How to Insert Placeholders in Your iBooks Author Text - dummies

How to Insert Placeholders in Your iBooks Author Text

By Galen Gruman

When creating an ebook in iBooks Author, you often want to have placeholder objects in your layout. You’ll replace these placeholders with specific content in the e-book’s actual pages. For example, when you insert a widget in a layout by using the corresponding menu or toolbar icon menu or icon button, the item is by default a placeholder. (You see a gray placeholder icon, such as a movie filmstrip, indicating that the object is a placeholder.)

The same is true for a table, image, text box, or chart that has a caption applied to it. And the mainbar text boxes in a template are also placeholders, meaning their text is editable on the actual book pages.

Other objects (such as a shape, photo, text box, or other object that doesn’t have a caption applied to it) are treated as parts of the template to be repeated as-is on each page that uses the layout. But you can convert such objects to placeholders and make their contents editable on book pages. To do so, select the object, and then open the Layout inspector. In its Layout pane, select the Editable on Pages Using This Layout check box.


For text, you can edit the placeholder text, if desired. The iBooks Author templates use fake Latin text for the mainbar placeholders, so its formatting appears on book pages created from that template’s layout until you substitute the actual text. Text boxes you create yourself have the placeholder text Type to Enter Text.

You can change this text and its formatting, as desired. Then you can lock that placeholder text and its formatting in the layout so that it appears consistently on all pages created from it: Choose Format→Advanced→Disable Placeholder Text Editing. (To edit or format that placeholder text in your layout, choose Format→Advanced→Enable Placeholder Text Editing.)

Sometimes, you may have a text box that contains a mix of fixed text and placeholder text. In the layout, select the text in such a text box that you do not want to be a placeholder, and then choose Format→Advanced→Define as Placeholder Text so that the check mark to the left of that option disappears. (You can also press Control+Option+Command+T.) Now, on a book page that includes the layout text box, when you click in the placeholder text, a blue outline appears around it (which indicates it’s placeholder text) but not around the fixed text. That’s a signal to the person working with the text to leave the fixed text alone.

Fixed text is still editable. It’s just that the placeholder text indicator doesn’t include it. If you really want to make fixed text uneditable, put it in its own text box and be sure that its text box is set to be uneditable: In the Layout inspector’s Layout pane, deselect the Editable on Pages Using This Layout option.