Adobe InDesign CC’s Fixed Layout EPUB Format
While we’re often overly focused on the technology, tools and formats, the truth is that our customers tell us they really want to create something beautiful, something compelling, something that simply tells a great story and then they want to get it into the hands of their customers (or readers, or maybe just their moms). Providing our customers with the right kinds of choices for how they publish that content seems to be just as important, if not more so, than how they create it.
That’s why I’m particularly excited about the new Fixed Layout EPUB export capability that we announced in the 2014 version of Adobe InDesign CC. This new capability provides one more publishing choice for our customers: If you want to create a beautiful fixed-layout digital book to sell or give away via digital book stores, like the iBook store, then this is the feature for you.
If you’ve been making e-books for a while, then you’re probably familiar with the EPUB format. It’s an acronym for “electronic publication” and it’s the most widely supported e-book format. Developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum, it makes it possible for any device to change the format of any reflowable EPUB book. (There’s also a fixed-layout EPUB where the format does not change from device to device and the original design of the book or document is preserved.)
Lock-down your design
InDesign CC has provided the capability to create reflowable EPUBs from InDesign documents since 2007; reflowable EPUBs are great for text heavy documents like novels (like the one you read on your mobile device last time you were on vacation). However, as soon as you want to create a “beautiful design” for a coffee table book, a travel guide, a comic book, or a cook book, the reflowable nature of the EPUB simply doesn’t allow your design to successfully translate. With InDesign CC’s new fixed layout capability, you can truly “lock-down” your beautiful design and make sure that your book looks as beautiful on the device as it did in your layout. No author likes seeing their carefully chosen images moved around, or their artfully chosen layout changed, at the whim of an e-reader. Now those disappointing moments can be gone for good and the appearance of your document will be as you intended.
I’m obviously biased but, really, you should try it. There’s something magical about taking a beautiful design and creating a version that will stay beautiful and true to your original design when viewed on a device. Once you’ve created the digital document, it’s just a short step to take it to one of the many digital bookstores.
A better way
I can hear you say, “But I don’t make books.” Well, we built this new capability with two kinds of customers in mind: The first are professional book authors and publishers who are very clear that this is the kind of capability they want, if not need, right now; the second, and in my mind just as interesting, are casual book creators.
A few weeks ago, I attended a large well-established conference for book publishers. While it’s always fun to represent Adobe, it’s sometimes even more fun to talk to people “incognito.” As I wandered around the show floor, full of publishers of every kind, I came across a small, children’s book publisher. As well as proudly displaying his hard copy books, he had also mounted a tablet device onto a podium to showcase the EPUB versions of his books. I asked how many of his books were available as the digital version. “Some,” he said. “But ultimately all our books will be available and in fact need to be available as Fixed Layout EPUBs.” I asked him how he made these books today, and he visibly deflated right in front of me. He proceeded to tell me a sad story of how he had to find and hire a “coder” to take an InDesign document and convert it into a Fixed Layout EPUB. It was time consuming, it was costly and, in his words, “there has to be a better way.” Eventually I felt I had to explain who I was and why I was asking these questions. He said “So can you just give me a Fixed Layout Export from InDesign?” (Well, yes. But I couldn’t tell him as we hadn’t yet announced the new feature.)
We’ve obviously spoken with a lot of book publishers and authors, and they’re very excited. In fact they seem VERY excited. InDesign CC gives them a simple way to take their existing beautifully-designed content, use their existing workflows, and existing skills to create something wonderful that they can publish in digital book stores or serve up in their readers’ browsers.
So what about the second group I mentioned? The casual book creators? This is the group that, if I’m honest, has surprised me the most with their excitement around this new capability. As I’ve talked to more and more people, I’ve discovered that the world is full of would-be book publishers who all have stories to tell. There are millions of people who have created something beautiful in InDesign, or who know someone who can create something beautiful for them in InDesign CC. Why shouldn’t they be able to create a digital book?
Export to the format of your choice
When I talk about digital books to either professional or casual book creators I’m often asked one important question: “How is this capability different from making a PDF or using the Adobe DPS (Digital Publishing Suite) format?” This answer is straightforward and mostly comes down to how you want to distribute your content and whether you want to give the content away or sell it.
If you want to distribute your digital document as an application, free or paid, then the DPS solution will give you that capability (along with analytics, and connections to social). If you want to create a digital book to sell or give away via one of the digital book stores, then EPUB is almost certainly the format of choice. If you want to create a digital document, typically one that you want to give away, that can be read on most digital devices, and you want more flexibility about how you get it onto the device, then PDF or one of the other publishing choices may well be your answer. The good news: If you use InDesign CC, you’re going to be able to export to any of these formats.
Perhaps the thing I want you to remember after reading this, is not so much that InDesign CC has a great new Fixed Layout export capability, but that this new capability represents the fact that Adobe is committed to offering designers and publishers a choice about how and where they publish. Too much choice is often confusing, but too little choice… is worse.
Chris Kitchener is the Group Product Manager for Adobe InDesign CC.
We’ve been hard at work the last two years to address four key areas of the Creative Cloud you told us to focus on: performance boosts, workflow efficiencies, support for new hardware and standards, and of course innovative features, which we call the Adobe “magic.” If you’ve been hanging on to your old CS disks, waiting for the right time to join the Creative Cloud community, that moment is here. The latest version—available today—is packed with new, truly inventive features that will make it easier to do your work from anywhere, help you do it faster, and let you bring all of those great creative ideas in your imagination, to life.
Read on for the highlights list of what’s new in Creative Cloud, and click through to the product blogs and videos to get a deep dive directly from the teams.
Major updates across our desktop apps
- Photoshop CC now has Blur Gallery motion effects for creating a sense of motion, and the recently introduced Perspective Warp for fluidly adjusting the perspective of a specific part of an image without affecting the surrounding area. Focus Mask (did you see the sneak?) makes portrait shots with shallow depth of field stand out, and new Content-Aware capabilities make one of the most popular features even better. We’ve also added more camera support to Lightroom (version 5.5) as well as a new Lightroom mobile app for iPhone. The Photoshop and Lightroom blogs have the full scoop.
- The Adobe Illustrator blog has the rundown on what’s new in Illustrator CC, such as Live Shapes to quickly and non-destructively transform rectangles into complex forms and then return to the original rectangle with just a few clicks.
- With InDesign CC layout artists can now move rows and columns around in tables by simply selecting, dragging and dropping, which will be a big time saver. The new EPUB Fixed Layout means you can create digital books effortlessly.
- The team is rebuilding Adobe Muse CC as a native 64-bit application and it now includes HiDPI display support for sharper-looking images, objects, and text.
- Originally previewed at the NAB show in April, new features in our video apps include Live Text Templates, Masking and Tracking plus new integrations that leverage the power of Adobe After Effects CC inside Adobe Premiere Pro CC. It’s better, faster, stronger. Read more on our Pro Video blog.
- Dreamweaver CC lets you see your work come to life. You can now view your markup in an interactive tree using the new Element Quick View, to quickly navigate, and modify the HTML structure of pages. The Dreamweaver CC blog has all the details.
And there’s so much more so check out all of the new features over on Adobe.com.
Creative Cloud connected mobile apps and new hardware—because our world is mobile.
An entirely new family of connected mobile apps and the hardware (yes, Adobe is releasing hardware) could be the things we all look back on in two years and say, “OK that really changed how I do my work.” These are incredibly powerful apps that start to bring the functionality you get from desktop apps, to mobile. Pros will want to use them, but they’re easy enough that anyone can use them. Get these apps now—they are all free:
- Adobe Sketch, a social sketching iPad app for free-form drawing.
- Adobe Line, the world’s first iPad app for precision drawing and drafting.
- Adobe Photoshop Mix brings the powerful creative imaging tools only found in Photoshop right to the iPad, for the first time. The focus of this release is to be task oriented, so we started with the two most-used features: precise compositing and masking. PS Mix also includes Upright, Content Aware Fill and Camera Shake Reduction—and integrates back to Photoshop CC on the desktop.
- Adobe Lightroom mobile for iPhone, extending Lightroom right to your iPhone.
The Creative Cloud connected mobile apps complement and enhance the new creative hardware that’s also available now. Adobe Ink (formerly Project Mighty) is a new digital pen that connects to the Creative Cloud, giving users access to their creative assets—drawings, photos, colors and more—all at the tip of the pen. And Adobe Slide (formerly Project Napoleon) is a new digital ruler to create precise sketches and lines. As we talked about previously, these new pieces of hardware “make digital creativity both more accessible and more natural by combining the accuracy, expressiveness and immediacy of pen and paper with all the advantages of our digital products and the Creative Cloud.” Adobe Ink and Slide demonstrate how mobile is now a true partner in the creative workflow.
Creative Cloud services tie it all together so you can work wherever you are.
