7 Replies Latest reply: Apr 1, 2012 4:49 PM by Dan-o ™
Dan-o ™ Level 2 Level 2 (380 points)

I've been using various layout programs like InDesign and others for a long time and am finding iBooks Author to be very limiting so far in how you can customize things.


1) I thought when we Show Layouts and start editing them, that it should work just like PowerPoint where you can add or remove, resize or relocate any object you want from the "master"? However I cannot do simple things like make the intro page for a chapter or section (since when are sections parts of chapters and not the other way around? ) to be a single page.


How is this supposed to work... are the extra pages after a Chapter intro where all the chapter copy goes (and it keeps building them out), or is that what pages are for? I cannot seem to drag and drop new pages I create outside of a section or chaper, into them, if I decide I need to do that after creating content. 


2) With Layout edits: I also cannot remove the annoying hairline graphics placed there by default. Is there a way to force iBooks Author to give you complete access to the templates so that you can truly customize them?


3) Regarding TOC, same deal. How do you get rid of the default elements like the hairlines, extra image widgets etc? I get why the text has to be there (for search) but the rest can be a real hindrance when you're trying to clean up and make your own version.




Any tips appreciated.

Mac OS X (10.7.3), 14GB RAM, Radeon 5770
  • 1. Re: Editing Layouts, TOC
    K T Level 7 Level 7 (23,700 points)

    See: Publishing With iBooks Author



    2.) Do your editing in portrait, and formatting/layout in landscape. Your book needs to work in both, so be sure content that you expect in one works in one....expect in both...works in both. Don't assume things will automatically align.



    3.)  Remove the chapter label, leave the TOC blank and you'll then have a basic/generic point from which to work with.

  • 2. Re: Editing Layouts, TOC
    Dan-o ™ Level 2 Level 2 (380 points)

    Thanks KT.


    Whether I try to edit the Layouts in Portrait or Landscape mode, I cannot remove the hairline graphics. Everything else I can remove but not those. Is there another purpose they serve (some type of cue for iBooks 2 to know what to do with a page maybe)?


    Ironically I followed your book suggestion before you made it, downloading it after I posted. So far I haven't found the answer but I'll look again. I may be misunderstanding something.


    When you say remove the chapter label, are you talking about in the sidebar panel (where the page thumbnails are... the actual label for the thumbnail? As for the TOC it auto-populates each time I create a section or chapter, including trying to turn the Copyright, Forward etc into a TOC view, which is not helpful. heheh.

  • 3. Re: Editing Layouts, TOC
    spudmachine Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Hi Dan-o,

    I'm in a similar situation to you.


    To remove features like the "hairlines", click on the feature (something I find quite difficult to get right - it's much harder to click the exact feature than with Powerpoint on a PC, for example), go to the "Arrange" menu and select "Unlock".


    If "Unlock" is greyed out then you didn't select the right feature.  But if you do get it to unlock you'll find it will now be editable - and you can delete the line/text/background graphic if you like.


    I think it might be possible to select all and unlock - but I'm not sure about that.  Give it a try.


    I also just downloaded the O'Reilly book.  So far it seems more about things that are rather obvious, but it was free so I can hardly complain too much :-)


    Given the incredible possibilities of the iBooks Author package I'm hoping there will be some better online "tips and tricks" videos soon.


    The package also seems to have been designed to build textbooks, and so has the rigid TOC/Chapter/Section format you mention.  I certainly wish I could get rid of the TOC page too :-)  For people who are prepared to use the templates "as is" this is a great package.




  • 4. Re: Editing Layouts, TOC
    Dan-o ™ Level 2 Level 2 (380 points)

    Thanks very much spud. The unlock trick worked for the hairlines in both the Layouts and the TOC. Seems the auto-generating text in the TOC chapter screens cannot be removed but that's not as big a deal.


    Another thing I can't figure out is why they categorize Copyright / Forward, etc as "Sections" when they're clearly not. Because they do this, it creates a TOC screen for these pages, which is ridiculous. I don't need a big screen to present me with a single page of front-matter if I'm the reader. The TOC method they have only makes sense in the contenxt of a multi-page portion of the larger document, where the content within is related.


    So far I agree with you the free book is mostly very basic concepts (even beyond iBooks) and tips. I think the reality is Apple intentionally created a somewhat limited layout envinronment so that they can a) control the look of the books in certain ways; b) leave plenty of room for "exciting releases" if they decide to start charging for this app in the future (I would not be shocked). I can see the keynote now: Phill will tell us how we should be thrilled to pay ten bucks to get a layout app that actually lets us customize 100% of the template elements (of which there are now 4 new ones - yahoo).

  • 5. Re: Editing Layouts, TOC
    spudmachine Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Hi Dan-o,

    Yup - I agree witht he TOC/Chapter issue.


    I think what I did was to drag the text off the page.  It's there, but no longer visible.  Not sure if there are "side effects" :-)


    Overall I quite like the Author package.  The fact that I can pull in Keynote presentations means the options for animated diagrams are interesting.


    But it's early days yet...looking forward to seeing what comes out of all this!




  • 6. Re: Editing Layouts, TOC
    Dan-o ™ Level 2 Level 2 (380 points)

    My intended work-around for stuff I don't need on templates (and can't delete), is to "Send to Back" and bury it underneath some other opaque element.

  • 7. Re: Editing Layouts, TOC
    Dan-o ™ Level 2 Level 2 (380 points)

    One more TOC related question... is there a way to force the Glossary to show up as a TOC page in a Front Matter section?