10 Replies Latest reply on Dec 14, 2013 7:27 PM by gvmm

    ePUB problems

    gvmm Level 1

      I am trying to get a handle on ePUB export from InDesign and have encountered two problems I hope someone can help me with.


      The data:


      1. Currently experimenting with 2 .indd files (of about 60) from an .indb that was used to generate PDFs for a printed book. The files were built in ID CS5. I have just upgraded to ID CC and am working in it. I'm running an iMac under Mac OSX 10.8.
      2. I am using Elizabeth Castro's EPUB Straight to the Point for guidance.
      3. I have a reasonable knowledge of HTML and CSS, but I'm really more of a Photoshop/Illustrator/AfterEffects kind of guy. My knowledge of ID is just enough to have put out this one book to print.


      The problems:

      1. When I export to ePUB (using File/Export) and display to Adobe Digital Editions, I get small numbers in the text. They look like page numbers, but I removed page references from the masters before export, and they were never in the body text in the first place. The numbers do not correspond exactly with pages divisions in the InDesign, but are close.
      2. I have modified two paragraph styles to get better results in my export, but the modifications do not appear to be "sticking." I.e., I had to redo same modifications in the second .indd file I opened. One of the .indd files I am working with is the style source. This is surprising. I thought a modification to a paragraph style would ripple through every .indd file that uses the style.


      I could really use some thoughts here. I've tested and have been generated the same results. Don't have any thoughts on what is amiss.




      Richard Hurley

      Grass Valley MultiMedia

        • 1. Re: ePUB problems
          Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant
          1. You need not to remove anything from the master page to export an EPUB, because all things on the master page are ignored upon EPUB export. That's why it's very important not to override items from the master pager, so they will become part of an EPUB (and of the logic accessible and read out loud able content of a PDF too). What this is with your numbers I don't know. Can you show us a screen shot please?
          2. Never use manually overrides in text design, use always paragraph and character styles. In the Export Tag section of their definition you can add a class, Upon EPUB export there are some options – depending on the CC build a little bit different – how CSS will be handled.



          Then you should also look which version of EPUB you use, 3 or 2.1?  Adobe Digital Editions is not a very good EPUB reader, the best program to view EPUBs at the moment is Apple iBooks, on the Mac and on iOS.


          If you need some more information in EPUB and its substandard look here: http://idpf.org

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: ePUB problems
            Derek Cross Adobe Community Professional

            Hi gvmm


            There are others on this forum who are more qualified than me to help you with your actual issues (and I'm sure will!) but I would make the general points that it's best not to rely just on Adobe Digital Editions to view your ePub. Also try Readium - http://readium.org, or even better, in fact vital, actual ePub readers. You should also check your file with a validator such as http://validator.idpf.org, which will help you highlight any issues.


            If you also want to have your eBook on Amazon (normally recommended) your ePub will need to be converted to the Mobi format which is the format for the Kindle, if so, it's worth working in parallel with your ePub production, continually testing your conversion on a virtual Kindle ereader and also on actual Kindles.


            Liz Castro's books are well thought of, as is the online training from Lynda.com - it has a number of useful tutorials on producing various types of eBooks.



            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: ePUB problems
              gvmm Level 1

              Thanks, Willi. I am exporting to ePUB 2.1, based on what I read in Castro (though the edition I am reading is a bit out of date. Would ePUB 3 be preferable now?)


              Here is what the little numbers look like in Adboe Digital Editions. (ADE did not display a version number, sorry).




              I took DerekC1000's advise, sent my .epub file to my iPad, and opened in iBook. No wierd little numbers! Very satisfying.


              On your point number 2 (re manual overrides): My final edits on the book took place in InDesign, and I suspect I have italics throughout the text that are overrides. My understanding is that ePUB supports this now, and they seem to be displaying okay on the iBook. Am I living in a fool's paradise? Will these blow up when I convert the ePUB to other eBook formats? If so, is it possible to do a GREP search for words and phrases in italics and convert them to a character style? Or (hope, hope) is the selection of an italic font already treated as a character style in the CSS that is generated? (I confess, I haven't unzipped the .epub file yet. That's on today's agenda.)


              Thanks for your input. I'm am flying at the edges of my known world, and there is a fair amount of turbulence.



              • 4. Re: ePUB problems
                gvmm Level 1

                Thanks, Derek.


                I tested in iBook on my iPad, and the little numbers went away. (See my reply to Willi.) Thanks for the suggestion. Another reason to switch over to Mavericks, which is supposed to have an iBook reader app.


                I just checked out Lynda.com. Their stuff has always looked informative on Adobe TV. I'll spring for a month if their video plays well after my web connection clears up. (I've got bigtime downloads going at the moment.


                Thanks for the references. This eBook stuff is a moving target. And thank God for this forum. I'm always bouncing from one Adobe app to another, and I'd never make it without the help I get here.



                • 5. Re: ePUB problems
                  gvmm Level 1

                  Willi: Got a chance to look at the over-ride code in the CSS of my test test export ePUB. Is this what you are saying not to do? Is it going to fail somewhere?





                  • 6. Re: ePUB problems
                    Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                    I am wondering what you want to accomplish with these overrides in the InDesign text? When it comes to print I see some benefits, e.g. to finish a chapter on the left page and to fit the text in a specific even number of pages, to get a nice vertical align, to get an image and its text together, etc.

