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man2010

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Registered: 01/01/10
Formatting an ebook properly in Word or in WordPerfect, OpenOffice or HTML
Posted: Sep 20, 2010 9:33 PM
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Updated in March 2014

You can download the tutorial from the following post (first file in the list): http://kdp.amazon.com/community/thread.jspa?messageID=335297#335297

This detailed fully illustrated tutorial describes in lay language how to format Kindle books using a 30-day free trial of Microsoft Word (or HTML for techies). Pictures, tables, lists (bulleted, numbered, and multilevel), formulas, poetry, NCX, table of contents, fonts, indents, specifics of different Kindle formats and devices, and many other topics are discussed. Both Windows and Macintosh users will find the instructions easy to follow. This manual also describes conversion to Kindle of the following formats: PDF, RTF, WordPerfect, LibreOffice, OpenOffice, Apple Pages, InDesign, QuarkXPress, EPUB, Final Draft, and others. Another tutorial (fifth file in the list) describes fixed layout for nontechies, namely, children's books, comics, recipe books, and the like.

Devices discussed: 1st generation Kindle (Kindle 1), Kindle 2, Kindle 3 (Kindle Keyboard), Kindle 4, Kindle 5, Kindle DX (old and new one), Kindle Touch, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Fire HD 8.9", Kindle Fire HDX, and Kindle Fire HDX 8.9"

Software discussed: MobiPocket Creator, MobiPocket Reader, Kindle Previewer 2.5, Kindle Previewer 2.7, Kindle Previewer 2.92, Kindle Previewer for Mac, KindleGen 1.2, KindleGen 2.3, KindleGen 2.9, W3C Validator, KDP Cover Creator beta, KDP converter, Calibre, Calibre e-book viewer, Sigil, InDesign Plug-in, Notepad++, Notepad, TextCrawler, Fraise, TextWrangler, TextEdit, Clean HTML Word Macro from Toxaris, word2cleanhtml.com, KindleUnpack, KindleStrip, Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Word 2007, Microsoft Word 2008, Microsoft Word 2010, Microsoft Word 2011, Microsoft Word 2013, Kindle for PC, Kindle for Mac, Kindle for iPad, Kindle for iPhone, Kindle for Android, and Kindle Cloud Reader

Formats discussed: Kindle Format 8 (KF8, AZW3), Kindle Format 6 (KF6 or Mobi7, MOBI, PRC, AZW), MobiPocket (PRC), EPUB, fixed layout (KF8, AZW3), Kindle for iOS (AZK), Smashwords MOBI, Calibre MOBI, and Calibre AZW3
rogpearson

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Registered: 10/02/10
Re: Guidelines on creating Table of Contents, Cover & Beginning links prope
Posted: Oct 2, 2010 1:44 PM   in response to: man2010 in response to: man2010
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Thanks... brilliant.

Been having problems with TOC. All working now.
bookpubl4

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Registered: 10/16/10
Re: Guidelines on creating Table of Contents, Cover & Beginning links properly
Posted: Oct 17, 2010 3:32 AM   in response to: man2010 in response to: man2010
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Thanks for your very helpful information. A question: if one saves a ,doc file as an html file in the OpenOffice program, is this adequate to produce an e-book? I may have answered my own question for when I converted the .doc manuscript that went to the printer and came out perfectly formatted with the OpenOffice html change, it came out looking strange with no paragraph indentations. But this was on a Windows Vista netbook and perhaps it would look differently on a Kindle.I don't know. I am a real beginner at this. I've downloaded the software you recommended. E-books are an exciting, welcome development.
notjohn

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Re: Guidelines on creating Table of Contents, Cover & Beginning links properly
Posted: Oct 17, 2010 3:51 AM   in response to: bookpubl4 in response to: bookpubl4
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Open Office should work, but you can (and should!) check it in the DTP Preview, which is your best approximation of what it will look like on the Kindle.

I find the easiest way to get simply html is to view the Word doc on Gmail (Google docs works the same, plus it will zip the html together with the images if you have them).

If you own a Kindle, you can email it to yourself, which is even better. Personally, I use Kindle for PC as my proofreading guide, since it's easier to switch views on the computer monitor than holding another gadget in my hand.

If you look around the forum here, you will find a lengthy thread from a publisher who had the identical problem of no indents--it's in the title of the thread.

