ePub3 vs ePub2

Seeing that I can now choose to compile to ePub3 format, I chose that, expecting everything to be the same except that the output would use the new and improved (?) format.

However, I found that formatting was changed (e.g. paras not indented, no space between paras,fonts different).

If I just want to create epub3 files but with everything the same as in my regular old ePubs, how would I do that?


ePub 3 is very different in the way you set it up, since it is entirely built around CSS and styles. The editor formatting will not be used and you will need to set up the formatting in the Compile format. The built-in “Ebook” format should do a very good job and is the best place to start. If you want to change that (after assigning Section Layouts if necessary), then duplicate and edit the Format and take a look at “Section Layouts”, “Styles” and “CSS” - those are the panes that will determine how your ePub 3 book looks.

The “ePub 2” option will eventually be removed, since ePub 3 is better through and through, but the former has been left in for now so that users can carry on using the older way of using editor formatting while getting used to the CSS approach. The CSS approach allows much more flexibility for ebooks, though.

All the best,


So, is it a good idea to move to ePub 3 ASAP?

I won’t be removing ePub 2 any time soon, so it depends on what you want, really. If you are currently getting better results with ePub 2 and don’t have much time to delve into how ePub 3 is done at the moment, there is nothing wrong with sticking with ePub 2. For most books the reader won’t notice any difference between the two formats. However, Scrivener 3’s ePub 3 export does produce a much cleaner ePub file and, because you have control over the CSS, you can look up CSS tricks online and use them to really tweak the way your book looks.

For instance, in the “Ebook” Format that comes with Scrivener, I have added some custom CSS to put a line border at the top and bottom of each chapter title.

The main rules when using ePub 3 are:

  1. Make sure you use styles in your main text for any text you want formatted differently from the bulk - for block quotes and such.

  2. When setting up the Compile Format, set up Styles inside the Format for titles and other elements, and apply them in the “Section Layouts” pane.

You basically use styles to format the text in ePub 3 rather than direct formatting (except for things like italics which don’t require styles). The export then converts these styles into CSS, resulting in a much better ebook than ePub 2.

If you’re thinking of exporting to Kindle format to sell on Amazon, it’s definitely worth updating to KF8/Mobi (which also uses the ePub 3 code), because the improved CSS results in a much better “Look Inside” experience.

All the best,

I would think it would be advantageous to have some way to tell Scriv that you want to produce a ePub3 (or MOBI KF8) with exactly the same formatting choices.

Am I correct that what I have to do is make note of the formats for the ePub2, then go in an modify all the formats for ePub3?

Hi TromboneAI. I am going thru the same learning curve you are. ePub 3 might be better than ePub 2, but some extra learning and work appear to be required. I’m sure the experts will chime in here, but in the meantime, here is my take.

Let’s say you established Arial 12 Regular Black as your default font in Editor. If you use this font throughout your manuscript, it will compile correctly to ePub 3. You don’t need to use any Styles in Editor or Compile. Close variations to the font, such as Arial 12 Italics Black or Arial 12 Bold Black, also will compile correctly. Keep in mind that ereaders allow the reader to select their own font and font size, but the relative sizing (Arial 12 being 20% larger than Arial 10) and the typeface (regular, italic, bold) will be retained.

If you use a diversity of fonts, however, you will need to apply Styles in Editor. For example, if some text is Arial 10 Italics Purple or Arial 8 Regular Blue Superscript, you will have to create Styles and apply them to the relevant text. That text, too, then will come out correctly in the ePub 3 compile.

I had to make a test SCRIV file to undertand when it is / is not necessary to create and use Styles with ePub 3. You might want to do the same, as I have not found a definitive guide on this topic. Best of luck.

Thanks Apples4Me, I’ll try experimenting.

I prefer to compile to the most modern format, but I still don’t get why there isn’t a predefined format that takes advantage of Scrivener’s best feature: the separation of editing format and eBook format.

There is - the “Ebook” format. Try using that with the novel template (for instance).