Making e-books in Pages 5.2: This is what works now (and just what still does not)
Before iBooks Author required happens this year, Apple offered the typical Mac user a method to build fundamental e-books through its word-processing software, Pages. Now, after 4 years of stagnation, the organization has (remarkably) began enhancing the app’s ePub export abilities. Here’s a glance at what’s altered (and just what still needs work).
4 years of silence
Pages initially debuted its e-book export option in August of 2010. Like its Word export feature, Pages’s e-book export can just translate certain facets of your document into ePub format (the main filetype utilized by iBooks in addition to most non-Amazon . com visitors available at that time) so, for instance, certain text stylings and wealthy text elements may not appear properly within the ePub. Furthermore, a lot of individuals elements needed very precise formatting within the Pages document to be able to really come in the exported file.
Apple provided interested e-book-makers with a few fundamental recommendations as well as an externally-linked template inside a support document on its website, but both had omissions and offered cumbersome workarounds in compensation for missing features. I’d the privilege of encountering the majority of individuals within my daily work: We used Pages for any twelve month to construct our Macworld Superguides e-books before switching to some Word/InDesign workflow, and my frustration using the software brought to severalarticles along with a conference talk.
After 2 yrs passed with no improvement to Pages’s tools, I believed Apple’s e-book engineers were working elsewhere so when iBooks Author was launched, individuals presumptions appeared to possess been confirmed. Why would Apple focus its energy on the a restricted export option that may never fully reflect the initial version if this had iBooks Author to operate on?
The joke’s on me
Despite iBooks Author’s existence, apparently , there’s a minumum of one engineer around the iWork team still thinking about ePub export. Once the latest version from the iWork suite was launched, I came across that somebody had snuck into Pages 5. a lot of fixes for probably the most glaring e-book export problems. For instance, now you can by hand insert page breaks into an e-book by utilizing Pages’s break tools, instead of getting to make use of the template’s “Chapter Heading” template to do this.
But it gets better: The Web Pages 5.2 update a week ago really pointed out “enhanced ePub export” in the release notes, and added a couple of more fixes. You heard right: Not just did someone take time to improve ePub export for Pages 5., however they appear to positively work on which makes it better with future releases.
Why restart development on Pages’s e-book export tools now? My bet’s on ensuring you will find (semi) functional tools for authors searching to write e-books towards the iPhone. iBooks Author does not yet (and could not have) an apple iphone export option, and considering that authors can prep iBooks Author books in Pages, better tools within the word-processing program are an easy way to make sure that Apple’s items stay relevant within the e-book-creation game.
What you could (and should not) do for e-books in Pages 5.2
Considering that Apple’s support document for e-book-making has not been up-to-date since December, it is a little challenging for the typical user to determine what’s going to and will not translate whenever you export to ePub. Pages 5.2 does appear a boilerplate disclaimer after e-book generation, but it is difficult to know from that precisely what you are doing that’s wrong.
So the bottom line is, here’s what you could (and should not) expect from an e-book produced with Pages 5.2.
How much …
It’s ePub 3-compliant: For individuals who care little concerning the backend from the e-book-posting process, ePub 3 may be the latest form of the conventional, and allows you utilize more styles and tools than ePub 2. The greatest changes: It simplifies some backend code and uses HTML5 and CSS3 for ePub’s XHTML standards, meaning e-books can incorporate such things as video, audio, custom fonts, special CSS transitions, and much more. Pages only supports export for a few of these at this time, but having the ability to generate an ePub 3 file is a big part of the best direction.
It may have audio and video: Because of its ePub 3 backbone, the e-book export engine in Pages 5.2 will preserve any video and audio that you simply supplment your document. This really is another big improvement over Pages’s original export, along with a boon for those who have no need for the flash and bang of iBooks Author but want multimedia within their books the same.
It’s Retina display-quality images: Once the e-book export option first premiered in Pages, iOS products with Retina display did not exist as a result, whenever you exported an e-book, it flattened whatever image you placed to how big the conventional 8.5-by-11-inch white-colored canvas. This labored pretty much for some time, however when the Retina iPad was launched, individuals 500-pixel images all of a sudden looked disastrously small. My interim solution was to help make the canvas 20-by-20-inch, which labored for image export, but made viewing and text-editing rather a discomfort.
