Open Office to e-pub tip: automated Heading CONTENTS can be a TOC problem

Working in Open Office, followed instructions, converted to rtf and to Word 1997/2000 (yes, ancient - all that Open Office offers, though)— converted to e-pub and the TOC was missing heaps in both cases.


Couldn't solve the rtf, but in the .doc, I traced the problem solely to where I'd used FULLY AUTOMATED Heading CONTENT. My H2s were just 'Chapter 1, Chapter 2.... Chapter 75', so I had automated the CONTENT as well as the style by going into Tools — Outline Numbering— and filling in the boxes, to automatically generate a heading in the format 'Chapter X'. Gets you automated correct numbering of chapters— way to go in a big document.


But— the resulting automatically-generated H2 heading, 'Chapter X's, were what the e-pub conversion couldn't see.


SOLUTION 1 (retaining automatic numbering of chapters)


Adding any further text to the heading by hand-typing into the document "revealed' the WHOLE resulting heading to the e-pub TOC. So —

(automated) Chapter X  = ... nothing (in TOC)

(automated) Chapter X + (typed) Historical Background = Chapter X Historical Background (in TOC)


Even a typed full-stop was enough to 'reveal' the whole heading to the e-pub conversion (though the spacing was odd).

Sadly, a nice invisible space-bar stroke DIDN"T work.


SOLUTION 2 (losing automatic numbering)


SInce I was finished with all major editing, I sacrificed my automatic numbering of chapters and, using Navigator in Open Office to call up my heading for me, whipped through them all, deleting the automated 'Chapter x' and then pasting 'chapter' and typing the number into the remaining formatting space. Only took five minutes, and Nav bar will allow me to keep an eye on my chapter numbering in future anyway. e-pub generated my TOC perfectly.


??SOLUTION 3?? Looks to me like converting fom Open Office to a more recent version of Word probably solves the whole problem anyway. For penny pinching Mac users like me, though, the above two solutions may help.




  • Your Solution 2 is the one I normally suggest when someone is having trouble with Heading styles in Open Office.


    The issue can be solved if you get the document formatted as a .docx, but I still suggest manually entering the "chapter" and Heading material to be sure it all looks right in the EPUB.


    Here's the link I normally provide people to review Open Office's methods for setting up headings in a document:




  • I'm a Mac and Open Office user. I don't use automated headings (I type the chapter title or number as I'm working), so I can't speak to that, but I can tell you that you don't need to convert your ODT file to RTF or DOC when you want to prepare an ebook. Once you complete your print book manuscript, save a second copy of it. Remove/delete all your front matter and change the entire document's page style to the Default style. Deselect headers and/or footers. Add your Heading 1 Title and Copyright info. If you used Heading 2 for your chapters, you should be set, but I always double check.   


    Or, you can create a template for your ebook. Use page style Default and all the same criteria for your print book (size, margins, gutter) . Enter your Heading 1 Title and Copyright, then copy and paste your chapters. I don't recall if the heading assignments carry over or not, you'd probably have to reassign the Heading 2 ones, so this way is more labor intensive and time consuming.


    I think those instructions about converting the file may be old. I know when I tried it for my first ebook last year, all it did was create frustration and unnecessary work. My instinct told me it couldn't possibly be that complicated, so I tried the first method and it worked like a charm. I've used both ways listed above; the first is the quickest. 

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