## Thursday, August 22, 2013

### Here it is calibre 1.0 in all it's glory

calibre 1.0 has just been released. It took us only 7 years to get here ;). Yes, we are only a little more than 2 months away from calibre's 7th birthday. This is a big moment, so allow us to indulge in a few lines of nostalgia before we go into all the cool stuff that calibre 1.0 brings.

calibre started life on 31 October, 2006, soon after the release of the SONY PRS-500, the first e-ink based reader to be sold commercially in the US. This was accomplished with the help of the fine folks over at mobileread.com (A big thank you to you guys for your support over the years). calibre was then called  libprs500. At the time there were no satisfactory tools to convert content into the LRF format, used by the SONY reader, so Kovid Goyal decided to implement a converter to convert the most popular e-book formats to LRF. This converter proved to be wildly popular.

As Kovid's e-book collection grew, he realized that managing it was quickly becoming unwieldy, so he decided to write a graphical interface to libprs500.
At this point (mid 2008) libprs500 was renamed to calibre (Converter And LIBRary for Ebooks) . The libre in calibre stands for freedom, indicating that calibre is a free and open source product, modifiable by all. Nonetheless, calibre should be pronounced as cali-ber, not ca-libre. People often ask why, so I'll clarify. It is because Kovid wanted a regular English word that most people would know. He grew up in India where we are taught English (UK) in schools and that is how calibre is spelled in English (UK). For more details on the choice of the name click here.

Ok enough with the speeches. Let's get to the exciting stuff. A comprehensive list of features added since 0.9.0 is here. Lets look at some of them in detail.

• Cover Grid : Judge ebooks by their covers ;)This the most recent feature to be introduced. It allows you to view your ebook collection as a grid of covers. This is what it looks like:To see the cover grid click the "grid of squares" icon at the bottom right corner of the main window (left of Jobs). As it is with most calibre features many aspects of the cover grid can be customized. Go to preferences -> Look and Feel and you will see a new tab labeled "Cover Grid". Click on it and this is what you see:

As you can see in the figure above, you can choose:
If the title should be displayed below the covers in the grid.

Spacing between covers: calibre chooses the spacing between covers automatically based on       your screen size. However you can customize it by typing in a spacing of your choice as I have entered 0.5cm here.

Background color: The default is grey (see first figure) but you can change it to any color of your choice by clicking the "change color" button. I have chosen pink here, the effect of  which you can see in the next figure with a cover grid.

Cover sizes: calibre chooses the cover sizes automatically based on your screen size, however you can customize that by clicking on "Larger" or "Smaller" covers. In the cover grid displayed in this post I clicked on  "Larger covers". You can also enter the size you like by typing it in.

• A new, faster database backend
The database backend in calibre has been re-written from scratch. The new code is smaller, more robust and 2-3 times as fast as the old code. No pretty pictures for this, but those of you that have large book collections should appreciate the speed.

In the "Edit Metadata" window if you click on the comments section the following button in the rows of buttons above it becomes active:
Click on it and the following window opens:

Now click on "Browse" to choose the image on your computer you wish to use.Then click OK. The caveat is that if you move the image on your computer to a new location then you will have to redo this. The image I chose is High Sunderland Hall. Here is how the second image will appear under "Book Details" (right most column of main window)  in the main calibre window when the book is selected:

To be able to see the image in the book details you have to go to Preferences -> Look and Feel -> Book Details and make sure "Comments" is selected.

• Conversion: Add option to embed all referenced fonts [0.9.37]
Add an option to embed all fonts that are referenced in the input document but are not already embedded. This will search your system for the referenced font, and if found, the font will be embedded. Only works if the output format supports font embedding (for example: EPUB or AZW3). The option is under the Look & Feel section of the conversion dialog.

• Conversion of Microsoft Word documents (.docx files generated by Word 2007 or newer) [0.9.34]
DOCX files created with Microsoft Word 2007 or newer can now be converted by calibre. The converter has support for lists, tables, images, all types of text formatting, footnotes, endnotes and even dropcaps. A sample docx file showing the capabilities of the converter is available:

Here is a picture of  a page from the demo document in docx format converted to epub by calibre:

Notice how well it preserves the formatting.

