I have a print-ready InDesign book file with 200+ pages, with about 12 Paragraph Styles and it was not made keeping in mind that it will need to be used also as eBook (reflowable ePub). The cover file and all inside pages are on two separate InDesign files. It has lots of text and pictures almost on every page. I want to understand what should I do to be sure it will export ePub file properly?

  1. The one thing I know is that all Paragraph Styles should be adjusted in Export Tagging section under Paragraph Style Options. I know that the Class name should be lowercase and with dashes if more that one word, but can I leave Tag section as Automatic? When should I split the document? Please see screenshot below. enter image description here

  2. In body text there are also parts with italic text, but they was applied manually and not with special Paragraph Style for it, does that mean I should make also a Paragraph Style only for these italic texts and go through all book to apply them?

  3. Should cover file be included with inside pages document to export ePub correctly or I can provide cover only as image file to upload it on eBook stores?

  4. Do I need to make any adjustments for every image inside the layout to look good?

  5. I want to remain the style of TOC pages as it is made visually different than standard TOC list, do I need to remake it with generating new TOC or I can add only links to other pages to make it work?

  6. Will it export as single pages or spreads?

  7. What else I should keep in mind to prepare my book file for reflowable ePub export?

I will appreciate every answer! Thank you!

  • Your question is overly broad. What have you tried, if anything, so far? Have you gone through any Adobe tutorials or walkthroughs? Any of the top 6 or so results should help. goo.gl/Sxtcpu Dec 11 '17 at 18:55
  • Best starting point... export to epub and check the results. That will 100% tell you which areas you need to adjust.
    – Scott
    Dec 11 '17 at 22:07

I am no ePub expert, but I will share my experiences as a graphic designer (with a little coding knowledge).

  1. I have never used "Split Document", so I wouldn't worry too much about it. I guess you would use it if your epub-file is too large, but wait and see if it is indeed a problem. Regarding class-names, remember to only use standard latin characters (I am from Denmark and have had a lot of problems using the danish characters (æøå) in style names).

  2. Yes, you should make sure that everything in your text is styled. Local overrides might not work as expected. Also there should be no designing with spaces and line breaks. Multiple spaces/breaks will not be visible in the epub-file. Even if a styling is only needed one or two places, you should make a "Style" for it. Remember, for the italic text inside your body text you need to use "Character Styles" not "Paragraph Styles". You could easily use "Find/Change" to apply your italic character style to all instances of italic text (Set "Find Format" to the italic "Font Style" and "Change Format" to the italic "Character Style").

  3. You can choose a cover image when saving the epub-file. I am unsure if you also need to provide a cover image when uploading to a commercial site.

  4. Maybe, depends on your design.

  5. I believe the TOC is shown by the reader in a sidebar. I am not sure if it is possible (or advisable) to style this yourself. It would be easiest to auto-generate the TOC, so the reader understands the structure of the book. If you need to make something "non-standard", you can export the epub file and change the file extension to "zip". Now you can access the html, css and js code. Change the extension back to "epub" when done. I never do this though, because it is tricky, and tiresome when exporting revised versions.

  6. Neither. Instead, as you say yourself, it is "reflowable". A long roll of "paper", like a homepage. It will look different according to devices, portrait/landscape orientation, the user's zoom level and sometimes even the user's custom font selection (try for yourself in a free epub reader). So, sadly the epub format isn't suited for anything. I have only had success with standard novels with no or a few images, because it keeps looking like a novel, no matter how the user sets up the reader. More complicated designs (where the images aren't just flowing along with the text filling up the whole column), are just not easy to auto-generate with InDesign. It takes careful "programming" from the start of the design process and sometimes a plain old pdf seems like a more appealing solution.

  • Thank you very much for your time to answer my question!
    – istoby
    Dec 12 '17 at 8:06

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