Jutoh Tutorials

Create a fixed layout book in Jutoh

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Please see note at the bottom for an update.

By popular demand, this episode I’m going to show you how to create fixed layout eBooks in Jutoh. That’s not just for Kindle. It will also be EPUBs for Barnes & Noble, iTunes, et cetera.

In this lesson I’m going to discuss how to create Kindle and EPUB fixed layout books using Jutoh. It’s been asked of me by several people so I decided to make a quick video for you. If you’re interested in Jutoh, which if you are an author or a publisher, if you’re still doing it the old-fashioned way, you’re crazy. There’s a link below. You can get it.

Let’s get to business here. The first thing you do is understand why you need a fixed layout book.

Most people don’t need them. If you just have a picture in there and the picture’s not that important, it’s not a big deal to make a fixed layout book. Fixed layout books are very special. The text and the picture go exactly where you put them, and they lose a lot of the flexibility on eReaders, There’s a lot of issues with file sizes, picture sizes, all that kind of stuff, and there’s no software that’s really able to deal with that since it’s controlled by the actual devices themselves. I’ll show you an example of that when we’re done making this picture book.

Many uses would be comic books, picture books, like I’m going to do here; kids books that have a picture and then text underneath it, those type of things, where the picture needs to be exactly where it is in the book. It can’t just be random wherever the flowable layout puts it, like half of an image on one page and half on the other. That just wouldn’t work.

Let’s get started. I’m going to go a little bit from scratch. Somebody was asking me if you already know how to do projects and that, this will be nothing new. There’s only one slight change, so we’ll go up here to File, New Project. We’ll call this, “Cuba Picture Book.”

None of this stuff matters. You can change that. That was another client, but I’m going to erase this anyway. It’s automatically putting it where it needs to go. I just leave all these as a normal. I’m not going to use a template here. Sometimes I would. We saw that in the other videos I have, but for fixed layout I don’t bother.

Normally, you just say Normal Reflowable Book. In this case we’re going to go to Fixed Layout. Jutoh makes it nice to actually have different book styles for different devices. We can go here to Page Templates and you can see Kindle Fire. Low Res is 600 x 1024. If you want to do an iPad specific book, you can do that.

For this I’m just going to do Kindle. There’s no margin. You could put 10 if you want. You can see there’s 20. Those are points I believe is what he has them at. I just leave everything default. Add that. Oops. I don’t want to add. We’ll just click that so we’ve got it 600 x 1024, and if you want to add a margin you can do that, but in this case we won’t.

You can add Initial Page [Counsel 00:03:24]. Let’s make this a whopping four-page book just because it’s all the same once you get it down. The cover we don’t need to worry about. Now it’s going to create a project.

You’ll notice that in my control panel I’m missing the actual chapters. What you can do is go up here to View, and we want to say Organizer. Now it shows up as our four pages. If you want to add them you right-click New Document. You can copy and paste, but that’s all other stuff that’s not really related to this.

Let’s go to Page 1, and things are a little different. You’ll notice there’s not a whole bunch of fonts and objects and things like that. We can set a background image. We can say this is a single left page, a right page. A spread means that the two pages are connected together. It could be a blank page if you want to put a blank page in there.

You’ve got some tools over here which will also be the same as if you’re right over here if you right-click. Remember, right-clicking, I’m not sure on the MAC how that would be, but you MAC people already know how to do that kind of stuff.

What we’re basically going to do is remember that these are layers, so pretend you’re building a Photoshop document if you’re familiar with that. If we put a text object here, for example, we’ll just call it some text. It doesn’t really matter unless you want to name it. We can type in here, “This is my text, my trip to Cuba.” Now you’ll notice that the styles come up because it knows it’s text. Let’s change this to Heading 1 just for the heck of it. You’ve got your box you can change however you want. There you go.

Now let’s add a picture because that’s the whole point; right? We’ll go here and we’ll say “New Image Object” and we’ll go down, find my pictures here. Hold on. Okay, now I’m here, so let’s pick a picture of me in the studio. It doesn’t really matter. It will come up with the name of the file itself. You can call it “John in studio,” whatever you want to call it, if you need to remind yourself.

You’ll notice that it places it right at the top, and you’ll also notice something else. It covered up our text, but that’s no big deal. We can change that later. For now let’s just assume we want to move it and we’ve also got our resize right here and we can move it like that. That’s that.

If we go over here to Objects you can see “John in studio” in text. Let’s say I want to move this text here, but now it’s behind. Just like most things you can just click up and now the text is on top. If that ever happens to you and you want to put text on the picture or vice versa remember in this Objects pane you can change things. You can delete them also, whatever you want to do.