• Allow adding user specified icons to the main book list for books whose metadata matches specific criteria. [0.9.17]

Go to Preferences -> Look & Feel  and you will see a tab called "Column icons". Click on it and the following window opens:

Click on add a rule and you see:

The rules work in the same way as the column coloring rules. After adding the rule shown in the image above the library looks like this:

Notice the little pink heart next to the titles of the the two ebooks in the list that have the Romance tag.
• Complete rewrite of the PDF Output engine, to support links and fix various bugs [0.9.13]

• 64 bit build for windows [0.9.9]
calibre now has a 64 bit version for windows, available at: http://calibre-ebook.com/download_windows64 . You can have both the 32 bit and the 64 bit build installed at the same time, they will use the same libraries, plugins and settings.
Hope you enjoy all the features calibre 1.0 offers :)

## Wednesday, July 31, 2013

### ebooks of web content and virtual libraries

This blog post will discuss a class of plugins that allow you to make ebooks of content from the web, like chosen Wikipedia pages and recipe pages from sites like cooks.com, bigoven.com, foodnetwork and allrecipes as well as the calibre virtual libraries feature.

### make your own ebooks from web content

The internet makes a lot of information available at your fingertips. But sometimes it is too much to take in at once, or not in a form convenient to use.

#### recipe books

The gist is:
Create an ebook of recipes from from the particular recipe website whose plugin you have downloaded by entering the urls of interest

Main Features
• Create ebook of recipes
• Give the ebook a title of your choice

Special Notes: Requires calibre version 0.8.58 or later.

Usage
• Click plugin button
• Enter a title for the ebook (optional)
• If you do not enter a title, the title will be the same as that of the first recipe
• Enter URL of recipe.
• To enter another URL click "Add another URL" and enter the URL in the field that appears
• Repeat till you have entered all the URLs you want
• Click OK

### virtual libraries

Virtual libraries allow you to conveniently manage a subset of your library. The virtual library button has been available since calibre 0.9.28. It is at the top left corner of the main calibre window under the main toolbar.

This feature used to be called 'Search restriction'. The new virtual libraries are easier to use, but otherwise fulfill the same function. Lets consider an example to explore this feature.

In the following example I tag ebooks created by the user (say using the above mentioned plugins) as "Compiled". Say I want to manage my "compiled" ebooks today, fix their metadata etc. I can do that by isolating them in to a separate virtual library. How do I do this?

Click on the virtual library icon and in the drop down menu that shows up click on "Create Virtual Library". Now a new window opens that allows you to create a virtual library based on commonly used parameters like Authors, Tags, series etc by just clicking on the appropriate parameter. If you want to create a more unusual virtual library (like books added in last 50 days) you can type in the Virtual library name and Search expression. For details on how to enter search expressions and how powerful these searches can be see the user manual page on the subject.
In this example however I have already tagged the ebooks of interest as "compiled", so I just click on "Tags" and a smaller window with all the tags listed opens over the previous one.

Now I just select the "Compiled" tag from the list. You can choose multiple tags and create the virtual library with books containing either any or all the tags of choice. Just select the appropriate option. If using a single tag this choice does not matter.

So here is the virtual library of compiled ebooks that can now be managed in isolation.

The recipe ebooks compiled using the some of the 4 recipe reader plugins mentioned above are tagged in red using column coloring feature discussed here. As you can see there are 5 of them and the tag browser shows that too.

Now say that you had just used the compiled tag to isolate the compiled ebooks instead of using virtual libraries. Then you would see,

where while there are only 5 "compiled" recipes again, the tag browser shows 7. This is because the tag browser shows the number of ebooks tagged recipes in the entire library (compiled or otherwise) and not just those displayed with the "compiled" tag. So, a virtual library is different from a simple search. A search will only restrict the list of books shown in the book list. A virtual library does that, and in addition it also restricts the entries shown in the Tag Browser to the left. A virtual library thus behaves as though the actual library contains only the restricted set of books.

