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Current version: Pressbooks 5.6.3
Stay up to date
The below updates have been highlighted as they impact user experience. For a full list of updates, see the Pressbooks Change Log and the Pressbooks Textbooks Changelog.
Interested in staying in the know on Pressbooks updates?
- Check this Pressbooks Updates page
- Make sure to stay updated via our Blog and on Twitter
- Sign up for the BCcampus Newsletter
As always, please let us know if you have any questions or problems navigating the new features. General feedback about Pressbooks (such as bug reports, suggestions for improvement, or feature requests) can be submitted to BCcampus Support.
The following bugs and issues will be resolved after our next Pressbooks update (date to be determined):
- Two-level table of contents feature is not working
- Glossary terms that begin with a capital or a letter with an accent are not sorted correctly in the automatically generated glossary list
- The automatically generated glossary list is not showing up in export formats
- Parts display an incorrect error message when you click save
- Images without captions will not centre
- Internal links that point to content contained underneath a collapsed heading in the webbook will not work (this includes footnotes)
The status of these issues is pending:
- Division sign displaying incorrectly in the McLuhan theme
- Multiple paragraphs with hanging indents display incorrectly in export formats
These issues will not be fixed:
- Unable to add footnotes in image captions (a WordPress limitation)
Have you found a formatting problem in your webbook or any of the export formats? It’s possible that we may be aware of it already and have developed a workaround. See the “Issues to Note” textbox at the end of each chapter for known issues and potential workarounds:
If you don’t see your issue in any of these lists, send a bug report to BCcampus Support and we will investigate and do what we can to get it fixed.
Retiring the Open Textbook theme
With our next Pressbooks update (date to be determined), we will be retiring the Open Textbook theme. We ask that book administrators switch their open textbooks in pressbooks.bccampus.ca to one of the other available themes in preparation for this change. By switching in advance, you will have the opportunity to review how the new theme affects your book and fix/report any issues that you find. If you do not switch in advance of the change, your books will be switched automatically to one of the other themes when the Open Textbook theme is retired.
How to change your book’s theme
To change your book’s theme, click the Appearance tab in the Dashboard menu. Under “Themes,” you will be able to select the theme you would like to switch to. We recommend switching to McLuhan, Clarke, or Jacobs. You will have to do this for each book that you are the Administrator for. If you need more assistance, watch this: Select a Theme video tutorial
What is a theme?
In Pressbooks, a theme is a set of styles that can be applied to the entirety of a book. A theme will determine things like font type and size, textbox colours, appearance of headings, and line spacing in all export formats. By default, when you create a new book in Pressbooks, that book will use the Open Textbooks theme, but there are a number of different themes to choose from.
What does this mean for my book(s)?
Changing the theme of your book will affect the style of your book (font, link colours, text size, textbox colours, etc) and possibly the number of pages in the PDF, but the content and structure should remain as-is. Once you change the theme, the webbook will be updated with the new styles. Your exports will only reflect the change after you export a new copy of those files with the new theme applied.
If you do not want the new theme applied to your exported book files, do not re-export the files for your book.
Context for this decision
BCcampus built the Open Textbooks plugin at the beginning of the Open Textbook Project to expand the Pressbooks authoring platform to include features that specifically support textbook authoring, such as the key takeaways and exercise textboxes. Over the last few years, as Pressbooks has been adopted by more and more institutions wanting to publish open textbooks, those features have been incorporated as features directly supported by Pressbooks. As such, the Open Textbook plugin (aka theme) currently acts more like a collection of styles, rather than a plugin that enables textbook-publishing functionalities that wouldn’t exist otherwise. In addition, it requires a considerable amount of maintenance to be compatible with new Pressbooks updates that are happening all the time, which slows down our ability to keep our Pressbooks instance up to date.
Pressbooks 5.9.0 – Postponed until further notice
Open Textbooks Theme
With this upgrade, the Open Textbooks theme will officially be removed from pressbooks.bccampus.ca. If you have not already done so, please switch your books to one of the other themes. Clarke is the theme most similar to the Open Textbooks theme, but McLuhan is also a good option. See Retiring the Open Textbook Theme for more information.
