Turn a document into an e-book

Many authors self publish and only release their works in digital formats. E-books are also popular formats for publishing houses and booksellers who work with authors to release books in. One of the key formats is EPUB.

LibreOffice Writer can export an EPUB through its versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux distros without the need of additional software. This is a capability that other word processors do not have.

Microsoft Word doesn’t have the capability without a plugin. Google Docs has the option in the download sub-menu in the File menu of a document, but it doesn’t have the same settings as Writer. Corel WordPerfect has the capability to publish EPUB documents, but the office suite is not available to Mac and Linux users. Apple Pages can create EPUB documents specifically for Apple Books. Books on Apple Books are in a proprietary format based on EPUB.

What is EPUB

EPUB is not the format for Kindle books, and Kindle Fire and e-readers can’t read the format. However, other Android devices, Apple devices, and most e-reader applications for desktop computers can read the format. It is an industry standard.

It is a file that combines XHTML documents that contain the content, XML and cascading style sheet documents with metadata, and images that have been inserted in the EPUB file. The file can be opened and its different parts can be rendered by e-book applications. Archive applications allows users to access the XHTML and other document type of documents that compose an EPUB file.

WindowsMacLinux distros
Zip ExtractorUnarchiverArchive Manager
*This is already installed
or in the software manager
Examples of archive applications in different operating system. These are either already installed or can be acquired through the system’s store.

Writer exports EPUB

Writer has two ways to create an EPUB document: directly or through a dialog. Both can be accessed through the File menu.

The Export As sub-menu is in the File menu. It contains
Export as EPUB and Export Directly as EPUB.
  1. Click the File menu.
  2. Move the cursor tp highlight the Export As drop-down menu.

Export as EPUB and Export Directly as EPUB are in the menu.

Direct Method

The direct method skips this dialog and a special export dialog for the EPUB is launched. The same dialog is launched when the OK button is clicked in the EPUB Export dialog.

This is the same dialog that is launched when you click the Export item in the File menu, or it launches when you click the Export item in the menu associated with the Save icon in the toolbar.

One difference between this dialog and the traditional dialog is that the only choice in the File type drop-down is EPUB Document drop-down button.ß The traditional one has several choices, including EPUB Document.

Click here to go to the page that has more information about the Export dialog for Writer and Calc.

Export settings

Writer allows users to control the exportation of an e-book with an EPUB Export dialog. Users, who don’t want to change settings on the EPUB document, can bypass the dialog and directly export it. The EPUB Export dialog has three section: General, Customize, and Metadata. The general section has three drop-down menus. Each menu has two choices.

  • Version
    • EPUB 3.0
    • EPUB 2.0
  • Split method
    • Page break
    • Headings
  • Layout method
    • Reflowable
    • Fixed

The Customize section has two browse buttons. The first one allows you to choose an image stored in your hard drive and connected drives. The images can be in standard formats, such as PNG and JPG.

The second one allows you to add a directory of metadata and links to your EPUB document. The metadata in the document will override the metadata that LibreOffice Writer creates for the document that is about to be exported.

The Metadata section has five fields of metadata that are common in most metadata schema, so LibreOffice Writer can create an EPUB document that is ready to be uploaded to a digital library or bookstore and read by e-book applications.

However, many authors and publishers may use it as a starting point and edit the composing documents to make the book better fit into the desired system.

Links

Introducing Inkscape 1.0

Smoother performance, HiDPI support, new & improved Live Path Effects & native macOS app

After a little over three years in development, the team is excited to launch the long awaited Inkscape 1.0 into the world.

Built with the power of a team of volunteers, this open source vector editor represents the work of many hearts and hands from around the world, ensuring that Inkscape remains available free for everyone to download and enjoy.

In fact, translations for over 20 out of all 88 languages were updated for version 1.0, making the software more accessible to people from all over the world.

