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Article - Leading Software Maniacs

TM

TM

Jus’ E’Nuff “How To” Guide

All you need to know to get the job done

eBook

3

EDITION

InDesign to

Kindle

quality

simplicity

products

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productivity

TM

Publish Your Book For the Kindle

and Print

Ken Whitaker


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InDesign to Kindle

Publish Your Book For the Kindle and Print

Third Edition

Ken Whitaker

Dedicated to the love of my life forever and ever: Gina

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Copyright © 2010-2012 Ken Whitaker. All Rights Reserved.

Leading Software Maniacs, LLC. Seattle, WA USA.

This book may not be reproduced in any form, in whole or in part, beyond

that copying permitted U.S. Copyright Law, Section 107, “fair use” in

teaching or research, Section 108, certain library copying, or in published

media by reviewers in limited excerpts), without written permission from

the publisher.

The information in this book is distributed on an “As Is” basis, without

warranty. While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of the

book, the author shall have no liability to any person or entity with respect

to any loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly

by the instructions contained in this book or by the computer software and

hardware products described in it.

Amazon and Amazon Kindle are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or

its affiliates; Microsoft, Visio, and Microsoft Windows are trademarks

of Microsoft Corporation; Ultraedit is a trademark of IDM Computer

Solutions, Inc.; Stuffit and Stuffit Deluxe is a trademark of Smith Micro

Software, Inc; Omnigraffle is a trademark of Omni Development, Inc.;

Adobe, InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator are trademarks of Adobe

Corporation; Apple, iBooks, Mac, iPad and iPhone are trademarks of

Apple Inc., Leading Software Maniacs, the Leading Software Maniacs logo,

and Jus’ E’Nuff is a trademark of Leading Software Maniacs, LLC. All other

marks not mentioned are trademarks or registered trademarks of their

respective companies.

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http://www.leadingswmaniacs.com

Conceived in Asheville, North Carolina, USA

Created and produced in Seattle, Washington, USA

Edition 3.0

ISBN: 978-0-9835525-4-3


Working with Graphics

Taking Great Screen Captures

So, what’s the big deal? Use a screen capture program on your PC or Mac,

type a screen capture hot key, and snap—you have a graphic image of your

computer display! Easy, right?

Not so fast!

You’ve probably viewed screen capture images in documents that are either

way too large on a page or blurry enough to be unreadable. There is an art

to screen capture and it is especially tricky for single source documents. To

complicate matters further, a screen capture is typically a lower-resolution

raster graphic that in the case for print (PDF), needs to be somehow resized

to a higher resolution than the original. This is the opposite problem you’ll

have with photos and vector drawings.

To make a quality screen capture, keep this in mind:

1 Acquire a great screen capture app and image editing app that will

produce the best results for PDF (print) and eBook (Kindle).

2 Stay away from edge effects such as drop shadow or jagged edge.

When these effects are semi-transparent, they do not convert well for

the Kindle.

3 If you must annotate your capture, do that in the screen capture or

image editing app. By annotation I mean arrows, text, boxes, and so

on.

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4 In order to distinguish the screen capture from a white page

background, it is a good idea to apply a border.

Selecting the Right Tools

There are many screen capture applications available including the default

facilities provided by Windows and OS X. Of all the screen capture apps

on the market (and most that I’ve tried are quite good), I’d recommend

Techsmith’s Snagit. Snagit is easy to use, lots of great feature, reliable, well

supported, and available on both Windows and OS X. Snagit provides most

of the features you’ll ever need including several region selection options,

ability to annotate with text, arrows, and boxes, and support for a variety of

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Working with Graphics

capture file saving formats.

In order for a screen capture image to be used for single source (print and

Kindle outputs), you’ll need an image editing application. There are many

great apps available, but I prefer either of these from Adobe: Photoshop CS

or Photoshop Elements. The advantage of Photoshop is that you can script

repeatable procedures with Photoshop Actions. InDesign to Kindle provides

several with LSM Actions.atn, in the supplemental download. Photoshop

Elements does not currently support Actions.

A spreadsheet called Screen Capture Steps.xlsx is also part of the

supplemental download and it is a great aid for keeping track of the steps

you use to produce high-quality, compliant screen capture images for your

book.

What About Screen Capture Formats?

Screen capture raster images are composed of pixels usually measured as

pixels per inch (ppi) or dots per inch (dpi).

