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Archived Message:

Creating 2-column documents


 
tomt I really love the idea of creating a self-contained exe file that can be secured and protected. One thing I haven't been able to figure out though is how ot convert a 2-column document to a similar formatted ebook.

I have a book written in MS word. It is two columns to accomodate photos and text in an nice format. I can easily convert it to a pdf format without losing any of the column formatting. When I try to convert it to an ebook (exe format) I always lose the columns. The book is 707 pages so manually trying format each page in an HTML table just isn't feasible.

Is there something I'm missing or is that just the way it is?

Thanks for any suggestions.


Posted on: 11:26 pm on October 5, 2005
Storyman Try exporting your word document to an HTML file. By clicking on 'Save As' in the 'File' menu. Bascially, you need to convert the document to HTML format.

If you know HTML you can use tables to create a dual column. Better yet use CSS (but plan on a steeper learning curve.)


Posted on: 12:41 am on October 6, 2005
tomt Thanks Storyman......

I know that if I simply "Save as html" from work it lose the columns. I'm fairly familiar with HTML and web code but don't see show a table format would yield the individual pages in two columns. Seems I would need to format each page as a set of table cells. For 700 + pages, that's not going to happen.

I'll play around with it and see what come out......

Thanks again,
Tom T


Posted on: 12:59 am on October 6, 2005
Storyman Tom,

How about converting the dual columns into tables from inside word, then save as HTML?

(Edited by Storyman at 5:41 pm on Oct. 5, 2005)


Posted on: 1:40 am on October 6, 2005
EBookCompiler My guess is that you want to make table cells in Word

You probably should not go for 1 page in original = 1 page in Word/HTML, but instead organize your work, into say chapters etc. (1 HTML page = 1 chapter, which may vary in length)

This would also save work as you could make 1 big table with 2 cells in a row, on each page. Then copy and paste a big chunk of text into the cell.

I have to say, though, part of me is wondering is whether 2 columns are the best choice of layout.  When you read web sites (and EXE ebooks tend to look like web sites), you don't usually see it in 2 columns. In fact, for onscreen reading, 2 column layouts, can, in my opinion, be slightly annoying.

The best ebooks, in my opinion have:

- A simple well designed layout
- Good readable fonts on screen
- Organized logically into chapters or topics. One chapter or topic per HTML page
- Easy navigation (either Next/Previous enabled and in the right order, or, hyperlinks between pages/topics, logically put together, or, both)

I would say the above is particularly important for reference type eBooks that you might dip into, rather than read cover to cover, but even for stories and stuff like that, most of the above still applies.


Posted on: 2:02 am on October 6, 2005
tomt Thanks to both Storyman and EBookCompiler.

I will look at doing tables in word, but it means a lot of cut and paste. Might be the only reasonable approach.

As for which layout is better, web page versus dual column (classic textbook) is a matter of opinion.

I guess I could reformate all the pages and resize 2,700 photos so a non-column web page layout looks OK, but it sort of defeats the idea of easily converting a word page to an ebook layout....

Sounds like there is no easy one-step solution to this other than pdf.

Thanks again for all the suggestions.

Regards,
Tom T


Posted on: 2:22 am on October 6, 2005
Storyman Tom,

Reformatting into a single column using Word should be a snap--that is if Word was used to create the 2 columns. You might want to read Word's help files about creating columns for more info.

I agree with Sunil about two columns not being the best for people reading from a computer screen. The advantage in print is that narrow columns help the reader track. Two columns also has the same advantage on a display screen, but a new element is introduced which makes it impractical. It is that readers now must use the scroll bar to traverse back to the top of the screen for the second column--this gets annoying really fast.


Posted on: 5:11 pm on October 6, 2005

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