We all work on multiple devices. We move between desktop or laptop to phone and tablet. Now Creative Cloud is connected to iOS devices, so you can take it wherever you go; your creative identity isn’t just tied to your desk. All of the latest desktop apps, mobile apps and creative hardware are tightly integrated through Creative Cloud services. Simply put, you can now access and manage everything that makes up your creative profile—files, photos, colors, community and so much more—from wherever you are. Get the new Creative Cloud app for iPhone and iPad for full access on your mobile devices.
New offers for photographers, enterprises and education
- For all photographers—hobbyist, prosumer and professional—we’re introducing a new Creative Cloud Photography plan at just $9.99 per month.
- For our Education customers, we now have a device-based licensing plan for classrooms and labs so more than one person can access Creative Cloud on a single machine. The special student/teacher edition pricing also got a little sweeter, as the full Creative Cloud is now available to them at just $19.99/month for the first year.
- For our Enterprise customers, we’ve added file storage and collaboration to Creative Cloud, along with expanded options for deployment (named user vs. anonymous) and a new dashboard for managing users and entitlements.
There is so much that’s new in the 2014 release of Creative Cloud that you have to take a few minutes to click around, read about the new apps, and watch videos of the new features. Are you a paid member? All of it is available now for you. Have you been considering the move to Creative Cloud? The new versions of the desktop apps you use most have added hundreds of new features since CS6. There really is no better time to join the community.
In one week, HOW Design Live—the largest annual gathering of creative professionals anywhere—kicks off. And again, Adobe’s part of it.
The five-day conference provides us a great opportunity to connect with the designers who include our products in their professional toolsets. And this year, now that Creative Cloud has been available for two years, we want to hear what’s working for everyone and what we need to do to exceed everyone’s expectations.
Hang out at our booth
Not only will we give you a T-shirt that professes your profound love of design (opening night Tuesday May 13 8:00pm – 10:00pm) but just for visiting, and letting us scan your badge, you’ll be entered to win a one-year Creative Cloud membership.
There will also be some hands-on fun with the latest in digital drawing technology: Learn how our mobile tools make it easier to incorporate sketching as part of the concept process, enable the capture of ideas and inspiration whenever and wherever they strike, and then make it easy to bring them into your designs.
Want a deeper understanding of the features that have been released to Creative Cloud applications in the past year? We’ll have in-booth theater demos that focus on the new features in Adobe Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, InDesign CC and Muse CC. And since we also want to hear what you have to say, and to answer all your questions, there will be Ask an Expert stations for print and digital publishing, and web design, along with dedicated stations for learning what’s new in the world of print and web fonts, available from Typekit, and designing for 3D printing with Photoshop CC. And, for fun… Every Creative Cloud question you ask enters you in a drawing (two each day) for a three-month Creative Cloud membership.
Finally, Lucas Doerre, an emerging designer from Germany, will deconstruct Singularity his 3D illustration for the Shutterstock’s Designer Passport series. Hear about his inspiration, Photoshop CC techniques, and get a signed poster of his unique project.
Attend some sessions
We’ve asked Terry White and Brian Wood to come along to teach people about Creative Cloud, how to create websites without writing code, and how to turn Photoshop CC mockups into responsive web design. Get re-inspired, and pick up some new ideas:
Wednesday 7:30–8:30am Responsive website design made easy. With Brian Wood. Improve communication with your developer and take advantage of the latest web trends. Learn how to turn Photoshop mockups into responsive layouts using simple tips and techniques for Adobe Photoshop CC and Adobe Edge CC Tools and Services.
Wednesday 12:45–1:45pm Adobe Creative Cloud Time-saving Tips. With Terry White. Save hours of design time with tips for Adobe Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, and InDesign CC.
Two more things…
Future Media Concepts (FMC) will be leading Adobe HOW2 Trainings throughout HOW Design Live. Check the schedule.
Pixels of Fury. It wouldn’t be a design conference without Shutterstock’s real-time on-the-fly design showdown (with Creative Cloud applications). Be there on Wednesday after sessions end.
We’ve got a lot going on. So register. Come be a part of the conference for creative professionals: Five days of design; one extraordinary experience. #AdobeHOW
The first application update since the June release of InDesign CC enables people to synchronize preferences—keyboard shortcuts, presets and workspaces—to Creative Cloud.
Settings That Go Where You Go
Anyone who uses one computer at home and another at work can Sync Settings to save their preferences; whenever/wherever InDesign is opened, the settings will be the same.
Learn more about InDesign CC on the InDesign product page on Adobe.com.