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How to master spacing, columns and wrapping in iBooks Author

Give your text the polish it deserves using iBooks Author’s text formatting tools

There are some gorgeous templates in iBooks Author all aimed at visually-based publications, but what if you’re writing a normal book? Interactive images, embedded videos and the like aren’t really called for when you’re putting together a textbook or a work of fiction, and in these cases it’s the appearance of your text on the screen that will count the most when people start reading in iBooks.

Luckily, there’s a whole bunch of really useful tools spread across the various Inspectors that you can use to whip your text into shape. In this month’s guide we’re looking specifically at the spacing between your lines and characters, adding and controlling columns and also fine-tuning your text wrapping around the odd image that you do have in your iBook.

Step-by-step: Perfect the appearance of text


1 Inspect your text

Select your text and open the Text Inspector (Cmd+Alt+I, then the fourth tab at the top). Click the More tab; note that Prevent orphan & widow lines is enabled by default.

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2 Prevent word breaks

Play with the Pagination & Break options – depending on your iBook, some will be useful. Now tick ‘Remove hyphenation from paragraph’, at the bottom, to stop words breaking over lines.

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3 Selectively hyphenate

To turn hyphenation on or off for individual words, right-click a word and choose the second option. To stop hyphenation entirely, uncheck Hyphenate in the Document Inspector.

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4 Add columns

Select all your text again and head to the Layout Inspector. Use the Columns stepper to set how many columns of text you want on each page – judge how many you need by eye.

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5 Tidy up the templates

Remove design elements that are no longer needed, like the vertical line shown here. If they’re on the template, you need to hit Arrange>Unlock to be able to delete them.

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6 Set column spacing

To change the width of the columns and their gutter space, untick Equal column width and double-click the values below to change them. You can do this for individual pages.

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7 Check for anomalies

Make sure you check the first page – three columns of text doesn’t look good on half a page! Here you’d want to select enough text to fit into that half-page and set it to two columns.

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8 Wrap around objects

If you have an image in your text, select it and bring up the Layout Inspector. Ensure ‘Object causes wrap’ is ticked and then pick a style of wrapping using the icons below.

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9 Keep them in line

Or instead, shrink your image to fit your column width, put it at the end of a sub-section and use the Inline option. Now it will move with the text as you add or delete lines.

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In-depth: Proper spacing

Click to view the image full size.