26 Getting Content into Pressbooks

In many cases, your users first questions will be about how they can get started creating books. There are a variety of ways to get content into Pressbooks. Read below for instructions on how each of these methods work.

Write Directly in Pressbooks

Writing your content directly into Pressbooks is the easiest and most infallible way to bring in content. We perform regular backups on all PressbooksEDU networks, and information will never be lost on it. If a user has experience with WordPress, the Pressbooks interface will be very familiar.

Use the Import Tool

Another option is to use Pressbooks’ one-click import tool.

To use this option:

  1. Go to Tools > Import
  2. Select the type of file you’re importing
  3. Choose whether to to upload a file or import from a link
  4. Upload the file OR input your link
  5. Click Begin Import

You can upload the following types of files:

  • EPUB (.epub)
  • Microsoft Word (.docx)
  • ODT (.odt)
  • XML (.wxr or .xml)
  • Webbook or Pressbooks URL (.html or URL)
Click on Tools > Import, choose your file type, and upload your file (or import your content from a URL).

If users are importing from Word documents, they may be interested to know about our supported shortcodes. These can be used in Word files to allow users to create and reliably include a variety of Pressbooks-supported features that would not otherwise survive the import process.

Clone an Existing Open Textbook

PressbooksEDU networks have a cloning feature that allows you to instantly copy an existing open textbook to revise, remix, and adapt it. If your network has the cloning feature enabled, you can clone any Pressbooks book that is:

  • Made in Pressbooks and public on the web
  • Licensed with a Creative Commons license that allows derivatives (NOTE: Only works licensed as “All rights reserved” or “NoDerivatives (ND)” cannot be cloned)

If you try to clone a book that doesn’t meet these criteria, you will receive an error. If the book you want to clone does meet the above criteria, you can follow these steps to create your copy:

1. On your Pressbooks dashboard, hover over My Catalog and click on Clone a Book

Hover over My Catalog on the top menu, then click Clone a Book from the dropdown menu

You’ll be taken to the Clone page:

Enter your source book URL and target book URL on the cloning interface

2. Copy/paste the Source Book URL into the provided field – this is the URL of the book you would like to clone

The source URL is in the address bar of the Pressbooks book you'd like to clone.

3. Enter the Target Book URL – this is the URL for your new version of the book. You will be able to edit and export the book from this URL on your network. Note that it cannot be changed later. We recommend using the new book’s title

4. Click on Clone It!
Click "Clone It!" to clone the chosen source book

5. Once the process is complete, you will receive the following message:

Message reads: "Cloning succeeded Cloned 47 terms, 2 front matter, 5 parts, 0 chapters, 2 back matter, and 8 media attachments to your book.

Once this is complete, you can click on the new book’s title to be redirected to the dashboard, or enter the new URL to navigate to the book homepage. Note: The cloning routine is designed to copy metadata, media attachments as well as any H5P activities created and used within that book.

Copy / Paste

We recognize that lots of users tend to write in Google Docs / Word (and other platforms), due to convenience and biquity. That being said, ‘directly putting content into Pressbooks’ can also include copying and pasting from these documents. You can copy and paste text from a Word document into chapters in Pressbooks. If you do this, we recommend starting from a clean Word document, with chapter headers styled as Heading 1s.  You can read more about this method in our Pressbooks User Guide.


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The Pressbooks Network Manager's Guide by Pressbooks is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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