Join Nigel French for an in-depth discussion in this video The importance of styles, part of InDesign: EPUB Typography.
- If you're the kind of InDesign user who treats paragraph styles and character styles as optional extras, you'll need to rethink your workflow when working with reflowable EPUBs. You need to use styles for everything. Reflowable EPUBs require that you use styles and use them consistently to build a navigable table of contents, to control how pages and sections break, and to avoid local overrides being exported as CSS classes, which will bloat the size of your output and make the CSS harder to edit.
Establish parent-child relationships with your styles using the Based On option that way if you need to experiment with a different look, editing the parent style will affect all styles based on it. Here, if I edit the parent, the body style, all of the variants of the body text which are based on it will also change. It may not be obvious which style is based on which. You can use a very useful script from In-Tools called ShowBasedOn, which will break down how your styles have been set up.
Local formatting should never be used. You could spot text overrides by the plus symbol that appears next to the style name when the style is selected. Hover over the style and a tooltip will pop up, telling you what the override is. However, if more than one override is applied, it might just say mixed overrides. More helpful is the Show Text Overrides script also available from In-Tools. This is a startup script, so once installed, it appears under the Type menu.
If I do that, and I'll need to switch to Normal View by tapping W, we can see that my overrides are clearly marked. You can also make a preflight profile that flags overrides in your document. When I choose that as my working preflight profile, we can see that I have many errors flagged, and I can jump to each of the pages where those errors occur.
Create character styles for any variant you plan on using within the text. A character style should inherit most of its formats from the parent, the paragraph to which it's applied. Most of the attributes will be blank. When you place text from Word, the author may have italicized or in some other way indicated emphasis in the text. And if these local overrides are required, you can convert them to character styles using Find/Change.
I'm going to do a Find Format, and the format I'm looking for is the Italic font style, and what I'm changing to is the emphasis character style. I'll search in the whole document. And we now see all of those overrides that were indicated by the show override script have now disappeared because they are no longer overrides. Don't use any spaces or odd characters in your file names or style names.
Stick to letters, numbers, and underscores. If we take a look at my list of paragraph styles, we can see that several of them have spaces between the words. There's a script from Peter Kahrel called RenameStyles, which I can use to fix all of my style naming. And you can see now my spaces have been replaced with underscores. Use InDesign's export tagging to map InDesign styles to HTML and CSS tags.
This ensures that the EPUB conforms to web standards and that your heads and subheads end up as true, hierarchical HTML tags, h1, h2, h3, et cetera. You can do this on a style by style basis using the Export Tagging option, but it's easier to address all at once using this option from the Paragraph Styles panel. And you can see here that I've applied the P tag to most of my styles with the exception of chapter_title and toc_title, and I'm choosing to split the EPUB at the chapter number and the TOC title.
Use the Table of Contents feature to create your table of contents. This needs to be interactive and will only work if styles have been used consistently. If you're having a document do double duty both as a print version and a fixed layout version, you can have different table of content styles for each. So those are some things to consider when working in InDesign to prepare your EPUB using paragraph styles and character styles.
Note: While most of the lessons are centered on reflowable EPUBs, specific issues for fixed-layout EPUBs are called out along the way.
- Embedding fonts
- Considering legibility and readability
- Choosing font styles
- Scaling type
- Setting color and contrast
- Threading text
- Alignment and spacing
- Incorporating typographic details: drop caps, bullets, and more