Epub (ebook) from LibreOffice - Part 1

Using Writer2ePub

[March 22, 2013]
[March 28, 2013]
[March 13, 2014]
[June 27, 2014]
[Oct. 22, 2017] - added reference list

Update: As of June 2014 there is a new Writer2ePub website: http://writer2epub.it/en/

Lately, I have been experimenting with using LibreOffice Writer to prepare files for an electronic book in epub format. I chose epub because I prefer to use free and open formats. In addition, I also knew that I could use Calibre to convert to other formats later if necessary. The specific software tool I have been using to convert ODT files to epub is the LibreOffice/OpenOffice extension called Writer2ePub. I will use this page to document the lessons I have learned in using this tool.

For more information of getting, installing, and using Writer2ePub see the links page.

This page is going to be a work in progress for quite a while (the date(s) under the title above will note when I make updates). As of the initial date, I have only been using Writer2ePub for a couple of days, but I have already learned a number of useful things.

How I Test

In order to better understand how Writer2ePub works in practice, I use the following method:

  1. Create a test document in LibreOffice Writer
  2. Convert the test Writer document to ePub using Writer2ePub-2
  3. Add the ePub document to my Calibre library
  4. Use Calibre to convert the ePub document to MOBI format
  5. Load the MOBI formatted document into my Kindle

I use my Kindle (Kindle Keyboard model) to evaluate how the document will look and perform on an actual e-reader. Of course, the document is going to look slightly (or more than slightly) different on different e-readers; unfortunately I have no good way to test this.

Note that Calibre is application which enables one to store and manage a collection of e-books; it also includes the capability to convert various e-book formats. Since the Kindle does not recognize the ePub format, it is necessary to convert to MOBI format in order to load into the Kindle.

I have also been able to install Kindle Previewer on my Ubuntu Linux system using WINE (and this tip - after installation, delete this file: ~/.wine/drive_c/windows/winsxs/manifests/*.vc90.*_deadbeef.manifest ; you may also need to set the OS type to WinXP).  My initial reaction to the previewer is that it is not worth the trouble of installing. However, I'll try it out a few more times to see inf my opinion changes.

Version 2 (beta) available

There is now (March 2013) available Writer2ePub-2 as a beta release (generally, "beta" means it is a working release, but there are still bugs, some features may not be fully implemented, and other features may still need to be added). I started this web page using version 1, but I have since installed version 2, and I will be using it with respect to all further comments on this web page.

If you already have Writer2ePub version 1 installed, and attempt to install version 2, you will be asked if you want to replace version 1. If you say yes, then version 1 will be removed and version 2 will be installed. In my case, at least, I needed to restart LibreOffice for the extension to take effect.

Here is a list of the new features in Writer2ePub-2 which I have discovered so far (this list will be updated if new features are added):

[Last update March 28, 2013]

  • There is now a preview mode, with an option to select various "screen sizes"
  • Insert footnote option added
  • Page break option added
  • Drop Caps option added
  • Insert Picture option added
    • Pictures can be left or right justified or centered
    • Relative or absolute width options
    • Wrap options
    • Picture as character option
  • Insert formula option added
  • Export to EPUB3
The spreadsheet below list various styles and other functions in Writer, and notes whether they are recognized by Writer2ePub for conversion purposes.

It is also possible to create additional styles which Writer2ePub will recognize, by prefacing the style name with w2e_ (although as with built in styles, not all features of the style, such as font name, will be recognized).

The spreadsheet below lists various functions of LibreOffice Writer which Writer2ePub will convert into epub.

Writer2ePub Matrix


Added Oct. 22, 2017

This article is a multi-part entry on the website, but for ease of access all web reference will be listed here.