CircularFLO live text

Text in ebooks
An alternative way to create live text in fixed layout EPUBs

CircularFLO can work with text in several different ways and each have their advantages and disadvantages. We cover them in this article and the accompnaying articles on Embedded text and InDesign live text.

CircularFLO live text is added to your EPUB code at frame level. Words, whole sentences and multiple paragraphs are placed together in a single frame.

For coders this is far more accessible and editable and also means we can support more features than InDesign native export.

CircularFLO live text also allows users to scroll the text within part of the page.

However, it does mean that text positioning may not perfectly match as well as InDesign live text, so if these issues are not important then we recommend the default way to work with live text - InDesign live text.

Setting up CircularFLO live text

Text frames and text on a path placed on a layer named FLO_LIVE_TEXT is reproduced as live HTML and CSS styled text in the generated eBook.

Click on the CircularFLO Tools menu > Document Tools > Make FLO LIVE TEXT layer to make a layer and move frames manually. Use the CircularFLO Preferences panel to add live text from multiple layers or layers with alternative names.

For best results we recommend that CircularFLO live text should be set up using InDesign Paragraph Style and Character Styles. Styles can be overridden on the page to some extent and amendments to the text size, text colour, the font, style and weight are picked up and applied to your live text.

Text attributes supported by CircularFLO live text

  • Text frame postioning
  • Text frame size
  • Text frame rotation
  • Text frame indents
  • Text frame columns
  • Text frame opacity
  • Text frame drop shadow
  • Text on a path shape and positioning
  • Character level font size, style and weight
  • Character level fill colour
  • Paragraph style alignment
  • Paragraph style leading
  • Paragraph style tracking
  • Paragraph style word and letter spacing
  • Paragraph style indents and first line indent
  • Paragraph style capitalisation
  • Paragraph style horizontal scaling
  • Paragraph style hyphenation
  • Paragraph style ligatures, orphans and widows

All other text attributes are either not supported or may appear differently in the ebook to that in InDesign.

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Text in ebooks

Embedded text

Text in ebooks
Choose between 'Embedded' searchable text and 'live' selectable text.

CircularFLO can work with text in several different ways and each have their advantages and disadvantages. We cover them in this article and the following articles on InDesign live text and CircularFLO live text.

It is important to understand that there is no requirement to use live text with CircularFLO and many customers use 'embedded text', especially when working with PDF and preparing files for Amazon KF8.

By default, all words in placed PDFs, and any InDesign text frames when the CircularFLO Preference Panel option to Prefer InDesign live text is set to no, are added into the eBook page and so become searchable in your ebook.

Embedded text is output as part of a retina-ready high quality JPEG and shown as an exact replica of how it appears in InDesign and in print. In this way areas of difficult to format text, complete pages or entire books can be converted to embedded text instead of live text. This means book are much quicker to convert and there is no restriction on fonts or design whilst still keeping your text searchable.

This way of embedding text is within the fixed layout EPUB3 standard and, although not recommended in Apple guidelines, Apple have thousands of fixed layout EPUBs for sale in the Apple Books Store (either made with CircularFLO or not) that contain either embedded text or no searchable text at all.

To achieve the best accessibility results when working with embedded text, the text should be added to the reading order.

Pros of embedded text

  • No requirement to license fonts for ebook
  • Exact print replica, all InDesign styles can be used on non live text layers
  • Support for older PostScript fonts
  • Support for PDF text
  • Text is searchable to page level
  • Embedded text can run across the ‘fold’ of the eBook

Cons of embedded text

  • Text is not searchable to a word level
  • Words can't be selected
  • Reading order of embedded text should be checked
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Text in ebooks

Fonts in ebooks

Text in ebooks
Considerations when specifying the font used in text styles for ebooks

Fonts in Fixed Layout ebooks

For fixed layout ebooks, there are no restrictions on the fonts used for text that is on the FLO_BASE layer or used in placed PDFs.

Fonts used on regular InDesign layers or on the CircularFLO live text layer must be either OpenType or TrueType. The older PostScript font format is not supported in EPUB and so cannot be used for live text.

