Overview

You can export an InDesign document to EPUB to allow your users to view the output in an EPUB reader.

You can choose to export a document to the reflowable EPUB format. A reflowable EPUB document allows the EPUB reader to optimize the content depending on the display device.

The reflowable format is better suited if the document targeted at eInk device users. Also, the reflowable format is preferred if you want to provide options to change the font and size of text in the reader.

You can choose to export your documents to the fixed layout format. The fixed layout format allows you to include audio, video, and Edge content in your documents.

You can also export interactive documents that include controls such as navigation buttons, page transitions, animations, and hyperlinks to the fixed layout format.

The fixed layout format is better suited for documents that include a large number of graphics, audio and video content. This format is better suited for children's book, cookbooks, textbooks, and comic books.

Text support

The following text options are supported when creating documents for export to the fixed layout format:

  • Text is not rasterized. This implies live text is searchable and selectable
  • Live text can be scaled horizontally and vertically
  • Tab leaders can be included
  • Language attributes are marked up on tags
  • Tags are marked up with CSS classes
  • Hyperlinks and cross references on text are supported to URLs, text anchors, and pages

Also note the following limitations when including text in your documents for export to EPUB:

  • Kerning is not supported on an individual glyph and is distributed as letter spacing across all the letters of a word
  • Alternate glyphs generated by OpenType features, including small caps, all caps, and fractions are not supported due to limited device support
  • Middle Eastern right-to-left text frames remain not properly supported

Japanese text support

The following Japanese feature options are available for export to the fixed layout format:

  • Ruby text is live and not rasterized in the output
  • Warichu is supported in Live text
  • Character rotation is supported in Live text
  • Composite fonts are supported
  • Vertical Text Frames are supported including rotated glyphs

Also note the following limitations when including Japanese text in your documents for export to EPUB:

  • Japanese Tate-Chu-Yoko is not supported in vertical text frames
  • Japanese ideographic characters lose their positioning when True Type fonts are used
  • Japanese Kenten font is rasterized in live text

The following hyperlink options are supported when creating documents for export to the fixed layout format:

  • Text-based hyperlinks and cross references
  • Object based hyperlinks
  • Hyperlinks to Pages for both text- and object-based hyperlinks

The export process provides the following navigation capabilities in the EPUB output:

NAV landmarks

NAV landmarks are generated for both fixed Layout and reflowable formats based on the values for epub:type specified in the Object Export Options dialog.

Only the first occurrence of the value is added to the landmarks.

EPUB 2

InDesign provides support for the EPUB 2 section in the OPF file. InDesign automatically detects the cover and the print Table Of Contents option. To determine the text type, InDesign uses the epub:type values specified in the Object Export Options dialog.

NAV page-list

(Fixed Layout format). InDesign generates a page-list by mapping the page number strings to the XHTML files that are generated from that page.

CSS generation for a book

When you export a book to EPUB, the export process generates a CSS for each document in the book. Each document CSS defines the styles that are unique to the document. The process also creates a master CSS that includes the common styles used across the documents in the book.

Export to EPUB

You can export a document or book as reflowable or fixed layout EPUB format.

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Open the document and choose File > Export.

    • Open a book and from the Book panel menu, choose Export Book to EPUB.

  2. Specify a filename and location.

  3. From the Save as Type list choose EPUB (Fixed Layout) or EPUB (Reflowable), and then click Save.

  4. In the EPUB Export Options dialog box, specify the desired options and click OK.

    For details, see Fixed Layout export options or Reflowable export options.

InDesign creates a single .epub file containing the XHTML-based content. To view the file, you need an EPUB reader. You can also use the Adobe Digital Editions reader, that you can download free from the Adobe website.

The .epub file is a .zip file. To view and edit the contents of an EPUB file, change the extension from .epub to .zip, and then extract the contents. This is useful for editing a CSS file.

The exported .epub file can include a cover image. You can select an image to be used as the cover. Alternatively, you can allow InDesign to rasterize the first page in the exported document or the style source document or the exported book. The thumbnail is displayed in the EPUB readers or the Digital Editions Reader library view.

Fixed Layout export options

General section

Version

Version of the EPUB. 

EPUB 3.0

Supports audio, video, javascript, and Japanese vertical text.

This is not supported on devices that do not support the EPUB 3.0 standard.

EPUB 3.0 is an approved standard (by IDPF, 2011).

Cover

Cover image for the eBook. Choose one of the following:

None

No cover image is added.

Rasterize First Page

Select this option to allow InDesign to create an image by rasterizing the first page of the eBook to use as the cover.

Choose image

Select an image file on your computer to use as the cover.

Navigation TOC

Specify the navigation option for EPUB Viewer TOC.

