iBooks Author - tips & tricks

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by jacg, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. jacg, Jan 22, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012

    jacg macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2003
    Hi everyone. I've never made a thread like this so apologies if I don't follow the correct protocol. If people are experimenting with iBooks Author (iBA?) I wondered if we could collate some tips and tricks here, as there aren't currently a lot of resources elsewhere (apart from Apple's own help pages). Obviously iWork users are going to feel at home straight away, although I spotted a few differences too. Here's some things I found so far...

    • If you want to see how each template behaves on an iPad, it seems you can only have four proofs at a time (before they get overwritten), so you'll need to sync them via iTunes if you want to be able to refer to all the templates on an iPad from time to time.
    • Be aware that if you edit the layout of your chapter front page, the changes will not affect the way each chapter is introduced on the iPad - the layout reverts back to the default. I tried to make a 'digital flier' but it looked like a textbook again when it was on the iPad (not surprising, I understand!)
    • There are a lot of default styles in each template. Don't be put off. If you tweak some text, right-click on the style in the list (selected and with a red triangle) and select 'redefine style from selection'. Do this for any text in your widgets so that when you add new widgets they get your new styles.
    • iWork stalwarts such as Mask Image and Instant Alpha aren't listed in the menus but if you customise the toolbar (right-click on the toolbar) you can add these commands to your toolbar. Annoyingly, you can't 'use small icons' like in other apps (I hope this isn't a new dumbing down trend from Apple - it was literally the first thing I tried to do when I first opened the app!)
    • If your layout is only good in landscape, you can disable portrait entirely by checking the box in the Document Inspector (Document tab).
    • The level of control provided by the iWork toolset is comprehensive but for some parts of the widgets, the controls are ghosted out (for example the line and fill of the labels in the Interactive Image widget).
    • The fonts shown in the toolbar are the only ones that seem to be supported on the iPad.
    • If you are trying to produce something really simple with no chapters, set the first chapter as a preface by clicking the pop-up menu by the page thumbnail. This means the iBook won't say Chapter 1 on the iPad.
    • If you edit bits of your template and you want them to be reflected in all subsequent usage of that bit, select the changed object and go to Format > Advanced > Update object for current layout.
    • If you are struggling to find video that will import, open your movie in Quicktime Player and export it to iTunes or a location on your drive, selecting iPad compatible format.
    • If you export as PDF you get each landscape page surrounded by a box with iTunes Author written underneath. Is there something that can crop multiple PDF pages? I'm not sure Preview does this any more. Incidentally, slideshows and other widgets will only show the image visible in iBA at the time of exporting.
    • I made a simple RSS widget in Dashcode (from Xcode tools) and it transferred to the iPad but with no active web content. I'm not sure this is possible. So no google maps, etc?
    • Details from Apple here: http://www.apple.com/ibooks-author/ and here http://www.apple.com/support/ibooksauthor/
    • The Keynote import is really neat. I imported some quite complex documents and the builds were just as dynamic. It seems to utilise the Keynote convert to HTML engine. I assume there are some limits to the type of build and transition but I haven't done a thorough study yet.

    That's all for now. Has anyone made their own template yet? Has anyone got further with embedded web content? Anyone found any other FAQs or guides? Is anyone an iBA millionaire yet...?
  2. Juggertha macrumors member


    Jun 18, 2011
    This is great info - especially about the keynote part.

    I found the widgets to be a tad limiting, so I'm hoping to expand on my options by using a Keynote import.

    Anyone know of any tutorials for this app?
  3. saberahul macrumors 68040

    Nov 6, 2008
    Tutorials for what purpose? Using iBooks Author? I doubt you really need tutorials for that as it is pretty easy.
    On the other hand, if you are looking for tutorials for more advanced stuff like mentioned in the OP, then I am sure someone will be quick enough to write them up (or even show a video) within the next month or so.
  4. CrackedButter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2003
    51st State of America
    This shouldn't be a trick or a tip, but can somebody show me how to reorder pages, so lame IBA can't do it.
  5. jacg thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2003
    I think the smallest part you can reorder is a whole section, as the body text flows from the beginning to the end of each section (even if you have a page with no columns of body text).

