Author Topic: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.  (Read 824 times)  

Offline Tara KH

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LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« on: February 08, 2018, 03:24:34 PM »
So something happened and my Microsoft Office Professional 2010 software that came with this computer is corrupted and I cannot recover it since the documents containing the key are long gone after moving 3 times in the past few years. I really don't have the money to spend $150 or more for computer software at the moment.

I have been formatting my own books with Notepad++ and HTML tags, but that seems limited in a lot of ways if you want anything more than a basic style. I've seen lots of Youtube videos of people formatting their books in Word, but I don't have that anymore. So I downloaded LibreOffice and I was wondering if anyone had any experience with this program? Is it any good for just writing in general? Do documents created with it convert to epubs well?

Specifically, I would like to make the first letter in a chapter larger.

I don't have a Mac, so I can't get Vellum.

Offline Abderian

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Re: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2018, 04:40:49 PM »
I use LibreOffice too. Its files default as .odt. Save as .doc and upload to Draft2digital to format with dropped capitals you want. You don't have to publish through D2D to format.

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Offline kw3000

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Re: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2018, 05:51:27 PM »
I use LibreOffice as well. I save my file as .docx then convert it to mobi with Calibre. I have no idea if that's the right way to do things, but that's what I've been doing.

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Re: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2018, 06:36:20 PM »
I've never used LibreOffice, but I use OpenOffice, and it's very similar.  I use Calibre to convert the .odt file directly to an epub.  Then I upload the epub to Amazon, Kobo, and D2D.  No glitches.  Easy-peasy.  In fact, when uploading Mind Games a couple of days ago, I forgot to run the epub through the online validator, something I usually do prior to uploading.  It didn't matter; the epub checked out.  In my experience, Calibre's conversions from .odt to epub are consistently flawless.

As far as drop caps and other fancy things go, though, I have no idea.  I try to keep things as simple as possible, so I can't help you with stuff like that.  Sorry.   :(
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Offline ThomasDiehl

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Re: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2018, 12:08:11 AM »
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Re: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2018, 12:37:07 AM »
https://help.libreoffice.org/Writer/Drop_Caps

You're welcome


Thomas to the rescue.   ;D

Out of curiosity, I checked OpenOffice, and it's got the same function in the same place on the menu.  I just never noticed it before.

Thanks, Thomas.   :)

Update: I just converted my test .odt file to epub in Calibre, and the drop cap didn't survive the conversion.  So I guess I'll have to play around with it a little more to figure it out.    ???
« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 12:42:52 AM by Jeff Tanyard »
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Offline Abderian

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Re: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2018, 12:44:37 AM »

Thomas to the rescue.   ;D

Out of curiosity, I checked OpenOffice, and it's got the same function in the same place on the menu.  I just never noticed it before.

Thanks, Thomas.   :)

Update: I just converted my test .odt file to epub in Calibre, and the drop cap didn't survive the conversion.  So I guess I'll have to play around with it a little more to figure it out.    ???

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Re: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2018, 12:48:59 AM »
When I started, calibre didn't read odt, so I export to html and use the mobi pocket creator to make a kindle file. Calibre then reads that to make epub etc. I may cut a few steps based on this thread. woo!
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Re: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2018, 12:53:37 AM »
Draft2Digital provides formatting to drop caps and all kinds of pretty styles - all for nothing!


Good to know.  Thanks, Abderian.  :)


When I started, calibre didn't read odt, so I export to html and use the mobi pocket creator to make a kindle file. Calibre then reads that to make epub etc. I may cut a few steps based on this thread. woo!


If you've got the latest version of Calibre, then you're in business.  .odt -> epub, just like that.  :D
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Offline kw3000

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Re: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2018, 09:10:10 AM »
When I started, calibre didn't read odt, so I export to html and use the mobi pocket creator to make a kindle file. Calibre then reads that to make epub etc. I may cut a few steps based on this thread. woo!

I'm not certain you can convert odt direct to mobi with Calibre. But with LibreOffice you can 'Save as' a .doc or .docx (instead of .odt) and that file will convert straight to mobi in Calibre. Easy peasy.  8)

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Offline Al Stevens

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Re: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2018, 10:53:33 AM »
Alkinea converts from .odt directly to .epub. Manage your e-book format with OpenOffice or LibreOffice Writer styles just as you would with Word.

Offline Douglas Milewski

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Re: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2018, 10:55:04 AM »
The newest version of LibreOffice (6.0), announced this week, features an epub exporter built in. I haven't tried it yet, but I've been itching.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 10:56:41 AM by Douglas Milewski »

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Offline geronl

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Re: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2018, 10:58:19 AM »
The newest version of LibreOffice (6.0), announced this week, features an epub exporter built in. I haven't tried it yet, but I've been itching.

someone should test it and report back

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Offline geronl

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Re: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2018, 11:02:55 AM »
I tried it, but I have no clue where LibreOffice put the file, lolol

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Offline Tara KH

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Re: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2018, 11:18:39 AM »
someone should test it and report back

I tested it and it works fine. The paragraphs look good. Drop caps did not show up though.

Offline notjohn

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Re: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2018, 01:48:52 PM »
So something happened and my Microsoft Office Professional 2010 software that came with this computer is corrupted and I cannot recover it since the documents containing the key are long gone after moving 3 times in the past few years. I really don't have the money to spend $150 or more for computer software at the moment.