A Windows screen capture almost always capture images at 96 ppi—

regardless of the PC manufacturer, laptop or desktop. On Mac systems,

however, screen captures default to 72 ppi. To keep screen captures

uniform regardless of Windows or OS X, I’d recommend making sure that

all screen captures are eventually set to 96 ppi.

Using Boot Camp on the Mac to run Windows, screen captures are

recognized at 96 ppi and not 72 ppi. On the MacBook Pro Retina

display (rated at a high resolution of 220 ppi), OS X screen captures are

surprisingly taken at 72 ppi—the big difference is that the number of

pixels are going to be about three times what you’d expect! You’d think that

Techsmith wouldn’t let that happen, but they actually retrieve the ppi from

a OS X API and OS X reports the display is 72 ppi. (I tried another screen

capture app and it also reported 72 ppi.)

For high-quality print (PDF) production, most printers will not accept

images under 150 ppi. That includes screen capture images! I should know.

I’ve written a couple books that use graphics of all kinds (photos, vector

drawings, and screen captures)—screen captures of 72 or 96 ppi graphic

image files were continually bounced back to me to corrected. I’ve made all

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Working with Graphics

screen capture images designated for print output to be 192 ppi.

Amazon limits each Kindle graphic image to no greater than 500 pixels

(width) or 600 pixels (height). If any screen capture image is larger, you’ll

have to resize it. I’ve decided to keep screen capture images to 96 ppi for

Kindle viewing.

You’ll want screen captures to be saved in a raster graphics image file

format that is lossless (and not lossy). That rules out PDF, SVG, PSD, and

JPEG—leaving these formats as possibilities: GIF, TIFF, or PNG.

Screen captures to be used in print (PDF) should use TIFF file format.

TIFF supports either 3-color (RGB) or 4-color (CMYK) images.

Alternative, screen captures for Kindle should use either GIF or PNG. Keep

in mind that the final image must be less than the 127KB file size limit

imposed for any graphics file destined for the Kindle.

It is time for a friendly words of warning:

Never ever save screen captures with

the JPEG format.

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Most screen capture apps use JPEG as their default save format, but

its lossy characteristics are more appropriate for photos. After much

experimentation, my choice is to use the PNG format.

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Working with Graphics

Screen Capture Step-By-Step Instructions

Here’s where the fun begins!

Taking great screen captures requires

several steps that will take time and

will feel like overkill.

There are six steps to great single source screen captures:

1 Take the screen capture.

2 Set image to 96 ppi (OS X only).

3 Resize the screen capture image to conform to page and Kindle limits.

4 Create a high-quality image for Print (PDF).

5 Apply a 1 pixel gray border for eBook captures.

6 Apply a 2 pixel gray border for high-quality PDF captures.

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(You may want to consider these as the “six steps to heaven.”)

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Working with Graphics

Note: Each of these steps usually require saving the results in a file and

each step’s results can be helpful for use with applications other than

InDesign (like PowerPoint or Keynote).

I have established a folder and file naming convention that you may

want to consider using. I have created a folder structure named

Graphics/Screen Captures and within that folder I create two subfolders

Master (for the original screen capture) and Exports (for each modification

like resizing and adding a border).

Step 1: Take the Original Screen Capture

Use Snagit (or whatever screen capture application you prefer) to take the

screen capture. Save it as a PNG (.png file extension) and stay away from

using a raster, lossy format like JPEG. If you need to add annotation to it,

do it now within your screen capture app.

I prefer to use the following settings for annotations of text, arrows, boxes,

and ovals:

■■

■■

Text: Tahoma 14 point, black (or white depending on the screen

capture background color).

Strokes (arrows, boxes): 5 pt, any color (depends on the screen

capture background color).

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You may wish to apply a slight drop shadow to annotations to further

distinguish them from the underlying screen capture image. Apply 50%

transparency to any stroked annotation especially if you want to see parts

of the screen capture that would be otherwise hidden. There are three

reasons why you don’t want to use InDesign to add annotation to your

placed graphic:

1 Depending on the Kindle export method used, you may generate an

error.

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Working with Graphics

2 If you use InDesign’s Object Export Options command to rasterize the

screen capture for Kindle output, you may not like the result. (Hint: I

didn’t like the quality of the result.)

3 To combine annotation with your placed screen capture image isn’t

that easy—you’d have to play some text frame and grouping tricks.

