ePub


Creating ePub Documents with Scripts I

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

While everyone else is making resolutions to get in shape this time of year, perhaps we could make a few resolutions to get our work habits in shape.

Do you seem to always be in the proverbial situation of being up to your ankles in alligators, so you don't have time to drain the swamp? If so, you are not alone.

It seems as if the majority of projects fall under the the heading "Need it Yesterday." Under this kind of pressure, the designer tends to fall into bad habits with the intention of "I'll get organized tomorrow." I know, I do it all of the time.

Consequently, you end up spending more time looking for that file you worked on last month, or was it the month before. Or, possibly, manually doing a process that could have been done with a script, but you forgot where you put that script, or what you named it.

Time to get organized.

Set up folders in your scripts folder to categorize your scripts into groups. I have one called ePub just for scripts having to do with creating and working with ePub documents.

Similarly, I have a folder called ePubStyles inside InDesign's Presets folder just for stylesheets I use for ePub styles and colors.

When it comes time to create a new project I rely on a script to set up my document and the folder structure for the project.

I assign a keyboard shortcust to the scripts that I use often and keep a little cheat sheet posted to the right of my workstation to remind me of those shortcuts I haven't committed to memory.

When you can't remember what a script in the script panel was for, control/right-click on the script and select Edit Script from the Contextual Menu (flyout). Hopefully, you commented the script adequately at the top so you can see exactly what the script does and what it requires without having to read through the script.

Time Spent Returns Volumes

When you start relying on scripting, your workflow organization can be established as part of the script. It won't be long before you start noticing big rewards in time saved and project consistency.

To get you started, a folder "EPubDocFromPreset" can be downloaded from the EPub page for this web site. The download includes a script written in AppleScript as well as ExtendScript. The scripts, as written, will only work with InDesign CS6. The scripts assume that you have document presets set up for various sizes of ePubs that you will be working with. These presets need to have intent set to Web. Our first project will require a document set up for 512 pixels wide by 600 pixels high. So make sure you have one set up for that size. Even though I set my document presets to have a set number of pages (usually one), the script's custom dialog allows the user to dictate the number of pages for the document. From there, the script creates the document with the required number of pages.

The bulk of each script is a custom user dialog which allows the user to give the project a name, choose the document preset, and number of pages. If style files are found in the file path established in the script, an enabling group will be included to allow the user to choose the stylesheet and import formats to use. The path established to the folder for the stylesheet files is as follows:

Applications/Adobe InDesign CS6/Presets/ePubStyles

You will need to create this folder and have at least one InDesign document in the folder in order to take advantage of this functionality. If you do not have administrative access, you will need to establish a styles folder somewhere other than in the Applications folder and change the script accordingly.

We will be adding to this script in future blogs to walk you through the process of creating ePub documents, so get familiar with this script. And, start thinking of other ways that a script could help you get organized.

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