Creating ePub files with Pages

Learn how to create ePub files with Pages.

ePub is an open ebook standard produced by the International Digital Publishing Forum. Pages lets you export your documents in ePub format for reading with iBooks on your iOS device or Mac. iBooks supports both ePub and PDF file formats, and you can export both from Pages.

When to use ePub or PDF

More details on using ePub

  • Use ePub when text is the most important part of your document, for example when you create a book, a report, a paper, a thesis, or classroom reading material.
  • Optimized for iBooks features such as changes in text size, font, and orientation (rotating your device between landscape or portrait)
  • Support for video embedded in a document. Note: Video you add in Pages for Mac will be converted into a compatible format for the iBooks Store when you export your ePub. Video you add in Pages for iOS that isn’t already in a compatible format will be converted to a still image
  • Support for iBooks notes
  • Navigation using an automatically generated Table of Contents
  • Note that some content is not supported by the ePub file format standard and will be removed from your document when exporting to ePub:
    • Smart-fields
    • Master/Background objects
    • Headers and footers
    • Floating graphics
    • Footnotes (converted to endnotes)
    • Columns
    • Comments
    • Some image effects such as shadows
    • Images beyond the 11MB of un-encoded image data allocation per chapter
  • Can be sold on the iBooks Store

More details on using PDF

  • Use PDF when layout is the most important part of your document, for example when you create a brochure, a flyer, or a manual with multiple illustrations.
    • Preserves all content, formatting, and fonts as you intended.
    • Documents are formatted as either portrait or landscape and do not change.
    • PDF does not reflow when switching the orientation of your device.
    • Users can not change fonts or font size.
    • Available for either Pages word processing or Page Layout documents.
    • The only way to get Pages documents with floating graphics to iBooks.
    • No support for video.
    • No support for iBooks notes.

Creating an ePub Document to read in iBooks

You can export any Pages word processing document to the ePub file format for reading in an ePub reader, such as the iBooks app for iOS or Mac. Documents created in page layout templates can’t be exported to the ePub format.

Documents you export to ePub format will look different than their Pages counterparts. If you want to get the best document fidelity between the Pages and ePub formats, style your Pages document with paragraph styles and other formatting attributes allowed in an ePub file. A sample document is provided below that features styles and guidelines to help you create a Pages document that’s optimized for export to the ePub file format, which you can use as a template or a guide. To learn more about using paragraph styles in Pages, see the topics under the heading “Working with Styles” in the Help menu in Pages.

To use the “ePub Best Practices” sample document

To learn more about using the ePub format and get a better feel for how a Pages document might appear as an ePub file, it’s a good idea to download the “ePub Best Practices” sample document. After reading the guidelines and instructions within the document, you can use it as a template to create your own document. You can also import the styles from the sample document into a new document you create.

  1. Download the “ePub Best Practices” sample document.
  2. In Pages for Mac, use the sample document as a template.
    1. Create a copy of the sample document file.
    2. Delete the contents of the sample document copy and type in (or paste in) your own content. 
    3. Apply paragraph styles as described in the “ePub Best Practices” sample document.

    Note: In Pages for iOS you will be unable to save a custom template, but you can use the custom styles already in the sample document. Either create your document in Pages for Mac and then continue editing it on iOS, or duplicate the sample document and delete its contents to create your document. Learn how to duplicate documents on your iPhone and iPod touch or iPad.

  3. Export the document you create to ePub format to see how it looks in iBooks.

Preparing an existing Pages document for export to ePub format

Documents you export to the ePub format automatically appear with page breaks before every chapter. A table of contents is automatically generated, which allows readers to jump quickly to any chapter title, heading, or subheading in the book. In order to create a meaningful table of contents, it’s important to apply appropriate styles within your document. The ePub reader uses the paragraph styles to determine which items should appear in the table of contents for your book.

Review your document to be certain that appropriate paragraph styles are applied to all chapters, titles, headings, and subheadings in your document.

If you want additional items to appear in the table of contents generated by the ePub file, make sure they are also styled with the correct paragraph style.

In Pages for Mac: From the Insert Menu, choose Table of Contents. For each entry you want in your table of contents, make sure it has an appropriate paragraph style. Then with the Table of Contents selected, open the inspector. In the Table of Contents tab, select all the paragraph styles that you want to appear in the Table of Contents. It should automatically update. Correct any issues by selecting or deselecting paragraph styles in the Table of Contents inspector. 

Pages for iOS and iCloud can’t edit a table of contents. If you want to change which styles appear in the table of contents, you will need to open your document in Pages for Mac to make those changes.

The Table of Contents will appear in the spine of the book but not inline as you page through your book.

Reformat any images, shapes, or other objects in your document to make them inline objects. To learn about inline objects, see “What Are Floating and Inline Objects?” in the Pages Help.

Exporting your document to ePub format

Note that you won’t be able to open the ePub file in Pages. The file can only be opened as a book in an ePub reader. In iBooks, the book font is set to the font you choose for iBooks. All the text sizes in the book are displayed only as small, medium, or large, and you can select which size within iBooks. Colors in the book may not be identical to those in its Pages counterpart.

If you've tracked changes in the document you want to export, accept or reject any changes and stop tracking changes before you export. Tracked changes are automatically accepted if no specific action is taken. (See “Accepting and Rejecting Changes” in the Pages Help).

In Pages for Mac

  1. Choose  File > Export To> ePub.
  2. Fill out the following fields:
  3. Title: Type the name of the book


    Author: Type the author’s name

    Primary Category: Select a category for the book from the pop-up menu, or type a new category into the field

  4. Select the checkbox “Use first page as book cover image” if you want to use a thumbnail image of the document’s first page as the icon for this book in your iBooks library. If you select this option, the book’s content will start from the document’s second page. The cover image is also visible opposite the book’s table of contents. If you leave this checkbox deselected, the book uses the generic icon in your iBooks library

In Pages for iOS

  1. From the Documents screen, tap the Share icon.
  2. Tap “Send a Copy”
  3. Select your document
  4. Choose Mail, iTunes, or WebDAV
  5. Choose ePub
  6. Fill out the requested information as described in step #3 of the Pages for Mac instructions. “Primary Category” is listed as “Genre” in Pages for iOS.

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