Export ePub from InDesign CS4

With the release of Adobe InDesign CS4 you’ll find that there’s a couple of interesting new features in the Export for Digital Editions plug-in. The most noticeable are the addition of DTBook support and support for “Local Formatting”. There’s also some subtler changes, like floating anchored images and additional semantic information in the XHTML files.

So we’ll go through the major new features and what each one does:


1) DTBook DTDThe OPS spec, one of three at the heart of the ePub format, has two preferred vocabularies for textual content XHTML and DTBook. XHTML is an XML compatible vocabulary for HTML files, but what is DTBook.DTBook is a vocabulary from the Daisy Consortium. DTBook is a format intended for ebooks, and helps in making content available for people with print disabilities. The DTBook format has taken much of it’s markup from XHTML, but the DTBook format is enhanced with additional structure that better defines the parts of a book, chapter, and sections. (An h1 element in HTML identifies a title, but a ‘level1’ element in DTBook completely wraps the chapter or section so that there’s no confusion what does, and does not belong in the chapter.)For K-12 textbooks, DTBook content in an ePub should have all the elements required for a NIMAS submission. It also means that we support “Daisy XML”.2) Local Formatting supportWith InDesign CS3, the ePub export plug-in interpreted Paragraph and Character styles when generating the CSS. With InDesign CS4 we’ve added the option for generating CSS from whatever formatting is applied to the text, whether through styles or through “local” or direct formatting.Now you can apply bold to text and it will indeed be bold.3) Floating anchored imagesIf you anchor an image to the left or right in the text flow, it will retain that positioning in the ePub file, and the text will flow around the image.Images anchored in the document should look more like you intend them to when you export.4) Additional Semantic informationWhen using an InDesign TOCStyle (and only when using the TOCStyle) we now convert the levels of TOC to heading levels. (So, a second level item in the TOC becomes an H2 heading.)You actually won’t see much difference, but the XHTML files may be easier to work with if you’re post-processing them.Well, that pretty much covers the new stuff.

12 Responses to Export ePub from InDesign CS4

  1. Thanks for posting this Paul! I can’t wait to put these new features to use.

  2. Cell Phones like Nokia, etc can read ePubs?

  3. Grog says:

    Many problems (crash, script errors, freeze…) on Win and Mac with export ePub from InDesign CS4…I come back on CS3 🙁

  4. Paul Norton says:

    @Marlon Depends on the specific device, there’s the epub reading widget for Opera, but I don’t know if it works with the mobile version of Opera. If not now, eventually you should be able to read epubs on some cell phones.@Grog I’m sorry you’ve had so many problems, that’s definitely not normal. If I could get you to either post to the InDesign User to User forum or submit a bug report against InDesign, it would be a great help. Be sure to include all the informatio you can about how to recreate the problem.

  5. venkan says:

    In CS4, using the TOC option from InDesign CS4, the ePub is not view the text.Please anybody help me to generate TOC for ePub from InDesign CS4

  6. Caleb Clauset says:

    Given the the XHTML Export for Digital Editions is implemented through JavaScript, would it be possible to port some of these new features for CS4 back to CS3? Or are they dependent on scripting enhancements in CS4?

  7. Lesley says:

    I’m using a trial version of CS4 for many of the reasons you’ve outlined – trying to cut out some of the work that CS3 seemed to be creating particularly on the text formatting front. But, I’m wondering if I’m not getting something- if I apply a character style (i.e. bold) over a paragraph style it is either not recognised or makes the whole paragraph bold. I had been choosing ‘local’ formatting but the files seemed to be getting really large.

  8. Rebecca says:

    Has any work been done on making books appearing in Digital Editions accessible, either as text or audio, for vision impaired readers? I can find lots of optimistic discussion about accessibility, but nothing concrete I can download or install to work with Adobe Reader and Digital Editions to make ebooks accessible. Please help.

  9. Wimmer says:

    Adobe Digital Editions doesn’t read Polish characters in ePub ebooks correctly. Mobipocket does.

  10. Sylvia Cook says:

    The features mentioned at the top of this are just what I need. I have InDesign CS4. After other problems I finally had my Export for Digital Editions working. I am compiling an eBook using articles from previous books/magazines over the last 11 years, some from an old Serif Page Plus, some Page Maker and a few from more recent InDesign. I now have several incomplete sections in separate documents & had the Book export and separate file exports working with all paragraph and character styles plus export options synchronized (including ‘local formatting’ box marked).
    I cannot imagine why or how my current problem occurs. Articles within individual new documents that worked on first test stop converting correctly since adding certain (about 40-50% error rate) new articles, ie Greek text is gobbleydegook, certain symbols such as bullets and non-text characters like ‘ are also changed – eg Digital Editions version ‘olla mazi’ (όλα μαζί) should be ‘ola mazi’ (όλα μαζί). These appear perfectly on the InDesign base document.
    Whatever caused this to happen to ALL articles in one file including articles that worked on the previous export, does not affect the other section files when the whole book is exported for Digital Editions.
    I’ve played around double checking all characters are in standard styles, removing new articles, totally recreating and retyping, etc to no avail. One time after deleting and retyping did not work, I cut & pasted the (presumably offending) text box onto the end of the previous section and the next book export to DigEd worked!! The latest offending article is in the middle of a section, so I really don’t know what to try. Whatever it is, how can it affect other pages with non-linked text that worked before?
    Do I really have to test export to DigEd on individual file and book after adding EVERY page/article? I have had successful and non-successful articles added from all three source programs that I am cutting, pasting & reformatting text from.
    I am placing images on separate lines within text which is working OK – so this problem only relates to text.
    Is there anything I can search new articles for to remove whatever is causing this problem?. Help!
    SylviaC

  11. Sylvia Cook says:

    I think I may have found my own answer. Perhaps I had not updated the Table of Contents (or maybe not saved the latest version) on one of the component files. I have played around a bit more and miraculously all text is now correctly shown in the latest created epub file.
    Perhaps an automatic update, or at least a warning, before exporting to Digital Editions would have helped. …. or was that just a coincidence?
    Sylvia C

  12. Sylvia Cook says:

    Don’t know what happened to my previous query – it was there until I just posted the above ‘solved it’ comment./ Ah well, no time to recreate although it WAS a problem!