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Create and Edit Custom Number Types in iBooks Author Tables and Charts

When you are formatting chart and table values, iBooks Author offers pop-up menus that provide options for creating your own custom value presentation styles, known as custom values. For several kinds of charts, you use the Format pop-up menu in the Chart inspector’s Axis pane for the y axis’s value presentation. For other charts, you use the second (unnamed) pop-up menu in the Error Bars subpane of the Chart inspector’s Axis pane for the error bar’s value presentation. For tables, you use the Cell Format pop-up menu in the Table inspector’s Format pane for the cell’s value presentation.

A custom value would be yyyy/mm/dd, such as 2012/03/16 to indicate March 16, 2012, or xx°, such as 32° to indicate 32 degrees Kelvin.

Creating custom values

In all three cases, if you choose the Custom menu option, you get a settings sheet. The settings sheet has two variants:


  • Number & Text

  • Date & Time

Use the Type pop-up menu to switch between the two variants. Here's a quick rundown of how to form each:

  • Number & Text: Drag any of the number and text elements (those with blue oval backgrounds) into the condition field to have that element appear in the cell. You can also enter your own text. For example, typing No. and then dragging in the integers element (#,###) displays No. 12 if the cell's value is 12.

    Click the + (plus sign) to add more conditions. In the field below, construct the formatting results for that condition by using the elements at the bottom of the settings sheet. Some elements have their own pop-up menus with further options for you to choose.

  • Date & Time: This settings sheet has no conditions, just the format in which you want the information to appear. Drag into the field the date and time elements that you want to appear in your custom number value in the order you want them to appear. Some elements have their own pop-up menus with more options.

After you create a custom value, it’s available as a menu option in the following pop-up menus:

  • The Format pop-up menu in the Chart inspector’s Axis pane.

  • The second (unnamed) pop-up menu in the Error Bars subpane of the Chart inspector’s Axis pane.

  • For tables, the Cell Format pop-up menu in the Table inspector’s Format pane.

Editing custom values

The process of editing a value format’s settings is the same as creating that format. But you can do one other type of editing to value formats: Modify the menu options that appear in the pop-up menus that let you apply value formats. You use the Manage Formats button in the settings sheet to edit the list of formats that appears in pop-up menus to delete value formats that you no longer want to be available and to change the order of how the value formats appear. Follow these steps:

  1. In the appropriate pop-up menu, choose Format.

    The settings sheet opens, displaying the current settings.

  2. Click the Manage Formats button.

    A new settings sheet appears.

    • To delete a custom value, select it and click its adjacent minus-sign button.

    • To change where a value format appears in pop-up menus that use it, select that value format, and then click the appropriate arrow button.

      Keep clicking the appropriate icon until the value format is in the desired position. Move other value format options in the list the same way.

    • To rename a value format, double-click it and enter the new name.

      You can also change the name of a value format in the Name field by clicking the Manage Formats button.

  3. Click the OK button to save the changes and close the settings sheet.

    Or click Cancel to leave the value format unchanged.

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