    If you just have a bunch of objects on pages and you need to reorder them, you'll need to cut and paste the objects. Unfortunately iBA is not very smart about pasting them back in the same position and you can't always do the iWork trick of grouping, copying then pasting as some objects can't be grouped.

    Perhaps if you are going to want to reorder, you need to add a new section instead of a new page as you build your project.
  6. CrackedButter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2003
    51st State of America
    At the moment I have chapters made up of four pages each, I laid them out in the same way as a printed version I have. Now I find the printed order of text page then image page, but now I want them to be image page then text page.

    They are all self-contained; unlinked. Yet more work I guess.

    Thanks for that tip, I have a todo list I'm working through, I can leave this to the end and hope Apple bring out a good update in time before I get to work on that bit.
  7. san1981 macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2012
    Thanks for your greatful tips & tricks!

    I'm starting to work with this one and some of your tricks are useful.

    I've a small question as you've more experience in this soft you can maybe help me :)

    I'ld like to create a hyperlink on an image to a specific page and I'ld like to make a pop-up on a click on an image with the image bigger as pop-up. Is it possible by default in the software or via the html dashcode maybe?

    Thanks for your help :D
  8. jacg thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2003
    You can only make text a hyperlink. To any widget in your book I think. Some widgets can be set to go full screen only, so I think it would do what you want, but you'd then be on a different page.

    To make an image jump from a small image (279pt x 177pt may be the smallest) to fill the screen you would use the gallery widget. The image can be cropped and scaled in the widget but when you pinch expand it, the uncropped image is shown full screen. So in this case, make sure you use high resolution images.

    You can set the widget not to show a title, caption, etc and not to have a background/margin around it. In the Widget Inspector (Interaction) you can set a line of thumbnails to show under your image gallery.

    You can make a smaller thumbnail by dragging a single photo to the media widget and getting rid of the caption, etc. Set it to always show full screen.

    My suggestion for learning about iBA would be to make a sample document using as many as the widgets and options available then open this on an iPad. This is easy if you own one and have it connected. If not, host it on a server somewhere and open it in Safari (or Goodreader, etc) on an iPad with iBooks 2 (friend, Apple store?). Safari will offer to open it in iBooks.
  9. san1981 macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2012
    Thanks a lot Jacg for your quick reply :)

    I hope Apple will release a new version with the possibility to add hyperlinks on images too. It would be so easy.

    I will test your solution for the image pop-up

    Great thanks!
  10. mcuser88 macrumors newbie

    Jan 26, 2012
    text wrap in portrait mode?

    anyone figure out how to text wrap in portrait mode in iBooks? I can't get this to work on my section pages, but does work in landscape mode.
  11. Schadenfreude78 macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2012
    I'm pretty sure you can't.

    Sadly it seems that iBA is pretty limited in customizations such as this.
  12. jacg thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2003
    iBook content is realised somewhat differently in portrait mode on an iPad. The body text dominates the majority of the screen space with certain objects appearing in the margin where they can be selected and brought full screen. So while you lose control of the layout, the viewer can alter the text size. You can disable portrait mode if you want your landscape view to be the only option (see my original post).

    If you have an iPad, try downloading the free 'Life on Earth' book and you'll see that I mean. I think what iBA does is make it possible to provide both a highly customisable laid-out view (landscape) while including a more traditional e-book experience with no additional effort.
  13. Dorje Sylas macrumors 6502

    Jun 8, 2011
    You can use Automator to crop images. So you could make a Workflow that converts the PDF to an series of images, then crops those images, then puts all those images back into a PDF. However I wouldn't try to use this to skirt the EULA as there could be other more subtle watermarking, PLUS Apple still owns the default templates and using any part of them could lead to other trouble if one tries to make money off it.

    Tip: Google SketchUp seems to compliment iBooks Author's 3D modeling. The free version of SketchUp can export the same format for 3D that iBA uses. So if you're just playing round and trying it, you can build simple 3D models in SketchUp and put them in the iBook.

