Formatting Your Book Using InDesign, Part 5

Now that you have your book formatted for paperback printing, it’s time to set up the table of contents necessary to produce the ebook versions of your book as well as generate the .mobi file for Kindle.

Setting Up a Table of Contents

To set up your book’s table of contents page, perform the following steps (note: this page will not appear in the ePub or .mobi file but is necessary for navigation on e-readers):

  1. Choose File > New > Document
  2. Select the preset template you set up earlier
  3. Choose Layout > Table of Contents
  4. From the Paragraph Styles palette, choose Load Paragraph Styles
  5. Select any chapter file
  6. Click Open
  7. Deselect all but the Title and h1 styles
  8. Click OK and save the file as TOC.indd.


  1. Add TOC.indd to the very end of the bookfile and save the bookfile
  2. Choose Layout > Table of Contents
  3. Set the Style: to Title
  4. In Other Styles, click h1 and <<Title and <<Add
  5. Set Entry Style to TOC Body Text
  6. Click Include Book Documents
  7. Click OK.


  1. Click the cursor in the upper left of your TOC text frame. The word Contents and all your chapters should appear
  2. Save TOC.indd
  3. Save the bookfile.


To create the .mobi file for Kindle, perform the following steps:

  1. Install the free Kindle plug-in available from Amazon
  2. From the bookfile palette menu, choose Export Book for Kindle
  3. Choose where you want your output file to be saved
  4. Name the file


In the Kindle Export Options dialog, complete the following:

  1. In the General pane, click Include InDesign TOC entries
  2. Select TOC.indd in the Document: popdown menu
  3. In the Cover Image field, click the blank button to the right of the empty field to browse and locate the JPG file of your book’s front cover
  4. In the Export embedded fonts topdown menu, select Don’t embed any fonts.


  1. In the Content pane, select the document’s Start Reading Location (usually the Titlepage.indd file)
  2. Select Preserve white spaces and new lines
  3. Select Preserve forced line breaks.


If your book includes images other than the cover file, set up the images as shown in the dialog box here.


  1. In the Metadata pane, complete all the fields with your book’s information
  2. Click Guided Export.
  3. Note: You may see an error warning the first time you attempt to generate a .mobi file. Simply select Export Book for Kindle from the bookfile again. All the information you entered in the Kindle Export Options pane will still be there. Click Guided Export and the conversion should begin.


Now it’s time to test your .mobi file to be sure everything has converted correctly.

  1. Open the .mobi file in Kindle Previewer (a free app from Amazon)
  2. Review the file to ensure proper translation
  3. Fix any issues in the InDesign source files (these would include any incorrect paragraph or character tagging)
  4. Regenerate the .mobi file
  5. Review the file in Kindle Previewer
  6. When you are satisfied with your .mobi book, upload it to Amazon in your KDP dashboard.

Next time, we’ll cover how to create an ePub file for other ebook retailers.

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