I can now say that I have used PagePlus X6 to design an ePub file. Although it was easy to do with PagePlus, I found it a bit troubling once I looked at the file in my favorite ePub design program, Sigil.
Let me explain and give a few pointers about PagePlus. First off, I set up my file the same way I would in InDesign. I imported the Word file into PagePlus by making a text frame, right clicking and choosing insert text file… I got the happy warning screen telling me that the text needs to AutoFlow, then asks me how I would like to handle the AutoFlo.
Tip: Choose Make new frames the size of page. If you don’t, you will have to answer endless yes dialogues until the entire Word file is imported.
Like InDesign, PagePlus will import all the styles from the Word document. It will also import all of the page breaks, which comes in handy later.
PagePlus will give you only visible page in the program, to view all of the pages as in InDesign, go to the bottom right hand corner and click on View Option, then choose Multi-page view. This will display all the pages the way you want them.
Now all you need to do is design your eBook to look the way you want. You can insert page breaks at the end of every chapter so Page Pro will know where a chapter ends and design the ePub accordingly, or you can tell PagePlus where new chapters begin later. If page breaks were used in the original Word document, those have been imported and PagePlus will set new chapters according to those page breaks.
Tip: if you’re designing for ePub, DO NOT use headers and footers, which will only mess up the final ePub file.
So now you have your ePub file designed the way you want and it’s time to convert it to ePub with one click, as promised. Go to the pull-down menu File>Publish As…>eBook Now all you need to do is fill in all the information it asks for, then click OK.
The final product will be a nice eBook that looks great…if you don’t care about bloat or embedded fonts that aren’t obfuscated and very limited metadata input. To clean the file up, obfuscate the fonts and insert more metadata, I used Sigil.
Although I still needed to clean up my ePub file with Sigil, I found PagePlus X6 did speed up the design portion of my ePub creation. And to be fair, this is the first time PagePlus has included eBook output as a feature. Hopefully they realize the need to improve this feature in future versions.
As far as designing PDF x/1a files for print — interior and covers — PagePlus X6 does the trick. Having used InDesign for years, I found the way it handles styles a bit clunky yet manageable. It’s great for covers, with a wide variety of image handling tools that will speed up the process of cover layout and design.
If you’re a small press looking for an InDesign alternative ($699.00 v.s. $99.00), this may be the way to go. Just know that PagePlus is not yet ready for final ePub file output, so you’ll have to outsource ePub file design or do it yourself.