A major milestone was achieved in enabling Inkscape to use a more recent version of the software used to build the editor’s user interface (namely GTK+3). Users with HiDPI (high resolution) screens can thank teamwork that took place during the 2018 Boston Hackfest for setting the updated-GTK wheels in motion.
Smoother performance & first native macOS application

This latest version is available for Linux, Windows and macOS. All macOS users will notice that this latest version is labelled as ‘preview’, which means that additional improvements are scheduled for the next versions. Overall, 1.0 delivers a smoother, higher performance experience on Linux and Windows, and a better system integration (no more XQuartz!) on macOS.
So many new bells and whistles

One of the first things users will notice is a reorganized tool box, with a more logical order. There are many new and improved Live Path Effect (LPE) features. The new searchable LPE selection dialog now features a very polished interface, descriptions and even the possibility of marking favorite LPEs. Performance improvements are most noticeable when editing node-heavy objects, using the Objects dialog, and when grouping/ungrouping.

This article was taken from the Inkscape Website. Click here to read the entire article on its Website.

GIMP 2.10.20 comes with new features as well as important bugfixes

Release highlights:

  • Tool-group menus can now expand on hover
  • Non-destructive cropping now available by cropping the canvas rather than actual pixels
  • Better PSD support: exporting of 16-bit files now available, reading/writing channels in the right order
  • On-canvas controls for the Vignette filter
  • New filters: Bloom, Focus Blur, Lens Blur, Variable Blur
  • Blending options now built into filter dialogs
  • Over 30 bugfixes

Toolbox updates

We listened to users’ feedback on introducing tool groups in the toolbox in the previous release. A lot of people told us they appreciated the change in general but were quite averse to having to click to open the list of tools in a group. The new release adds the option to show the tool-group menu as soon as the mouse hovers over the toolbox button, without having to click it. This option is enabled by default when the toolbox is arranged in a single column, but it can be enabled for arbitrary toolbox layouts, or disabled entirely, through the Toolbox page of the Preferences dialog.

Additionally, when not using the new behavior, toolbox tooltips now list all the tools in a group, to improve their discoverability.

Basic non-destructive cropping

GIMP now provides a kind of a non-destructive cropping behavior by default. Instead of deleting pixels that you cropped out and thus changing both the layer and the canvas, it will simply resize the canvas. If you export such an image, the resulted file will only have what you see within canvas boundaries.

The benefit of that is (at least) threefold:

  • You can revert to the original uncropped version by going to Image -> Fit Canvas to Layers. None of your edits between cropping and uncropping will disappear.
  • If you save your project as an XCF file, you can close the file and even quit GIMP and still be able to remove cropping and then crop differently at any time later.
  • When you are on the fence about your cropping decision, you can view pixels that you cropped out by going to View -> Show All.

If you want the old “destructive” behavior back, simply tick the ‘Delete cropped pixels’ checkbox in Crop tool’s settings.

The article about GIMP is taken from the GIMP Website blog. Click here to read the entire article on the blog.

Announcement of LibreOffice 7.0

Berlin, August 5, 2020

LibreOffice 7.0: the new major release of the best FOSS office suite ever is available on all OSes and platforms, and provides significant new features

The LibreOffice Project announces the availability of LibreOffice 7.0, a new major release providing significant new features: support for OpenDocument Format (ODF) 1.3; Skia graphics engine and Vulkan GPU-based acceleration for better performance; and carefully improved compatibility with DOCX, XLSX and PPTX files.

Support for ODF 1.3. OpenDocument, LibreOffice’s native open and standardised format for office documents, has recently been updated to version 1.3 as an OASIS Technical Committee Specification. The most important new features are digital signatures for documents and OpenPGP-based encryption of XML documents, with improvements in areas such as change tracking, and additional details in the description of elements in first pages, text, numbers and charts. The development of ODF 1.3 features has been funded by donations to The Document Foundation.

Skia graphics engine and Vulkan GPU-based acceleration. The Skia graphics engine has been implemented thanks to sponsorship by AMD, and is now the default on Windows, for faster performance. Skia is an open source 2D graphics library which provides common APIs that work across a variety of hardware and software platforms, and can be used for drawing text, shapes and images. Vulkan is a new-generation graphics and compute API with high-efficiency and cross-platform access to modern GPUs.

