Endnote links in multiple chapters from an InDesign book file for EPUB 3.0

Explorer ,
Aug 10, 2022 Aug 10, 2022

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Help! I'm ready to chuck my computer out the window!

I have a multi-chapter book created in a InDesign and many of the chapters have endnotes. Kindle requires endnotes (or footnotes) to be bi-directional links. These work fine in the first chapter, but subsequent chapters the links are broken. 

When I use eCanCrusher to open the xhtml files, I can see the backlink from the actual endnotes have an empty href. Why? How do I fix this without manually typing in every single link for the remaining 67 chapters?!? TIA.

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Community Expert , Aug 29, 2022 Aug 29, 2022

Hi @Adrienne Grace ,

you linked to a feature request.

However, what we can see with the EPUB export from a book file with endnotes is indeed a bug.

So I would do a bug report in category ePub/HTML/Publish Online:

https://indesign.uservoice.com/forums/601180-adobe-indesign-bugs?category_id=209104

 

Regards,
Uwe Laubender
( Adobe Community Professional )

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Community Expert ,
Aug 10, 2022 Aug 10, 2022

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Endnotes are a PITA in EPUB. The more so when you go from Word (to ID) to EPUB to Kindle.

 

Are the chapters individual INDD files under a Book, or one file?

 

|| Word & InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): a Professional Guide (Amazon)

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Explorer ,
Aug 10, 2022 Aug 10, 2022

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The chapters are individual files inside a single book file. The endnotes were created using InDesign's tool, not imported from Word. I thought that would export cleanly, but as I said, only in the first chapter with endnotes.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 11, 2022 Aug 11, 2022

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Try exporting a few random chapters directly and see if the endnotes from them export correctly.

 

(Sorry, these things have to be worked through one tedious step at a time... there is rarely one single cause or fix. That it's not a Word import helps, though. A lot. 🙂 )

 

|| Word & InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): a Professional Guide (Amazon)

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Community Expert ,
Aug 11, 2022 Aug 11, 2022

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Hi @Adrienne Grace ,

how exactly are the endnote numbers formatted for the endnote texts in the chapters that do not work?

Are there any differences to the first chapter?

 

Note: Unfortunately formatting, also style overrides, could prevent the endnote backlinking.

Screenshots would help where hidden characters are visible and the endnote number in the endnote text is selected with the Characters panel open and also the Swatches panel. Together with the Style Override Highlighter enabled, that little [a+] icon in the Paragraph Styles or Character Styles panel.

 

Also:

Could be that all InDesign documents of that InDesign book file must be merged to a single document to make that work.

 

Regards,
Uwe Laubender
( Adobe Community Professional )

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Community Expert ,
Aug 11, 2022 Aug 11, 2022

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Following on from this, what you may need to do is Sync all the chapters. I'd create a complete duplicate of the book files (or at least archive them before you do this).

 

  1. Select all the files in the Book pane.
  2. Set the source marker (left column) to Chapter 1, since it exports correctly.
  3. Sync the book. This may take a while with 67 chapters.

 

And try the export again.

 

You may want to open Synchronize Options first and deselect everything except Cross-Reference Formats and Text Variables; I think those are the only ones that might affect end notes unless, as Laubender speculates, other style issues are having an effect. Try this limited sync first, then a full one. Warning: it may cause problems in all the child chapters (being Synced to match Chapter 1), so again, work on a copy of the files and try the limited Sync first. On the other hand, a sync is never a bad thing if you want complete consistency among the component files and don't mind going through them to fix any resulting changes.

 

|| Word & InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): a Professional Guide (Amazon)

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Explorer ,
Aug 11, 2022 Aug 11, 2022

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Hi Laubender,

 

I sync the book before every export and don't have any character overrides, as I did check that in hopes that might be the magic fix. Unfortunately, not so far, but at leaset this makes me feel I'm trouble-shooting in the right way. I appreciate ANY ideas at this point. I hope not to have to enter 186 links and backlinks manually in the code. 

 

When I "crack open" the book with eCanCrusher and look at the code, the only difference I see between the 2 files is that the href attribute in both the endnote and backlink are empty in all but the first chapter. I can use the "go to endnote" and "go to reference" features within InDesign in all the chapters without any issue. 

I plan to try James's suggestion to export each chapter by itself and see if that tells me anything helpful.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 11, 2022 Aug 11, 2022

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Mysteriouser and mysteriouser, as Lewis Carroll didn't say.

 

Yes, try exporting a few random chapters.

 

Also: numbering. How do you have endnote numbering defined, in Chapter 1 and say, Chapter 2?