- New admin colour scheme: You can now select a colour scheme that increases accessibility of the Pressbooks Admin interface. This colour scheme increases the colour contrast and underlines all links in the Pressbooks Admin interface. This will not affect the webbook or export files. To enable, navigate to your profile in Pressbooks. Under “Admin Colour Scheme” select “Pressbooks a11y.”
- Redesigned exports page: The exports page has been updated to make it easier to manage your exported files. Pressbooks will now store the last three exports of each file format. You can also now sort exports by file format, size, and date exported. You can also “pin” any files that you do not want to be deleted.
- Progress bars: Pressbooks will now display a progress bar when importing, exporting, cloning, and generating a cover.
- Clone h5p activities: H5P activities within books will now make it through the cloning process.
Bug Fixes and Changes:
- The “Import” tab is no longer accessed from the Dashboard Menu. You can find it under “Tools.”
- “LO” KT” and “EX” buttons will no longer appear in Visual Editor toolbar, but those special textboxes can still be inserted from the “Textboxes” drop-down menu.
- A number of updates to increase the accessibility of the Pressbooks admin interface, Digital PDFs, and footnotes.
- Improvements to glossary tooltips. Definitions can now include links and bold and italic text.
- There is a new “Publish” tab in the Dashboard Menu where you can add links to where people can purchase POD versions of a book.
- Glossary terms will now alphabetize correctly
- Licences on chapters in the webbook will now list the book title rather than the chapter title, unless the chapter is under a different licence from the rest of the book.
- Additional table classes available from the visual editor.
- Unnecessary alert when saving Parts will no longer pop up.
Pressbooks 5.6.3 – December 21, 2018
- Glossary tool: Pressbooks now has a feature that allows you to mark words as glossary terms. In the webbook, the definition will pop up for these words when clicked. In the webbook and all export formats, you can generate a list of all glossary terms in your book’s back matter organized alphabetically. See the Pressbooks User Guide for more information: Glossaries. (Thanks to Brad Payne and Alex Paredes at BCcampus for doing the initial development work for this feature!)
- Expanded webbook table of contents: The table of contents that appears on the webbook home page is now expanded by default so all chapters that are contained within parts will be displayed.
- Custom “Part” and “Chapter” labels: You can now customize “part” and “chapter” labels in exports. To do this, go to Appearance > Theme Options > Global Options. For more information, see the “Customizable Section Labels” heading in the Numberless Chapters, Invisible Parts, and Customizable Section Labels chapter in the Pressbooks User Guide.
- Descriptive “Next” and “Previous” arrows in the webbook: The “next” and “previous” arrows used to navigate in the webbook will now show the short title of the next and previous part or chapter title.
- Add Digital Object Identifier (DOI) support at book and section level.
- CC0 vs. Public Domain: You can now differentiate between books and resources that are under CC0 licences and those that are in the public domain.
Bug fixes and changes:
- Issues with the cover generator have been fixed.
- Ensure that book language is used for part/chapter labels.
- Fix conflict between footnote and media shortcodes.
- Increase max_execution_time from 5 to 10 minutes for import, export, and clone operations.
- Move the Contributors page under the Book Info menu.
- Allow a new title to be entered when cloning a book.
- Fix issue where a numberless chapter at the beginning of a book can cause chapter numbering errors in subsequent chapters.