#### what else can you do?

• You can edit a previously created virtual library or remove it, by clicking the Virtual Library and choosing the appropriate action.
• You can tell calibre that you always want to apply a particular virtual library when the current library is opened, by going to Preferences->Behavior.
• If you use the calibre Content Server, you can have it share a virtual library instead of the full library by going to Preferences->Sharing over the net.
• You can quickly use the current search as a temporary virtual library by clicking the Virtual Library button and choosing the *current search entry.

Hope you found the article useful. See you again when we have big news.

## Sunday, April 7, 2013

### magic with TOC: edit or create a TOC for your documents or ebooks

Hope you enjoyed polishing and shining your e-books. Now let's look at more heavy duty stuff. The last post already detailed how you can get the "Edit TOC" button on the main toolbar. It is the rightmost button on the main toolbar in the figure below.

Create TOC:

If you have an e-book without a  Table of Contents (TOC),  but it is well structured with headings calibre allows you to create a TOC in a few simple steps.Consider the following "Example Ebook":

As you can see the e-book has no TOC, although it has headings and sub headings. Select the e-book in the main calibre window and click the "Edit TOC" button. A new window opens with the following options in the right side menu.

Click on "Generate TOC from all headings. The following TOC shows up in the editor window:

It has a well constructed TOC. Sometimes the headings in the ebook file are not well marked and some may be missing. In that case you can edit the generated TOC as explained in the next section.

Here is what the above generated TOC looks like in the calibre viewer:

Edit TOC:
So here I will start with a book that has an unsatisfactory TOC and play around with some of the available tools to make it better. This is just an example to show you some of the things you can do.

The above figure is a snapshot of the calibre viewer with the TOC of the e-book displayed. This TOC is messy as some chapters are subsets of others and although the chapters have names in the book, the TOC only lists chapter numbers. So lets see what we can do to spruce it up.

Select the e-book in the main calibre window and click the "Edit TOC" button. Then the above window opens up. Now as you can see Chapter II to Chapter XI are a part of Chapter I. Now say you want to make them independent chapters not belonging to Chapter I then select Chapter I and click the "Flatten this entry" button on the right hand side menu. Once you do this you will see:

If you now click "OK" and view the ebook the TOC looks like

As you can see in the two above figures Chapter II to Chapter XI are in the same level as Chapter I and not a part of it. But now say you want to make Chapter I to Chapter XI all members of Part I of the book. That too can be done.

In the "Edit TOC" window shown two figures above select "Preface". Then on the menu on the right, click "New entry below this entry". This takes you to the following window:

Move the mouse and position it just above Chapter one and left click. On the right hand side replace "(Untitled)" with "Part I" and click "OK". Now this is what you see.

To make Chapter I to Chapter XI  members of Part one just drag and drop them in to part one in the correct order. Then this is what you see.

Now if you click "OK" and open the book in the viewer you will see:

You can also edit the text for any of the entries in the TOC by double clicking the entry in the TOC editor window. As you can see below I have edited "Chapter I" to the name of the chapter in the book.

The following figure shows the TOC in the viewer with all the chapters in Part I with their proper names.

This articles outlines some of the things you can do with "Edit TOC". There are a few other options too. This should help you get started. Then enjoy tweaking and playing around with all the options. Feel free to leave comments about other interesting things you tried.

## Thursday, April 4, 2013

### this is the way to polish your e-books

Hi
It has been a while but again calibre has some great new features. So let us take a look at them. Here I will discuss "Polish Ebooks" introduced in 0.9.23 and next time "Edit TOC" introduced in 0.9.25. Note that polishing is only supported for books in AZW3 and EPUB formats. Hopefully any bugs that were present to start with have been ironed out. Your feedback is always welcome and since this is a fairly new feature, click here to report any bugs.

