Deliver Your Content to Many Devices: EPUB in a Click

EPUBs are interactive, portable books that can be read on a variety of devices, including Nooks. The content display adjusts for the device, as well as the device settings. EPUBs are a great way to deliver documentation for a variety of situations, and you can create them with Doc-To-Help.  

Some documentation applications for EPUB:  

  • Repair instructions for technicians in the field.
  • Reference manuals for those who need to have quick access and less paper, such as pilots and doctors.
  • Policies and procedures manuals
  • Installation instructions for software or hardware that is installed in factories, hospitals, and other remote locations.

Doc-To-Help supports the latest specification, EPUB3, as well as 2.0.1.  

That means you can author in Word  (or Doc-To-Help’s built in editor, or HTML) — and use Doc-To-Help to create EPUBs  in a click.  

A sample EPUB built with Doc-To-Help is available for download here: Doc-To-Help 2012 User Guide. (If you don’t have an EPUB reader installed, you should download Calibre.)  

To create an EPUB in Doc-To-Help, just open your project and choose Select Target > EPUB.  

Select Target drop down  

Then click the Build button. Your EPUB will open in your default reader.  

EPUB

EPUB viewed in Calibre

If you would like to add a cover image to your EPUB, you can take care of that in the Help Targets dialog box (File tab > Target ribbon group dialog box launcher), plus you can set a few other EPUB options:  

  • Title: The title you specify will display on the cover page of the EPUB and in the EPUB reader.
  • Author: The author name you specify will display in the EPUB reader. (If none is specified, it will use “Unknown” instead.)
  • Identifier: The unique identifying number for this EPUB, required by the EPUB standard. Doc-To-Help generates this number automatically.
  • Publisher: The publisher name you specify will display in the EPUB reader.
  • Publication date: The publication date will display in the EPUB reader. The current date is used by default.
  • Language: The language of the book, required by the EPUB standard.

That’s it — choose EPUB from the Select Target menu, then build your EPUB.  

Doc-To-Help’s EPUB target was tested with the following readers:  

You can also read EPUBs in Firefox with the EPUBReader. If you prefer to read an EPUB on an iPhone or Android, there are apps for that.  

To set the default EPUB reader for Doc-To-Help (the reader your EPUB will display in after it is built), go to File tab > Tools > Options. In the Options dialog box, select the Viewers button and choose your preferred EPUB viewer executable.  

Bonus: if you need to deliver content to mobile phones and other devices, you might also be interested in Doc-To-Help’s  Mobile output, see Mobile Help Best Practices for more information. More about EPUB and Doc-To-Help’s other Targets can be found here: Doc-To-Help Outputs and Deliverables.  

Try it out!

EPUB is a new feature of Doc-To-Help 2012 V2, so if you are an existing customer, you should upgrade and then build away. If you have never tried Doc-To-Help, download it from www.doctohelp.com (the big orange download button is on the upper right), open one of the Sample projects, and give it a test drive. 

More about EPUBs:

EPUB specification  

Wikipedia definition 

Note: This functionality is available in Doc-To-Help 2012 V2, which you can download here.

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About Nicky Bleiel

I am the Lead Information Developer for Doc-To-Help and a Doc-To-Help trainer. I have 19 years of experience in technical communication; writing and designing information for software products in the documentation, media, industrial automation, simulation, and pharmaceutical industries. I am the President of the Society for Technical Communication and have presented talks at the STC Summit, WritersUA, tcworld, CIDM (Content Management Strategies/DITA North America), and LavaCon on many topics, including embedded help, tools and technologies, user assistance design, single sourcing, wikis, social media, agile, and convergence technical communication. I have been published in STC's Intercom, Tieline, STC conference proceedings, tcworld magazine, TechCom Manager Newsletter, and the WritersUA and the Content Wrangler websites. Additionally, I teach Technical Writing at the Community College of Allegheny County.

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