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ePub conversion in XPRS 9 - VERY disappointed

Last post 05-07-2012 12:06 AM by Sarbjit Singh. 14 replies.
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  • 06-15-2011 2:58 PM

    ePub conversion in XPRS 9 - VERY disappointed

    I have been tasked with converting a lot of documents from print layout to eBook format. All the originals are either InDesign or QuarkXPress documents. I've been using a variety of tricks and tools (export XTensions, Applescript, BBEdit) to accomplish this, and have found ID CS4 to be MUCH better suited to the task than XPRS 7. So I was SO hopeful that XPRS 9 would offer the functionality to match or exceed ID. I've watched the webinar on XPRS 9 ePub, and I've read the help file that came with the XPRS 9 Trial. And I've spent a few hours with a fairly simple Quark document (with few images, illustrations; and very appropriately created and applied style sheets) with XPRS 9, only to be pretty sure that this new functionality offers absolutely no time-saving features. In fact, from what I experienced, it ends up taking LONGER than the convoluted workflow I'd cobbled together with XPRS 7. The main shortcoming (and PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong -- I'd LOVE to be wrong about this, and would GLADLY spend the upgrade $$$ if someone can show me the light!) is that there is no way to automate the insertion of "components" into the reflow for ePub, nor a way to use the existing style sheets to tag the content, nor a way to use an already-created TOC list to get a head start on the eBook's TOC. When I add a story to the reflow, I loose EVERYTHING! Even italics and bolded text. What a PITA to have to search through a slew of vanilla text to find such things! It seems like the developers at Quark are either not interested at all in giving us a way to work faster, OR there is a strategy afoot here to prove to us that we really need to move to Quark's Publishing System (as was hinted at in the webinar demo of ePub and XPRS 9). I just don't get it. Why would you brag about a new feature that requires me to step through my entire document all over again, AND requires that any changes in the print layout be manually applied to the eBook layout too? (This last one is a real show-stopper, and the Help file makes it clear: when you change anything in the print layout, you must make the change as well to the eBook 'reflow,' OR update the component, loosing all your eBook work. So, the big "help" tip: make sure you do the eBook last. THANKS! Geez!) OK, Quark. Please tell me I'm wrong. AND/OR: Quark users: share some tips/tricks/scripts that will allow me to avoid a completely manual conversion process.
  • 06-16-2011 5:17 AM In reply to

    Re: ePub conversion in XPRS 9 - VERY disappointed

    I hope I will be able to help you with some of these:

    1. There is an automatic way to tag existing content as components. You need to go to Layout -> Add Pages to Reflow View. Choose the pages that you want, and it will tag all the non-empty boxes as components for you. However, like any automatic process, it would not know: in what order you want the components to be. You need to manually rearrange components as per the flow of a story.

    2. As far as tagging based on style-sheet is concerned, a future update may add this functionality.

    3. ePub ToC is extracted from the Article Names. You need to create a new article for every ToC entry that you need.

    4. Tagging does NOT remove character formatting like Bold, Italic etc. Could you please check that again!! It should retain all supported styles that are available in Reflow View.

    5. Reflow View is NOT in synch with the layout because you may not want to have same text (tabs etc) in Reflow View. So yes it is always a good idea to start tagging the document once you have finalized the layout.

     We sure take you feedback seriously and will try and improve the process to generate ePub files.

  • 06-16-2011 6:19 PM In reply to

    Re: ePub conversion in XPRS 9 - VERY disappointed

    Sarbjit, I totally agree with Dan.

    I'm having exactly the same problems than he's going through.

    I don't mean to be disrespectful, as I know you guys are trying to catch up, but I do think that you should place more emphasis in trying to answer our questions (even if that means to have a not-so-elegant workaround) instead of trying to defend the product by all means.
    For example, I came up with the idea of adding rare characters at the beginning and at the end of the styled text in the layout, and then, try to track and change both text and styles in the reflow view. But I haven't been able to make it work out.

    So: I can only search/find/replace in layout view data but not within reflow view?

    What else do you suggest to "easily" keep track of my 270 page book's tons of differently styled headings, subheadings, etc. if I want them to turn into either h1, h2, etc tags when exporting them to ePUB?

    Thank you.
  • 06-17-2011 12:23 AM In reply to

    Re: ePub conversion in XPRS 9 - VERY disappointed

    We understand that ePub export is not perfect. However, my answer was in no way meant to defend the ePub creation flow.

    You have found a good workaround. I just wanted to clarify that you CAN Find/Replace text in Reflow View as well. May I know the issue(s) you faced usinf Find/Change?

    I agree that there isno "easy" way to map existing stylesheets to H1, H2 and other tags in Reflow View. You need to do that manually, for now.

  • 06-18-2011 2:52 PM In reply to

    Re: ePub conversion in XPRS 9 - VERY disappointed


    Thanks for your answer.

    When I'm in reflow view, I want to look for text with special marks (say, text in bold, underlined and italic) and convert it to h1. Nonetheless, when I open up the Find/Replace dialog box, and try to look for the "Headline" text style in the drop-down box, I only find the styles in my Print layout. But I don't find neither the Headline style, nor any of the other ones.

    It seems the only workaround I've found is to work the less I can in Quark, and try to correct its mistakes in Adobe's Dreamweaver, with its powerful RegEx capabilities (although even so, it's quite a tedious, error-prone and a time consuming task).