To start with lets get the "Polish" and "Edit TOC" buttons, so we can click on them.. Go to "Preferences", click on "Toolbar", click on the button that says "Click to choose toolbar or menu to customize". In this case I have chosen "Main Toolbar" because I want the icons for "Polish" and "Edit TOC" to appear in the main toolbar so I can access them easily. If you think you wont use them too often you can have them on a secondary optional toolbar or wherever is convenient for you.
So after I click main toolbar the following window opens up:

On the left menu of available actions you will see the "Polish" and "Edit TOC" buttons highlighted by red rectangles in the above figure. They are towards the bottom of the menu so you may have to scroll down. Select them both. then click the right pointing blue arrow (circled in red in the above figure). This will move these icons from the available actions list to the current actions list. Click "Apply" on the top left corner and close your Preferences window. Now the added buttons will be included in the toolbar you chose. In this case in the main toolbar as shown below:

Polishing Options:

Select all the e-books to be polished in the same way and then click the polish icon in the main toolbar. The following window opens up:

The available options are outlined here.
You can:
• Subset all embedded fonts
• Smarten punctuation
• Update cover
• Remove a previously inserted metadata page
Many of these options were available earlier too, but to implement them you would have to convert the book again which for some e-books can be slow and CPU intensive. Now you can just spruce them up quickly because  polishing, unlike conversion, does not change the internal structure/markup of your book, it performs only the minimal set of actions needed to achieve its goals.
The "About" button next to each action gives details about exactly what the particular polishing tool achieves.

Subset all embedded fonts and Smarten punctuation:
This is just copied from the about section of "Subset all embedded fonts". The information is quite clear and I had nothing to add to it:

Similarly smarten punctuation simply converts plain text dashes, ellipsis, quotes, multiple hyphens, etc. into their typographically correct equivalents.
Caveat: The algorithm for "Smarten punctuation" can occasionally generate incorrect output.

Update metadata and Update cover in book files:
When you click "Edit Metadata" in calibre and change the metadata or the cover of a book the information is saved in a file called metadata.db in your calibre library. This information is only transferred to the particular book file when you convert the book or export it. However now this information can be updated in the book files by simply choosing the appropriate options in "Polish". Note there are separate buttons for updating the cover and for updating the rest of the metadata. The metadata that is updated will depend on what metadata the e-book format supports. Unfortunately many e-book formats do not support all the metadata that calibre allows you to store.

The following is a screen shot of calibre before "Update cover in book files" was done:

The e-book had been downloaded from Project Gutenberg.  then the metadata was edited to add the cover you can see on the right information panel of the main calibre window. But the polishing was not done so the the cover displayed when viewed was the generic cover page Project Gutenberg uses for all books.

Next we ran the "Update cover in book files" under "Polish" and voila,

the chosen cover is now the first page in the viewer.

This allows you to add a book jacket containing all the metadata you added under "Edit Metadata" in calibre, including title, author, publisher, tags, comments, rating, series information etc. The book jacket page is always the very first page and precedes the cover page if there is one.

The following shows the book jacket for the book we have been using as an example so far:

The last option in "polish" is to remove the previously added book jacket in case you did not like it.

Coming soon:
In a week or two I will discuss the "Edit TOC" feature added in 0.9.25. It may still have a few bugs so let's give it some time to be straightened out. Also I have to go learn about it.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Have fun polishing away.

## Tuesday, September 11, 2012

### calibre 0.9.0 is here!

The long awaited calibre 0.9.0 is here! This is the link to the page documenting all the improvements since 0.8.0.

Some of the important improvements I will discuss here at length are:
1. Improved support for android phones and tablets
• MTP support
• Calibre Companion
2. Viewer
• Display of mathematics in e-books
• Page mode
3. Searching for accented characters
5. Some other popular features introduced after 0.8.0

### Improved Support for Android Phones and Tablets

#### However many new android devices do not present a drive letter when connected by USB to the computer. These devices use something called Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) for data transfer. Prior to calibre 0.8.53, calibre could not detect these devices via the wired USB connection. Also some people had trouble setting up the calibre content server to connect to them wirelessly. We realized it was important to improve the support for these devices.

