Charts & Tables in Ebooks: How to Get It Right

by Adam Schnapper on

If an ebook includes facts, figures, or data, it is common to present them in a table. Tables are an attractive way to have this information presented neatly, and they are able to stand out with a separate background color or border.

These tables however, need to be coded manually into the ebook and can become time consuming or expensive to make if there are several tables (1-2 per chapter, for instance).

Here at Vook, we often get projects that include tables, and we offer two solutions:

Tables as images

It's possible to simply export the tables as images from your Word document, PDF, or InDesign file. They are presented exactly as they appear in your original document, but they are essentially images.

  • The advantage? This method saves greatly on production time/cost. Also, since they are images, charts and tables are less likely to break across two pages. Design elements like line breaks and unique fonts will remain accurate when the chart or table is an image.
  • The disadvantage? The text contained within the tables, inserted as images, will not show up when a user searches your eBook. This text is also not selectable or recognized by the e-reading device as text, so features like highlighting and will not apply.

Tables as real text

We can re-create your tables as real text, by rebuilding them in HTML. With this method we can also make tables that look as they appear in your original document.

  • The advantage? Since these tables are real text, and recognized as such, their contents appear when a user searches your ebook. A user can also highlight the content in these tables, or any other features that apply to real text. When a user wants to change text size or font size, these tables will change size with the rest of the ebook.
  • The disadvantage? First and foremost, production time and cost are greater. Second, since tables as text will resize with the rest of the text, it may create unwanted line breaks in your table.

Above: A chart from Jeff's Explorer Series: SHARKS coded as real text. Content can be highlighted and copied.

So what's the right solution for you? Figure out what's best for your ebook by considering whether or not your readers might want to search and select content contained in charts. A VookMaker will be happy to advise when you sign up for your free VookMaker consultation. It's free to get started.

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