How to Create an ePub eBook from Your Help Project
The ePub format is widely used to create and deliver electronic books (or eBooks) that readers can view on specialized e-reader devices, by using one of the numerous ePub reader applications available for Windows and MacOS computers, and on mobile platforms including iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.
With HelpSmith, you can create not only help files and manuals, but also generate full-featured ePub eBook files. And thanks to the powerful features of a complete help authoring tool, HelpSmith allows you to concentrate on writing and produce a well-structured and good-looking ePub eBook directly from your help project.
Let's review the key HelpSmith's capabilities allowing you to create excellent ePub eBooks.
How to Create an .ePub File in HelpSmith
You can easily compile your HelpSmith project to the ePub format. If necessary, during the compilation process, you can specify the destination .epub filename, location, and other settings.
- On the Project tab, in the Project group, click Compile.
- In the Compile Project window, in the Output Format box, select ePub eBook.
- Setup your ePub eBook settings by clicking the Project Options button.
- Click OK.
If you are using HelpSmith's conditional compilation features, you can also select build tags that you want to apply to the given compilation. Otherwise, you can compile your .ePub file with default build tags.
Easily Edit the Table of Contents of Your eBook
HelpSmith allows you to plan and edit the Table of Contents (TOC) of your .ePub file easily, thanks to the powerful Project Manager tool.
For example, using the Project Manager of your help project, you can:
- Add Topics, Headings, Internet Links, and other TOC items to the Table of Contents.
- Edit properties of individual topics, or multiple topics in the bulk-editing mode.
- Modify the TOC's structure by moving selected items with the mouse.
- Setup Build Options for topics if you need to produce different editions of the same .ePub file.
- Select a topic for editing in the HelpSmith's content editor.
Write Content of Your eBook in the Powerful Word Processor
Working on the content of your ePub eBook, you can use the numerous features of the word processor available in the HelpSmith help authoring tool.
- Flexible text formatting options.
- Bulleted and numbered lists.
- Hyperlinks to topics, and external web pages.
- Images, lines, text variables, and other objects.
- Tables with customizable background and borders.
- Conditional text.
- Spell checker for various languages.
- Support for dynamic styles.
- The ability to import content from existing documents.
- And other features...
Thus, the HelpSmith's word processor gives you everything that you need to write the content of your ePub file, and also to create help files and documents in various formats.
Balance Texts of Your ePub eBook with Annotated Images
Using images in your .ePub file, such as illustrations, schemes, screenshots, allows you to make the texts of your eBook easier-to-read, focus the reader's attention on important things, and, eventually, convey the information to the reader in an efficient manner.
Therefore, HelpSmith allows you not just to insert images, but also provides an Image Tool that you can use to:
- Add customizable annotations (e.g. ballons, arrows, lines, text labels, etc.) to any image in your ePub eBook.
- Use callouts with detailed description for elements shown on an image.
- Capture and insert screenshots, without the need for an external screen capture tool.
- Remove unwanted parts of an image, when necessary.
Thus, HelpSmith gives you great text writing and image editing capabilities that facilitate the process of creating your .ePub file, and allows you to complete your work faster!
Customize the Cover and TOC Pages of Your ePub eBook
When you compile an ePub eBook, HelpSmith will automatically generate the Cover and Table of Contents (TOC) pages based on the data of your help project. At the same time, you can edit flexible settings to customize the generated sections according to your needs.
For example, instead of the default Cover page, you can display an image, use a special help topic (which you can prepare in the HelpSmith's word processor), define a custom HTML-based template, or, if necessary, exclude the given section from your ePub eBook.
Similarly, you can customize the Table of Contents (TOC) section, and special URL Pages which are displayed in the ePub eBook when the user selects a TOC item linking to an external web page.
Define the Book ID, ISBN, URI and Other ePub eBook's Settings
In HelpSmith, you can easily define the unique Book ID of your ePub eBook that is used to avoid confusion with other existing eBooks, specify the International Standard Book Number (ISBN), Book URI, and other ePub eBook settings.
- On the Project tab, in the Project group, click Project Options.
- In the Project Options dialog, in the left sidebar, select the ePub eBook section.
- Specify the Book ID, URI, ISBN, and other values.
- Click OK.
Create Help Files and Documents in Various Formats
With HelpSmith, you can easily create help files and documents in various formats. For example, after you have finished working on your ePub eBook, you can also create a .CHM help file, browser-based Web Help system, Adobe PDF, and MS Word document, or even print out a hard copy of your manual directly from the help authoring tool.
Beside that, HelpSmith includes powerful conditional compilation capabilities that enable you to include and exclude topics, or content blocks in an individual topic, and, as a result, to compile different versions of your documentation (for example, for different audiences of readers) by using the same source help project!