1.7 Basic Metadata
Making Ebooks with InDesign: Module 1, Step 7
Making Ebooks with InDesign: Module 1, Step 6
InDesign to EPUB
Before reading this, you might want to read:
As with many things in layout, there are a number of ways to treat images in InDesign. But some methods are better than others when it comes to creating ebooks. The most important pieces are paying attention to text threads, and using object styles.
If you have pages, chapters, or even a whole book which is threaded from front to back, it’s important to consider anchoring the images to the text. Not doing so means that the images will come out after the text thread in the ebook; this might mean, for example, that chapters 1-10 are in the ebook and then there is a traffic jam of pictures at the end of chapter 10, instead of sprinkled throughout as the design intended.
The key to exporting images in the spots in the text as intended is to anchor them in the content. With the selection tool activated, clicking on the image will bring up a small blue square in the top right of the image. Dragging that blue square into text — a gesture that is a little tricky and not necessarily intuitive — will anchor the image.
The blue square turns into an anchor and a symbol is now in the text at the spot where it is anchored.
A quick note about anchoring: consider leaving this step to the end of the layout process and just as you are preparing to create the EPUB. Anchoring does sometimes cause layout issues like images going behind an item, even for an image with text wrap on it. In this following set of screenshots, a sidebar with text wrap is anchored in the text causing reflow, which is not ideal and the reason to wait until late in the process to anchor items.
It is also possible to place images in the text directly. This is a good way to control exactly where they will land in the ebook. If you choose this method, be mindful of creating a new paragraph style for the paragraph in which the image is placed. Pro tip: set the leading to auto in order to accommodate the height of the image. In the second screenshot, brackets around the leading (or line height) measurement mean that it is set to auto.
However you treat the images in your content, be sure to use object styles to style them. Using object styles means that you can map to more semantic HTML options, and then control how those similar elements behave in the ebook. This image has three keylines on the frame so there is an intuitively named object style applied.
Alt text can be applied from within InDesign and will be preserved in the ebook. Under Object —> Object Export Options, navigate to the alt text tab.
There are a number of options here; if you are copying in an image description or writing it, choose Custom.
Consider using the paste board, that is the space off the page in InDesign, to store material that may be turned into image descriptions later. For example, this URL is where the image is from and might be a good source of image description material later on.