I have been formatting my own books with Notepad++ and HTML tags, but that seems limited in a lot of ways if you want anything more than a basic style. I've seen lots of Youtube videos of people formatting their books in Word, but I don't have that anymore. So I downloaded LibreOffice and I was wondering if anyone had any experience with this program? Is it any good for just writing in general? Do documents created with it convert to epubs well?

Specifically, I would like to make the first letter in a chapter larger.

I don't have a Mac, so I can't get Vellum.

You can save as a *.doc file (or *.docx if that's possible), then run it through Word2CleanHtml dot com online (or any of the various html cleaners available for free). When I did this as a trial with OpenOffice Writer, I found that paragraphs were tagged <p class="normal"> so one must either change the style sheet to suit or do a quick search & replace so that they read <p>.

I think drop caps are best avoided. I have done so since Amazon changed its parameters and all existing drop caps went wild. Instead I capitalize the first several words and render them boldface at 90 percent of normal size. Looks good and is bulletproof. (On KF7 devices, they are simply capitalized, which is okay.)
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Re: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2018, 03:33:55 PM »
Oooh, libre epub export? I tinkered with a "work in progress" plugin for that a while ago, and was not satisfied. If the feature is getting built in, maybe they got the bugs out? Thank you to those who suggested other things in reply to my earlier post. I flatly refuse to ever save a book in doc or docx. That format was always a recipe for disaster. Even word can't always use it properly.
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Offline Loosecannon

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Re: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2018, 04:33:25 PM »
I use LibreOffice + the Writer2xhtml plug-in (http://writer2latex.sourceforge.net/) to then directly export a very nice EPUB, which can then be imported to Sigil for the final clean-up and tweaks, add embedded cover and metadata...yep, LibreOffice dropcaps do not export though.

I just add them back in in Sigil...using the code view.
In the First paragraph:
Code: [Select]
<span class="Drop">T</span>he lazy dog jumped...
In the style sheet:
Code: [Select]
span.Drop {font-size: 300%;font-weight: bold;line-height: 1;height: 1em;float: left;margin: -0.1em 0.10em -0.1em 0em}
« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 04:35:56 PM by Loosecannon »

Offline MarkdownFanatic

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Re: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2018, 10:54:30 PM »
The simplest solution...

<big><big><b>F</b></big></big>irst letter will be capped and bolded.

... will work any time.

No good for drop caps, but drop caps are unreliable between different e-readers anyway, as reported many a time.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 11:02:02 PM by MarkdownFanatic »

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Offline ThomasDiehl

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Re: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2018, 01:44:34 AM »

Thomas to the rescue.   ;D

Out of curiosity, I checked OpenOffice, and it's got the same function in the same place on the menu.  I just never noticed it before.

Thanks, Thomas.   :)
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Update: I just converted my test .odt file to epub in Calibre, and the drop cap didn't survive the conversion.  So I guess I'll have to play around with it a little more to figure it out.    ???
Have you tried scolding Calibre? Because that's just mean.
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Offline Douglas Milewski

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Re: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2018, 07:28:20 AM »
I was able to play with LibreOffice 6.0 Epub exporter today. I exported, opened it up in Sigil, and ran all my normal tests against it.

GOOD. CLEAN. FUN.

For me, this is a game changer. I live by LibreOffice. This makes EPUB production utterly brain-dead for me. My document even went between LibreOffice and Word, and it still passed.

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Offline hopecartercan

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Re: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2018, 08:14:34 AM »
I use LibreOffice too. Its files default as .odt. Save as .doc and upload to Draft2digital to format with dropped capitals you want. You don't have to publish through D2D to format.

This is what I do, too.

Offline WegR

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Re: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2018, 09:35:37 AM »
For those using Calibre to convert to epub: if you know your way around HTML and CSS then it's worth using Calibre's built in epub editor (it shows up in my start menu as "Edit Ebook", or you can right click a book that has been importd into calibre).

I find that Calibre (along with most other converters) introduce loads of crud, usually in the styles. I like to think that by manually cleaning out extraneous tags and styles there'll be less chance of the book showing wrong on the readers' readers. Plus it shaves a few kb off Amzn's delivery charges.

Offline kw3000

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Re: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2018, 09:43:19 AM »
I live by LibreOffice.

Me too! I love LibreOffice. I love that there's a program this functional and you can have it for free, legally.  :)

And I keep hoping we're going to someday get LibreCar and LibreMortgage among other Libres, but I guess I shouldn't hold my breath. LibreOffice developers if you're reading this, get on it!  8)

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Re: LibreOffice and eBook Formatting.
« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2018, 07:44:09 PM »
Have you tried scolding Calibre? Because that's just mean.

Nah.  I love Calibre a lot more than I love drop caps.  I'd give the creator a big ol' bear hug if I could.  ;)

For those using Calibre to convert to epub: if you know your way around HTML and CSS then it's worth using Calibre's built in epub editor (it shows up in my start menu as "Edit Ebook", or you can right click a book that has been importd into calibre).

Just as an aside to this, I've also enabled the "Edit ToC" button in Calibre, and I recommend everyone else do it, too.  Easiest way to edit the epub's table of contents.
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