    I haven't tried to pull active web content through the HTML5 widget yet, but it can follow hyperlinks to actual websites while inside the Widget view. I found this out by accident while using Hype to build some basic animations.

    Tip: If you want the Chapter or Section title to be the same across Landscape/Portrait change it in the Book Outline sidebar. If you change it in-line you may break the auto formatting.

    Trick: You can change the Perface numbering scheme from roman numerals (the default) to page numbers from the Layout Inspector, Numbering Tab. Actually there quite a few numbering options you can access from there.

    Landscape = Layout mode
    Portrait = Textflow mode

    I actually like this split, although I'd like to be able to flip that eventually.
  14. lonydail macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2012
    ? hyperlinks in IBA

    It is easy to put hyperlinks in IBA books... though it took me time to realise that they show red in IBA but blue in the actual iBook when displayed on the iPad.
    But my question is, if you have a hyperlink to a webpage, how do you make it so the reader returns direct to the iBook after visiting the hyperlinked webpage (rather than having to close Safari and reopen iBooks)? Some sites have a 'DONE' button top left, but IBA does not seem to do this. Does anyone know the answer?
  15. colart macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2012
    Ibook Author Colouring book

    Hi I would like to make an iBook for my kids and would like to maybe put some images in so they can color them is there anyway of doing this. I thought maybe with a widget or use adobe edge to make a widget and then put the widget into iBook author.


  16. nofame4u macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2012
    Copy and paste a widget

    Hope one of you guys can help me out with this:
    I put a widget into a particular chapter, but decided later that I wanna have it in another one. Cut and paste does´t work, so how to move it to somewhere else?
    Thanks for any hint...
  17. jacg thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2003
    Are you sure copy and paste doesn't work? It does for me. Select the widget, copy. Then in your other chapter click outside the text area and select paste.

    Alternatively opt-drag a copy of your widget.

    Sorry if you've tried all these already.


    This sounds fun. Sorry, I don't know how you'd go about it. Are you familiar with Dashcode? It comes with the free developer tools (Xcode) and can be used to make widgets. I would imagine some coding would be required for this though. Let us know how you get on.


    Are those apps that show content with a 'Done' button just showing content in a viewer within the app, rather than moving you to another app? I don't think iBooks does this yet but maybe you could request the feature via http://www.apple.com/feedback/
  18. ppappas, Mar 9, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012

    ppappas macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2009
  19. lupossi macrumors newbie

    Mar 22, 2012

    How do i delete or rename a template of IBA??
    thanks for the attention!:apple:
  20. JacquesM macrumors newbie

    Mar 23, 2012
    To add a new widget

    Hi everyone. Maybe a stupid question, but how do you add the new widget to IBA ?
  21. Benson11 macrumors regular


    Mar 18, 2012
    Very informative and helpful sharing! Thanks a lot..
  22. jacg thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2003
    Have you tried renaming the files in your user library?

    /Users/yourname/Library/Application Support/iBooks Author/Templates
  23. lupossi macrumors newbie

    Mar 22, 2012
    Hi ! thanks I have got it!
    Delete a custom template from the Template Chooser

    1-Click the Finder icon in the Dock and choose Go > Go to Folder.

    2- To open the Templates folder, enter:

    ~/Library/Application Support/iBooks Author/Templates/My Templates/

    3- Find the custom template and drag it to the Trash.

    thanks a lot!
  24. tmphoto macrumors member

    Aug 30, 2006
    I too am having trouble working out how to get the widget into iBA.
    From the classwidgets.com website I can, for example, upload a photo to the sliding puzzle widget. The only end result I can manage from it is I can install the resulting custom puzzle to my Dashboard.
    I also cannot seem to locate the application support libraries for iBA on my computer.
    Any input on this would be swell.
  25. Duchess72 macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2012
    connect text feelds


    i am new on this forum and i hope someone can help me.

    i have 2 problems which i cant seem te fix.

    1- i want to change the font of the pagenumber but can't find where
    2- if i delete al textframes and make new ones how can i connect them?

    thanks so much for any answers


Share This Page