Techniques for Searching Your iBooks Author Text

By Galen Gruman

iBooks Author provides a typical Find & Replace dialog box where you enter your find-and-replace terms, and then replace them all at the same time or go through each occurrence to selectively replace the term. Just choose Edit→Find→Find or press Command+F. But iBooks Author’s search feature is more powerful than just that.

Searches look for text only in your book pages, not in your layouts.

Search by selecting text

If you want iBooks Author to do its search based on a text selection so that you don’t have to enter the search text manually in the Find field, follow these steps:

  1. Select the text you want to search for.

  2. Choose Edit→Find→Use Selection for Find.

  3. Choose Edit→Find→Find to open the Find & Replace dialog box.

    Your selected text appears in the Find field.

  4. Click Next to start the search.

Even after you close the Find & Replace dialog box, you can still search for the last-specified search term: Press Command+G to find the next occurrence or Shift+Command+G to find the previous occurrence. These keyboard shortcuts are like using the Next and Previous buttons in the Find & Replace dialog box, except you don’t need that dialog box to be open.


Set Search constraints

The Find section of the Find & Replace dialog box’s Advanced pane has three check boxes that let you constrain your search to the specified parameters:

  • Match Case: If this option is selected, the search finds only text whose capitalization matches that in your Find field.

  • Whole Words: If this option is selected, the search finds only whole-word versions of the text in your Find field. That means text that has a space both immediately before and immediately after it, begins a paragraph and is followed by a space or by punctuation, or text that has a space before it and punctuation immediately after it. Thus, if you search for word and have this option selected, iBooks Author ignores words that contain the text word but also have other text, such as words, foreword, sword, and wordy.

  • Search Previous Text (Loop): If this option is selected (which it is by default), iBooks Author searches your entire book for the search term, starting at the current location, going to the end of the book, and looping back to the beginning of the book. If the option isn’t selected, iBooks Author searches only from the current location to the end of the book.

Search for special characters

To search for special characters, such as page breaks and line breaks, choose an option from the Insert pop-up menu in the Find section of the Find & Replace dialog box’s Advanced pane; likewise, choose an option from the Insert pop-up menu in the Replace section to include a special character in the replacement text. You can insert multiple special characters by choosing each in turn. An icon for each special character you choose appears in the Find and/or Replace fields.

The special characters you can find and replace via the Insert pop-up menu are Tab, Paragraph Break, Carriage Return, Page Break, Layout Break, Section Break, Column Break, and Line Break.