Better compatibility with DOCX, XLSX and PPTX files. DOCX now saves in native 2013/2016/2019 mode, instead of 2007 compatibility mode, to improve interoperability with multiple versions of MS Office, based on the same Microsoft approach. Export to XLSX files with sheet names longer than 31 characters is now possible, along with exporting checkboxes in XLSX. The “invalid content error” message was resolved when opening exported XLSX files with shapes. Finally, there were improvements to the PPTX import/export filter.

LibreOffice offers the highest level of compatibility in the office suite arena, starting from native support for the OpenDocument Format (ODF) – with better security and interoperability features over proprietary formats – to almost perfect support for DOCX, XLSX and PPTX files. In addition, LibreOffice includes filters for many legacy document formats, and as such is the best interoperability tool in the market.

This is a press release from the LibreOffice Website, written by Italo Vignoli. Click here to visit the article on the LibreOffice blog.

You need a hooptie

While I am not a huge rap fan, I found myself thinking about a song from the late 80s/early 90s one day when I was using my HP hybrid laptop. Sir Mix-a-Lot produced a song about a loaner car, an old beat-up automobile that didn’t work properly, called “My Hooptie“. This is probably my favorite rap song. I think it is hilarious.

My HP has a few missing keys and some others that don’t work, so it is a lot like the car in the song. The laptop is my hooptie.

Hoopties are necessary for anyone who wants to experiment with desktop Linux and open-source applications. (At least they are extremely useful.) They also have a number of other uses and have features that are left out of newer machines.

As someone who experiments with Linux distros and open-source applications, I have acquired several laptops over the years, and I actually have three that I consider to be hoopties:

  • Dell Latitude D830
  • HP Pro X 2 410 G1
  • Acer Aspire One ZG5

Dell

This beast of a laptop has four USB ports, a PCMCIA slot to insert cards that allow for more USB ports and other ports, an ethernet port, as well as a few other ports. The former standard-issue business laptop also has a 15.4 inch screen and a DVD-ROM drive.

The Duo Core 2 processor with 2 GB of RAM runs Linux Mint 19.3 Xfce fairly well. It has some difficulty when LibreOffice is open at the same time as a Web browser. The WiFi and hard drive lights on the computer flash, so the laptop might be slowly dying piece by piece.

However, one great thing about this laptop is it has a replaceable battery, and the hard drive is easy to upgrade. It can be removed through a slot on the side of the laptop, and the battery easily pops out.

The upgradable hard drive and battery are two of the reasons why I keep this laptop. With the DVD drive, I also can watch movies on it when I travel, particularly when I can’t get a great WiFi connection or I want to rent a movie from Redbox rather than renting it through Amazon or Google Play.

Of the several laptops I own, the Dell has the best keyboard and the largest screen, so it makes it the best for writing for long periods of time and the best for editing the pieces I am working on.

HP

The X2 is an older hybrid laptop/tablet. The screen detaches from the keyboard and base. A micro SD port, power connector, and headphone jack are part of the screen housing. These connections, USB ports, and an HDMI port are in the base.

As mentioned in the beginning of this blog, the laptop is a hooptie because the “F” key and the spacebar are missing. They still work if I press those switches hard, but the arrow keys don’t work at all.

This is the computer I use to try out different Linux distros. It has an i3 processor and 4 GB of RAM, so it has enough power to experiment with just about any distro.

Currently, it is running Fedora 31, with the standard Gnome 3 desktop environment. I also installed Cinnamon because it works better with some notification apps that I use, and I like the traditional Linux Mint environment a little better.

I am a Cinnamon man, though I love me some Gnome 3!

It also is small and portable. The HDMI port makes it easy to connect to a television for presentations to demonstrate open-source applications and different distros.

Acer

This computer is a small netbook with an 8.9 inch screen and only 1 GB or RAM. It is running LXLE, a very light distro that is based on Ubuntu and Lubuntu. There is nothing wrong with the computer. Everything works great.

However, it is difficult to surf the Web and play even simple games because it is low powered.

This is what makes the computer great for distraction-free writing. I type one handed, so it is important to have a small keyboard for free writing, and since the screen is so small, I don’t have to continually stare at it while I am typing.

While a modern tablet or large smart phone probably has more power and capabilities than this laptop, it allows me to focus on my drafts, and the ports make it easy to move those documents to another computer.