Use a Multi-Level (TOC style) to create the sidebar navigation or use the filename.

File Name

Generate a table of contents based on the filenames.

Multi Level (TOC Style)

Generate a table of contents based on the selected TOC style.
From the TOC Style menu, specify the TOC style to build the table of contents in the eBook.
You can choose Layout > Table Of Contents Styles to create a special TOC style for your eBook.

Bookmarks

(EPUB 3) Generate a table of contents based on the bookmarks you create in the InDesign document.

InDesign supports text anchors and pages either local or external (from Book). The latter can be generated by creating a Table of Contents in InDesign and specifying Create PDF Bookmarks.

For details, see Bookmarks.

Options

Specify the order in which page elements are exported

Based on Document Setup

InDesign determines the spread control from settings defined in the Document Setup dialog box (File > Document Setup).

Convert Spread To Landscape Page

Converts the spread to Landscape layout.

Enable Synthetic Spreads

Enable the synthetic spreads in the document to be exported.

Disable Spreads

None of the spreads are exported to the EPUB output.

Conversion Settings section

From the Image Conversion menu, determine how images are exported to EPUB.

Format

Choose whether the optimized images in your document are converted to GIF, JPEG, or PNG.

Automatic

Let InDesign decide which format to use in each instance.

PNG

Disable the image compression settings. Use PNG for lossless images or for images that include transparency.

Resolution (PPI)

Choose the resolution of the images in pixels per inch (ppi). While operating systems have standardized on either 72 ppi or 96 ppi, mobile devices range from 132 ppi (iPad), to 172 ppi (Sony Reader), to over 300 ppi (iPhone 4).
You can choose a ppi value for each object selected. Values include 72, 96, 150 (average for all eBook devices today), and 300.

GIF Options (Palette)

Lets you control how InDesign handles colors when optimizing GIF files. The GIF format uses a limited color palette, which cannot exceed 256 colors.

Adaptive (no dither)

Create a palette using a representative sample of colors in the graphic without any dithering (mixing of small spots of colors to simulate additional colors).

Web

Create a palette of web-safe colors that are a subset of Windows and Mac OS system colors.

System (Win) or System (Mac)

Create a palette using the built‑in system color palette. This option can cause unexpected results.

Interlace

Load the images progressively by filling in missing lines. If this option is not selected, an image looks fuzzy and gradually becomes clear as the image reaches full resolution.

JPEG Options > Format Method

Specify how quickly JPEG graphics display when the file containing the image is opened in a browser.

Progressive

Make the JPEG images display gradually and in increasing detail as they are downloaded.
Files created with this option are slightly larger and require more RAM for viewing.
Choose Baseline to make each JPEG file display only after it has been downloaded. A placeholder is displayed until the image is downloaded.

Baseline

Make each JPEG file display only after it has been downloaded.
A placeholder is displayed until the image is downloaded.

JPEG Options > Image Quality

Select the required image quality for each JPEG image created in the output.
Choose Low to produce the smallest file and lowest image quality.

The Viewing Apps section of the EPUB - Fixed Layout Export Options dialog box includes the following options:

View EPUB After Exporting

Opens the EPUB in the default application selected for reading EPUB, if available.

Is applicable to both Reflowable and Fixed Layout Export Options dialog box.

EPUB Application   Version   Supported Not Supported
Mac
Apple iBooks 1.0.1 Yes  
Oxygen 14.1 Yes  
Kindle Previewer 2.92 Yes  
Sigil 0.7.4 Yes  
Kindle 1.10.6   No
VitalSource Bookshelf 6.2   No
Apple Book Proofer 1.0.1 Does not accept EPUBs with embedded fonts
Windows
Sigil 0.7.4 Yes  
Kindle Previewer 2.92 Yes  
Adobe Digital Editions 3.0.86137 Yes  
Calibre 1.26 Yes  
Oxygen 15 Yes  
Azardi 2.0 Yes  
Kobo 3.6.0   No

Metadata section

The metadata from the document (or the style source document if a book was selected) is included with the exported file.

Identifier

(Read-only) Every EPUB document requires a unique identifier. A unique identifier is automatically created and displayed.

Title

Enter the title of the EPUB.

Creator

Enter the name of the creator of the EPUB.

Date

Specify the date when the EPUB has been created.

Description

Enter a description of the EPUB.

Publisher

Specify the publisher information that appears in the eBook metadata. For example, you can specify a URL for the publisher.

Rights

Enter copyright information here.

Subject

Enter the subject of the EPUB.

CSS section

Add Style Sheet

Specify the URL of an existing CSS style sheet that will be used in the EPUB export.
InDesign does not check whether the CSS exists or is valid. You can use Dreamweaver to confirm your external CSS setup.