Now calibre can connect via USB to even those devices that do not present a drive letter. A lot of you were waiting for this feature and now it is here. You can use calibre to manage your ebooks on your android phones or tablets just as easily as you did on your sony readers, kindles, nooks etc.Unfortunately we have not been able to get this to work with OS X but it does work with Windows and Linux.

When you connect an MTP device like the Nexus 7 to calibre, a device icon like the one in the above picture shows up in the tool bar. You can see what books are on the device by clicking "Show books in main memory of this device". All books in your library which are also on the device will be marked with a green check mark when the device is connected by USB to your computer. You can right click on any book in your library and it will give you the option to send to device.

#### Many of you have also been asking for a calibre app for wirelessly connected android devices. For this we recommend a new app called  Calibre Companion. Charles Haley, who has made significant contributions to calibre's code, is one of the developers of Calibre Companion.

According to the Calibre Companion page on Google Play:

Calibre Companion is two applications in one.
• The first: Calibre Companion supports connecting to calibre over WiFi and be detected by calibre as a device.
• All calibre device operations are supported, including sending books and metadata, cover thumbnails, deleting books, sending news, and plugins like Reading List.
• You can specify where different book formats are to go on your device, e.g., epubs in one folder, pdfs in another, and mobis in a third.
• Calibre Companion can update the metadata for the books on every connect, ensuring the information is up to date
• Most setup is on the device, making it easy for different users in the same household to have different device configurations, or to use more than one computer running calibre.
• The second app: Calibre Companion is a library organizer for your device. You can:
• Sort books by title, author, series, date changed or read, with both ascending and descending sorts.
• Group books by title, author, tags, series, publisher, and most calibre custom column types; including optional navigation by first letter.
• View a "book jacket" showing all the details of a book, including calibre's custom columns.
• Search for books using calibre-like search syntax.
• Scan your library folders for books not in Calibre Companion's database and adding them. This process uses calibre to help get the highest quality metadata available.

This app is supported on the calibre devices forum at MobileRead.

