have re-created this in the CSS, which I showed in my InDesign to EPUB titles, that you have to edit the CSS to add a background, to set a border, to set an inset, and now all of that is included. So inline and anchored text frames carry their attributes for fill color, margin, padding, border style, and width all the way through to CSS, which is excellent! Another new feature is--let's see, I have the graphing in out there-- is that if I have a graphic that I've anchored into the text flow and I go to Object > Object Export Options, we have new options here under Custom Layout.
So before it was just Alignment and Spacing. Now we have the ability to float it. Float me baby. Float Left or Float Right, meaning that it can act like as though they were a text wrap. It's going to push the text away; it's not going to be inline, which is pretty cool. So we don't even have any text wrap on here, and we'll see what it looks like once we export to EPUB. Let's go right to the Export to EPUB dialog box. It's still under File > Export. And we will call it art history, save it on the desktop. The first thing that's new you will see is that there was a Version dropdown menu.
The default is EPUB 2.0.1, which is probably the most widely supported format by all e-reader devices and software, but you could also export this to EPUB 3 format, which I will be showing in the next video, as well as an experimental format called EPUB3 with Layout. They've cleaned up the General panel a bit. There's really no new features here, other than the fact we can now set separate margin settings for the page. So top, bottom, left, and right, rather than one setting all the way around, which is what we had before. And Text Options are all together in this category, nothing new there. Same thing for Image, really nothing new.
In Advanced, we do have a couple new things. First of all, we have a Split Document dropdown, and we are choosing to split the document right now at the chapter number, which I don't think we are showing one, but there is a chapter number at the beginning of each of the three chapters in this book. You could also choose Do Not Split or you could choose Based on Paragraph Style Export Tags, and to me, this one the best new features of CS6 for EPUBs. Let me show you what that means. Let's cancel out of here for now ,and let's say that of course I do want to split the document, to have it create a new HTML file when it comes to chapters so that they all start at the top of the page, so you can link to them from the navigational table of contents, but I would also like other paragraph styles to cause a split, to force a split.
This is something we can never do before. For example, I like this title page to start on its own page and have a link on the left. If I click inside this paragraph-- I can see the paragraph style here is called titlepage--and now simply by double-clicking and going down to Export Tagging, you will see that they have a new checkbox called Split Document. So on a paragraph-style-by-style basis you can tell InDesign to force it to chunk up the document, to split it and start a new document whenever it encounters this paragraph style, and there's no limit to the number of paragraph styles you can do that with.
It is so much easier than working with earlier versions of CS. You don't have to do any of that yourself or any of the crazy workarounds that we were doing. So I wanted to split the document for title page and I also wanted to do it for chapter number. So let me find Chapter Number, and we will go down to Export Tagging and turn on Split Document. Now, when I go to Export to EPUB--we didn't make any changes here or here under Advanced-- under Split Document, I'm going to choose Based on Paragraph Style Export Tag. Woohoo! Under CSS there is a new feature that you can add additional style sheets, so you can see right here I added one called simplereset.css, because in addition to the style sheet that I want InDesign to create for me that is based on my paragraph and character styles, I often want to include another style sheet in every EPUB that I create that kind of resets all of the defaults that a device might have for its CSS.
If we export to EPUB3, that would become available to us, and I'll show you that in the next video. So with all of our settings, let me make sure that we are going to view the EPUB. Yep, let's click. There's our lovely document, and now there is "A History of Art" starting on its own page, and then the other ones are the chapter numbers that started on their own page. Now this doesn't really look really nice, but remember, we are using Adobe Digital Editions. Not really the best previewer of effects, but you should test it out on your devices.
Here is the Float Left, so you see that it pushed the text over to the right. So the only issue might be that that there's no space here, and you could always edit that in the CSS file when you're done. In fact, let's take a look at these files. I am going to close this up and go to my Desktop. I've included a couple scripts. These are AppleScripts for Macintosh users that help you unzip EPUB files and validate them. I talk about these scripts in more detail in my EPUB video titles here at lynda.com, but I am going to use the unzip one on the Mac, because otherwise it's very difficult to see the innards of an EPUB.
I am just going to drag and drop it there, and here are the insides. So this was an EPUB 2.0. So there's our toc.ncx, and our images are in here. Here are the two CSS files. One thing that's new is that Adobe now names the default CSS file that it creates according to the name of the EPUB file itself, rather than just template.css. Keep that in mind. Also, it has reverted back to exporting XHTML extensions on their files, rather than HTML, which it did with CS5.
This is for compatibility with all e-readers. Let's take a look, like here's the one with the inline frame. I am just going to double-click it and open this up in a text editor. I like to use TextWrangler on the Macintosh. So the tags look relatively clean. We still have a character override here, because I guess I have a drop cap for some reason. Here is the quote frame, and here is the pull quote. That's the style for the text inside here. And then div class for quote frame, if we look at the CSS file, is actually right here.
It was frame three. Here is our background color and the padding. So I had set this up as insets for that text frame and they came through as padding in the CSS, and the width of the frame came through as well, so did the height. I love that. Let's make sure that this EPUB validates. I'm going to the desktop. I'm going to drag and drop our EPUB right onto EPUB check 1.2, which is a little AppleScript that runs the validation checker. And that's always a happy thing to see. I love that, because InDesign wasn't always able to create those.
So there are also a number of bug fixes that Adobe added to InDesign for EPUB. You will see some fixes that has to do with the ordering of groups and objects style names, em values, the sizing of superscript, and subscript text. It does a much better job of maintaining table styles and cell styles. So you will see a lot of little things that have been added as well. We will be covering a lot of this in an upcoming title on using InDesign CS6 to export to EPUB, iPad, and the Kindle.
In general, I'm really happy to see the improvements they've made to exporting to EPUB2 from InDesign CS6.
- Working with the Conveyor tool to link objects and map styles
- Applying Liquid Layout rules
- Using flexible columns
- Creating auto-sized text frames
- Accessing recently used fonts
- Fitting frames to more types of text content
- Exporting to EPUB 2 and 3 using new controls
- Inserting HTML and Edge content into a layout
- Creating a PDF form with interactive text, radio, and checkbox fields
- Mapping text styles in linked objects