InDesign CC 2018: What it means for EPUB

  • Sumo

The latest version of InDesign CC (version 13.0) has precious little for ebook developers but what was improved is impactful.

My personal favourite is classless HTML. One of the most frustrating parts of InDesign is the <div>/<span> soup that it generates. Without some crafty intervention, InDesign will output generic, semantically meaningless markup.

When creating EPUB with InDesign, we now have the option to export classless HTML markup.

When creating EPUB with InDesign, we now have the option to export classless HTML markup.

Screengrab from InDesign showing the export options for a header tag.

You can direct InDesign not to include a class in the HTML, and to skip creating CSS (although that last part is not new).

I have long been in the habit of stripping classes out of basic markup like <b> and <i>. This new toggle box will relieve me of that task.

Screengrab from InDesign showing export options for a character style sheet called "italic" in which I uncheck the "Include Classes in HTML" button

Consider this very simply structured InDesign file with a chaper number, text, italic character style, and one object style applied at the start of a chapter thread.

The “Edit All Export Tags” dialogue box directs InDesign to create an <h1> tag for the chapter number, to create CSS for the text styles but not for the classless <i> tag, and to export a <section> tag on that object style.

This is the resultant HTML; clean, semantic, straightforward.


It’s not a big change, but it can really push users to create cleaner HTML. A big leap forward for ebook-developer-kind?

A second, much smaller toggle also caught my eye yesterday. I often construct InDesign file with the chapter number and chapter title in the same paragraph style, with a character style applied on the number for design leeway. I separate the two elements with a soft return. The reason I use these workarounds – shenanigans? – is so that the HTML will have both the chapter number and chapter title in a single <h1> tag. Doing all of this means that I have to edit the inline contents page and other navigation pieces in the EPUB to remove the soft return. TOC styles now gives you an option to remove that soft return when generating the contents page.


I am thrilled with these two things. I still have and EPUB-export wishlist, but as cleaner, more semantic HTML was at the top of my list, I will have to spend some time re-thinking and prioritizing my list.

4 Responses to “InDesign CC 2018: What it means for EPUB”

  1. Felipe says:

    Hi, Laura

    Great points.
    I would like to know your EPUB-export wishlist. Share with us 😉

    In my test I note that we don’t need more repeat the style name in Class column. Just if you want to use a different name for Class

    regards

  2. I use an earlier version of InDesign to lay out my books and create epub, so this discussion is helpful even though the new features aren’t available.

  3. Kris Tomes says:

    I also create my chapter number and chapter title in the same paragraph style, with a character style on the number. This TOC Remove Forced Line Break option is going to come in handy! Thanks for pointing it out.

  4. dAni says:

    Does anyone know how to get rid of ghosts? _idTOCAnchor-

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