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Export content for EPUB

  1. InDesign User Guide
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      1. Publish online
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      3. Copy, insert graphics
      4. Export content for EPUB
      5. Adobe PDF options
      6. Export content to HTML
      7. Export to Adobe PDF
      8. Export to JPEG format
      9. Export HTML
      10. DPS and AEM Mobile overview
      11. Supported File Formats
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    4. Preference folder read-only issue
    5. Troubleshoot file issues
    6. Unable to export InDesign file to PDF
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Learn to export an InDesign document into EPUB format-Fixed Layout or Reflowable.

Export an InDesign document efficiently to EPUB format to enable users to view it on an EPUB reader. Select between reflowable and fixed layout formats based on your requirements.

A reflowable EPUB document allows the EPUB reader to optimize the content depending on the display device, making it ideal for e-Ink devices. This format allows readers to customize text font and size.

Fixed Layout format supports audio, video, and Edge content. It's suitable for graphics, text, audio, and video documents, making it perfect for children's books, cookbooks, textbooks, and comics. You can also export interactive documents that include controls such as navigation buttons, page transitions, animations, and hyperlinks to the fixed layout format.

Use the Export command to export a document in EPUB format.

  1. Open the document and select File > Export.

  2. Specify a location and File name.

  3. Select EPUB (Fixed Layout) or EPUB (Reflowable) in Save as type (Windows) or Format (macOS).

  4. Select Use InDesign Document Name as the Output Filename if you want the same file name, and select Save.

    The Export dialog box appears.


Currently, InDesign uses the XHTML file name as the page title for an EPUB (Reflowable) document. With the latest update, InDesign will select page titles based on one of the following criteria:

  • The first heading found in the content.
  • The first 50 characters in the file content, followed by a space and an ellipsis.
  • The title from InDesign file info metadata.
  • The XHTML file name without the file extension.

InDesign will select the page title based on Page <page number> for the EPUB (Fixed Layout) document.

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, which you can download free from the Adobe website.

The .epub file is essentially a .zip file. Change the extension to .zip and extract to view and edit its contents. This is quite useful for editing a CSS file.

Export options for EPUB Fixed Layout and EPUB Reflowable format

EPUB Fixed Layout format offers precise design control, ideal for image-rich content, while EPUB Reflowable format provides adaptable text for various devices, prioritizing readability and flexibility.

You can customize the following options based on your requirements:



Version of the EPUB.

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

EPUB 3.0  Supports audio, video, JavaScript, and vertical Japanese text. This isn't supported on devices that don't support the EPUB 3.0 standard. EPUB 3.0 is an approved standard (by IDPF, 2011). This is available in both Fixed Layout and Reflowable Layout formats.


  • Cover image for the eBook. 
    • None: Select this if you don't want to add any cover image.
    • Rasterize First Page: Select this 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.
  • Alt Text (Reflowable Layout only): Alternative text (Alt Text) is a brief text-based description of an image or graphic. This text is used when the image is not rendered or to help screen readers. InDesign automatically populates the cover image information from the Metadata tab. This can be manually edited if you prefer to use different details.

Navigation TOC

  • Select the navigation option for EPUB Viewer TOC.
    • None (Fixed Layout only): Select this if you don't want to add any table of contents.
    • File Name: Select this to generate a table of contents based on the filenames.
    • Multi Level (TOC Style): Select this to generate a table of contents based on the selected TOC style. Specify the TOC style in the TOC Style menu to build the table of contents in the eBook.
    • Bookmarks (Fixed Layout only): Select this to generate a table of contents based on the bookmarks you create in the InDesign document.
  • Page Navigation (Reflowable Layout only): Select this option if you want to include page break information to help everyone find the same place, regardless of their device or settings.

Options (Fixed Layout only)

Select 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: Enables the synthetic spreads in the document to be exported.
  • Disable Spreads: None of the spreads are exported to the EPUB output.

Content (Reflowable Format only)

Order: Select the order in which page elements are exported.

  • Based on Page Layout: The location of the items on the page determines the reading order.
  • 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. 

Split Document: (Reflowable Layout only)

Check to split the document while you export it to a reflowable EPUB.

  • Single Paragraph Style: Select any paragraph style from the drop-down to split the document based on that.
  • Based on Paragraph Style Export Tags: Split the document based on the paragraph style export tags.

Text (Reflowable Layout Format only)


Remove Forced Line Breaks: Remove all soft returns in the exported eBook.



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

  • End of the section (Endnotes): To convert footnotes to endnotes.
  • After paragraph: To place footnotes after the paragraph.
  • 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.


  • 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, sub-bullets are also included.
  • Numbers: Determines how numbers are converted in the HTML file. Select Map To Ordered List to convert numbered lists to List Items that are formatted in HTML using the <ol> tag. Select Convert To Text to convert numbered lists into paragraphs that begin with the paragraph’s current number as text.


Object (Reflowable Layout format only)

Preserve Appearance from Layout (for Graphic/Media objects)

Select to inherit the image object attributes from the layout.