It also has a removable battery and a battery that can easily be replaced. This means it may have a longer lifespan than a tablet or phone.

Older laptops and Linux

Older laptops are not dead or obsolete when it has the right operating system. They still may provide years of usefulness when a Linux distro is installed. While not every distro will work well on one, there are many on the market that are designed to work on low to medium powered machines.

A lot of Linux distros are easy to install and don’t require adding drivers, applications, and other features to get it to work on a particular computer. The communities behind many of them keep older computers in mind when they release their latest versions of the distro, so users can still receive software and security updates on their older computers.

For example, the moto for the distro I use on the Acer is “Revive that old PC!” LXLE has 32-bit and 64-bit versions and it has been reported to work on computers that are 15 years old. Since it is based on Ubuntu, the installer application is very easy to use, and most people new to Linux will not have a problem installing it.

For those who have computers with DVD-ROM drives in them and don’t want to go through the process of installing codecs to watch movies, they can install Linux Mint 19. There are versions for three different desktop environments, and these come in 32-bit and 64-bit. When they are installed, there is no need to install codecs. Their video applications will be able to play movies out of the box. Most other distros require you to download packages before they can play DVDs.

All of Linux Mint’s user interfaces also are similar to Windows 7, so those switching from Windows will have an easier time making the transition.

These are just two examples of easy-to-use distros. This page lists several different distros.

Uses of old laptops

One of those advantages is that they are great for anyone interested in trying a Linux distro or for someone who experiments a lot with different distros. As mentioned in the previous section, several of these distros work well on older laptops. Most open-source applications are designed to work on most distros, and the same Terminal commands can be used on different operating systems. This means that Linux experimenters can use their old computers to try new applications and to try different features and settings in different distros.

While Linux users do not have to be tech-savvy, the distros allow users to change anything they want on them, so most Linux users are tinkerers, and the open-source nature of them tends to unlock the experimenting spirit in most users.

Many times these adventures lead to problems that require systems to be reinstalled, and many people are unwilling to start from scratch on a new computer. This is where owning a hooptie becomes valuable.

There are other uses for a hooptie:

Like with my Dell, old computers also can be used to backup data and information. Archived files can be stored on their hard drives, and their operating systems can connect with online storage and syncing services. This is a great use for old machines that are not used that often anymore.

Old laptops can be portable DVD players. They can be connected to speakers and play music using Rhythmbox, Clementine, and other music players and music-library organizers. They are also excellent writing tools, especially old business computers that have keys with decent travel on them.

Advantages of older computers

Old computers, whether they have missing parts or are in pristine condition, are not like your new laptop. They can’t run the latest games or run complex other applications, like video editing and programming applications. They probably are not as thin and as light. This means they may be harder to carry around.

However, they may last longer than you newer laptops because the computers made around 2010 have replaceable batteries, compartments to access RAM and hard drives, and other parts are easier to replace as well.

Users can maintain them and have them perform the tasks mentioned in the previous section for a long time. If the latest distro runs too slow on it, upgrading the RAM may help. If a hard drive is full of archived files, a larger one can probably be installed. Screens, ports, and other parts also can be purchased to replace failing ones.

This is not an option on many new laptops, even larger ones designed for power computing, which have their batteries and hard drives soldered to other components and sealed inside the laptop.

Many times older laptops also have more ports than newer powerhouse laptops, so more peripherals can be connected at the same time. This can be advantage when you need to move files to or from multiple external drives at the same time or have devices with older types of connectors that you still find useful.

The uses are endless for older laptops.

Conclusion

Older laptops are dinosaurs, but they are not the bones of a dinosaur. They are not dead, and many times they have unique features that are no longer included on newer machines, such as multiple ports and decent keyboards, that may give them advantages over the latest machines.

While speed and power may not be those advantages, they may be more comfortable to use and more flexible than the latest computers, even if they have a few broken or missing parts. They are also better machines to try new applications and operating systems on, in case you make a mistake and have to reinstall everything on your new computer.

Plus, like many older things, it may give you a sense of nostalgia, and you may find that you enjoy using an older computer more than a new one.

The message to anyone interested in learning more about desktop Linux and open-source software:

You need a hooptie laptop!

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.