InDesign document fonts and fonts from Adobe Fonts / Typekit are supported.

Fonts in Reflowable ebooks

For reflowable ebooks, fonts from Adobe Fonts are supported. Adobe Fonts are required to preserve the fonts on live text in Amazon reflowable ebooks when exporting from Circular Software.

Any document fonts or older PostScript fonts will be substituted.

Although the fonts will be included with the ebook, the reader and reading software will be able to change the font as well as other apsects of the font such as size and colour. This is a feature of reflowable ebooks format.  

Font obfuscation

Font obfuscation is a method to ‘mangle’ or alter the font file so that it is only useful for that particular eBook. As soon as an obfuscated font is taken out of the EPUB, it no longer works.

This is enough to comply the Adobe font licensing requirements. This is a direct quote from Adobe about this:

Can the fonts be embedded in PDFs and ebooks? Can they be used in printed books? Yes. The fonts are licensed for embedding in any ebook format which protects the font data such as EPUB, iBooks, Kindle (mobi), Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite (DPS), and PDF.

Can Adobe fonts be embedded in ebooks?

Yes. The fonts are licensed for embedding in any ebook format which protects the font data such as EPUB, iBooks, Kindle (mobi)…

Font obfuscation is applied by InDesign and supported by CircularFLO.

When creating reflowable Amazon files with CircularFLO, fonts are protected against misuse by the DRM (Digital Rights Management) techniques that Amazon apply.

When using font obfuscation, avoid the use of 'Document fonts' inside the InDesign document folder and instead use Adobe Fonts or local fonts that are active and available for CircularFLO.

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Text in ebooks

InDesign live text

Text in ebooks
By default, CircularFLO converts text in InDesign to live text in your ebooks.

CircularFLO can work with text in several different ways and each have their advantages and disadvantages. We cover them in this article and the accompnaying articles on Embedded text and CircularFLO live text.

Text on any regular layers is reproduced by InDesign just as it is with the regular InDesign fixed export EPUB. InDesign live text is accurately positioned and is recommended, especially when working with tabs and tables, and is the usual preference of non coders.

Pros of InDesign live text

  • Best positioning of live text in an EPUB
  • Live, searchable and selectable
  • Adobe Fonts fonts can be used
  • Can be used in conjunction with CircularFLO read aloud
  • InDesign added hyperlinks are preserved

Cons of InDesign live text

  • TrueType and OpenType only, no support for older font formats e.g. Type 1 PostScript fonts
  • No support for transparency, drop shadows or text on path
  • Not available for placed PDF imports
  • Complex code. Most coders dislike working with the code used for InDesign live text but this is not an issue for Circular Sowftare no-code exports.

An alternative way to export live text is CircularFLO live text.

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Text in ebooks

Live text on a path

Text in ebooks
Live text on path is supported in fixed layout EPUB exported with CircularFLO

Live ‘Curvy’ text that has been created as InDesign text on a path is supported with the CircularFLO live text layer and is automatically converted to live text on a path in the ebook,

This means text means live and is rendered as selectable and searchable SVG text in the exported fixed-layout EPUB. and combined with other effects such a drop sag

This text can also be used in read-aloud highlighting.

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Text in ebooks

Live text transparency and drop shadow

Text in ebooks
Extra transparency effects on live text are supported

The fixed-layout EPUB formats supports more HTML and CSS effects than we can achieve from a regular InDesign export.

Extra transparency effects are supported with the CircularFLO live text layer.

As well as picking up each CircularFLO live text frame’s size, position and rotation the main transparency settings applied to the text frame in InDesign will also be applied to text on the FLO_LIVE_TEXT layer.

Text frame opacity is supported along with drop shadow (including the offset, blur, colour and opacity of the applied shadow).

Text frame opacity and drop shadow is applied to the entire text frame in the exported EPUB.

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Text in ebooks

Scrolling text frames

Text in ebooks
Add areas of scrollable text into a fixed layout page

Break away from text size restrictions of print design by increasing the font size and allowing readers to scroll the text.

Overset text placed in a text frame on the CircularFLO live text layer becomes a scrollable area within the resulting fixed layout EPUB.

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Text in ebooks