You can export a document or book as a reflowable eBook in EPUB format that is compatible with the Adobe Digital Editions reader software, and other eBook reader software.

  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, and then click Save.

  4. In the EPUB Export Options dialog box, specify the desired options in the General, Image, and Contents areas.

InDesign creates a single .epub file containing the XHTML-based content. If specified, the exported file may include a cover image. The cover image is created from an image, or created by rasterizing the first page in the specified document (or the style source document if a book was selected). The thumbnail is used to depict the book in the EPUB readers or the Digital Editions Reader library view. To view the file, you need an EPUB reader. You can also use the Adobe Digital Editions software, which you can download free from the Adobe website.


The .epub file is essentially 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 especially useful for editing the CSS file.


InDesign objects such as text frames and objects that contain placed images, are always exported when you choose the Based on Page Layout ordering option. Empty objects are not exported unless you have applied a setting to the InDesign object via the Object Export Options to make it export as a JPEG, GIF, or PNG.

EPUB resources

Use the following links to learn about EPUB format.

EPUB General export options

The General section of the EPUB Export Options dialog box includes the following options.

Include Document Metadata

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

Add Publisher Entry

Specify the publisher information that appears in the eBook metadata. You can specify a URL for the publisher so that someone who receives the eBook can visit the publisher’s website.

Unique Identifier

Every EPUB document requires a unique identifier. You can specify the unique identifier attribute. If you leave this field empty, a unique identifier is automatically created.

EPUB Cover

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

No Cover Image

If this option is selected no cover image is added to the eBook.

Rasterize First Page

If this option is selected creates an image file by rasterizing the first page of the eBook to use as the cover.

Use Existing Image File

If this option is selected you can specify an image on your computer to use as the cover.


lets you specify the order in which the page elements are exported.

Base On Page Layout

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

If Base 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 may not appear in the desired reading order. Use Dreamweaver to rearrange and format the contents.

(Asian versions only) If Base 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 may 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.

Book Margin

Specify a simple margin in Ems or pixels. Specifying margins in Ems is better for multiscreen compatibility. The same value is applied to all margins: top, bottom, left, and right.


Select Map To Unordered List to convert bullet paragraphs into List Items, which 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.


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

Map To Ordered List

Converts numbered lists into List Items, which are formatted in HTML using the <ol> tag.

Map To Static Ordered List

Converts numbered lists into List Items, but assigns a <value> attribute based on the paragraph’s current number in InDesign.

Convert To Text

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

View EPUB After Exporting

Starts the Adobe Digital Editions Reader, if present.

EPUB Images options

The Images section of the Digital Editions Export Options dialog box includes the following options. 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.

Resolution (ppi)

Specify 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 specify a ppi value for each object selected. Values include 72, 96, 150 (average for all eBook devices today), and 300.

Image Size

Specify if image size must remain fixed or resized relative to the page. Relative to Page Size sets a relative percentage value based on the size of the image relative to the InDesign page width. This option causes the images to rescale proportionally, relative to the width of the reading area.

Image Alignment and Spacing

Specify the image alignment, left, center, right, and the top and bottom padding.

Insert Page Break

Check to insert page breaks with images. Page breaks can be inserted Before Image, After Image, or Before and After Image.

Settings Apply to Anchored Objects

Check to apply these settings to all anchored objects.

Image Conversion

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.

Choose Adaptive 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). Choose Web to create a palette of web-safe colors that are a subset of Windows and Mac OS system colors. Choose System (Win) or System (Mac) to create a palette using the built‑in system color palette. This choice may cause unexpected results.

Select Interlace to 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 (Image Quality)

Determines the trade-off between compression (for smaller file sizes) and image quality for each JPEG image created. Low produces the smallest file and lowest image quality.

JPEG Options (Format Method)

Determines how quickly JPEG graphics display when the file containing the image is opened on the web. Choose Progressive to 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 displays only after it has been downloaded; a placeholder appears in its place until the file displays.

Ignore Object Conversion Settings

Ignores Object Export Options applied on individual images. See Apply Object export options.

EPUB Contents options

The Contents section of the EPUB Options dialog box includes the following options.

Format For EPUB Content

Specify whether you want to use the XHTML or DTBook format. DTBook is a specialized format that is intended for sight impaired end readers.

Use InDesign TOC Style

Select this option if you want to 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.

Break Document at Paragraph Style

You can split the eBook at the specified paragraph style. Splitting results in a larger number of HTML files in the EPUB package, but can be helpful for breaking up long files and increases performance in the EPUB readers.

Place Footnote After Paragraph

Check to place footnotes after the paragraph. If deselected, footnotes are converted to endnotes.

Remove Forced Line Breaks

Check to remove all soft-returns in the exported eBook.

Generate CSS

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.

Include Style Definitions

When exporting to EPUB, you can create a list of CSS styles that can be edited.

Preserve Local Overrides

If this option is selected, local formatting such as italic or bold is included.

Include Embeddable Fonts

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

Style Names Only

Includes only undefined style names in the EPUB style sheet.

Use Existing CSS File

Specify the URL of the existing CSS style sheet, which is usually a relative URL, such as “/styles/style.css.” InDesign does not check whether the CSS exists or is valid, so you’ll want to confirm your CSS setup.

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