What do you think InDesign is? FrameMaker???

Save the original screen capture in your screen capture Master subfolder

using the following file name:

Login - Original (72ppi, Mac).png

This file naming convention defines what was captured (Login), the step

of the process (Original), the ppi (72ppi), and the platform (Mac). On

Windows, the file name would be similar:

Login - Original (96ppi, Win).png

Step 2: Set Screen Capture PREVIEW

Image to 96 PPI

A good practice is to change an OS X screen capture from 72 ppi to 96

ppi. If you saved the original screen capture under Windows, it is typically

saved at 96 ppi, so you can skip this step.

Using Photoshop (or any other image editing application you prefer),

adjust the ppi from 72 to 96 using Photoshop’s Image > Image Size

command. Uncheck Resample Image and enter 96 for the resolution

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Working with Graphics

Figure 3-1 Set the screen capture to 96 ppi

As a result of changing to 96 ppi, the number of pixels won’t change, but

the width and height is reduced by 25%. If the original Mac screen capture

was 432 x 212 pixels, at 72 ppi and a dimension of 6 x 2.944 inches, the

dimensions would become 4.5 x 2.208 inches as a result of resizing to 96

ppi. You can also use my Photoshop Action Resize to 96ppi as a shortcut.

Save the screen capture in your screen capture Master subfolder using the

following file name:

Login - Original (96ppi, Mac).png

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Figure 3-2 shows the PNG options I’d suggest using (you don’t have to

compress the result yet).

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Figure 3-2 PNG save options

Step 3: Resize Image to Conform to Page and Kindle

Limits

Chances are the original screen capture needs to resized to a more

appropriate size to not only conform to Kindle graphics image maximum

limits, but also to look appropriate on a page. If it is too large, the screen

capture could easily occupy most of an entire page and yet if it is too small

it won’t be recognizable.

I’d recommend resizing a graphic so that it’s width is between 200 and

300 pixels (which, at 96 ppi, is roughly 2 to 3 inches). For best results, use

increments of 25% if you can. Resizing to 50% or 75% should produce

good results while an odd size like 71% may produce less than desirable

results. This rule doesn’t apply to digital photographs where resizing by

almost any percentage may not matter as much as it does with screen

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Working with Graphics

Note: The quality of your image editing application becomes important.

The resizing and rescaling of screen captures can be tricky (especially

screen captures of text). After resizing you’ll want the screen capture text

to still be recognizable. Of all the image editing applications out there,

Adobe Photoshop produces excellent results.

Using Photoshop, select the Scale, Constrain Properties, and Resample

Image checkboxes and then enter the percentage you’d like to resize the

screen capture image to 50% (Figure 3-3).

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Figure 3-3 Resize the screen capture to fit the page

Save the resized screen capture to your Exports subfolder using the

following file name:

Login - Resized (96ppi, Mac).png

You can also use either Photoshop Actions Resize to 50% or Resize to 75%

as a shortcut.

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Step 4: Create a High-Quality Image for Print

If single source book development is important to you, you’ll need to

produce a version of your screen capture suitable for print. If you don’t

plan on going to print (PDF), then you can skip this step.

Since most print shops won’t usually accept any graphics at low bit

densities (72 or 96 ppi), you could simply use Photoshop to double the

number of bits from 96 ppi to 192 ppi (Figure 3-4).

Figure 3-4 Blurred result by doubling pixels

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Doubling the pixels looks horrible. Duplicating bits after resizing gets you

the higher bit density (192 ppi), but looses its original quality resulting

in a blurry image (especially text). In the figure, the doubling up version

appears in the upper left while the original is on the lower right.

The better approach is to use the original 96 ppi screen capture image (and

not the one you’ve resized in step 3). That way you’ll be able to produce the

highest quality and satisfy your printer’s requirements.

In Photoshop, open the original 96 ppi screen capture created in step 2,

Login - Original (96ppi, Mac).png. So that you don’t accidentally overwrite

your original screen capture, save it as a TIFF format in the Exports

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Working with Graphics

subfolder as:

Login - Resized (192ppi, Mac).tif

Figure 3-5 shows the settings to use when saving to the TIFF format.

