How To Replace E-book Text in Reflow View

Yesterday I was working on converting a printed book into an e-book for a client, and discovered that the text file he had provided was older than the final text that was used in the printed book. So, I needed to give the text back to him for editing.

Unfortunately, I had made some changes to the text and had already tagged the text in QuarkXPress’s Reflow view — which is where all the e-book goodness happens. The problem is that Reflow view doesn’t provide a way to export and import text without losing the tags. It’s intended to be used after all the text is final.

But fortunately for me, his book is a simple novel, and I hadn’t yet broken it up into multiple components to create new chapters. And that saved my bacon — I was able to easily export the text in Microsoft Word format and maintain the tagging via Style Sheets.

Here are the steps I took:

  1. Copied all the components from Reflow view into a text box in Layout view. Fortunately, there were just a few.
  2. Created Style Sheets that match the names of the Reflow Tags, then used Find/Change to apply these Style Sheets to the appropriate paragraphs. Again, I was fortunate that the main body of the text didn’t use a lot of tags.
  3. Exported this text as a Microsoft Word document. (File> Save Text…)
  4. Gave this file to the author to edit in Word, warning him to be careful not to disturb the Style Sheets.
  5. When he’s done, I’ll import the text back into Layout view, then extract it into Reflow view using Quark’s feature that maps Style Sheets to Reflow tags.

Another option would have been to give him the QuarkXPress document and let him edit it in Reflow view. But that process would have some drawbacks:

  • It would have required that he have QuarkXPress (or at least the free 30-day trial version).
  • There would be no easy way to archive his final text in Word format.

Since he’s proficient in Word, and my formatting in Reflow view wasn’t very complicated, the export-edit-import path seemed the most straightforward for everyone.

I hope this helps someone facing a similar challenge…