1.2 Basic Styles
Making Ebooks with InDesign: Module 1, Step 2
Making Ebooks with InDesign: Module 1, Step 1
InDesign to EPUB
Before reading this, you might want to read:
There are some foundational set up things that you can do in InDesign that will set up your content for success.
Parent pages (the feature that used to be called master pages) are the place that a typesetter would set up the text frame, running heads, folios, etc. There is often a little more space in the gutter of a print book for thick spine reasons, and along the bottom margin for thumb reasons. The designer may set up columns or layout grids using guides in the parent pages. The main thing for ebook developers to know about parent pages is that this is where you keep things that need to appear in print but function differently for digital, so we want to keep them out of the way. The running heads and folios are generated by the reading system.
Items that need to stay on the parent page will appear with a dotted line in the live pages. You can command-shift-click on these items with the selection tool to make them live on the page. A thing I see a lot is typesetters who make those items live on the page in order to edit the running header to the current chapter title. The first trick I am going to show you is how to set running heads both so that you never live type anything — best way to introduce error that I know of! — and so that you never have to make anything live on the page.
Setting up a text variable is the way to accomplish this. On the parent pages, create and position a text box for the running headers or footers. I’ve put some running headers at the top of the page, styled with a paragraph style sheet called rhead. Under Type —> Text Variable —> choose Define. Choose Running Header and click Edit. There are a suite of options in the next window. Opt for the Chapter Number (cn) style and leave the Use value as the default First on page. There are other fancy things you can accomplish from this window including adding text before or after which is handy if the folio is going along with the running head. You can also delete terminal punctuation or change the case. For our purposes, we just need the basics.
Clicking OK will return us to the previous window where we click Done. Now migrate to the parent pages and let’s insert that variable we just created. Position your cursor where you want it, so overwriting “chapter number”, and then go back up to Type —> Text Variable —> but this time choose Insert Variable, navigating down to the Running Header variable that we just created. That running head is now in triangle brackets and has a blue rectangle around it.
Navigate out of parent pages and let’s go check on what impact that had on the file. The first appearance of the chapter number style sheet is now populated the recto (or right hand) pages in this file. If you scroll down to chapter two, you’ll see that the running headers for that section are correct.
Keep page numbers and running headers off the live page by using variable text. And teach your typesetters this one cool trick, too.