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Figure 3-5 Saving to TIFF

Bring up the Image Size window with Image > Image Size command. With

Scale Styles, Constrain Proportions, and Resample Image checked, change

the resolution to 192. Then, change the Pixels popup menu to Percent. To

resize to the same dimensions as the resized 96 ppi version you created in

step 3, change 200 to 100 for both Width and Height fields (Figure 3-6).

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Figure 3-6 Resizing the high-quality screen capture

The 100% value may surprise you, but Photoshop assumes 200% since you

effectively doubled the resolution. Table 3-1 shows common percentage

values for resizing to 25%, 50%, and 75%. To resize our screen capture to

50% of the original size, use a percent value of 100.

Resize to

75% 150

50% 100

25% 50

Use Percent Value

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Table 3-1 Resizing high-quality (192 ppi) screen capture in Photoshop

The resized 96 ppi PNG image and the resized 192 ppi TIFF image are both

2.25 (W) x 1.104 (H) inches. This is exactly what you want! Don’t forget to

replace your TIFF file using the same file name in the Exports subfolder:

Login - Resized (192ppi, Mac).tif.

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Working with Graphics

Step 5: Apply a Gray Border for Kindle

Some screen captures may not have an edge to distinguish it from

a white page background. I’d recommend always applying a 50%

gray 1 pixel border. In Photoshop, open your resized 96 ppi image:

Resized (96ppi, Mac).png from step 3 and do the following:

1 Click Select > Select All.

2 Click Select > Modify > Border and then set Width to 1 pixel.

3 Finally, Edit > Fill to 50% Gray (Figure 3-7).

Figure 3-7 Apply a border to the screen capture

This border surrounds the capture image and does not extend the

dimensions of the resized screen capture. You can also use my Photoshop

Action Add 1px Border as a shortcut.

Save as the final:

Login - Final (96ppi, Mac).png

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Using Figure 3-2 as a guide, select Smallest / Slow PNG compression

option (instead of None / Fast) to produce the smallest file size. This is

very important to comply with the maximum Kindle file size limitations.

Because the PNG is lossless, you won’t lose any quality either!

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This final PNG file should be placed into your InDesign document.

Step 6: Apply a Gray Border for Print

Similar to step 5, I’d recommend applying a 50% gray 2 pixel border

and, for obvious reasons, this is double the 1 pixel border used for

the Kindle version. Open the last resized TIFF image from step 4:

Login - Resized (192ppi, Mac).tif. Use Photoshop to do the following:

1 Click Select > Select All.

2 Click Select > Modify > Border and then set the Width to 2 pixels.

3 Finally, Edit > Fill to 50% Gray.

You can also use my Photoshop Action Add 2px Border as a shortcut.

Save as the final:

Login - Final (192ppi, Mac).tif

This final TIF should be placed into your InDesign document.

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Working with Graphics

Using the Screen Capture Spreadsheet

I have included an Excel spreadsheet, Screen Capture Steps.xlsx, in the

supplemental download to provide a reminder for each of these steps.

Full instructions are included on the spreadsheet’s Instructions sheet tab.

There’s a third sheet tab named Capture History which you can use to

describe your screen captures. Click on the Post-Capture Steps worksheet

tab to view (Figure 3-8).

Figure 3-8 Screen Capture Steps.xlsx spreadsheet guide

There are a total of six steps identified. The first thing you’ll do is set the

Original ppi, Resize to, and Platform fields. If you set F16 (Platform) to

Win, Step 1 (Row 3) will be automatically grayed out and won’t be used

(other than the X px and Y px fields).

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Note: Some cells have a color background for a reason. Gray cells are the

result of a calculation and the tan cells contain values from other cells

(basically, a link).

After you take the screen capture, enter the X width and Y width pixels

(432 and 212 in cells I3 and J3, respectively). You can find out the number

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Working with Graphics

of pixels in your screen capture image using one of these techniques:

■■

■■

■■

Your screen capture app should have a way to tell you. In Snagit, use

the Edit > Resize Image command (but don’t resize the image).

Finder/Explorer details will show you the size in pixels.

In Photoshop, use the Image > Image Size command.

Save the file using your file name along with the file name suffix, extension,

and folder identified in cells M3, N3, and O3. Finally, enter the letter n in

the first cell. (The letter n with the Wingdings font is displayed as a filled

box character.)

As you go through each step, verify the calculated Pixels and Size fields for

each of the step’s image transformations.

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Copyright © 2010-2012 Ken Whitaker Chapter 3 Creating a Textbook 115

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