Calibre Companion is sold for $2.99 all the proceeds of the sale go to a company called Calibre Companion is not made by calibre's primary developer Kovid Goyal and he does not receive any of the income generated from it's sale. ### Improvements to the calibre viewer Calibre is primarily an ebook format conversion and library management program. But it has an inbuilt viewer. The viewer allows you to read your ebooks even if you do not own a dedicated reading device or if you just want to read on your computer. The calibre viewer supports a myriad of formats and we have already done a detailed blog post on its various features. The last year has seen a number of significant and popular improvements to the calibre viewer. #### Display of mathematics in ebooks Although ebooks have been excellent for regular text there has been some problems with including math in ebooks. The calibre viewer can now display math embedded in ebooks (ePub and HTML files) extending it's functionality to reading scientific and technical content. To create an ebook with math you can typeset the math directly with TeX or MathML or AsciiMath. The calibre viewer uses the excellent MathJax library to implement this feature. For more information on this feature click here Caveat: The calibre viewer supports displaying math, but this does not mean that your ebook reader can display the math. Here is an example. This HTML code has been converted into epub by calibre. The screen shot of the epub file on the calibre viewer follows. #### Page mode The calibre viewer now has a page mode. In this mode the scrolling is disabled and the content is broken up into discrete pages. The bottom or top line is no longer cut off. The white page turning arrows inside the purple circles on the left toolbar have to be used to turn pages. To activate the page mode you have to click on the following icon on the top right corner of the viewer: To disable page mode click on the same icon again. The following picture shows a comparison of the viewer display in scroll mode (on the left) v/s page mode (on the right). As you can see, in scroll mode the top line is cut off while in page mode it is not. #### Table of contents tracks the current position The table of contents on the left side of the calibre viewer tracks the current position in the book. When the viewer displays a particular page in the book, the section to which that page belongs is highlighted in bold in the table of contents panel. For example see figure below: The content displayed in the viewer is from the chapter "JEEVES AND THE UNBIDDEN GUEST" which is in bold in the table of contents panel. ### Searching for accented characters In the main calibre window you can search for books by entering into the search bar any word included in the book's metadata. If any word in the metadata has an accented character like "ë" for example you can just enter "e" in the search bar. This is not just true for author names but for all entries in the metadata. The following picture shows how you can search for an ebook titled "EmilyBrontë " by just entering "bronte" in the search bar, i.e simply "e" instead of "ë". ### Wiki Reader Plugin The Wiki Reader plugin allows you to create an ebook of pages from Wikipedia by entering the URLs of interest. You can give the ebook a title of your choice. If you do not enter a title it will just use the title of the article corresponding to the first URL. The ebook will have the same table of contents as on the wiki page. The author is set to Wikipedia and the cover page has the wikipedia logo. For details on usage click here Here is an example of an ebook created with the wikipedia pages for e-book, e-book reader, DRM and calibre where the viewer is displaying the first page of the calibre wikipedia article. As you can see the highest level of the table of contents (TOC) just has the titles of the four articles. The sub-levels are generated from the TOC of the particular wiki page. Below you can see the TOC on the calibre software wiki page and compare it with the sections in the TOC under calibre (software) in the above picture. Other similar plugins include Recipe Reader, Medical Reader and Hymn Reader. The Recipe Reader allows you to make an ebook of recipes from cooks.com by entering the URLs of interest from the cooks.com website. The Hymn Reader allows you to make an ebook of hymns from Hymnwiki by entering the URLs of interest from the Hymnwiki website. ### Other popular features introduced after 0.8.0 A number of popular and useful features introduced in to calibre after the release of 0.8.0 have already been discussed in earlier blog posts. These include: • Column coloring allows you to set up conditions to have certain entries in certain columns appear a certain color. • This version of calibre can be put on to a USB stick and carried around with you. The USB stick would contain both the calibre installation as well as the calibre library. It can be then plugged into any windows computer and used to access the library on the stick with calibre. • This is a powerful feature that enables lay users to make custom recipes. You may be interested in making a single news recipe that has RSS feeds from different blogs and news sources that you visit. This can be done quite easily with "Auto clean up". Some other popular features introduced post 0.8.0 include: • Support for KF8 the new kindle format • An improved full screen mode of the calibre viewer • A languages entry in metadata To summarize 0.9.0 has lots to explore and enjoy. I have not written a blog post in a while. This is mainly because most of the important topics have already been covered. But as and when something interesting comes up I will try to cover it. ## Thursday, December 15, 2011 ### calibre portable: A great holiday gift For a very long time calibre was tied up to the computer on which it was installed. Although the calibre content server allowed for access to the calibre library through a browser, it still required the computer on which calibre was installed to be on and accessible through the internet. But since version 8.5 a new portable calibre build was made available by Kovid for your convenience. This version of calibre can be put on to a USB stick and carried around with you. The USB stick would contain both the calibre installation as well as the calibre library. It can be then plugged into any windows computer and used to access the library on the stick with calibre. To download calibre portable go to this page (You can also get here by going to the usual calibre download page here and then clicking on the usb stick icon shown in the figure below), where there is a link to download calibre portable. When you click on the link you will be prompted to save a zipped file. Once you have downloaded it and unzipped it transfer the contents to a USB stick. After you have done this the USB stick should contain a folder named "Calibre Portable". That folder should contain three sub-folders named "Calibre", "Calibre Library" and "Calibre Settings" and an executable file called "calibre-portable.exe". To include your current calibre library in calibre portable just copy the entire contents of your current calibre library folder on your computer to the "Calibre Library" folder in the "Calibre Portable" folder on the USB stick. Now you are all set up, so safely remove the USB stick. To run calibre portable on another computer; this part only works on windows machines; plug the USB stick in to the windows computer and double-click on the calibre-portable.exe file mentioned above. calibre portable will open up and its ready for use. It has all the features any other calibre installation has. The only difference is it will always start up with the library called "Calibre Library" in the "Calibre Portable" folder. You can of course switch the library while using it but the next time you start calibre portable it wont remember the library switch and will again start up with the library called "Calibre Library" in the "Calibre Portable" folder. But you can manually switch the library each time. calibre portable as a holiday gift: calibre portable makes for a great personal and affordable christmas gift. Just go buy a USB stick, 1GB is quite enough for the purpose. Follow the steps outlined above to get calibre portable on to it. calibre portable is absolutely free. Then taking into consideration the likes and dislikes of the recipient there are many excellent places to get books to populate the library. For the classics there is Project Gutenberg, where a huge number of public domain ebooks are available as well formatted ebooks absolutely free. Then there are a number of sites that sell their ebooks DRM-free so your recipient can make the most of this gift. These sites include Baen for speculative fiction, Carina Press for romance, Smashwords, BeWrite BooksXinXii and many more for a variety of genre. Following image is courtesy this site. calibre maintains its own catalog of DRM-free ebooks from various sources and it is made available through its website Open Books. Open books now has a collection of over 2825 ebooks to choose from and features content from over 1095 authors and from 35 stores. Open books includes over 150 free ebooks and over a 1000 ebooks priced less than$3.00. Note that open books only catalogs DRM-free ebooks from various sites and provides links to them. Open Books was set up to promote authors of DRM free ebooks but Open Books does not sell any ebooks.

