Adding Images, Shapes, and Other Objects in iBooks Author - dummies

Adding Images, Shapes, and Other Objects in iBooks Author

By Galen Gruman

When you create an e-book with iBooks Author, you can dress up the pages of your work with a wide variety of objects. Whether you want to add plain text boxes or complex images and graphics, iBooks Author makes it easy:

  • Text boxes: These objects contain text. iBooks Author has predefined mainbar text boxes that let the book’s main text flow from page to page, but you can create additional text boxes, such as for sidebars, intro lists, and the like.

  • Images: You can import a variety of image files, including GIF, Illustrator (.ai), JPEG, PDF, Photoshop (.psd), PICT, PNG, RAW, TIFF, and Windows Bitmap (.bmp).

    If you import a multipage PDF file, only the first page appears in the book. Also, older Illustrator files may not import, and Illustrator EPS files definitely don’t import.

  • Shapes: iBooks Author has 15 predefined shapes, as well as a Bézier pen tool that you can use to draw your own shapes.

  • Tables: Tables not only contain text, but also can contain live formulas.

  • Charts: You can create 19 types of charts and edit their data.

  • Widgets: iBooks Author supports seven types of interactive widgets: galleries (of images), media (audio and video), reviews (multiple-choice quizzes), Apple Keynote slideshows, interactive images (with callouts that expand when tapped), 3D images, and web snippets.

These objects can all be added to a layout or page, be positioned and sized as desired, and have attributes such as fill and borders adjusted. All can be made into anchored objects, and some can be used as inline objects.

The details of adding such objects are sometimes intricate, but here’s a summary of how to add objects to a page so that you can experiment with them while working on layouts and basic pages:

  • Drag a supported file from the Finder into an iBooks Author layout or page.


    If the file is supported, a green circle that contains a white + [plus sign] appears when the pointer is in the iBooks Author window.

    An object is created where you release the pointer. In the case of text-only (.txt) and Rich Text Format (.rtf) files, the text is inserted into an existing text box if you drop the file into existing text, or it’s placed into a separate text box if dropped elsewhere in the layout. And graphics are anchored to the text you drag and drop them in; if you drop the graphics outside a text box, they’re placed as floating (independent) objects.

  • Choose Insert→Choose or press Shift+Command+V to open a settings sheet in which you navigate the Mac’s contents for any type of compatible file.


    Compatible files are displayed in black; incompatible files appear in gray.

    You can’t insert text formats, such as .txt and .rtf, via this menu or shortcut, but you can drag and drop them into an iBooks Author file.

  • Choose Insert from the menu bar and then the desired type of object from the menu to insert it as a floating object.

    For example, you might choose Insert→Table to insert a table.

  • In the toolbar, click the Text Box or Table icon button, or use the Shapes, Charts, or Widgets icon menus, to insert the chosen object as a floating object.