Remove

Remove the selected style sheeet

Javascript section

Javascript

Specify the URL of an existing JavaScript. InDesign does not check whether the JavaScript exists or is valid, so you’ll want to confirm your JavaScript setup.

Reflowable export options

General section

Version

Specify a version for the EPUB. 

EPUB 2.0.1

EPUB 2.0.1 is a standard by IDPF (approved in 2007). This format is supported on a wide variety of devices.

EPUB 3.0

EPUB 3.0 is a standard by IDPF (approved in 2011). This format also supports audio, video, javascript, Japanese vertical text. This does not work on readers and devices that do not support EPUB 3.0 standard.

Cover

Specifies the cover image for the eBook. Choose one of the following:

None

No cover image is added.

Rasterize First Page

Select this option to allow InDesign to create an image by rasterizing the first page of the eBook to use as the cover.

Choose image

Select an image file on your computer to use as the cover.

Navigation TOC

Specify the navigation option for EPUB Viewer TOC.

Use a Multi-Level (TOC style) to create the sidebar navigation or use the filename.

File Name

Generate a table of contents based on the filenames.

Multi Level (TOC Style)

Generate a table of contents based on the selected TOC style. From the TOC Style menu, specify the TOC style you want to use to build the table of contents in the eBook. You can choose Layout > Table Of Contents Styles to create a special TOC style for your eBook.

Order

Specify the order in which page elements are exported

Based on Page Layout

The location of the items on the page determines the reading order.

If Based On Page Layout is selected, InDesign determines the reading order of page objects by scanning left to right and top to bottom. In some instances, especially in complex, multicolumn documents, the design elements sometimes does not appear in the desired reading order. Use Dreamweaver to rearrange and format the contents.

(Asian versions only) If Based On Page Layout is selected, InDesign determines the reading order of page objects according to the document’s binding (left to right or right to left). In some instances, especially in complex, multicolumn documents, the exported design elements do not appear in the desired reading order. Use Dreamweaver to rearrange and format the contents.

Same as XML Structure

The order of the tags in Structure View determines the reading order. See Tag page items.

Same as Articles panel

The order of elements in the Articles panel determines the reading order. Only the checked articles are exported. See Include articles for export.

Text section

Footnotes

Select from the following options to choose the placement of footnotes.

  • After paragraph: To place footnotes after the paragraph.
  • End of the section (Endnotes): To convert footnotes to endnotes.
  • Inside a Pop-up (EPUB3): To place a footnote inside a pop-up.

If you add a footnote using the document footnote option and specify a rule, for example, weight is 10 points, then this horizontal rule is supported in reflowable EPUB on export.

Options > Remove Forced Line Breaks

Remove all soft-returns in the exported eBook.

Lists > Bullets

Select Map To Unordered List to convert bullet paragraphs to List Items that are formatted in HTML using the <ul> tag.
Select Convert To Text to format using the <p> tag with bullet characters as text. If you have used native InDesign auto-bullets, subbullets are also included.

Lists > Numbers

Determines how numbers are converted in the HTML file. If you have used native InDesign auto-numbering, subbullets are also included

Map To Ordered Lists

Convert numbered lists to List Items that are formatted in HTML using the <ol> tag.

Convert to Text

Convert numbered lists into paragraphs that begin with the paragraph’s current number as text.

Object section

From the Image Conversion menu, determine how images are exported to HTML.

Preserve Appearance from Layout

Check to inherit the image object attributes from the layout.

Conversion Settings > Resolution (PPI)

Choose the resolution of the images in pixels per inch (ppi). While operating systems have standardized on either 72 ppi or 96 ppi, mobile devices range from 132 ppi (iPad), to 172 ppi (Sony Reader), to over 300 ppi (iPhone 4). You can choose a ppi value for each object selected. Values include 72, 96, 150 (average for all eBook devices today), and 300.

CSS > Layout

Specify the image alignment - left, center, and right. You can also specify the top and bottom padding.

CSS > Insert Page Break

Insert page breaks with images. Page breaks can be inserted Before Image, After Image, or Before and After Image.

Conversion Settings section

Format

Lets you choose whether the optimized images in your document are converted to GIF, JPEG, or PNG. Choose Automatic to let InDesign decide which format to use in each instance. Choosing PNG disables the image compression settings; use PNG for lossless images or for images that include transparency.

GIF Options (Palette)

Lets you control how InDesign handles colors when optimizing GIF files. The GIF format uses a limited color palette, which cannot exceed 256 colors.

Adaptive (no dither)

Create a palette using a representative sample of colors in the graphic without any dithering (mixing of small spots of colors to simulate additional colors).

Web

Create a palette of web-safe colors that are a subset of Windows and Mac OS system colors.