And ignore all advice you get from the one who calls himself Divorce Doctor.
man2010

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Re: Guidelines on creating Table of Contents, Cover & Beginning links properly
Posted: Oct 17, 2010 7:31 PM   in response to: bookpubl4 in response to: bookpubl4
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Thanks for your very helpful information. A question: if one saves a ,doc file as an html file in the OpenOffice program, is this adequate to produce an e-book?
<<<

I have not tested OpenOffice, but having an HTML file which looks good in a browser is only the beginning of the battle, in my experience. I had to do A LOT of manual HTML coding and cleaning up in my books (using NotePad, several weeks of work) before they started to look more or less decent in DTP preview and in Kindle for PC. My advice is to learn the basics of HTML (you can see the list of supported tags, posted by admins here) and to verify the formatting of your book using DTP preview, as per Notjohn's suggestion. I agree that DTP preview is a very close approximation of what your book will look like on a Kindle device.

A word of caution about Kindle for PC: a book that looks good in Kindle for PC will not necessarily look good in DTP Preview and in Kindle Previewer. HTML code has to be very clean (no extra spaces and no extra hard returns) in order to look good in DTP Preview and Kindle Previewer. For example, if you have ordered or unordered lists in your book, they will look OK in Kindle for PC at first try, but they are likely to look rather crooked in DTP preview and Kindle Previewer, unless you remove all extra spaces and breaks. A nice and clean HTML code can only be achieved by manual coding in NotePad, IMO. HTML editors such as SeaMonkey will screw up your code beyond recognition.

The added layer of complexity is the format of "Kindle for the web" if you have a print edition of your book (also known as the "Read first chapter FREE" feature). In my experience, the HTML code has to be extra clean and additional coding and reformatting will be needed, even if your book is fully formatted for Kindle Previewer and DTP preview.
rtayek

Posts: 80
Registered: 10/18/10
Re: Guidelines on creating Table of Contents, Cover & Beginning links properly
Posted: Nov 16, 2010 1:15 AM   in response to: man2010 in response to: man2010
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The biggest of my books contains 166 (!) logical
sections and it took me all day to write the NCX file
(using NotePad).

i've been getting a ncx for free (almost) by doing the following.

after you make the toc with mobi, import the html files and the toc into sigil. save the epub. unzip it and you have an ncx. kindlegen seems to like this ncx. some editing may be required.

thanks
notjohn

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Re: Guidelines on creating Table of Contents, Cover & Beginning links properly
Posted: Nov 16, 2010 3:24 AM   in response to: rtayek in response to: rtayek
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[i]import the html files and the toc into sigil. save the epub. unzip it and you have an ncx. kindlegen seems to like this ncx. some editing may be required.
[/i]
Aha! This appears to be the answer to my question on the related thread. There's a filenam.ncx in the epub? But surely it's anchored to tags in the html sections, which are different files. Will they link correctly to the chapters within the single html file that the DTP wants?

Bouncing from Word to Mobi to Sigil to Kindlegen, with stops to edit the html, seems like a mad dance to me! To be sure, it's not much worse than the dance I go through to create an epub (zip the html and mail it to free.kindle.com, open the mobi file in Calibre and convert it to epub, open the epub file in Sigil and tweak it...).
rtayek

Posts: 80
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Re: Guidelines on creating Table of Contents, Cover & Beginning links properly
Posted: Nov 16, 2010 2:01 PM   in response to: notjohn in response to: notjohn
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There's a filenam.ncx in the
epub?

yes

But surely it's anchored to tags in the html
sections, which are different files. Will they link
correctly to the chapters within the single html file
that the DTP wants?

this worked on a book that was a single html file. it also appears to work with the current book which is 50 or so html files.

the ncx will not work with the original .opf without (probably) lots of editing. but it seems to work fine with the content.opf and the toc that are in the unzuipped epub.

