Tools for creating EPUB 3 files
Updated 14 January 2016
A brief description of some of the popular tools used for creating EPUB 3 files is given below. These tools have also been compared on the basis of input file formats, requirements for technical knowledge and cost of the tool.
Adobe InDesign is the leading page layout software. This software has been improved over the years to export production ready EPUB files. It can export reflowable as well as fixed layout EPUB files. If you use InDesign to lay out the pages of print books, you can export the same file to EPUB with some modifications. If best practices are followed, there is no extra work involved to make the output accessible.
The document types which can be imported are Word document, RTF and Text. It is available for both Windows and Mac.
Downside: The software is expensive ($19.99 per month for individual use). If you are not familiar with page layout software, there is a learning curve involved with using this tool.
Sigil is a free, open source editor for EPUB e-books, developed by Strahinja Marković in 2009. As a cross-platform application, Sigil is distributed for the Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux platforms under the GNU GPL license. Sigil can be used to create new EPUB files as well as edit the existing EPUB files.
The primary input type for Sigil is HTML, although text files can also be used. Sigil suggests converting the document to HTML before importing the document. The cleaner the HTML, the better output you will get.
Downside: Knowledge of HTML and CSS is required.
Calibre is a free open source e-book library management application. It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Calibre can also be used as an eBook reader. Calibre has an integrated eBook editor which shows a code view for HTML.
Calibre can import HTML, Word document and Text files. It can also create several eBook formats including .epub and .mobi.
Downside: Knowledge of HTML and CSS is required for effectively using this tool.
oXygen is a leading XML editor which supports EPUB file editing. OXygen is primarily used as an editor rather than a creator of EPUB files although there is a feature for creating empty EPUB. New HTML documents can be added to the empty EPUB file.
Downside: Knowledge of oXygen as well as HTML and CSS are required. The software is pretty expensive ($19.08 per month) even if you do not need XML editing capabilities.
For content authored in DITA, the DITA for Publishers EPUB plugin for the DITA Open Toolkit can produce EPUBs from any DITA content, including EPUB2, EPUB3, and dual EPUB2/3.
The plugin is available from GitHub: https://github.com/dita4publishers/dita4publishers/releases.
Whichever tool you use, it is recommended that you validate your EPUB files using the EpubCheck validator. An overview of EpubCheck is available on DAISYpedia.
- Making publications acccessible for all
- EPUB authoring tools - EPUB Zone
- DAISY and EPUB 3 standards, tools and inclusive publishing best practices
- Using Adobe InDesign to create accessible EPUB 3 files
- EPUB 3 Accessibility Guidelines
- How to Edit EPUB Files with Free Sigil
- How to Quickly Create an EPUB File From Word and then edit it
Text is available under the terms of the DAISY Consortium Intellectual Property Policy, Licensing, and Working Group Process.