GS with LibO in ePub on

FYI... has converted our "Getting Started with LibreOffice 3" book
to ePub format. I finally got around to downloading the ePub to see
what it looked like. (For newcomers to this list: printed copies of
the LibO user guides are made available through

The good news is that the ePub is not nearly as bad as I expected from
my own trial conversions of OOo books over a year ago; the text is
readable and the figures are in place and sized reasonably.

There is a lot of bad news, however. First, the layout has suffered.
For example, the Tip/Note/Caution tables look both wrong and silly (a
box with the Tip/Note/Caution words as a sort of heading, then a big
gap, and then the text). Another example: The bullets and numbers on
lists are offset into what would be the left-hand margin, but there
really isn't a margin on the left, so they fall off the edge of the
"page". At some magnifications, two "columns" or "pages" appear
side-by-side, so numbers and bullets on lists in the right-hand column
are visible. There are other conspicuous problems as well. Most or all
can probably be solved by making some changes in our styles and
template, if we decide that's worth doing at some point in the future
-- and when someone works out what needs to be done.

Another problem is that Lulu is using a form of DRM that requires use
of Adobe Digital Reader to download the ePub from Lulu's website, and
they didn't tell me that until after I had purchased the book. I
object to this in principle, especially given the CC-BY license on the
books, and the fact that ADR apparently doesn't run on Linux. I may
pull the ePub from Lulu because of that, and try producing our own
(DRM-free) ePubs for distribution through our own website.

The Adobe website says that one can move (copy?) ePubs from ADR to
various ebook readers, including iPads, but I haven't attempted to do
that yet.


I seem to recall an OOo plugin for exporting to ePub?
Sigil will import HTML, so that may be an import vector.


Yes, there are several possible ways to do it, including Calibre (my
preferred tool). Takes time and effort, even if the conversion tool
works well. Much testing required. This is something I am interested
in, and intend to pursue for my own reasons, some day when I have

I had some major problem with the OOo plugin; I forget what it was,
but it could have been that it failed to install on the Ubuntu system
I was using at the time.


Hi :slight_smile:
The Marketing list were recently talking about starting up some sort of on-line store for 'merchandising' type stuff (t-shirts, coffee mugs, perhaps paper-aeroplanes).  I don't know if they have approached the Websites list about it yet tho.
Regards from
Tom :slight_smile:

Hi :slight_smile:
I don't think the guides in Pdf format looked any different using ereader (or whatever) on Gnu&Linux compared to Adobe Reader on Windows
Regards from
Tom :slight_smile:

there are several possible ways to do it, including Calibre (my preferred tool).

Calibre doesn't handle images very well. OTOH, PDF is the only ebook
format that can do images properly, without a lot of down and dirty
editing of the underlying formatting language.

Takes time and effort, even if the conversion tool works well.

Run some tests with SmashWords. For formats in which the output is of
acceptable quality, use them for the distribution.

SmashWord's conversion tool has some kinks that don't produce the
expected output, but it usually produces higher quality output than
using Calibre.

I had some major problem with the OOo plugin; I forget what it was,

There are at least two ePub plugins:
# One of them relies on the internal HTML engine of OOo/LibO. Between
the invalid HTML output, and that that HTML is for a different version
of HTML, than that defined in ePub specs, it fails more often than it
# One of them has installation issues with LibO. I don't know how well
it plays with OOo.


Tom, the ePub format is not PDF. You're talking about something different.


Further info...

The same file, viewed in Calibre on the Mac, displays MUCH better than
in ADR. The Tip/Note/Caution tables still look silly, but the bullets
and numbers are aligned and display correctly. The print and copy
functions work fine in Calibre. (Note: I have not recreated the file;
I am simply viewing it using Calibre's viewer.)

As the publisher of these books, I can download the ePub without using
ADR. Therefore, I can upload it to our wiki and/or to Alfresco, so
people can get it for free and without going through and ADR.
I'll do that later today.

I haven't tested this file yet in any other ePub readers, so if others
have a chance to do so (once I get the file uploaded where you can get
it), that would be useful. We can then write up a little "how to" to
help people view the file, copy it to their mobile devices, etc. I can
see a blog post coming on!

What excites me most about this is having do the conversion work. :wink:


Latest info:
I have uploaded the Getting Started ePub to this wiki page:

Here is a direct link:

It's about 22MB. I've not tested downloading it from the wiki to see
if it's okay.

I've found some info on transferring files to the iPad or other
devices (Android etc). For iPad one can go through iTunes (manually
adding the file to Books in iTunes) or -- especially for those on
Linux -- in other ways, including (I think) using Stanza or other
programs to download the file directly.

Here are some links for those using Calibre on their computer:

Calibre + Apple iDevices: Start here

Calibre Device Integration

As I collect more info, I'll add it to this thread.



It downloads ok and works in Calibre(version 0.8.27) on a Mac OS. Only thing is when you first open it. It jumps to 157/564 rather than the first page. Minor issue.


SmashWords requires Microsoft Word .doc format as the input file. No,
thank you. Saving as a .doc file will introduce its own problems. Lulu
takes .odt (as well as .doc and other formats).

Meanwhile, I've discovered that Lulu gives the option of specifying no
DRM when creating an ePub, so when I initiate a conversion I'll choose
that. The first book was done by Lulu without input from me (I was too
busy at the time to pay any attention).

Learning all the time...


Hi :slight_smile:
It is excellent and looks tidy too!! Thanks Jean!  Being able to read a guide on one screen while doing work on another is a good step forwards.  I have a different system but i can imagine people really liking this as it greatly increases flexibility.

I think the 1st paragraph on that page needs to be re-written.  I was thinking about addign a paragraph or bullet-point list to explain the crucial differences between the formats we offer.  ie
 * Pdf - clickable links from the Table of Contents.  Always looks the same on any display.
 * Odt - allows you to edit and personalise. 
 * ePub - for iPad and other mobile devices

Then we could have lines more like
4  Getting Started with Writer            Odt, Pdf or ePub   32pages   16 Dec 2010

The columns are ready for the 3.4.x guides to be added alongside the 3.3.x guides but once they are almost all added i might switch them around so that the 3.4.x branch is first.  Just trying to avoid blatant gaps. 
Regards from
Tom :slight_smile:

I will only be creating (through Lulu) ePubs for the full books, not
the individual chapters. Of course, others can do whatever they want
if they have a tool to do a decent job.


And if we collectively think it's an important enough format (that is,
will be popular enough), then I suggest we make some changes in our
design template and styles to overcome the few conspicuous formatting
problems. Note: I have not yet identified all the problems, nor the

At this point I am dubious about the popularity of the ePub format for
our user guides, although I am keen on ePub in general, so I
personally would not put a high priority on work to improve the
results... at this time.


Hi :slight_smile:
Ok, the page looks tidy as it is.  It is great to hear that the DRM issue is not a problem any more :)  I think offering the complete books is better than splitting them up into chapters for mobile devices, if they can handle it.  I just didn't know which way you were going to go.

Great stuff :))
Regards from
Tom :slight_smile: