How to Create an iBook using the iBook Author App

iBook Author logo: book with orange shell in the background and pen in the foreground.

Create educational multi-touch iBooks using iBooks Author by following these directions!

iBooks is a free app and e-book reader found in the Apple App Store, available for all iOS devices and Apple computers.  Download iBooks for the iPad.   The following directions are for iBooks Author, a robust authoring tool that enables teachers to create digital books that can include sound clips, videos, tables and practice questions.  iBooks Author is a free app available only for Apple computers.  You must have an Apple computer to use iBooks Author!  Once the digital book is created, you can email or share the book to other Apple devices.  Open and read the book in iBooks on your Apple computer, iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone.

Before creating your iBook, place desired pictures, sound clips and/or videos on you Apple computer desktop.  Be sure to name these items appropriately as screen readers will announce the name.  You can choose to place each page of desired text as word documents on your desktop to easily drag and drop into the book, you can copy and paste the text or you can manually type in your text as you create each iBook page.  Install iBooks Author on you Apple computer.  Install iBooks on your Apple devices.

iBooks Are For Everyone!

iBooks are for students of all ages and abilities, and across all subjects.  Educators can create:

  • Books for emerging readers
  • Books for braille readers (iPad paired with a braille display; mute VoiceOver for braille only)
  • Books for students with CVI
  • Chapter books
  • Textbooks
  • O&M books
  • Content on any subject

To see the free books available on Paths to Technology, go to the iBooks section.


  1. From your Mac, open iBooks Author.
  2. Select an iBook template.  (I used the Basic Landscape.)

These directions refer to the creation of the Loggerhead Turtle iBook.

Title Page

  1. In the left column, select Title.
  2. Note: The template uses Latin text as a placeholder.
  3. Highlight Title then type in the title of your book.  Press Enter. (I typed “Loggerhead Turtles”.)
  4. Drag-and-drop desired cover picture from desktop and release on top of the sunflower template picture.  Note:  The Title page is the only place that you should use drag-and-drop to add pictures, as the Title page picture is only the book cover on the iBook bookshelf – VoiceOver does not announce this picture.  (Pictures within the actual book need to have VoiceOver accessibility tags; drag-and-drop does not allow you to add accessibility tags.)
  5. Select and delete “Lorem Ipsum” at the top of the title page.
  6. Select “Dolor Set Amet” at bottom of the page; type in the desired author’s name.  Press Enter. (I typed “Diane Brauner”.)


Be sure to save your book as you go along!

  1. Select File located at the very top of the computer screen to the right of the Apple Symbol.
  2. Select Save As and type the name of this iBook.  After the first time, simply select Save each time you want to update and save your new work.

Content - Chapter Page

  1. In the left column, select Chapter 1.
  2. Select “Untitled” and type in the Title of your book.  Press Enter.  (I typed “Loggerhead Turtles.”)
  3. Click on Latin text below the title – this selects the text.  Type in your desired text; if text is on your desktop, simply drag-and-drop the text to the desired location or copy and paste the text onto the page.
  4. See Add Picture Gallery instructions below to add the picture.  Do NOT use drag-and-drop to add the picture; you need to include the accessibility tag with every picture.

Content - Normal Page

* Author’s Note:  I prefer to delete the Section template pages and replace with blank pages.

  1. In the left column, select the “Section 1 Untitled” and delete.  A pop-up appears asking if you want to delete two pages.  Select Delete.  This will delete two template pages.
  2. At the very top left corner, select “+”  (Add Pages).
  3. In the pop-up, select “Pages” (blank page).  Then select your desired page layout.  (I used the two columns layout, so that I could have text on the left side of the page and pictures or questions on the right side of the page.)
    • Note: A 2 column page layout is like an open book with a left page and a right page.  It is NOT 2 columns on one page.)
  4. Click on the Latin text.  This will highlight the entire two pages of text.  Begin typing your desired text or delete text then drag your text from the desktop.

Formatting Options

The text on the normal pages is smaller than the text on the Chapter page.  To adjust the text size on the normal page, select the text then select the desired size and/or font type in the tool bar at the top of the page.  The tool bar includes other formatting such as bold, italics, underline, centering, and the amount of space between lines.  I changed the text to Arial, 24 point font. Be sure to correct any words that are divided between two lines!  Add blank spaces to move the full word to the next line.  You can also choose to change the amount of space between the lines.  The default is 1.2. 

Add Picture Gallery

You must use Picture Gallery to insert pictures in order to label the pictures with accessibility tags.  Drag-and-drop does not allow you to add accessibility tags to each picture. 

Note: Click on the picture gallery on the iBook page in order to activate the Widget popup.

You can add one picture or multiple pictures using the Picture Gallery; when you add multiple pictures, these pictures will appear one at a time in the picture carousel format.

  1. Select Widgets located in the tool bar.
  2. Select Gallery.
  3. Drag the Gallery to the desired location on the iBook page.
  4. Using the popup Widget menu, Select the + button to add a picture.
    1. A popup appears listing the items on your desktop.  Select the desired picture.
    2. The first picture moved to the gallery will be the first picture in the carouse.
  5. Under Accessibility Description, highlight the Latin and then type a good Alt Tag (to describe what the picture represents).
  6. Name the Picture Gallery: Select the Latin text above the picture and type the desired gallery name.  This name will automatically appear above every picture in this gallery.
  7. Highlight and delete the Latin text below each picture and type in the desired text or leave it blank.
  8. Repeat #4-7 until all the desired pictures are added to the gallery.
  9.  Scroll through the pictures using the left or right arrows located below the picture.
  10.  When finished, exit the Widget popup by clicking on the red circle at the top left corner of the popup.  Note: If you accidently closed the Widget popup, click on the picture and the Widget will appear.  If you have closed then reopened the book, click on “i” (Inspector) to re-open the Widget popup.
  11. To delete a picture and text, make sure the focus is on the desired picture then select the minus sign in the Widget popup.

To add an Accessible Table

Note:  Click on the table on the iBook page in order to activate the Widget popup.

When created properly, iBook tables are accessible.  If your table is too wide for the two columns page, create a new page and select the one column page.  

  1. Select Table located at the top of the page in the Tool bar.
  2. In the Widget popup, choose the desired number of rows and columns.  (I chose 7 rows and 4 columns.)
  3. Under Headers and Footers, select your desired table format.  (I chose a top header and left header.)
  4. Select the Cell Borders for dark outline on the headers.
  5. You have additional choices for cell background, alternating row colors, etc.
  6. Size the table to fit the space – larger tables are typically easier for students with VIB. (Click on the edge of the table until the small squares appear in the table corners.  Drag the corner square until the table is the desired size.  You can also change the amount of space of the column width and table height.
  7. To change the type of font, size of font or to bold the text, use the normal formatting options in the Tool bar located at the top of the page.  (I increased the font size and changed the numbers to Arial Black font, which is a better font for numbers.)

Teacher Hint:  When using a table with VoiceOver, set the Rotor to Rows, then use the arrow keys to navigate up, down, left and right.  When moving from row to row or column to column, VoiceOver will announce the new column header or row header along with the content of the cell.  *Note:  The accessibility feature of setting the Rotor to Rows and using the arrow keys is currently broken in iBooks Tables in iOS 9 and 10.  VoiceOver should also state the true name of the column and row headers. 

To Add Review Questions

  1.  Select Widgets located in the Tool bar at the top of the page.
  2.  Select Review.
  3. Select the Latin text in the Title of the Review and type the desired title of the questions.  (I used “Loggerhead Turtles”.)
  4. Select the Latin text in the question area and type the desired question.
  5. Select Answer A and type the possible answer.  Repeat for Answers B, C and D.
  6. Select the correct answer. (Click on the circle to the left of the correct answer).
  7. The Review popup has the option of 2 – 6 answers.  You can choose two answers to create true/false questions.
  8. To add another Question, select the “+” (Add symbol) in the Review popup.  To delete a Question, select the “-“ (Minus symbol).
  9. If you use a picture in your question, be sure to include an accessibility label that describes the picture without giving away the answer!

To Add a Video or Audio Clip

Be sure to choose short video and audio clips, as these take up a lot of memory space.

  1. Select Widget located in the Tool bat at the top of the page.
  2. Select Media.
  3. Drag and drop video from your desktop to the middle of the page.
  4. Select the Open in Full Screen option.
  5. Select the Plays Automatically option.

Note:  Downloaded audio clips typically are automatically opened and played in iTunes.  If the downloaded audio clip is in iTunes, to add the clip to your book:

  1. Select the Media Tab in iBooks Author (not the Widget tab).
  2. Select Music.
  3. Scroll to the name of the desired audio clip and select.

Note:  If the downloaded audio clip is in Downloads, to add the clip to your book:

  1. Open Downloads
  2. Drag the clip to the desktop.
  3. Open the Widgets tab in iBooks Author.
  4. Select the Media tab.
  5. Select the audio clip from your desktop or drag the audio clip into the Media textbox. and are two Creative Commons (no copyright - clips are available for anyone to use) websites where you can download free audio clips.

If you are using a Creative Commons YouTube video, copy the video's URL and paste it into a free converter website, such as  This will enable you to save the YouTube video to your desktop.

To Add Glossary Terms

  1. Select A-Z Glossary Tab (in the left column towards the top).
  2. Under Glossary, (middle of the page) select the + button.
  3. Replace the highlighted “untitled”, by typing in the new glossary term.
  4. Highlight the Latin paragraph on the right side and type in the desired definition.
  5. Repeat until all the new glossary terms and definitions have been added.
  6. Find and highlight the desired word in the text of the book.
  7. Make sure the glossary term in the Index Link For box (above the book page) matches the word in the text that you just highlighted.  (If it does not match, use the arrow to move to the desired word and select.)
  8. Right click on Add Link.  (This will add an outlined box around the highlighted word.)
  9. With the word still highlighted, select the “a” at the toolbar on the left side.
  10. Select the option, “Glossary Primary Definition”.  This will make the highlighted word Bold, so that students who are reading the book will know it is a glossary term.

Update: There is now an easier way to add Glossary Terms:

  1. Highlight the desired word in the book.
  2. Select the A-Z Glossary tab (in the left column towards the the top)
  3. Type in the desired definition in the textbox.  The word is now automatically linked to the bolded word in the text of the book.

To Undo

If you want to undo the last action or remove the last text, at the very top of the computer screen (located to the right of the Apple symbol) select Edit, then select Undo.  You can Undo multiple actions by selecting Undo multiple times.

Preview iBook

To quickly view the iBook as you are creating the book, click on the Preview button at the top of the page.

Do NOT select Publish button (beside the Preview button) as this is meant to publish in the iBooks Store.

To Send Finished Book to the iBooks App

  1. Select File (located in the Tool bar at the very top of the page, to the right of the Apple symbol).
  2. Select Export.  (Do NOT select Publish.  Publish will send your book to the iBooks Store, where everyone will have access to the book!)
  3. In the popup, make sure iBooks is selected (not PDF or text) then select Next.
  4. In the next popup, select Desktop, then select Export.  The iBook will now be physically located on your desktop.
  5. To open in iBooks on this computer, select the iBook on your desktop; it will automatically open in the iBooks app.
  6. To send the book to your iPad/iOS device or to someone else with an iOS device, Control + Click on the desktop symbol of the book. 
  • Select Share.
  • Select Mail to email the book, type in the address and hit send.  (You can also use Air Drop if the other device is physically close by.)  FYI:  iBooks with videos will take longer to upload.
  • To open the emailed iBook on an iPad, select the desired email.
  • Select the “Tap to Download iBooks”.  Once it is downloaded, the attachment will show the iBooks symbol.
  • Tap on the iBooks symbol.
  • Select Copy to iBooks.  (You may have to scroll through the various options until you locate Copy to iBooks.)  The book will automatically open in iBooks.  (You must have the iBooks app on the iPad.)  Longer iBooks, or those with videos, may take time to download.  The best option is to share through Air Drop, if possible. Be sure that you have good Internet access!)
  • Now the iBook is physically located in the iBooks app; next time, go directly to the iBooks app to find the book.

NOTE:  If you have opened the book in iBooks and then made changes to the book, you MUST DELETE the original book from iBooks before sending the updated book to iBooks.  If you send a new version of the book with the same title, it will not update.

You must keep the original iBook Author file in order to share the iBook with others! Or, share your iBook on Paths to Technology.  If shared with Paths to Technology, the book will be physically stored on the website's server and can be easily shared/downloaded by everyone.  Remember, iBooks with videos and audio clips will take up some space on your computer.

To Add Your iBook to Paths to Technology

Please consider sharing your books on Paths to Technology - other students and teachers will benefit from your book as hte iBook depositor grows!  Upload your book directly to Paths to Technology following the steps below or email and we will upload it for you!

  1. Follow the directions on Learn How to Share Your Ideas.
  2. An iBook is added as an attachment (Step 4).
    1. Under Add a New File, Choose File > select your iBook from your desktop (must have ".ibook" extension) > upload.  (If the book contains a video, it will take time to initially upload.)
  3. Once the iBook is uploaded, right click on the title of the attached/uploaded iBook and copy the link.
  4. Highlight the book title in your post text.
  5. Select the Link button (image looks like binoculars).
  6. Paste the copied link and select OK.

Accessibility of iBooks Author App

The iBooks app is fully accessible, including the glossary terms, flashcards, etc.  The iBooks Author app is also accessible.  If you are visually impaired and are created a book using iBooks Author, chose a blank page layout (no columns). Images, videos, etc. will automatically be in the center of the page.  When using the 2 column layout, the image is automatically centered across the two pages (left and right side of an open book).  You will need to move the image so that it lays completely on either the left page or the right page.  Placing the image in the correct position might be challenging for people who use VoiceOver.

To Find Teacher/Student/Family Created iBooks Available on Paths to Technology

Go to the iBooks section on the Paths to Technology website.

iBook collage


Posted by David BNov 01, 2018

Thanks a lot!
Switching from KDP to iBooks I didn't know where to start. This is really helpful.