The purpose of this story? Pages 5.2 has become eliminate all of this nonsense. Whenever you place and re-size a picture around the page, then export, the resulting ePub decreases that image to Retina display-sized dimensions, so it does not matter what device you are viewing it on, it ought to remain obvious.
You can include in custom page breaks after sentences: One of the greatest irritations in earlier versions of Pages was placing page breaks and section breaks within an original document although not getting them translate when exported to ePub. It has been fixed, and that means you can actively pressure your e-book to possess certain text on certain pages.
You (mostly) have no need for Apple’s four-year-old e-book template: Since the export recognizes page breaks and section breaks, you should use individuals together with custom text styles to produce your e-book table of contents–it’s not necessary to download Apple’s template. Having said that, Pages requires a shortcut here using its text styling should you consider the code of the resulting export, all text styles emerge as various CSS courses of instruction for the paragraph tag. If you would like header tags, however, you’ll still need to use Apple’s e-book template.
Other fun stuff that you can do: You are able to style text with small caps, use superscript or subscript, add character spacing, and indent your text lists now render correctly with list HTML tags tables render as selectable tables, instead of images, and could be color-customized floating images will render as static images, instead of disappearing altogether and when you export a document which has monitored changes pending, it instantly accepts all changes when rendering.
Stuff that still work
Images still disappear if you have mixed in many to some chapter: Referred to as “Over 11MB” rule, Pages instantly removes any images over 11MB per chapter to keep your quality workable. Unlike past versions, it now provides you with a particular warning at these times, but it is still annoying. I’d prefer to have images within the book reduced to reduce resolution than ask them to disappear entirely. You are able to trick the exporter into “breaking” sections by utilizing Apple’s template and pasting dummy “Chapter title” text from time to time, but you may then need to open the ePub using Sigil or perhaps a code editor to get rid of individuals blank spaces.
While in doubt, Pages converts elements to photographs: Even though the CSS stylings exists for adding edges, should you consider applying any for your images or placed text, Pages flattens them to the aspect in the export process, creating a new image. It is a cumbersome method of handling what ought to be easy CSS code.
CSS methods that will work, don’t: On the internet, you can include shadows and outlines for your text, put edges in your images and captions, stagger your line-spacing, keep images and captions together, make pop-up footnotes and embed custom fonts. That you can do exactly the same inside a Pages document, but none of them from it translates whenever you export your e-book. I am crossing my fingers these gradually get addressed later on updates towards the export engine–the actual code for those this is available, it simply must be incorporated. (Custom fonts, particularly, will be a nice improvement.)
The code continues to be untidy, partly because of CSS handling: There isn’t any major preference screens to undergo when conveying your e-book, which will work for usability, but could be frustrating for mapping CSS templates accordingly. All Pages’s text styles get exported as various CSS paragraph classes, plus they change on every export. The “s1” class may make reference to the web pages “Title” style during one export or “Body” during another, based on which text style comes first inside your manuscript. And unless of course you utilize Apple’s e-book template, you will not have heading tags whatsoever. It is something that may be easily remedied throughout the export process by having an extra screen that insists upon map your text styles to HTML tags like h1, h2, h3, caption, and the like.
In the event you make an e-book in Pages 5.2?
Apple’s e-book export tools in Pages have enhanced advances and bounds since their debut this year, and I am pleased to see active work being carried out to correctly map Pages’s controls towards the ePub 3 standard. Having said that, I am reluctant about coming back towards the program for Macworld’s e-books projects. Our how-to books depend on images and CSS templates, and both image limits and Pages’s weird reliance upon CSS paragraph class styles are restricting factors. But when these power tools still improve, I saw us coming back to Pages for that iPhone–especially thinking about it’s a simple hop, skip and jump after that to create a superior e-book in iBooks Author for that iPad, in order to run the exported ePub through Kindle Previewer to create a Kindle-compatible e-book.
For individuals that do not depend so heavily on images or special styling, however, Pages has turned into a helpful tool for assembling a fundamental e-book. If you want to build something and do not require razzle-dazzle of iBooks Author, you may try it out and find out the way it costs. If little else, testing your output will be a lot simpler because of the information on iBooks for Mac.