 

|| Word & InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): a Professional Guide (Amazon)

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Explorer ,
Aug 11, 2022 Aug 11, 2022

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Played around exporting the same file by itself and from the book — absolutely no other changes. Code from the single-file export links back-and-forth as expected and code shows that. This is the endnote in the text and I see the link:

single-export-endnote.png

 

 

This is the endnote backlink, with expected code:

single-export-backlink.png

 

I get the same results by exporting from a book file, as long as there are no other chapters with endnotes. Once I have more than 1 chapter with endnotes, I get "Text Anchor not found" errors on export:

book-export-error-msg.png

Sure enough, the href attributes are empty. This is the endnote itself:

book-export-endnote.png

 

 

 

And the backlink is empty, as well.

book-export-backlink.png

 

 

Endnote references are set up the exact same way in both my test chapters:

endnote-options.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can't be the first person with endnotes in more than 1 chapter. I can't create the type of file separation I need on export if I dump everything into a single file.

 

I'll manually enter the remaining 67 chapters manually in the code, if there isn't another option, but I am hoping for a less tedious and potentially mistake-laden solution.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 11, 2022 Aug 11, 2022

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So, any two chapters exported at the same time lose the links in the second? Did you, for example, try exporting Chapters 23 and 41 (or any other random set not including 1)?

 

I've seen these kind of errors with end notes but they usually trace to some simple flaw. This one's a doozy.

 

I rarely recommend this approach, but you might export each chapter independently and then build them into an EPUB structure. That may be less tedious than hand-editing 65 chapters.

 

|| Word & InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): a Professional Guide (Amazon)

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Explorer ,
Aug 12, 2022 Aug 12, 2022

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I don't seem to be able to select and export just a few chapters; it's either the whole book or export from a single open file. That being said, it does seem to be consistent — individual open files export just fine, but as soon as they are in the book, only the first chapter's endnotes export correctly.

 

I thought the idea of exporting the chapters independently was a clever one; it also allows me to fix any link or CSS conflicts within just a few pages, instead of digging through 400 pages. Once I've got them all done, I'm definitely going to try your suggestion about compiling them into a single book! Thank you.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 12, 2022 Aug 12, 2022

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Oh, I had the idea you could select chapters... I guess I've never done it.

 

Create a new book with just two of those files in it. Do try this even if you're going with another route; I am curious and would like to run down the problem if we can.

 

|| Word & InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): a Professional Guide (Amazon)

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Explorer ,
Aug 12, 2022 Aug 12, 2022

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I did already try that and it's the same darn thing — first chapter is fine, the next has empty hrefs. SO weird! Should I report this as a bug to Adobe?

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Community Expert ,
Aug 12, 2022 Aug 12, 2022

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I think so. Maybe with all the information about system, version, files etc. they can narrow down a cause. This simply doesn't fit the pattern for any of the export faults I know. It sounds like the export is losing track of things after the first file, which wouldn't have anything to do with the files themselves — especially not if they export fine individually.

 

|| Word & InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): a Professional Guide (Amazon)

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Community Expert ,
Aug 12, 2022 Aug 12, 2022

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@James Gifford—NitroPress said: "I rarely recommend this approach, but you might export each chapter independently and then build them into an EPUB structure. That may be less tedious than hand-editing 65 chapters."

 

Well, yes. Perhaps way better than trying to assemble all parts of the book in one single document.

Because that would mean that all texts with endnotes must run through one single story for each chapter.

 

Regards,
Uwe Laubender
( Adobe Community Professional )

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Community Expert ,
Aug 12, 2022 Aug 12, 2022

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True, but I can't think of a really good solution here unless the reason the export is skipping chapters 2-n. It has to be some simple thing; without having the files to mess with I can't guess what.

 

|| Word & InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): a Professional Guide (Amazon)

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Community Expert ,
Aug 13, 2022 Aug 13, 2022

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@James Gifford—NitroPress said: "without having the files to mess with I can't guess what."

True.

 

Regards,
Uwe Laubender
( Adobe Community Professional )

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Explorer ,
Aug 15, 2022 Aug 15, 2022

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Unfortunately, it's a copyrighted book, so I can't share the files publicly. I'll file a bug ticket and, per your suggestion, I think exporting the troubled chapters independently and assembling everything in code.

 

Thanks to you and @Laubender for all the suggestions; it's nice to have some other ideas on trouble-shooting and how I might attack this for now until Adobe can fix the issue.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 15, 2022 Aug 15, 2022

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One further thing, if you want to take the time: create a few simple dummy chapters with end notes, from a completely clean layout. Don't copy anything from these book files. Creating 3-4 files with placeholder text and a few simple notes in each, combine into a book, see if the behavior persists. It would narrow it down to either these docs or your system/setup.

 

|| Word & InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): a Professional Guide (Amazon)

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Explorer ,
Aug 15, 2022 Aug 15, 2022

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I did actually try that. I just heard from Mike Rankin via Twitter: "Endnotes only work on a per-document basis. They don't work with the Book panel." Dumb, IMO, but okay. At least I know it's nothing I'VE done wrong. Thanks everyone here for the help!