    Do you know how could I manage to work with my long books in Quark to be converted to ePUB? My books are ~300pages long and it seems Quark wants me to rebuild them from scratch (completely manually, without RegEx, nor mapping of tags, class and styles to html)

    Thank you

  • 07-13-2011 7:24 PM In reply to

    Re: ePub conversion in XPRS 9 - VERY disappointed

    Hi Sarbjit

     Not perfect is a pretty big under statement. I work primarily with 200-300 page books and the process used to create the reflow view is very cumbersome. You mentioned that the reflow view should import italics and bold - it will but only if you have NOT used bold or italic fonts. And that is a big no no in print land.

     For those running into the issue, here are a couple of workarounds I'm using if you're creating an  ebook for which there is a print version.

     - create the ebook ONLY after the print book is absolutely final

    1. make a copy of the final print quark file for ebook editing

    2. remove all manual kerning

    3. search and remove all manual line breaks

    4. search and replace all italic/bold etc. fonts with a standard font with mechanical italic and bold.

    5. search and replace all small caps

    6. if you've set you're whole book as one long linked document then you have to copy and paste each chapter separately.

     Now... can someone tell me how to add a back cover?

  • 07-14-2011 9:11 AM In reply to

    Re: ePub conversion in XPRS 9 - VERY disappointed


    5. search and replace all small caps

    How would you do that automatically?
  • 07-14-2011 10:31 AM In reply to

    Re: ePub conversion in XPRS 9 - VERY disappointed

     Use the search and replace function in "find". Search for the small caps font you used or the small caps style if you didn't use an actual font, and then change it to a plain font and apply the large caps style. 

  • 07-18-2011 12:10 PM In reply to

    Re: ePub conversion in XPRS 9 - VERY disappointed

     So I am having, it seems, the same problems as everyone else.  I am working with 300+ page books, and I cannot simply go through and manually tag every single Component, every peice of body text, headings, sidebars, pull quotes, footnotes, and captions one-by-one.  If I try to use Layout --> Add Pages to Reflow View, my exported ePUB text treats ALL text with plain <span> tags, without even bothering to identify or distinguish them into classes.  All of my sidebars, captions, pull quotes, and main body text are marked by <span> and </span>.  I cannot work with this.  Has anyone found a decent workaround?

  • 12-02-2011 10:06 AM In reply to

    Re: ePub conversion in XPRS 9 - VERY disappointed

     I can help you with a couple of things, but, you are correct, some of the ebook handling doesn't work well.

    Regarding the font issue...Bold and Italic don't drop out if you use font attribution and not actual bold and italic fonts. As a book publisher I discovered this when we were looking at why some of the fonts dropped their attribution and others didn't. We alway substitute an actual font when printing. for ebooks, however, they will drop out. I think that has something to do with the CSS only allowing 1 font per style. this probably wouldn't be a quarkxpress issue. certain fonts are blended fonts, meaning they don't have separate fonts for bold and italic. I was always taught never to use attribution. however, for ebooks, it works.

    Regarding Component Insertion...I'm not understanding what you mean exactly. But, let me tell you how I prep my articles. First, an ebook breaks based on the articles you create. So, what I do is use Linkster to break where I want the articles to break. for example, I want the title page as a separate unit, I want a chapter as a separate unit...whatever I want as a separate item I split the page flow accordingly using Linkster. When I want to make sure an image or dingbat stays with the article, I embed it. this seems to work well.

    Regarding  redoing work when the print document changes...Yes, this could be problematic.As far as I can see, reflow text does not update when you update your document. This does mean you have to insert the change in the reflow text or delete the reflow text and do again. This isn't a problem unless you've taken the time to rename your articles for the TOC. Removing the reflow also removes those names. I reported this as a bug to Quark and hopefully, when 9.2 comes out, they will fix it.

    About CSS use and your books...We are having a problem with fonts (of course) because of how the licensing is written for the font people. I'm trying to find a workaround so I can use @-font-face in my CSS without breaking licensing agreements. 

    If you'd like to chat sometime, let me know.



  • 01-23-2012 2:50 PM In reply to

    Re: ePub conversion in XPRS 9 - VERY disappointed

     Thanks Sue - I haven't used linkster very much but will give this a shot. I think it will work fine. The epubs are validating beautifully, but then, they are very simple. That, at least, is a good thing!



  • 01-23-2012 10:48 PM In reply to

    Re: ePub conversion in XPRS 9 - VERY disappointed


    When converting print projects to ePUB, you may use Reflow Tag Mapping option available in Reflow Tagging Palette.  You can specify here which Paragraph style to may with which Text Tag in reflow view.  Then add the text box as component to an article in Reflow Tagging Palette.

    Many more features are added in XPress 9.2 to enhance working with ePUB. You may refer to link



    Jyoti Bhatnagar
  • 05-04-2012 7:45 PM In reply to

    Re: ePub conversion in XPRS 9 - VERY disappointed

    Hi. Italic Problem Ok... Can anyone dumb it down for me? My author is in MS Word She has the italics in her copy. I copy and paste the chapters into separate linked text boxes in order so that I can make different articles with components for the Table of Contents. BUT The italics are gone in the quark qxp document and then obviously aren't there for the Reflow View. Anyway to get from A to C ?
  • 05-05-2012 10:48 AM In reply to

    Re: ePub conversion in XPRS 9 - VERY disappointed

    Hi Mike - in order to hold the italics from Word to Quark you need to "import" the document, rather than copy and paste. This will bring in the whole document though, so you'll either have to use Linkster to unlink the chapters before creating your  ePUB or copy and paste from within Quark to reflow view.


  • 05-07-2012 12:06 AM In reply to

    Re: ePub conversion in XPRS 9 - VERY disappointed

    You may also go directly A -> C.

    Import the word document in the Reflow View and then use "Split Component" wherever you need to start a new chapter.

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