Important reading for creating the perfect iBook


accessibility

That title there basically means, I’ve completed my ibook. It’s off for its first review and inspection.

It’s been a massive learning curve with lots of annoyances. Here’s a few of them to save you a headache:

  • Portrait mode and Landscape mode can display different content. However…
  • Depending on what page (Chapter/section/page) you’re working on, some changes will carry across to the Portrait mode, whilst others won’t. Therefore, keep checking!
  • Portrait mode can’t hold any body copy images. However, the very first page of the chapter can – so pick and place your images carefully.
  • On that point, when you first view your page in Portrait mode in iBook Author (iBA) there’s a blue guide line at the top to indicate the first chapter page content. Be sure to drag this down by as much as you need in order to house some graphic(s) – as no other Portrait mode pages can!
  • If your file has its own contents page – delete it. Seriously, Apple creates its own contents page anyway which you are not able to customise (much), so it’s best not to even bother trying. Plus, it’s pointless having two contents pages as it will only confuse your reader.
  • Images cannot be links. Yes, you heard correctly. Images cannot be links. You can trick iBA by placing transparent text on top of an image though. However, this text may still be viewable when viewing the contents page. The best way to avoid any readable text is to type a series of dots ‘………’ and then space them out until they fill the entire image.
  • Duplicate the template chapter/section/page you want to use and edit them carefully. In some cases you may want to wipe the pages completely, however, you may regret that as you will have also removed the automatic page-numbering area. For my book I had different formats for chapters, sections and pages, that spanned 3 different colour schemes (grey, yellow, and blue), therefore, I had to make three copies of each template chapter/section/page and choose the correct colour scheme when I needed it.
  • Do not save the iBA you’re working on. Choose, ‘Save as Template’ always. Only then will all template changes be preserved.
  • Some sections of template files will be ‘locked’. To edit them, go to: View > Show Layouts, find the template element you want to change, click it, then go to, Arrange > Unlock.
  • The Landscape view graphics on the contents page appear consistently no matter which chapter you’re viewing: pick your graphic wisely.
  • You can drag and drop sections and pages around in the left hand ‘thumbnail’ view of Landscape mode in iBA. However, you have to watch for a little horizontal blue line with a ball on the left to indicate where exactly the move is ending up. For a while I was frustrated at nesting pages in chapters, when I didn’t want to.
  • You cannot embed a video from Youtube. You can only add a video to the .ibook file (which bloats the file considerably). A workaround for this is linking to a video – see the point above about linking from images.

I now consider myself a bloody good iBA operative – so contact me today if you’re interested in converting a PDF or a file to iBook.

Mark 🙂

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