Ebooks and automation

InDesign remains the industry-standard platform for producing ebooks in formats such as EPUB, for reading on mobile devices such as the iPad and Kindle.

Recent versions of InDesign such as CC ( = Creative Cloud) represent significant advances on earlier versions. Its close integration with the new EPUB3 standard is mirrored in Apple's iBooks app for the iPad and iPhone. One recent (and very welcome) development is iBooks' ability to display pop-up footnotes. Before then, notes had to be treated as endnotes with hyperlinks linking to and from numbered markers in the text, or else as "menus" which open and close using additional JavaScript. Now, the numbered marker in the text can work as a "button" to open and close footnote text:

Mariner in iPad

As an Adobe certified expert in InDesign, I have extensive knowledge and hands-on experience with the application. In particular, I have specialized in various means of automating workflows for both print and electronic media.

Automation doesn't just reduce the workload and speed up the rate of production; it also minimizes the possibility of human error, which inevitably creeps in when people have to do repetitive tasks, such as inserting a large number of footnotes manually.

One way of automating the workflow is to use scripting. (A script is a small program written in a language such as Javascript or Applescript.) You can get an idea of how scripts can speed up the workflow up by trying out some of the free sample scripts that come with InDesign. I write scripts in Javascript.

If the raw material for an InDesign publication comes from a database, a further way to automate the workflow is to use XML. InDesign's ability to import and export XML is underused, in my opinion, as it is one of its most powerful and valuable features. It allows much closer integration with the web and similar technologies that at one time were far removed from preparation for print or PDF. Because XML is an area of expertise in itself, I have devoted another page on this site to it.

If you need to prepare a book for publication in print, PDF, ebook or online, please contact me for further details.