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Community Expert ,
Aug 15, 2022 Aug 15, 2022

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I'm not sure that's true.

 

ETA: Just exported three sample chapters with endnotes. All exported to EPUB and in Kindle conversion, all links good.

 

Possibly he meant that consolidated end notes are not supported in Book mode, which is correct. ID does not have especially sophisticated end note handling, but I don't think this has a bearing on your issue, does it? The problem was blank note links, which should not be occurring.

 

|| Word & InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): a Professional Guide (Amazon)

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Community Expert ,
Aug 16, 2022 Aug 16, 2022

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@James Gifford—NitroPress said:

"ETA: Just exported three sample chapters with endnotes. All exported to EPUB and in Kindle conversion, all links good."

 

Hi James,

I had the opposite experience.

 

As we all three can see: All endnotes in the first chapter worked.

Linking and also backlinking.

 

In my case not so with the next chapter or another test with an additional third chapter.

The strange thing: Some endnotes worked, some did not work with linking and backlinking.

It was not an either or. Only in one case none of the endnotes after chapter 1 did not work. Both chapters after the first one had the same number of endnotes. Is this of significance?

 

In one other case the first two endnotes in chapter 2 and 3 did not work, all others in the two chapters did.

Tried to find a reason, thought, maybe it's the comma after the endnote number in the main text; but my next test with a different number of endnotes at different positions in the text proofed the contrary.

 

I tested with InDesign 2022 version 17.3.0 on Windows. When I exported from the book file I always got a warning message on missing text anchors. From my German InDesign:

 

"Text anchors not found: 16"

 

220814-1-ERROR-Message-TextAnchorsNotFound-16.PNG

 

Important Note:

In all of my test cases linking and backlinking to endnotes worked when I exported to PDF with option "tagged PDF" enabled. That was the proof that principally the links and backlinks in the InDesign documents are all in order.

Below my export options from the InDesign book file.

 

EPUB Flexible Layout

Version: EPUB 3.0

Navigation TOC: File Name

Contents:

Order: Based on Page Layout

 

01-ExportSettingsFlexibleEPUB.PNG

 

Below also the option for Footnotes ("Fußnoten").

I did "End of Section (Endnote)". Perhaps here is the issue?

James, what are your export settings?

 

02-ExportSettingsFlexibleEPUB.PNG

 

Regards,
Uwe Laubender
( Adobe Community Professional )

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Community Expert ,
Aug 16, 2022 Aug 16, 2022

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Download this case with 8 missing text anchors from my Dropbox account:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/thfcjpdeyb7swp0/2022%20v3.zip?dl=1

 

01-03-ChaptersWithEndnotes-v3-2022.indb-Export-ERROR-MESSAGE.PNG

 

Regards,
Uwe Laubender
( Adobe Community Professional )

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Explorer ,
Aug 18, 2022 Aug 18, 2022

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Hi Uwe,

 

These are my exact export settings and I also experienced no issue with the links in PDF format. When I open the EPUB with eCanCrusher and look at the links and backlinks in all other chapters besides the first, the file name is missing in the links. (See my code screen captures in a previous reply here.)

 

I am going to follow up with Adobe Help via Twitter today. They asked for my contact name and availability for a screen share, but I haven't heard from them beyond that. For now, I think I will need to fix all the links manually (which I think I can do in each file with find/change), or export each chapter individually and then assemble the book. 

 

I'll report back to you when I hear from them and let you know what they say and recommend. And thanks again for all the help, suggestions, and testing you've done. It's been very helpful and lets me know it's not just some magic checkbox I've missed somewhere. Although, I would have preferred that simple solution! 😄

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Community Expert ,
Aug 18, 2022 Aug 18, 2022

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quote

@James Gifford—NitroPress said:

"ETA: Just exported three sample chapters with endnotes. All exported to EPUB and in Kindle conversion, all links good."

 

Hi James,

I had the opposite experience.

 

As we all three can see: All endnotes in the first chapter worked.

Linking and also backlinking.

 

In my case not so with the next chapter or another test with an additional third chapter.

The strange thing: Some endnotes worked, some did not work with linking and backlinking.

It was not an either or. Only in one case none of the endnotes after chapter 1 did not work.

 

I am in no way surprised. I repeated a test with some new files and got the consensus result here, which is within my experience. Sometimes — infrequently — end notes export fine to EPUB from a Book. Most times, there is at least one error and this "all empty" after the first chapter result is common.

 

I'd say it's a fundamental problem with ID's export. It does seem to have persisted a while as well.

 

The only workaround is not to use Book documents for EPUB creation, but I know that's not a great option for many projects.

 

|| Word & InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): a Professional Guide (Amazon)

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