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Cheat Sheet

iBooks Author For Dummies

From iBooks Author For Dummies by Galen Gruman

With Apple’s free iBooks Author software, you can create dynamic, interactive e-books for distribution on the iPad. These iBooks Author articles offer keyboard shortcuts, supported file formats, and ways to share your e-books with others.

Distributing E-Books from iBooks Author

Apple provides multiple ways for you to distribute the books you create in iBooks Author. But it can be confusing to understand your options — and it’s critical to understand them upfront so that you don’t choose an option that prevents you from desired distribution channels later.

If you want to sell any of your books

You must get a paid publisher account. With this type of account, you can both sell and give away your books via Apple’s online iBookstore. If you sell even just one book, all your free books must be published via the paid publisher account.

Selling your iBooks Author-created books through other venues is prohibited, although you can use the same contents and create books for other e-readers, and even for print, by using other software programs.

If you want to only give away books

If you want to give away your books, you have several options:

  • Create a free publisher account, which lets you distribute your books in the iBookstore. If you create such an account, you can’t sell any of your books via the iBookstore.

  • Export the book as an .ibooks file (choose File→Export in iBooks Author), and then distribute that file however you prefer: as a web download, via e-mail, or in some other medium. Recipients just need to drag the file into iTunes on their computers and sync to their iPad, or open the link or e-mail attachment on their iPads. Remember, you can’t charge for such books.

Exporting from iBooks Author

In addition to creating an e-book for use on the iPad, you may want to use your iBooks Author e-book’s text elsewhere, such as to create versions of your book for distribution as Kindle e-books or as ePub e-books that can be read on more devices than just the iPad. iBooks Author lets you export the book’s text so that you can create a version of the e-book in other programs (such as Sigil for ePub e-books).

You can also create a PDF version of your e-book that can be read on all sorts of devices that use Adobe Systems’ Adobe Reader software, as well as those that use the included Preview application in Mac OS X and the built-in Quick Look technology in both Mac OS X and iOS.

The export process is simple — just follow these steps:

  1. Choose File→Export.

    Alternatively, choose Share→Export.

    A settings sheet with export options appears.

  2. Open the Text pane if you want to export just the text.

    Alternatively, open the PDF pane to export the e-book as a PDF file. For a PDF file, you can set restrictions for the exported PDF’s use.

  3. Click Next in the pane.

  4. In the settings sheet that appears, specify the filename in the Save As field and navigate to the desired file location.

  5. Click Export.

An exported text file contains only the mainbar text — text in objects’ captions and in other text boxes is ignored. Plus, all the formatting is stripped out. And an exported PDF file has none of the interactivity of an iBooks Author e-book, except that hyperlinks are maintained.

Any interactive objects, such as reviews, 3D objects, and image galleries, are displayed only as static preview graphics. And a prominent iBooks Author logo appears at the bottom of each page. For these reasons, you may prefer to re-create the e-book in another program so that you can export a PDF file that doesn’t have the iBooks Author label all over it and can, for example, play videos and audio files.

If you’re looking to publish an e-book in multiple formats, don’t start in iBooks Author. Instead, do your text work in Microsoft Word or Pages, and then import those files and your various images, videos, and audio files into iBooks Author, add other interactive objects, and create an iBooks Author-savvy version of your book.

Take that same Word or Pages file and those various media files, and bring them into Adobe InDesign, QuarkXPress, or other publishing software to create a rich PDF file, if that’s one of your publishing formats.

Also, you can export a file directly from Pages, InDesign, and QuarkXPress to the ePub format, and then use a program such as the free Sigil to finalize the e-book layout and create an ePub for distribution in several e-book stores, including the iBookstore. You can use the free Calibre program to convert the ePub file to Amazon.com’s Mobi file format for its Kindle e-readers.

Importing into iBooks Author

iBooks Author lets you work with lots of content items to create your dynamic e-book. But it’s particular about some file types, so use this quick guide to figure out whether your files are ones that iBooks Author can work with.

iBooks Author-friendly text files

Here are your text-importing options:

  • Microsoft Word and Apple Pages documents can be imported, with each file becoming a separate chapter in your book. Tables are retained, but footnotes are stripped out.

  • Paste text from other applications into iBooks Author, but not import their files.

  • Drag text-only and RTF files into text boxes to paste their contents into iBooks Author.

  • Paste spreadsheet data from Microsoft Excel and Apple Numbers into iBooks Author.

Graphics files that will work with iBooks Author

iBooks Author can import most popular graphics formats: GIF, Illustrator (.ai), JPEG, Photoshop (.psd), PICT, PNG, PDF, RAW, TIFF, and Windows bitmap (.bmp), as well as Collada 3D graphics (.dae).