Use Existing Image for Graphic objects

Select to inherit the existing attributes for graphic objects.


CSS Size: Select whether the CSS Size must be Fixed or Relative to Text Flow.

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

Space Before: Enter the number of pixels for the space before an object. The range to enter the number of pixels is 0 to 10,000.

Space After: Enter the number of pixels for the space after an object. The range to enter the number of pixels is 0 to 10,000.

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

SVG Options

Select Use Existing Image for Graphic Objects to enable this option.

  • Select Embed Code to embed the html code of an SVG object into the file. 
  • Select Object Tags to embed the SVG object directly into the file.

Ignore Object Export Settings

Ignore Object Export settings applied on individual images. Learn more how to apply object export options.

Conversion Settings


Specify whether the optimized images in your document are converted to GIF, JPEG, or PNG. Select Automatic if you want InDesign to decide which format to use in each instance.

Resolution (PPI)

Specify the resolution of the images in pixels per inch (ppi). The higher the number, the better the resolution. 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 select a ppi value for each object selected. Values include 72, 96, 150 (average for all eBook devices today), and 300.

JPEG Options

  • Format Method: Specify how quickly JPEG graphics display when the file containing the image is opened in a browser. Select Progressive to make the JPEG images display gradually and in increasing detail as they are downloaded. Select Baseline to make each JPEG file display only after it has been downloaded. A placeholder is displayed until the image is downloaded.
  • Image Quality: Select the required image quality for each JPEG image created in the output.

GIF Options

  • Palette: This lets you control how InDesign handles colors when optimizing GIF files. The GIF format uses a limited color palette, which cannot exceed 256 colors. Select Adaptive (no dither) to 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). Select Web to create a palette of web-safe colors that are a subset of Windows and macOS system colors. Select System (Win) or System (Mac) to 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. The image appears blurry and progressively sharpens as it reaches full resolution if you deselect this option.

PNG Options

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

HTML & CSS (Reflowable Layout format only)

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are a collection of formatting rules that control the appearance of content on a web page. You can separate content from presentation using CSS to format a page. 

Don't include classes in HTML

Select this option if you do not want to include classes in the HTML. It removes the class and id attributes present in the tag during HTML Export. Any redundant div tags present in the HTML are also removed.

Include classes in HTML

Select this option to include classes in HTML.

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.
  • Page Margin: Add top, bottom, left, and right margins to your page in pixels. The range to enter the number of pixels is 0 to 10,000.

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 that will be used in the EPUB export.
InDesign does not check whether the CSS exists or is valid. 


Remove the selected style sheet.

CSS (Fixed Layout format only)

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. 


Remove the selected style sheet.


Add JavaScript File

Specify the URL of an existing JavaScript. InDesign doesn't verify JavaScript existence or validity, so ensure your JavaScript setup is correct.


Remove the selected JavaScript.


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



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


Enter the title of the EPUB.


Enter the name of the creator of the EPUB.


Specify the date when the EPUB has been created.


Enter a description of the EPUB.


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


Enter copyright information here.


Enter the subject of the EPUB.


Accessibility Metadata

  • Accessibility Feature: Provides a list of all the applicable accessibility characteristics of the content.
  • Accessibility Hazard: Provides a list of all the applicable hazards that can be physiologically dangerous to some users.
  • Access Mode: Specifies how information contributing to resource understanding is encoded in the resource.
  • AccessMode Sufficient: A list of single or combined access modes that are sufficient to understand all the intellectual content of a resource.
  • Accessibility Summary: Provides the summary of the content.

Accessibility Credentials

  • Conforms to: Specifiy the standards set by DAISY.
  • Certified by: Enter the name of the user.
  • Certifier Credentials: Enter the credentials of the user.
  • Certifier Report Link: Enter the link of the report generated.

It is recommended to use InDesign 19.3 and above for optimum use of accessibility features, as InDesign has fixed some critical issues.

Viewing App

System Default

Select this option to open the EPUB with the system default application for EPUB files.

Add Application

Select the application installed in your system that can read EPUB format.


Remove an added application.

EPUB Application 



Not Supported

Apple iBooks (macOS)



Oxygen (macOS and Windows)

14.1 (macOS)

15 (Windows)


Kindle Previewer (macOS and Windows)



Sigil (macOS and Windows)



Kindle (macOS)



VitalSource Bookshelf (macOS)



Apple Book Proofer (macOS)


Does not accept EPUBs with embedded fonts

Adobe Digital Editions (Windows)



Calibre (Windows)



Azardi (Windows)



Kobo (Windows)



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

Limitations: 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

Limitations: 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.


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.

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:


    Handling of the Object is 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 its appearance. If the object is a text frame, 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:


    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.


    The settings in the Export dialog/ Object tab determine the CSS Size.


    The CSS Size is determined by 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.

  • These options don't apply to the main flow text frames.
  • Objects containing Edge Animate don't support relative measures.

EPUB resources

Use the following links to learn about EPUB format.

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