Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bad Headers in InDesign exported EPUB

I've talked about this issue on Twitter, but I've gotten two emails about it this week, and because of installing a new language version of ID bumped up against it myself, so I'm going to write a quick post to make sure that everyone knows:

The first version of InDesign CS 5.5 had a serious bug that exported bad headers to EPUB. Specifically, it inserted an extra space in the DOCTYPE element of each XHTML document:

Extra space in ID generated DOCTYPE

This error in the DOCTYPE causes all sorts of problems, particularly with special characters, non-breaking spaces (@nbsp;), discretional hyphens (@shy;), etc.

Luckily, Adobe fixed the error right away and has made a free update available for both Macintosh and Windows. If you're using InDesign CS 5.5, I strongly urge you to install the update.

Here's what the proper DOCTYPE should look like:

proper DOCTYPE

Now, here's a weird bit of extra info that you'll probably never need. But I did, so you never know. I have both English and Spanish versions of InDesign CS 5.5. I originally installed and then updated the English version. When I installed the Spanish version, it overwrote the English. I updated it as well. Then, when I got sick of navigating in Spanish (and had finished De InDesign CS 5.5 a EPUB y Kindle), I renamed my Spanish ID folder, so as not to lose it, and installed the English version again.

I forgot to update it until yesterday, but when I did, suddenly the English version started coming out in Spanish—Spanish menus, Spanish dialog boxes. It was bizarre. And annoying. I still have no idea how that happened. I was definitely using the English version, and the menus and dialog boxes were definitely in Spanish. Anyways, I really didn't feel like reinstalling the English version again (and wasn't convinced it would help), so I rummaged around the internet (and complained on Twitter) until I found this very helpful post from David Blatner on InDesign Secrets, that explains how to change the interface of your version of ID—even if you don't own the other one. It did the trick and now my English ID is back to English. (I haven't dared open the Spanish ID :)

Thanks to Ester, who reminded me I really needed to write about this.


  1. Perhaps you should have two user accounts, one for English and the other for Spanish. This might have other benefits as well.

  2. Here is how you can change the language of InDesign (we here in Switzerland have the pain to have several official languages in our small country...):

    Best regards

  3. I just bought your two basic how-to epub books and am combing through them. This has been one heck of a month, having to remember from the ground up how to use inDesign, then learn about the mountain of epub knowledge. Mountain=big fat curve. I caught the beginning of this article, reading on the fly, and went through all my chapters, taking the space out by hand (couldn't figure out how to search and replace with Wrangler, basically because I'm an idiot. Then I came back here to read more carefully, only to find that I could simply have updated my inDesign. I am grateful to you for sharing your functional, fascinating and well expressed knowledge of all this. Very grateful.


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