Using Dreamweaver to Edit ePUB eBooks

Image for Using Dreamweaver to Edit ePUB eBooks
Image for Using Dreamweaver to Edit ePUB eBooks

If you need to tweak the styles of your ebook created with the iPad in mind then you can (with a bit of magic) set up Dreamweaver as a useful wysiwy(almost)g tool.

Dreamweaver, is, of course a web development and design tool. It will normally handle (x)HTML without any change. It will also allow you to edit other code and even XML. It will not edit the contents of a ZIP file (this is what a normal ePub package is) unless it is unpacked.

So read on to find out what the steps would be.


Step 1. Configure Dreamweaver

Dreamweaver will open HTML and CSS documents by default. There are other file types that will open, including PHP and Javascript. Inside the ePUB file (which is effectively a ZIP file), there are various files and Dreamweaver will happily open the XHTML documents and display both the code and the design/layout.

However, Dreamweaver will not open some other components of the ePUB file, that may require editing, so you will need to go through the following changes to the preferences:

Go to Dreamweaver > preferences and open the File Types /Editors section. Add in this:

.opf .ncx

At the end of the line. This will then allow you open and edit the table of contents file and manefest should you need to edit these. See the image above right.

Step 2. Unpack the ePUB

Dreamweaver will not open the ePUB file, so you will need to rename the file with the extension .zip instead of .epub. If you are a Windows user you may need to configure your system to show file extensions, otherwise this is going to be difficult. Use an unZip tool to open the contents of the zip file. And locate the folder that is created.

Step 3. Create a Site in Dreamweaver

With the knowledge of the wherabouts of the folder created from the zipped file in step 2, open Dreamweaver and create new > site. All you need here is the name of the site and the location on your local computer or drive. It is most convenient if you select the folder inside the unzipped folder; usually named OEBPS. This then becomes the root of your site. You should now be able to edit the template CSS and the individual XHTML documents. Dreamweaver will show a preview of the XHTML. You can also view (in the code view) the toc.ncx and content.opf files if you have followed step 1 above..

Step 4. Re-zip the files

This penultimate step will depend on the platform that you are working on and the tools you have available. On a MAC (my preference) you can grab an Applescript from here that will re-zip the files properly. On the PC/Windows you will need to go here and download this utilty. Once you have re-packed the files, then rename with the .epub extension and test the eBook.

Posted on 08 Sep around 12pm


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