Let’s go here now, add another text object, and we’ll call this, “Description.” It doesn’t matter. You can leave it. You can save it, whatever you want.

We’ll go here to Okay. Notice it all goes to the top but you just drag it all down, and you can type in here. We’ll just say, “This is me at the studio.” That’s that. You can move it wherever you want, up and down, whatever you need to do.

That’s Page 1. Now we can go to Page 2. Let’s say I want to go to the beach. Now we’ll make a new image object. We’ll find something else. You can do whatever you want again. Let’s move it like this. Remember, the problem with eReaders is you turn them sideways and stuff, so it doesn’t really matter if they’re vertical or horizontal because that can be changed. Also you can click on most eReaders and it will enlarge the image.

We’ll say this once here. We’ll click New Text Object. Vero Beach. Whoops. Got to click inside. Vero Beach. Click that. Go to Heading 1. This time I’m going to make the text a different color, so we can go here and hit Text Color. We’re going to make this one white, so it’s going to disappear for a sec if we take it off, but we’ll just move it up here.

Move it up here, so now you can see if you had a kid’s book and you wanted to put some captioning or whatever. The nice thing about this is the text remains searchable whereas if you just had a bunch of jpegs with captions already built there’s no way to search them, so if it’s the kind of book where you need to maybe have your text searchable, you can do that more flexibly by doing this. We’ll close that off. You get the idea.

Page 3, I’m going to come back. I’ll have all four done just to save time. All right, I added some more, so we’ve got Page 3. I basically just have a picture with some centered stuff just showing you can do that.

Remember if you click in here you get your regular text toolbar. If you click in here you’ll get some other object properties. You can change your sizes, margins. Say you want to put an outline in it, background. If you want to change the color, put a shadow on it, anything like that. I’ll let you deal with that as you deem fit.

Page 4, I did the top. This is actually at Header 1, so that should show up in the Table of Contents which we’ll create. You’ll notice I overset the type. Okay, just to give you the complete experience, I made it so it actually overlaps the page. You’re going to see what happens with that when we actually create the book.

Now we’re going to build a Table of Contents. It doesn’t matter where you are on the document. Remember, you go up to Book, Build Table of Contents. I always like to do it myself in case there’s things I don’t want to show up. If you don’t have a content page like this one just click Create a Contents Page, click Next. It will ask if you want to create one. Say yes. Now it’s got the title, what your styles and that kind of things are.

We’ll go Style for Formatting, and here’s the matching style will be Heading 1. Now you can see that it shows up and now you see why I like to get rid of it, because I don’t need Table of Contents in there, so I’ll remove that.

Page 1; that shows up because we didn’t name them here, which is another alternate way to do this, so we’ll remove that. Page 3 we don’t need and Page 4 we don’t need. If we go Next, we’ve got our Table of Contents, and there’s ways to tweak this out, but now you can see it goes to where we want to go.

Now we’re going to compile it. I’m going to compile it into a Moby so it’s an Amazon one and it’s easier for me to show the finished book too because of the software on here.

We’re going to click Compile. It’s going to give me a warning because I didn’t fill out all the information, but that’s okay, and you can see now it’s processing the images. Important Metadata, then a warning, “A project cannot have both fixed layout and reflowable sections,” but that’s all right. It should be fixed. We’re going to hit Launch, Kindle Previewer. You should have that set up, and we’re going to look at this now and see how it looks.

We’ll go to Kindle Fire and you can see we’ve got our Table of Contents. We can go to Vero Darrow Beach and there we go. You can see our overlapping tile. We can look at it on a Kindle 8.9, and you’ll notice these black bars. That has to do with the aspect ratio of your pictures and there’s nothing that really can be done about it. It has nothing to do with the images or anything else. It’s just because this picture’s a different size and the Kindle Fire HD versus the HD 8.9 versus the Kindle Fire all have different aspect ratios, so there’s really nothing you can do about that. At least that’s what I’ve been told. Don’t panic over that.

We’ll look at other devices. Let’s look at it for an E-ink. You can see it changed everything to black and white, and Kindle and Kindle DX do not support fixed layout books, so those will be grayed out. Most people are probably going to be on a Kindle Fire. We can go through. You can see we’ve got everything where it needs to be. If we flip it over, then we get two pages. That I think depends on the device, but you may want to take that into consideration. You can actually lock these into one or the other, and that was in the beginning.

Hopefully this explains a little bit on how to create fixed layout documents. If you have any questions, please leave a comment. If you need Jutoh, please click the link below.


Please Note, I forgot to mention that you have to create a new page and copy the table of contents to it. You can’t have a fixed layout book with a reflowable section.

Simply right-click in the organizer to create a new page. Copy the Text from here and paste in the new page. Then delete the old Table of Contents.


Here is an updated post with video:


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