An HTML editor is the hard way, but the best way, to create an EPUB document. Ultimately, an EPUB document is a mini web site complete with its content in the form of pages of XHTML code, a cascading style sheet, and a folder full of images.
The best tool to make this mini web site is the web design tool that you would use to make a web site such as Dreamweaver or MS Expression Web (my choice). These software packages provide the maximum ability to customize your EPUB by giving you directly and convenient access to the XHTML and CSS.
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Step-By-Step Video Showing How To Use an HTML
To Create an ePub With the Highest Degree
of Customization Possible
Tips on Using an HTML Editor To Create an EPUB Document
The HTML editor is always my choice for EPUB creation unless there exists a very compelling reason otherwise. Yes, the HTML editor is the slow, hard way. But…your final EPUB document will be the best it can be.
If you can build a web site in an HTML editor, you can create an EPUB document. It is just a matter of cutting and pasting the HTML and CSS from the pages of the HTML editor and inserting them into an EPUB editor (Sigil is my favorite EPUB editor).
Prerequisite to using an HTML editor to build an EPUB from scratch are strong HTML, CSS, and graphic design skills. Without these, it is much easier to use a tool like InDesign to make your EPUB document.
Probably the most important tip is to set up the file structure in the HTML editor exactly as it will be in an EPUB document. The correct file structure ensures that links to styles and images will work correctly in the EPUB document. Details of this are shown in the video.
In summary, the XHTML code is created in the HTML editor and then copied into the EPUB editor.
Complete the placement of all text into the EPUB editor before placing images.
If you are using EPUB editor Sigil, you will need to place your images into Sigil using Sigil’s image placement button. This is shown in the video.
If you’ve placed images into the pages of the HTML editor and left image references in these pages when you cut and paste the HTML into Sigil, you will have a lot of cleaning up to do during validation.
You will have to finish processing all of your images before placing them into Sigil. Before placement into Sigil, image files should be trimmed to 500 px max in width and height, downsampled to 72 ppi, converted to RGB color mode if necessary, sharpened, and saved as .jpeg, .gif. or .png.
Each page in the HTML editor should hold one entire chapter of content. Wait until you have pasted that content into Sigil before breaking the chapters into pages. This is done using the “Chapter” button in Sigil and is shown in the video.
Using a URL shortener when creating hyperlinks for the EPUB. Reflow sometimes breaks long URLs in EPUB documents.
Save your file often as an EPUB and open it up in an e-Reader such as Adobe Digital Editions. Resize the text through all sizes to ensure that everything is functioning properly during reflow.
Create all of your own CSS styles. Don’t let the HTML editor or Sigil do it for you. If you have created your entire style sheet, it will be much easier to do future work on the EPUB file because you will recognize all of the style names since you created them.