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Issues I have encountered with ePub creation from inDesign CS5.5

Jan 14, 2012 4:14 PM

Tags: #ebook #opentype #ebooks #epub #epubcheck #e-book #indesign_epub #flightcrew #content.opf

There seems to be many things Adobe can do to improve the out-of-the-box ePub creation mechanism to reduce (or potentially eliminate) the effort publishers must go through in order to make their ePub files compliant with the latest ePub validation tools, as well as eBook distribution centers.  This is a working list of problems encountered from my inDesign CS5.5-produced ePub:


  • "" in the TOC file was undeclared: inDesign generated a TOC, within a document, that contained no actual hyperlinks.  href="#"
    • Fixed by manually placing the proper file references, instead of the #; solution performed outside of inDesign
  • Cound not decrypt font files; I don't think I set any kind of encryption, so perhaps it is an inDesign default, but that is just a guess.  The actual cause is unknown to me at this time.
    • Fixed by manually deleting Encryption.xml from \META-INF
  • "apos" was undefined in the content.opf file.  Within the <dc:title></dc:title> section, apostrophes were used (defined in File Info in the metadata forms) as part of the title.  inDesign treated them as HTML and not XML, thus changing a ' to &apos;
    • Fixed by manually changing &apos; back to ' in the content.opf file
  • inDesign mistakenly classified OpenType fonts as "x-font-otf"
    • Fixed by manually changing "x-font.opf" to ""
  • One issue I have yet to resolve seems to revolve around the cover image file.  Apparently, the cover image I attached while generating the ePub file is either unreachable or unused.  Here is the error message from FlightCrew: "this resource is present in the OPF <manifest>, but it's not reachable (it's unused)"
    • Unresolved.  I am attempting to add a document containing the graphics file to see whether having the file referenced in an attached HTML document fixes the issue.  Short of that, I plan to remove the cover from the ePub generation, as many distribution services out there want you to upload the cover file separately anyway...  The second solution seems most probable to work
  • One last set of issues encountered had nothing to do with inDesign, but were more with how I named my files and directories.  One rule of thumb to follow is to not include spaces in file names.  Another is to ensure file names begin with a letter and not a number.
    • While I do not proclaim to know why having spaces or file names starting with a number are bad, fixing the file names eliminated those errors.  Unfortunately, I had to completely rebuild my book from scratch, and I also had to relink and re-embed all of my graphics.  I won't be making that mistake again.


Tools used to validate ePub files were epubcheck-1.1, epubcheck-1.2, epubcheck-3.0b3, FlightCrew, and Lulu's file upload for eBook distribution service

Tools used to produce the ePub file and edit the file contents included inDesign CS5.5, Dreamweaver, and Microsoft Notepad



  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 15, 2012 6:23 AM   in reply to CD@TriscellePub

    This is a user forum, not a channel to tech support, so it's pretty unlikley that "for someone from Adobe to look at this and consider how some of these alledgedly inDesign-caused errors can be fixed" is going to happen, particularly since you posted in the Feature Requests forum rather than genereal discussions. You won't get someone from Adobe there, either, but you will probably find other users with epub experience who can offer advice.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 16, 2012 9:05 PM   in reply to Peter Spier

    Maybe someone from Adobe will get drunk one night and accidentally arrive here when they really intend to shop online at Toys R Us? You know, kind of like a room full of monkeys at typewriters accidentally writing War and Peace? I could happen. Don't be so fatalistic.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 17, 2012 5:41 AM   in reply to mrkgreene

    I prefer the term realistic, and the folks on the InDesign team are not drunken monkeys. The work very hard and accomplish some pretty amazing things (like line styles), but have limited time.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 7, 2012 3:44 PM   in reply to CD@TriscellePub

    CD@TriscellerPub, I found a resolution to one of your problems above, I believe. It is the message from Sigil that states for the cover image the following: "this resource is present in the OPF <manifest>, but it's not reachable (it's unused)"


    I could not find a solution anywhere but finally figured it out through a lot of trial and error.. It was Lynda's training course, (thank you Anne-Marie Concepcion), that at least gave me the skills to poke around and figure this out. It appears that a <guide> variable needs to be set to fix this in the content.opf file. Since I added the <guides> to the content.opf file, following Anne-Marie's directions with my last book, before running Sigil's checker, I had never seen this message before. So for folks out there that have never seen this error message that might be the reason why.




    The cover image showed up fine in Caliber but not in Adobe Digital Editions.


    The Sigil error message is the following, "This resource is present in the OPF <manifest>, but it's not reachable (it's unused)" which is an obtuse message to say the least. It says it is "not reachable" and it is "unused." The "unused" part seems to be the key because it was very "reachable." (it was there, referenced properly and named properly) This error message was on the cover image that I was telling InDesign 5.5 to add from a file when I generating the EPUB.


    When building my EPUB, InDesign 5.5 added the following lines in the content.opf file:


    <meta name='cover' content="cover"/>


    InDesign adds no <guide> statements to the content.opf file. I added the following to get rid of the error message:



        <reference type="cover" title="Dust Cover" href="images/cover.jpg"



    Warning, there may be typo's above.


    Hope this helps.



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