User Tools

Using the Word to EPUB tool

This page needs to be reviewed and updated.
Production Coordinator is responsible for generating, reviewing, and publishing files.

This tool is developed under a volunteer project under the auspices of the DAISY Consortium. It provides a simple but powerful method to create EPUB from Microsoft Word documents. Requirements are:

  • Windows 7, 8 or 10 (earlier versions may work but are untested)
  • Word 2010 or later (earlier versions may also work)

Installing the tool

Start the setup program and follow the simple steps (contact Content Coordinator for the installation file). You have the option to add a desktop icon, and to install a button on the ribbon as a Word Add-in. Please do both!

Updating the tool

When you run the program, it will prompt you to update if there is a later version available. You can turn this automatic checking off in Settings. Also, in Settings you can manually check for an update.

If you notice that a new update is available, go ahead and install it. Also let the Content Coordinator know, just in case the update requires a change in workflow.

Using the tool

The tool can be used from within Word itself, or as a standalone application. NNELS uses the tool from within Word.

From within Word, the document you want to convert should be open. From the Home ribbon, select "Save as EPUB". Confirm the filename and folder for the EPUB:

  • Save EPUB as: enter the title of the book using underscores instead of spaces and removing any punctuation such as commas, apostrophes, accents, etc. Example: Harry_potter_and_the_sorcerers_stone
  • EPUB Folder: choose a folder where you'd like to save the generated EPUB file

In the Settings area, set the following:

  • Default conversion options:
    • Check Include TOC inline
    • Check Delete Word TOC
    • Set Languages to English-en
    • Select Left to right
    • Uncheck Insert page numbers in EPUB
    • Set CSS file to default.css
    • Set Split at heading level to 1
    • Set Publisher to National Network for Equitable Library Service
  • User interface options:
    • Check Start in advanced mode
    • Check Verbose messages during conversion
    • Set User interface language to English
  • Word Addin: Here you can install or remove the Word add-in.
  • Updates:
    • Select Check for updates automatically (you can also manually check for updates here if you choose to unselect this automatic check option). It's recommended to keep it checked.

For additional features, select the Advanced tab. Now you can change the cover image, language, metadata and more.

Advanced features

After selecting a file for conversion, display the Advanced options (this will be displayed by default once you set your settings as above). A multipage dialog will appear. The available options are described below.


There are a multiple options available, but we simply select the "no cover image" option.


The metadata in the EPUB provides information about your title to reading apps and in distribution channels. The Word properties for the title and author (creator) are used, so be sure these are set correctly. The date can be left as is (the date of EPUB generation). Publisher should be set to the default National Network for Equitable Library Service.

An accessibility summary is also suggested, which can be adjusted if there is additional useful information about the title that can be conveyed to someone with print disabilities. NNELS does not add the print page number equivalents to files (unless requested) and we always add image descriptions if needed, so you should adjust the default accessibility summary to read: "The publication contains structural navigation. Alt text is included for images."

EPUB options

  • Language: A future version of the tool should automatically detect the primary language of the work, but in the meantime, you can set it here. This will ensure that the correct language is used for text to speech, for example.
  • Left to right is the usual direction in which languages are read, however if the primary language of the book is one in which the text is read from right to left then this must be checked instead (i.e. Arabic).
  • Insert inline table of contents: The tool will generate an inline table of contents (based on the heading structure); this is checked by default. The table of content feature of the reading app will still work correctly. The title of the inline of table of contents can be specified here. NNELS uses the default "Table of Contents" for all English works; for works in non-English languages, be sure to translate this appropriately.
  • Delete any existing Word table of contents: Use default (checked).
  • CSS file: NNELS uses the default CSS stylesheet.
  • Split at heading level: Use default (checked). The Word document is split into parts and included in the EPUB as several XHTML files. By default this is done at each paragraph with a Heading 1 style (there may be cases where we prefer this to happen at Heading 2 or lower, and we can adjust that here).

Page numbers

Page navigation is a powerful feature of the EPUB format. Whilst the number of ‘screens’ in the same title will vary according to the display size, font size and margins, the page navigation will always take you to the same place. It means that a user can turn to a specific page quickly, and they will be on the same page as someone using the printed title.

By default, the Word to EPUB tool includes the page numbers used in the Word document. So, if page numbering is set to start from 100, then this is what will be used in the EPUB. The source of the page numbering is noted in the EPUB metadata, and this can be changed in this dialog. If the source is a specific print edition, it may be helpful to note this.

Due to time restraints and reasons of practicality, NNELS does not add print page numbers to files (unless requested), so be sure to uncheck the insert page numbers in EPUB box.

Note: Alternative methods of marking page numbers can been used. The Word to EPUB tool supports a couple of these techniques - page numbers can be manually included by marking them using the built-in style "Heading level 6" or using the style "Page Number (DAISY)".


Currently there are a couple of ways you can include math in your EPUB.

If you use Word to include the math (insert, equation) then the math formula will be exported as MathML. This can provide a good experience for readers with low vision or who use a screen reader, but support in the reading apps is not widespread.

Alternatively, you can include the math expression as an image and provide the alt text. For this, you may find the online MathML Cloud tool useful, which is available at

Including the math as an image means it should display OK in all reading systems, but the accessibility experience is sub-optimal. A best practice approach for including math in EPUBs is under active development.

It is hoped that math will be better supported in the Word to EPUB tool, when best practice is defined and reading systems support has improved.


The options used by Word to EPUB can be configured and saved for each user.

The settings for EPUB conversion can be determined on the first tab.

Next, the behavior of the tool can be adjusted. A message prompts the user if the tool is started in standalone mode, but this can be disabled.

By default, the tool starts with a simple interface, but the advanced mode can be used by default if desired. This is recommended.

During the production of the EPUB the tool can provide lots of messages about the different stages of the conversion if selected. The tool user interface will use the language selected for Windows if available, but it is possible to manually force from the available options also.

Many users, including NNELS, will choose to use Word to EPUB from the ribbon, which uses a simple Add-in to launch the tool. There is the option to install this when setup is first run, but it is also possible to add or remove this from within the tool itself. It is likely that Word will need to be restarted for the Add-in button to appear.

Finally, it is possible to check for the latest version of the Word to EPUB tool from the last tab of the settings dialog.

Batch conversions

To convert multiple documents in one go, start the Word to EPUB program and select the documents, then the destination folder. The EPUBs will be created using your currently selected default options.

public/nnels/epub/word-to-epub.txt · Last modified: 2020/01/10 15:28 by farrah.little