I am preparing a book for ePub conversion in Indesign CC 2014. I have noticed almost all professional ePub eBooks have their TOCs reference every single page starting with the cover page. In print, you would generally start referencing from the Preface page onward. My question is, how do I reference, say, the cover page in my TOC? For instance, here's a screen grab from an eBook opened in iBooks for Mac with the drop down TOC showing entries starting with "Title Page" whereas the page being referenced has just one single image and no text at all:

enter image description here

Ideally, one would use the page header's paragraph style in the TOC style dialog to create a corresponding TOC entry for that page. But on pages like cover and title, there's no text, let alone page title! So how would one reference those pages in the TOC in the absence of a paragraph style?

  • Why the format doesn't have the back of the book? Feb 23, 2021 at 14:58

2 Answers 2


I really know little about InDesign and less about desktop ebook readers for Macs.

But I know ibooks, and I'm guessing that the page numbers are calculated by the program. The TOC comes from the toc.ncx file inside the epub zip. Indesign probably auto-generates that from chapter titles.

On my title page I often link to parts inside the ebook, and even though it's theoretically possible for me to link back to it, I can't think of a situation where i would need to.

On most ebook reading platforms, the cover page is not listed in the TOC but if you go Page Back from the first page (or the title page), you can usually get to there easily.

  • So how does one reference the "title" page in the TOC (.ncx)? As you can imagine, there's no text explicitly saying "title" on my title page so am not sure what paragraph style to reference so that my TOC has an entry called "Title Page" linking to it.
    – TheLearner
    Jul 6, 2015 at 19:02
  • a title page is an html file at the beginning of a book which contains publishing info and author name and copyright. the toc.ncx file is some file which populates the listing when the user selects TOC. It is not intended to be editable and it's accessible only when the user selects that feature in the software. Jul 7, 2015 at 10:21
  • I never said I intended to "edit" the .ncx file. And I completely understand what title page and .ncx are composed of. My question is very simple: How does one make the .ncx file (the ePub's navigational TOC) refer to the title page which is composed of the book's title and the names of the author and publisher, all rasterized as an image. For an illustration of what i am looking at doing, please refer to the image in question. That's exactly what I wish to achieve.
    – TheLearner
    Jul 8, 2015 at 2:03
  • Sorry, I never saw your reply question. I'm assuming you figured it out now, but I think all you need to do is to add a reference to the title.html file in .ncx. Please note that the epub3 way is even easier. You need to put it within the nav element. Check around here idpf.org/epub/301/spec/epub-contentdocs.html#sec-xhtml-nav-def Mar 5, 2016 at 2:13

If the InDesign file is already in .indb format, each .indd file will be created as its own chapter in the epub file. If that's not an option, I would personally get into the HTML and make the title page and whatnot into individual chapters manually. If that's not something you're comfortable doing, you might be able to do something hacky like insert an invisible character on those pages, have InDesign break the chapter there, and also set it to not export those styles.

Also, if you're going from a print version to an epub 3 version, you can add page lists so that iBooks will refer to the print page numbers.

  • It IS a .indb with each chapter in a separate .indd of its own. Other front matter items such as cover, copyright, and title pages are also separate .indd files. However, that doesn't help. I need some way to "reference" those chapters without a chapter title (for example the title page or the cover page which have no text, just image) in the TOC. TOC entries rely on paragraph styles but what does one do where there IS no paragraph style to reference?
    – TheLearner
    Jul 7, 2015 at 2:30
  • Also, I tried the invisible character hack but nothing I did worked. The moment something goes invisible (using conditional text or hidden layer), the NCX stops recognizing that style. I even tried changing the font color to none but that doesn't help as it still gets rendered as visible text in the final ePub.
    – TheLearner
    Jul 7, 2015 at 2:31
  • I'm not able to check on InDesign at the moment, but I could have sworn that when exporting an .indb file, it would split reach file into chapters. Portugal's check the Export Options?
    – Tom
    Jul 8, 2015 at 14:43
  • Yes it does and I'm aware of it. So how does that solve my problem? I never said I had trouble having the chapters in separate documents because that's what I'm doing already. My question is about "referencing" them in my ncx file. More specifically, the title page and cover page. I have all other documents referenced as expected.
    – TheLearner
    Jul 8, 2015 at 18:33

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