Bouncing from Word to Mobi to Sigil to Kindlegen,
with stops to edit the html, seems like a mad dance
to me! ...

it gets easier the more times you do it.

thanks
notjohn

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Re: Guidelines on creating Table of Contents, Cover & Beginning links properly
Posted: Nov 16, 2010 4:15 PM   in response to: rtayek in response to: rtayek
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[i]> Bouncing from Word to Mobi to Sigil to Kindlegen,
with stops to edit the html, seems like a mad dance
to me! ...

it gets easier the more times you do it.[/i]

Indeed! Whatever we do as a regular thing seems an easy thing to do.
man2010

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Re: Guidelines on creating Table of Contents, Cover & Beginning links properly
Posted: Nov 16, 2010 7:12 PM   in response to: rtayek in response to: rtayek
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i've been getting a ncx for free (almost) by doing the following.
<<<

Good idea, I added a mention of this approach to the "guidelines." BTW, in my case, the Table of Contents and the NCX toc are much different: the former contains a dozen or so items, while the latter contains 166 (each endnote, each section within a chapter, each list of key points, etc). Thus I am not sure if sigil would simplify the task. It will no doubt save a lot of work when TOC and NCX are identical.
rtayek

Posts: 80
Registered: 10/18/10
Re: Guidelines on creating Table of Contents, Cover & Beginning links properly
Posted: Dec 1, 2010 11:21 AM   in response to: man2010 in response to: man2010
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i've been getting a ncx for free (almost) by doing
the following.
<<<

Good idea, I added a mention of this approach to the
"guidelines." ...


sigil stopped working for me due to issue 501 (images with the same name).

but the same trick works with calibre.

make your toc with mobii. edit it so it is valid html (it's not - ul's are improperly nested - they need to be inside an li). remove mobi's toc and add your edited one. make the prc.

import the prc into calibre. export as an epub. unzip the epub.

edit the date (it has time information which makes epubcheck barf). make any other edits that you need (like fixing the style). zip it back up and it should pass epubcheck (it does for me). then run kindlegen.

thanks
jackibar

Posts: 49
Registered: 10/28/10
Re: Guidelines on creating Table of Contents, Cover & Beginning links properly
Posted: Dec 1, 2010 8:04 PM   in response to: man2010 in response to: man2010
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Thanks SO much for this awesome tutorial! I'm this close to having it like I want it! Couple of questions... I've set the in the place I want to be the "Beginning" - but it keeps going to the first mobi toc 0 position instead... - ?

2nd, is there some way to get rid of the "bullets" before each toc item? I'd prefer Chapter #'s for the main headings and nothing for the sub-headings within each Chapter...

Thanks again!
man2010

Posts: 1,897
Registered: 01/01/10
Re: Guidelines on creating Table of Contents, Cover & Beginning links properly
Posted: Dec 1, 2010 8:44 PM   in response to: rtayek in response to: rtayek
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sigil stopped working for me due to issue 501 (images with the same name).
but the same trick works with calibre.
<<<

I updated the text with your new suggestions, thanks.
man2010

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Registered: 01/01/10
Re: Guidelines on creating Table of Contents, Cover & Beginning links properly
Posted: Dec 1, 2010 9:14 PM   in response to: jackibar in response to: jackibar
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[i]I've set the in the place I want to be the "Beginning" - but it keeps going to the first mobi toc 0 position instead... - ?[/i]

I think the latest version of Kindle for PC has a bug, it goes to the TOC instead of the start anchor when you open an ebook for the first time. If you are trying to open your book in MobiPocket Reader, then this behavior is normal because it needs a special guide item of the type "start" to be created in the Guide section of MPC. Don't do this; otherwise you will have two "beginnings" on Kindle devices in your "Go to" menu.

[i]2nd, is there some way to get rid of the "bullets" before each toc item? I'd prefer Chapter #'s for the main headings and nothing for the sub-headings within each Chapter[/i]

You can edit your mbp_toc.html file using NotePad (it is in the same directory as OPF file). By default you have your TOC formatted as an unordered list, like this:

<ul>
<li>.....</li>
<li>.....</li>
......
</ul>

you can reformat your TOC like this instead:
<p>
.....<br>
.....<br>
......
</p>

You need to know the basics of HTML language to do this stuff. If you do, then you will have no problem achieving what you want. Just remember that you can only use NotePad to edit the mbp_toc file, otherwise MPC will notice your tampering and will rebuild the file.
jackibar

Posts: 49
Registered: 10/28/10
Re: Guidelines on creating Table of Contents, Cover & Beginning links properly
Posted: Dec 2, 2010 11:32 AM   in response to: man2010 in response to: man2010
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Thanks for the info... It's actually doing the weird "start" thing in both the Kindle for PC AND my real Kindle - it seems to be ignoring my start tag...

I DO want the features where the Kindle's 5-way button's right and left arrow will jump to the next Chapter - is this the part where you have to use Kindlegen...? I'm on a Mac.

Also, my interior graphics are getting shrunk - what will fix this?!

Thanks again!
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