You can also copy and paste graphics — such as charts — from other programs into iBooks Author, which pastes a JPEG or PNG preview version into your book.

Apple Keynote presentation files can also be imported into Keynote objects for playback in the book.

Media files compatible with iBooks Author

iBooks Author is pickiest about media files: videos, screencasts, and audio recordings. It can import iPad-compatible MPEG-4 video (.m4v) files — including movies and screencasts — and AAC audio (.m4a or .m4v) files. The popular QuickTime (.mov) and MP3 formats aren’t supported. You must use the Media Browser panel to access these files. Furthermore, the media files must be in the content libraries of iTunes (for video and audio), iMovie (for video), iPhoto (for images), or GarageBand (for audio), or they must be in the Mac’s Movies folder (for video).

iBooks Author’s Views and Interface Keyboard Shortcuts

iBooks Author has many handy shortcuts that you can take advantage of. This table lists shortcuts specific to adjusting the iBooks Author views and interface.

Views and Interface Controls
Action Shortcut Menu Sequence
View or hide the Inspector panel Option+Apple command+I View--Show/Hide Inspector
Switch between Portrait and Landscape views of your book Option+Apple command+R View→Change Orientation
Show or hide the outlines for objects onscreen Shift+Apple command+L View/Show/Hide Layout Boundaries
Show or hide the onscreen rulers Apple command+R View→Show/Hide Rulers
Show or hide the format bar Shift+Apple command+R View→Show/Hide Format Bar
Show or hide the Styles drawer Shift+Apple command+T View→Show/Hide Styles Drawer
Show or hide the Glossary toolbar Shift+Apple command+E View→Show/Hide Glossary Toolbar
Show or hide the Colors panel Shift+Apple command+C View--Show/Hide Colors
Show or hide the invisible characters, such as spaces and tabs Shift+Apple command+I View--Show/Hide Invisibles
Zoom in Shift+Apple command+(period) View→Zoom→Zoom In
Zoom out onscreen Shift+Apple command+(comma) View→Zoom→Zoom Out

iBooks Author’s Object Keyboard Shortcuts

iBooks Author lets you easily work with objects by offering certain shortcuts for common tasks. These shortcuts allow you to control how objects are arranged, as well as how they look.

Object Controls
Action Shortcut Menu Sequence
Insert a file that you choose from the settings sheet that appears Shift+Apple command+V Insert→Choose
Open the masking (cropping) controls for a graphic Shift+Apple command+M Format→Image→Mask
Lock an item to its location in the layout Apple command+L Arrange→Lock
Unlock an item from its location in the layout Option+Apple command+L Arrange→Unlock
Group the selected items so they can be selected as and manipulated if they were one item Option+Apple command+G Arrange→Group
Separate a grouped object into its constituent objects Option+Shift+Apple command+G Arrange→Ungroup
Move the selected object to the front of the object stack (on top of the rest) Shift+Apple command+F Arrange→Bring to Front
Move the selected object one increment forward in the object stack Option+Shift+Apple command+F Arrange→Bring Forward
Move the selected object to the back of the object stack (behind the rest) Shift+Apple command+B Arrange→Send to Back
Move the selected object one increment backward in the object stack Option+Shift+Apple command+B Arrange→Send Backward
Enable the pen tool for drawing with the mouse or other pointer Option+Shift+Apple command+P Insert→Shape→Draw with Pen

iBooks Author’s Formatting Keyboard Shortcuts

When you’re formatting text and objects in iBooks Author, certain keyboard shortcuts make the job a snap. You can adjust style, text layout, and more with these iBooks Author shortcuts.

Formatting Controls
Action Shortcut Menu Sequence
Indent the text in one level Apple command+] Format→Text→Increase Indent Level
Outdent the text in one level Apple command+[ Format→Text→Decrease indent Level
Copy the graphics attributes for applying to another graphic Option+Apple command+C Format→Copy Graphic Style
Copy the character style attributes for applying to another text selection Option+Shift+Apple command+C Format→Copy Character Style
Apply the copied graphics or character attributes to the current graphic or text, respectively Option+Apple command+V Format→Paste Style
Paste text and apply the default formatting Option+Shift+Apple command+V Edit→Paste and Match Style
Paste text and apply the formatting of the surrounding text Option+Shift+Apple command+V Edit→Paste and Retain Style
Define the selection as placeholder text Control+Option+Apple command+T Format→Advanced→Define as Placeholder Text
Define the selected object’s attributes as placeholder objects Control+Option+Apple command+I Format→Advanced→Define as Media Placeholder
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