Electric Book Works Web, mobile and print publications

Creating epub from InDesign

There are many ways to create epub files. One of these is via InDesign. Since most books move through InDesign at some stage, this is likely to be a popular route for many designers and production teams. Unfortunately, this isn’t yet a simple process. I hope that one day these notes will stand as a testament to how hard this used to be.

There are two routes to epub to consider here.

  • If the book is already typeset, consider carefully whether it is worth your time reworking the file in InDesign for epub export. It may be quicker and ultimately cheaper to send the file, and/or a PDF, to a conversion company (usually in India).
  • If the book is not yet typeset, make sure the book is designed and typeset with epub export in mind.

We’ve included advice for working from InDesign CS3, but really, really you want at least CS4 for this.

Preparing to prepare InDesign documents

Before you start, look through the book you’re about to work on. You are probably going to be changing or deciding about: … Read more

What to expect after exporting to epub

After you’ve created a basic epub from InDesign, there’s more to do to make a good, sellable epub. You will: … Read more

Working in InDesign

The guidelines here are for designing and typesetting with epub export/conversion in mind. They are also good design and typesetting practice even if you’re not sure you’re going to be exporting or converting to epub. … Read more

After InDesign export to epub

Before you get started on the epub here, read through the rest of these guidelines so that you know what’s coming. Some of these instructions are interrelated, so having them at the back of your mind (even if you don’t fully understand them yet) will help you get through this process smoothly and without having to redo things later. … Read more

General tips and resources

Here are some of the most useful resources we’ve found for working with epubs: … Read more

Mapping book features to HTML elements and classes

For ebook-friendly consistency across typesetting and ebook production, it’s important that you use exactly the same terms for intended book features, InDesign style names and HTML/CSS classes. … Read more

The advice given here doesn’t yet cover CS5, we wrote this a while ago. Since then, the best guides around for CS 5 and 5.5 are probably Liz Castro’s guides, which you can buy from her for money well spent.

You can also read the course notes from the training we used to offer on:

Arthur Attwell last updated 17 February 2010
This information is more than two years old, and may no longer be accurate.