- Differentiate link styles between print and digital PDF
- Resize webbook contents when Hypothesis annotation pane is expended
- Add Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Odia, and Telugu languages
Pressbooks 5.5.6 – November 23, 2018
This update included a number of bug fixes, specifically to the following areas:
- Open Textbooks theme
- improved text response to a11y increase-font-size function
- OpenStax Import plugin
- fixed a bug where images with spaces in their file names would be stripped out during import
- fixed a bug re: footnotes where the note reference number would be removed during import
- added support for importing textboxes from openstax books
- mPDF plugin (This plugin is not relevant for pressbooks.bccampus.ca users)
Pressbooks 5.5.3 – October 18, 2018
A collection of bug fixes. More information will be added
- Attributions tool: You can now add attribution and licence information to image files in your Media Library. To make this information display publicly in all formats, check the Media Attributions setting under Theme Options. With this box checked, the information will display at the end of each chapter after your body text and before your footnotes. See the Pressbooks User Guide for more information: Media Attributions. (Thanks to Brad Payne and Alex Paredes at BCcampus for building this feature!)
- Improved Book Cloning:
- When cloning, all of the media files from the original book’s media will also import with the book. Previously, cloned books would only retain images. Now, videos, audio files and other media files will also come over.
- Internal links in cloned books will now be automatically converted to point to the newly-cloned book. URLs will undergo this action as part of the cloning process, so that manual conversion isn’t necessary.
- The source comparison tool has been improved so that readers can more easily see the differences between the original source book and a cloned book when the user has enabled source comparison on their cloned webbook. Word counts on source books will now be more accurate too.
- Plugins: Book Administrators now have the ability to activate three different plugins inside their books: H5P, Hypothesis, and WP Quick LaTeX. For more information on these plugins and how to activate them, see the Plugins chapter in the Pressbooks Guide. (Note that this feature has been enabled since August.)
- Cover Generator tool: In Pressbooks, you can now generate your own book cover for print and ebook formats. See the Pressbooks User Guide for more information: How to Design Your Book Cover.
- Fixing the icon size on collapsible chapter subsections
- Generating a smaller cover image for the book homepage
- Improving the design of the navigation links on the webbook for more logical navigation through front matter and back matter
- Improving navigation links for visual clarity and accessibility by moving the cues to the bottom of the screen
- Additions of French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese translations for subject matter categories
Pressbooks 5.4.5 – August 10, 2018
- Bug fixes affecting the TinyMCE table plugin, chapter titles in exports, textbook markup, colour contrast, importing part content with the Pressbooks XML file, and more.
Pressbooks 5.4.0 – July 13, 2018
- Improved admin bar: The admin bar has been reworked to make Network Admin tools easier to find. This update only affects network administrators (super admins).
- Updated markup for all educational textboxes: Textboxes added after this update will have headings that are default left-justified without a specific heading level assigned. However, this can all be customized via CSS or the visual editor. Textboxes added before the update will not be affected.
- Add textboxes as sidebars: There is now an option to have any textbox appear as a sidebar.
- Support for PDF exports via DocRaptor
- Lightbox feature for images: Linked images in the web book can now appear in a Lightbox when selected. This feature can be turned on and off in Appearance > Theme Options > Web Options.
- Fix: A fix for internal links in digital PDF exports that were not working properly.
Pressbooks 5.3.3 – June 22, 2018
- Collapsible Content in the Web View: You can now create collapsible content sections in the Web View. To turn on, go to Theme Options → Web → Collapsible Content. When this is turned on, all content under H1 tags will be collapsed in the web view. This will make it easier for people to navigate and find content in long chapters.
- Customizable Textbox Colours: You can now customize the header and background colour of textboxes in a textbook. To do this, go to Theme Options → Global → Information box.
- Changes to Appearance of Licences: The Creative Commons API, which produced the licencing, has been replaced by a custom string. This means that the CC licences at the bottom of the textbook look a little different. Instead of a CC box, there will be icons.
- Use Percentages to Size Tables: This is important for responsive design. This feature can be accessed by going to Table icon → Table Properties.
- Create Table Captions in the Visual Editor: To create a table caption, select your table, click the Table icon → Table Properties and check “Caption.” Select the space directly above the centre of the table you created and type your caption.
Pressbooks 5.0.0 – March 16, 2018 (MAJOR RELEASE)
In this release, most of the improvements are under the hood. However, there are a few big changes we would like to call to your attention.
- A new look and feel is available for the network home page and catalog: The new standalone catalog page is sortable and filterable, for improved discovery.