So get together some ebooks that your recipient would like and put it into the "Calibre Library" folder in the "Calibre Portable" folder. You can even use calibre to spruce up the metadata and add covers to make all the books look good. You can also add a couple of news magazines your recpient would be interested in using the calibre "Fetch News" feature for free. This makes a great gift, very personal, useful and can be treasured for a long time to come.

Use calibre portable to be a thoughtful Santa and Happy Holidays to all of you. The next calibre blog post will probably be early in the new year. I will be decreasing the frequency of the blog posts since a lot of the major topics have been covered. Please use the comments section to make requests for topics you would like covered.

## Saturday, December 3, 2011

### calibre look and feel

calibre allows you to customize its Graphical User Interface (GUI) in many different ways so that you can have a GUI that suits your particular needs and tastes. In this blog post I will point out some useful tweaks that can be easily implemented and focus mainly on column coloring which is a useful way to identify certain books in your collection.

To adjust the look and feel of the calibre GUI click on Preferences in the main tool bar. In the new window that opens click on the Look and Feel icon in the first row under Interface. The following window appears.

Main Interface: The first tab in the above window is Main Interface. Here you can choose the user interface layout. By default this is set to Wide, in which case book details along with the cover appears in the rightmost column and the cover browser is above the list of books in the main calibre window. However this can be set to Narrow as shown in the figure above and then the book details with cover appear at the bottom and the cover browser on the right as shown in the figure below. You can click the little brown book icon at the bottom right corner of the screen to make the book details disappear altogther and then click the brown book icon again to make them reappear.

You can click the little curved arrow icon at the bottom right corner to mahe the cover browser disappear or reappear. The main interface tab also allows you to choose the icon sizes; small, medium or large as well as off (no icons, only the text under the icons is visible and can be clicked on).

Book Details:
The next tab is book details. As shown in the figure below here you can choose what details are to be displayed in the book details section of the main window.

calibre's tag browser has been discussed in some detail in an earlier blog post.

Cover Browser: The fourth tab is the cover browser. This allows you to choose if you would like to have the cover browser displayed within the main calibre interface or in a separate window as shown in the figure below. You can also choose to have this window appear in full screen mode and toggle the full screen mode using the F11 key.

Column Coloring:
As shown in the figure below the last tab under Look and Feel is column coloring. Here you can set up conditions to have certain entries in certain columns appear a certain color.

When you click on the Add Rule button the following window appears which allows you to set the entries in a column to be a particular color provided the entries of some other column satisfy some condition by taking certain values.

For example, when we add the following rule (make title blue when genre is news)

we see

but even if we hide the genre column we can still tell which titles belong to the news genre because they are in blue as shown below.

Consider another example where all the titles are made maroon when the genre is not specified as shown in the figure below. This kind of rule would be useful for you to identify books where metadata is incomplete when you are managing your library.

Hope you found these tips useful. See you again in about a week.