System (Win) or System (Mac)

Create a palette using the built‑in system color palette. This option can cause unexpected results.

Interlace

Load the images progressively by filling in missing lines. If this option is not selected, an image looks fuzzy and gradually becomes clear as the image reaches full resolution.

JPEG Options > Format Method

Specify how quickly JPEG graphics display when the file containing the image is opened in a browser.

Progressive

Make the JPEG images display gradually and in increasing detail as they are downloaded.
Files created with this option are slightly larger and require more RAM for viewing.
Choose Baseline to make each JPEG file display only after it has been downloaded. A placeholder is displayed until the image is downloaded.

Baseline

Make each JPEG file display only after it has been downloaded.
A placeholder is displayed until the image is downloaded.

JPEG Options > Image Quality

Select the required image quality for each JPEG image created in the output.
Choose Low to produce the smallest file and lowest image quality.

Ignore Object Export Settings

Ignore Object Export settings applied on individual images. See Apply Object export options.

Metadata section

The metadata from the document (or the style source document if a book was selected) is included with the exported file. The Metadata section of the EPUB - Reflowable Layout Export Options dialog box includes the following options:

Identifier

(Read-only) Every EPUB document requires a unique identifier. A unique identifier is automatically created and displayed.

Title

Enter the title of the EPUB.

Creator

Enter the name of the creator of the fixed layout EPUB.

Date

Specify the date when the EPUB has been created.

Description

Enter a description of the EPUB.

Publisher

Enter publisher information such as the URL for the publisher.

Rights

Enter the copyright related information of the EPUB.

Subject

Enter the subject of the EPUB.

CSS section

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are a collection of formatting rules that control the appearance of content in a web page. When you use CSS to format a page, you separate content from presentation. The CSS section of the EPUB - Reflowable Layout Export Options dialog box includes the following options:

Generate CSS

Specify if you want InDesign to generate an external CSS for the exported file. If you export your document/book to EPUB without generating a CSS, only the classes associated with the styles are marked in the HTML tags. No overriding classes are created.

Preserve Local Overrides

Include local formatting such as italic or bold.

Include Embeddable Fonts

Include all fonts that are embeddable, in the eBook. Fonts include embedding bits that determine if the font is embeddable.

Add Style Sheet

Specify the URL of an existing CSS style sheet. InDesign does not check whether the CSS exists or is valid. You can use Dreamweaver to confirm your external CSS setup.

Javascript section

Javascript

Specify the URL of an existing JavaScript. InDesign does not check whether the JavaScript exists or is valid, so you’ll want to confirm your JavaScript setup.

Object Export Options

Use the options in the Object Export Options dialog to specify how the objects in a document are handled during the EPUB export.

  1. Open the Object Export Options dialog (Object > Export Options) and go to the EPUB and HTML section.

  2. Choose from the following options in the Preserve Appearance From Layout list:

    Default

    Handling of the Object will be determined by the settings in the Export Dialog.
    For the reflowable format this is controlled by the settings in the Conversion Tab.

    Use Existing Image for Graphic Objects

    If the Object contains an image, and the image is compatible with EPUB export (JPG, PNG, GIF), then the container is styled using CSS and the image is not processed.

    Rasterize Container

    This is equivalent to Preserve Appearance From Layout in the Reflowable Export/Conversion section. The whole object is rasterized thus preserving the appearance.
    If the object is a text frame, then the text will no longer be live.

    Rasterize Content

    The content of the object is rasterized thus the styling of the object or container is controlled by CSS and not may not entirely display like it did in InDesign.

  3. (Reflowable EPUB) Choose from the following options in the Size list to maintain the aspect ratio of an object, such as an image, that has no internal fixed content:

    None

    No CSS width or height is generated for the tag mapped from the object. The size of the object is determined by the internal content, if any, according to the CSS rules, the aspect ratio is not maintained.

    Default

    The CSS Size is determined by the settings in the Export Dialog/Object tab.

    Fixed

    The CSS Size is determined by the calculating the dimension of the object in points and defining the same dimensions in the CSS as pixels. The aspect ratio of the object is maintained.

    Relative to Text Flow

    The CSS width is determined by taking the width of the object and expressing it as a percentage relative to the width of the text frame containing the text flow. The aspect ratio of the object is maintained.

    Relative to Text Size

    The CSS height is determined by taking the height of the object in points and converting it to ems at 12pts per em. The aspect ratio of the object is maintained.

    Custom Width/Height

    Valid CSS units are cm, mm, in, pt, %, px, vh, vw, vmin, and vmax. The aspect ratio of the object is maintained.

    Note:

    These options do not apply to the main flow text frames.

    Note:

    Objects containing Edge Animate do not support relative measures.

EPUB resources

Use the following links to learn about EPUB format.

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