Thursday, August 21, 2014

Announcing calibre 2.0

It has been about a year from our last big release, so it is time for another one. calibre 2.0 was released today.

Since calibre 1.0 most of the development has focused on the e-book editor. calibre aspires to be the one stop solution to all your ebook needs. That is what we say on our home page.

Until  calibre 1.0,   development mostly focused on the needs of e-book users. Sigil on the other hand, catered to ebook creators. But once the active development of Sigil came to an end, it was important to develop an ebook editor as well and that is what we have been doing for most of the last year.  I made a detailed post about calibre's ebook editor when it was first released. Since then more functionality has been added to it which I will briefly discuss here. A video outlining the key features of the editor is available here.

There have been some cool new features for e-book users as well. I will report some of the highlights in this post.

For a comprehensive list of new features since 1.0 click here.

First there is some good news for OS X users:
Calibre 2.0 released today has support for Android phones and tablets on OS X, calibre should now detect and connect to them, just as it already does on windows and linux.

Improvements to the editor:

The following is a list of improvements to the editor since my last blog post on the subject. For an introduction to the editor click here.
  • Spell Check:
  • The calibre book editor has built in spell check since version 1.33. You can install new dictionaries via Preferences->Editor->Manage spelling dictionaries. It comes with builtin dictionaries for English and Spanish. You can add OpenOffice dictionaries (in .oxt format). The tool checks spellings in all HTML/OPF/NCX files in the book, taking into account any language declarations in the book, so that it will work correctly on multi-lingual books as well.

    Live spell checking in the code view was implemented in version 1.37. Spelling errors are highlighted in the code view for convenient correction as you type. This can be turned off via Preferences->Editor.
    The spell check icon in the toolbar of the editor is

  • Special character insertion:
    Since calibre 1.19, you can insert characters that are difficult to type by using the Edit->Insert special character tool or click the "insert special character" icon in the toolbar, which looks like this:

    This shows you all unicode characters, simply click on the character you want to type. If you hold Ctrl while clicking, the window will close itself after inserting the selected character. This tool can be used to insert special characters into the main text or into any other area of the user interface, such as the Search and replace tool.

    Because there are a lot of characters, you can define your own Favorite characters, that will be shown first. Simply right click on a character to mark it as favorite. You can also right click on a character in favorites to remove it from favorites.

    You can also directly type in special characters using the keyboard or by by using HTML named entities. For details click here.

  • Add in-context help for HTML and CSS:
    Now, you can right click on any HTML/OPF/NCX tag name or CSS property and the editor will open some help for that item in your browse. For example if you right-click on the font family CSS property you will see:

    Now if you click on the first entry "Show help for: font-family" it will open this page in a browser. The same would happen if you right clicked on an HTML tag in an HTML file.

  • Support for third party plugins to extend the editors functionality:
    Since version 1.46 the editor supports plugins that can be used to extend its functionality. Documentation of the plugin API and an example plugin are here.

Improvements to the cover grid:

Since version 1.47, user defined emblems (icons) can be displayed next to covers in the cover grid mode. This is similar to the column icons feature introduced in version 0.9.17 discussed in this post.

You can have your own custom icons displayed next to covers in the cover grid, based on simple rules you create.  To create these rules go to Preferences->Cover Grid and click the Emblems tab on the left and you see the following window:

Now suppose you want to insert a rule that all books by the author P. G. Wodehouse appear with an icon "W" next to them then, click on the "Add Rule" button in the above window and insert the following rule:

To add the image just click on "Add new image" and select the image stored in your files.

Now click "OK" on the bottom right corner of the "rule " window and then click "Apply". Here is what you will see in the cover grid view:

As you see in the above picture books by Wodehouse, like "P smith Journalist" and "Right Ho, Jeeves" have a picture of "W" on the left of the book cover. You can change the location of the custom icon by going to preferences -> Look and Feel -> Cover grid. At the bottom of this window you will see

Here you can choose the size of the icon in pixels and you can have the icons located at the bottom, top, right or left of the book cover. You can also have multiple icons per book. In the following example I have added a rule that books tagged as humor or satire have a smiley face icon. I have also moved the icons to the top instead of keeping them at the left. Then this is what I see:

In the above picture the books by Wodehouse, which I have also tagged as humor have both icons of "W" and the smiley face on top. The book "Press Cuttings", is not by Wodehouse, but  is tagged as a satire has only the smiley face icon. The location of the icon/s is not on the left as shown for the books by Wodehouse two pictures ago but on top.

Also as you can see I have used the smiley face icon for multiple tags, i.e, humor and satire. You can do this by separating the different tags by a comma when adding the rule.

Miscellaneous new features:

  • Since version 1.25, calibre can read and write XMP metadata from PDF files. This means that all metadata that you can create in calibre, including custom columns, can be stored in the PDF files. It is also useful when importing PDF files created by some academic publishers, that sometimes have good XMP metadata, such as DOI identifiers, tags and so on.

  • Since version 1.24 the builtin viewer in calibre supports touch screens on Windows tablets. You can tap or swipe to turn pages. Swipe up or down to jump between sections. Swipe and hold to flip through pages rapidly and pinch to zoom in and out.

Hope you enjoy all the features calibre 2.0 offers :)


  1. command line tools as standalone package would make me SO happy

    1. Ask your distro. With a volunteer, they're usually happy to mutilate packages into component dependencies. Or try the existing installers. Though I cannot confirm as I'm on Android right now, I saw signs of command line tools being separate from the rest. Or just extract what you want from the source repo?

      Whatever you do, on the page announcing a new release, I wouldn't say "it's too hard" to use what's already been created for you. It's there, use it, and don't complain. At worst, make a bug report or search for one first. That way you're minimally helping the project along... ;-)

  2. What I miss most is server-side support to enable a library be shared between users.

    Simply using remote NFS (to store files)+mysql would be enough

    1. It's very hard to sync data changed in two places, even when you've a server. Just ask Apple devs how the first iCloud implementation went. As for NFS and a single-user shared library, see

    2. I don't mean to sync data, just to *need* the server to work, of course sync is much, *much* more difficult.

      The faq you link is exactly why I'm asking for mysql or non-embedded dbs :)

  3. Hi, I downloaded and installed Calibre 2.0 - and now I can only see 20 of my 231 books - which are still there safely in the database and folder. Is there a way to roll it back or should I just try the install again?

    1. First try this: Right click the calibre icon in the calibre toolbar and select Library maintenance->Restore database. calibre will automatically rebuild metadata.db.
      Older versions of calibre are available at

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