- Webbook makeover, with some added functionality: A wider book layout, better scrolling and navigation are just some of the enhancements. We have also updated the Open Textbook theme at BCcampus. A big thanks to Ryerson University for supporting the development of these changes.
- New themes: The Luther theme retired. In its place, Pressbooks released two new themes: McLuhan and Jacobs. These two themes both offer expanded theme options, and both are designed with textbooks in mind. Their development has been generously funded by eCampusOntario. We will be continuing to use the Open Textbooks as our default theme and the theme for the BCcampus open textbook collection.
Other changes include:
- Save Button: Pressbooks heard your pleas for a clearer way to save your chapters. It’s here! (In the past, the “save” button was named Update, Publish, or other variations based on the status of your post.) Note that when you create a new chapter, front or back matter section, you will first see a “Create” button, but subsequent changes can be saved by clicking on the new “Save” button.
- Contributor Management: Pressbooks added a centralized contributor management tool where you can add contributors who can then be reused throughout your book as authors, editors, translators, reviewers, illustrators, and generic contributors.
- Organize Page Improvements: Pressbooks revamped the Organize page, improving the display on mobile devices, and improving accessibility for keyboard navigation and screen reader users.
- Chapter Importing: Now, you can import individual chapters from public, openly-licensed Pressbooks webbooks using the Import tool. All you need to drop is drop in the URL to a book, begin the import process, then select the chapters you wish to add to your book. (Content that is private, All Rights Reserved or that carries any of the Creative Commons Non-Derivative licenses cannot be imported.)
- Content Visibility: Pressbooks has made it more intuitive to manage the visibility of your content across web and exports. Now you can simply designate content visibility in web and exports on both the Organize page and the edit screen for individual front matter, chapters and back matter.
- Import Files from URL: You can now import supported file formats hosted on remote (web based) sources via URL. If you have files hosted elsewhere (with the right permissions), you no longer need to download and upload files, but can import them directly with just the URL.
- Ebook Start Point: Pressbooks has moved the ebook start point setting to the ebook Theme Options page to ensure that only one front matter, chapter, or back matter can be set as the ebook start point. (Note that Pressbooks tries to enforce the ebook start point you select. However, ereader devices may still override the start point you designate.)
- Language Support Changes: Pressbooks has renamed the Language Support section in Theme Options to Language & Script Support to better reflect its functionality; we’ve also re-labelled Hindi support to Devanagari, to clarify that the Devanagari script supports Hindi, Sanskrit, and over 120 other languages.
Want to see how it looks?
Our team put together a screencast of the new interface and the changes in the March 16 release.
Pressbooks 4.1 – Summer 2017
- LaTeX: LaTeX outputs are now at a sufficient resolution for print applications.
- Restore deleted content: Accidentally delete a chapter or part? You have one day to restore it from the Trash folder. (Organize > Trash)
- Clone a Pressbook: Clone any public, properly-licensed book from any Pressbooks network, including your own! (super admins can clone any book from their own network, regardless of license)
- Delete a Pressbook: Users can now delete their own books from the book menu.
- Book word count: Word count for the entire book and for content marked for export is now displayed on the Organize page.
- Gurmukhi (Punjabi): This provides font support for Gurmukhi script.
- Book Information page: Expanded metadata is now hidden on the Book Information page unless needed.
- Customize your book with CSS: Book editors can now modify theme options and custom CSS
Pressbooks 3.9.8 – May 18, 2017
- Canadian Indigenous syllabics: This provides font support for the following languages: Chipewyan, Inuktitut, Plains Cree, Cree, Moose Cree, Slave, Northern Cree, Naskapi, Swampy Cree, Southern East Cree, and Ojibwa.
- Paragraph separation in web books
- Importing Word Documents: A number of enhancements to improve the import process with Word Documents. This includes properly importing bold, italic, superscript, and subscript text.
- Importing Pressbooks WXR files: A number of bug fixes relating to importing Pressbooks XML files.