Liz Castro’s Using InDesign to adapt plain text to ePUB

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The cover of Liz Castro's Using InDesign to adapt plain text for ePUB

Liz Castro, the author of ePUB: Straight to the Point, has just released an new miniguide available in ePUB or Mobi titled Using InDesign to adapt plain text to ePUB. Castro describes the miniguide as:

There was a chapter that I ultimately decided to leave out of “EPUB Straight to the Point” that I’ve been wanting to publish for a long time. It explains how to use GREP in InDesign to massage a plain text file so that it’s easier to format. It shows how to get rid of extra line breaks, extra spaces, and how to convert special plain text formatting (underscores and carats) into their modern day counterparts, bold and small caps.

The book includes plenty of tips. While it does not include a TOC, here is a quick look at what is inside:

1. Removing extra returns

1.1. Styling short lines
1.2. Removing extra returns
1.3. Removing returns at the end of a line
1.4. Removing remains of returns
1.5. Getting rid of remaining placeholders

2. Removing extra spaces

3. Converting plain text formatting to styles

3.1. Converting Underscores to Italics
3.2. Converting Carats to Small Caps

4. Converting double dashes to em dashes

If you do any ePUB creation straight from plain text and have access to InDesign, it is worth downloading this free miniguide.

What do you think of this miniguide? Do you have any other tips for converting plain text to ePUB?

4 Responses to “Liz Castro’s Using InDesign to adapt plain text to ePUB”

  1. I bought a copy of Liz Castro’s guides, and I found them quite informative. She’s definitely the authroity on the subject of InDesign eBook workflows. However, I am personally not a fan of InDesign, because it is expensive and has an overly complicated interface. For eBook jobs, Notepad++ works great for me–the regular expression and macro support is a real time-saver when working with thousands of lines of XHTML and XML.

    A lot of people now are talking about Scrivener now, so that might be worth trying out if you’re getting started.

  2. Matthew says:

    Paul, thanks for your note. For readers who want to try Notepad++ it is available here: Scrivener is available here:

    Red Staple also just announce an .doc to ePUB creation tool here: With it you can create vanilla ePUB files or ePUBs enhanced with audio and video. You can also created fixed layout ePUBs from InDesign files.
    I like Liz’s miniguide because it also points out what ePUB creators need to clean up if they creating ePUBs from plain text.

  3. Ken says:

    I can’t see a Buy link.

  4. Matthew says:

    Using InDesign to adapt plain text to ePUB is free. Just click on the text “EPUB format” or “Mobi format” in the second paragraph of Liz’s post and the file will automatically download to your computer or device.