                    But all these benefits you will not get with an EPUB because how the text looks like in the final view how the user sees it is not in your hand. There are so many influences you can't eliminate or specify. Even if you specify a font family or font size you don't know

                    • which device is somenone using to read the EPUB (iPhone, iPad mini, iPad, tablet, computer screen with 30"?)
                    • which application?
                    • does the user increase or decrease the font size for himself?
                    • does the app support embedded fonts or wil it replace it with something else?
                    • etc.

                    Overrides have to accomplish something what does not fall into any category above. And why not to use a Character Style or a Paragraph Style instead? It makes code lean and easier to maintain. Personally I try to work without a single override in any publication, even for print.

                    But if you make not even 1 override you end up with some in the final CSS and I hope that those problems will disappear.


                    Your overrides specify …

                    • a centered paragraph, why not use a dedicated paragraph style?
                    • some emphasis styles, why not use a structered character style?
                    • a initial letter. Define it with a paragraph style which uses a character style.

                    More important is what is behind these overrides? If it is in the second case a proper name? Or something else? Then should font styling not be enough, e.g if it a proper name? Might be changing the llnguage to None or All, is it a foreign word? Might be important to change the language to that foreign tongue? In both cases you could accomplish it better with a character style.


                    Take care that someone who is not able to read might use some device to read out loud. Does this device or app get all information from the overrides?


                    Best Regards


                    • 7. Re: ePUB problems
                      gvmm Level 1

                      More important is what is behind these overrides?


                      The short answer, Willi, is ignorance. The project was my only venture into InDesign, and I laid it out 2 1/2 years ago. ePUB conversion was nowhere near my mind. I treated InDesign as a elaborate word processor, and if I got the look I wanted on the PDF that was sent to the printer, I didn't really care how I got there. Now I that I know a little more about ePUB, I would certainly proceed differently.


                      The question is how to proceed from here. A publisher wants to put the book up in Kindle format, and I want, for this and other projects' purposes, to learn how to build ePUBs properly, so they will flow along to as many digital formats as possible with the least resistance. An added challenge is that my knowledge of HTML and CSS is limited to what I picked up building a few sites in DreamWeaver. The overwhelming majority of my hours in Adobe products is spent over on the graphics side, in Photoshop, Illustrator, and AfterEffects.


                      My plan at the moment is to generate a character style that describes the italics and then apply it in InDesign. It might possibly be faster to search and replace the over-ride code in the chapter HTML files, but then I'd still have a ragged InDesign file to cause difficulties in the future. I don't know if InDesign's search tools can take me automatically to every instance of italiced body text. It would be nice, but i can visually scan the text for italics if need be.


                      The initial letter over-ride code you mentioned above was generated by InDesign, incidentally. I did use a "first paragraph" style with a drop cap. It was InDesign's export to ePUB routine that turned that into an over-ride. Go figure.

                      • 8. Re: ePUB problems
                        Willi Adelberger Most Valuable Participant

                        I think it is easy to replace overrides with formatting.

                        You can use Find & Replace to search italics and replace them with a Character style.

                        Another help—which I use always—is the Preflight Panel, I create a Preflight Profile which marks all manual overrides and the preflight panel shows everything, I need only to click on the link to jump to the problematic text, there I decide what to do, either to delete overrides (Often they came from imported Word files, not visible or reasonable) or I click on the correct Character Style.

                        My personal recommendation in creating a Character Style for italic is to define Font Family and Style and nothing else except the export tagging, like some given tag e.g. "em" and a css style.

                        So you can use the style everywhere where this font fmily is used.

                        In the past I defined only the style "Italic" but I had later problems when I changed the family, in some font families the Italic style has different names, like addtional number or is called "Kursiv" or something else and in applyign a font style alone without the font family ended up in a missing glyph warning.

                        • 9. Re: ePUB problems
                          Ellis home Level 4

                          Something that I do when facing a similar situation (for whatever reason) is to create a copy of the ID document and call it "something epub", that way I keep the printed version separate. Just a thought.

                          • 10. Re: ePUB problems
                            gvmm Level 1

                            Thanks, Willi.


                            I have been testing to see how to replace over-rides in InDesign by a character style for subsequent export to ePUB.


                            I configured Find/Change (format) to select text where Font Family: Minion Pro and Font Style: italic. I then change the selected text to Character Style: italic (whose only setting is Font Style: italic).


                            The CSS generated by the resulting text is:


                            span.italic {





                            span._idGenCharOverride-1 {

                                      font-family:"Minion Pro";



                            and the HTML looks like this:


                            She had been hearing stories of strange lights at the old Walloupa diggings. <span class="italic _idGenCharOverride-1">Ghosts,</span> claimed the miners.


                            I am not familiar with the underscore notation (_) in CSS. It seems to add a property of a class (classA.propertyX) in dot notation. Is this correct? If so, is this the desired outcome for publication to ePUB?


                            If font-family is already defined by the paragraph style (for those e-readers, if any, than can use embedded fonts), it would seem mischievious to redefine the font-family in a character style/spann class called italic. Seems like asking for inheritance problems. Or does ePUB have its spedcial requirements for font definition that are being recognized here.


                            Groping through this. Any help much appreciated.