Keep your eBook projects simple. Avoid complex layouts and formatting, only use simple tables and don't use invisible topics. Only a..z, A..Z, 0..9 and _ are permitted in topic IDs in eBooks!
The ePUB 3.0 format introduced in Help+Manual 7 is fully backwards compatible with ePUB 2.0. Even older ePUB readers can open and display an ePUB 3.0 eBook. There is no break in versions or any minimum requirement. However, ePUB 3.0 offers more freedom in page design.
Help+Manual now has additional formatting settings for ePUB. This includes an editable Table of Contents template and an editable HTML page template. These are similar to the corresponding templates in WebHelp, but you should be aware that the formatting options in eBooks are still quite limited compared to HTML web pages. Avoid complex layout and formatting. Large and complex tables and tables containing images should be considered to be toxic, because they will almost always destroy your layout.
Before generating ePUB eBooks you need to install a viewer for previewing the results on your Windows machine. There are currently only two viewer programs that provide good results for this on Windows: The free Calibre program and Digital Editions from Adobe.
We now strongly recommend using Calibre. It is an excellent tool and supports a wide range of different eBook formats very well, including both ePUB and the Amazon Kindle/Mobi format that you can now also generate with Help+Manual. Adobe Digital Editions only supports ePUB and is rather dated and limited compared to Calibre. Also, Digital Editions was recently found to be spying on users and collecting their data without telling them.
If you want to use Adobe Digital Editions it is also free and you can get it here:
If you plan to target other readers and devices you may also want to get those for testing, of course. See ePUB Resources for more information and sources.
Styles used in ePUB
You can't choose your font faces for most readers
Some readers support font embedding
Variable font size
Usually, you don't need to make any changes to the HTML page template for ePUB output. It is already set up for maximum compatibility with Apple iBooks® and a wide range of other eBook readers with ePUB support.
Edit the ePUB page template at your own risk:
If you want to make adjustments to the template you can edit it in Project Explorer > Configuration > Publishing Options > eBooks > ePUB: Page Template. However, do edit it unless you are familiar with the ePUB requirements, which are very strict.
The ePUB eBook standard is open, free and fully documented in the OPF specifications for ePUB. Help+Manual produces standard ePUB source files that you can also edit and process manually and with other programs for editing and producing ePUB.
Accessing the source files:
When you publish to ePUB the source files are automatically written to a new folder in your project folder called:
If you turn off the Delete temporary files after publishing option in the Publish dialog page you can edit these files directly with any text editor provided you observe the OPF specifications for ePUB eBooks. However, note that Apple iBooks® is extremely quirky, so get information on its requirements before trying to create iBooks® ePubs yourself!
Making an ePUB file from the source files:
An ePUB eBook is actually a normal zip archive with the extension .epub instead of the normal .zip extension. After editing your ePUB source files you can create a valid ePUB eBook by copying the contents of the ~tmpepub folder to a zip archive and then changing the extension to .epub.
Important: Make sure that the sub-folders are included in the zip archive! Some zip programs will store all the files in the zip without internal folders if you are not careful.