Typeset to E-book

For a book typeset using the Well-Formed Document Workflow, the process of producing an e-book involves the use of Scribe Tools for Indesign to output XML and the Digital Hub to produce .sam, .scml, and e-book files.


This procedure is a guide for moving from one file format to another in a systematic way to produce an .scml file and an e-book from an InDesign source file. It does not include specific instructions for all possible features and scenarios. Note: The .sam file is a transitional file, used to determine that all the content from the typeset has properly come out of InDesign into the text-only environment. While one can produce a generic e-book directly from the InDesign export (using Scribe tools), manipulating the .sam file as an interim step provides an opportunity to create an .scml file that more perfectly meets your goals. Factors to be considered when modifying the content include errors from InDesign, changes in content order, and the desire to augment files with added features.

Planning and Approach

Plan the Work

1. Specifications

Develop/review the e-book specifications to identify the requirements of the final output.

2. Assess

For a typeset produced using the WFDW, confirm the InDesign files conform to your specifications and the WFDW requirements. Aspects to check include consistent ScML style usage and that the main text is linked together in a single text flow.

For a typeset produced outside of the WFDW, vet the document as outlined in the Export to IDTT procedure.

3. Plan

If any elements are not WFDW-compliant, determine whether they need to be fixed in InDesign or if they can be addressed in the resulting .sam or .scml file.

4. Act

Carry out the planned actions.


1. Save Regularly

Save your file regularly as you work. Some of the adjustments throughout this process cannot be undone easily; saving ensures you can fix a problem or backtrack as needed.

2. Check Your Work

  • While working, check the resulting files against any existing source/reference files, such as the print PDF and original Word documents. These files can be integral to determining proper image placement in the e-book, for example.
  • When done, check the .sam and .scml files by uploading them to the Digital Hub to use the File Alerts and Stats features.


1. Export Content Using Scribe Tools for InDesign

Typesets That Are WFDW-Compliant

Using Scribe Tools for InDesign, follow the procedure for exporting .sam from InDesign.

Typesets That Are Not WFDW-Compliant

Using Scribe Tools for InDesign, follow the procedure for exporting IDTT from InDesign.

Use the IDTT to sam procedure to convert the IDTT output to a single .sam file.

2. Adjust the .sam File

Use the .sam QC Checklist to confirm content has come through properly and to perform basic clean-ups that will help the file proceed to .scml and .epub formats. If any images should be moved to different locations because static print page limitations are no longer a factor, move the images at this time.

Note: Do not comment-out any content, such as printer information or foreign language text that will be replaced with an image, at this time.

3. Prepare Images

Prepare images to be used in the e-book, including the cover image.

Note: Cover images have different sizing requirements than internal images. Unless otherwise specified, the cover image should be a maximum of 1800 pixels on its largest side (and should never have any side smaller than 500 pixels). The image dimensions should not be in the HTML. A max-height percent should be specified in the CSS to constrain the default display size (this is currently in the default CSS).

4. Metadata, Hub Conversion Settings, and Additional Files

In the Digital Hub, add metadata for required fields, including author name, eISBN, and BISAC subject codes.

Review the conversion settings to enable or disable settings as needed.

Upload any images, custom .css file, and fonts to the Digital Hub, if needed. In the Assets tab, select the image to be used as the cover.

5. Convert .sam to .scml

Process the .sam file to .scml through the Digital Hub.

In comparison with the .sam file, .scml has much more detail, such as IDs, links, and chapter tags. The .scml file is the central document to produce an ePub and to archive the content of a project.

6. Adjust the .scml File

Use the .scml QC Checklist and apply any adjustments, as needed.

Note: If any content needs to be commented out, do so at this time.

7. Process .scml to ePub

Process the .scml file to ePub through the Digital Hub. A .mobi file for Kindle will also be created with this conversion.

8. Adjust the ePub

Use the E-book QC Checklist and apply any adjustments, as needed.

Review the ePub by checking on different devices to confirm that the images appear correctly, that the .css file properly accommodates each style in use, and that all other aspects are functioning as expected.

If reviewing the file reveals text errors, apply the changes in both the .scml file and the ePub:

  • Option 1: adjust in the .scml file and reprocess to ePub.
  • Option 2: adjust in the .scml file and adjust in the ePub’s HTML files, then rebuild the ePub locally.

If any enhanced features are to be added to the ePub, adjust the ePub at this time.

It is normal and expected to modify an ePub locally for project-specific adjustments after downloading it from the Digital Hub.