5 Left Sidebar Menu

For the latest updates to this resource, check out its chapter in our Pressbooks User Guide
This chapter will cover the different menu options on the left sidebar of the Pressbooks interface.


This is the homepage of your book and lists the content in full. Clicking on any of your chapters on this page will take you to the editing screen.

The dashboard is also where you can check how much storage your book is using. Scroll to the bottom of the page and you’ll see both your book storage limit (depending on your upgrade level), and how much you are currently using. (NOTE: there is no storage limit for books created on a private Pressbooks network, and you will not see this feature).


This section houses the main organizing screen which lists your book content. Go here to add and edit front and back matter sections, chapters and parts.

You can also arrange the order of your content in the “Text/Organize” screen by dragging and dropping each chapter.

Book Info

This section is where you set the details of your book, including title, author and language and other metadata. See more here.



Here, you can select your book theme from over 50 options, all of which display a sample of how they look when applied in the PDF format (there can be minor differences in ebook and web).

To apply a theme, simply hover your mouse over it and click on “Activate”. Many themes have been built with academic uses in mind, and some favourites include:



Andreessen Asimov
Asimov Baker
Baker Bradbury
Bradbury Clarke
Clarke Dillard
Donham Drucker
Drucker Eliot
Galbraith Galbraith
Graham Graham
Howe LeCarre
Lewis Luther
Stephenson Lewis

Theme Options

This section allows you to customize your theme options. Global options apply to your book in all outputs. These include:

  • Enable or disable chapter numbers
  • Enable chapter taxonomy (advanced option)
  • Enable a two-level table of contents (displays headings styled with heading 1 applied in TOC)
  • Display copyright license (see our chapter on copyright for more)
  • Global typography support (see our chapter on languages for more)

PDF options allow you to control your PDF output. Options include:

  • Page size
  • Paragraph separation
  • Remove blank pages
  • Display footnotes or chapter endnotes
  • Widow and orphan settings (what are those?)
  • And more…

And finally, the web options allow you to add social media links to your chapters, and the ebook options tab let’s you choose your paragraph separation and compress images for export.

Edit CSS

When you apply the Pressbooks Custom CSS theme, you will see this menu option appear. Click on it to access the CSS editor, where you can inherit a baseline theme for PDF, web and ebook. You can control which stylesheet you are editing using the dropdown at the top-left of the editor, and select which theme to inherit using the dropdown at the top-right. Make sure you do this for all three outputs, or they’ll look terrible!

NOTE: If you apply the Custom CSS theme, you can change to a present theme, then back to the Custom theme without losing your changes.


Go to this section to export your book. You can select from a range of formats, including the standard PDF, epub and mobi, plus a few more exciting options:

  • Epub3 (beta)
  • XHTML (good for troubleshooting PDF issues)
  • OpenDocument (beta)
  • Pressbooks XML (very useful for copying books)
  • WordPress XML

Once you’ve selected your format(s), hit “Export Your Book”, and click on the file icon that appears to download. Pressbooks saves your last 5 batches of downloads, and you can delete files individually, or en masse by hitting “Delete All Exports”.

NOTE: When you export your files, you might get an error message like this: Warning: The export has validation errors. See logs for more details. To have the error log sent to you, go to “Settings” –> “Export” and select ‘Yes. Send the logs.’ These will then be sent to the email address associated with your account.


This section gives you access to your media library, where you can view, edit, add and delete images and other media. This page also displays which chapter (if any) an image is attached to.


The comments section is always a scary place, but here you can moderate comments left on the web version of your book (if you have comments enabled). See our guide chapter on comments and review for more.


Here, you can view and edit who has access to your book, and what permissions they have. For more on this, see our Users and Collaborators chapter.



The most important tool here is “Import”. You can use this to import your content from a variety of file formats. First, choose your format from the following:

  • WXR (WordPress eXtended RSS) – use this for Pressbooks XML files
  • Epub
  • ODT (OpenDocument) – this is a beta option
  • DOCX (Microsoft Word Document)
  • HTML – this is also a beta option that we will be improving soon to be able to import an entire (public) Pressbooks book from URL

Once you’ve selected your format, choose our file and hit “Upload File”. This will take you to a second screen where you can select which sections/chapters/parts to import, and whether to import them as front/back matter, chapters or parts. With a Pressbooks XML file, you may also choose to import the existing “Book Info” metadata.

Search & Replace

This function can be very useful, but must be handled with care! It is more of a blunt object than a fine instrument, in that it will change every instance of a search term, rather than letting you pick which, and it is not reversible without going chapter-by-chapter. If you’re careful, though, it can be extremely handy.

Enter a search term and what you would like to replace it with, and hit “Preview Replacements”. This will give you a list of the located search term, and what the new version will look like. Once you’re sure it’s not breaking anything important, click on “Replace & Save” to execute. To be sure every instance has been caught, you may want to run a search for your original term again, to double check.

Things to note:

  • The search is case sensitive. This means that in order to ensure that you find every instance of a word, you may need to run a search and replace several times (once all lower case, once with the first letter capitalized and once in all caps).
  • Every instance of your search term will be found, even if it is part of another word. For example, searching for “he said” will also highlight part of “she said“, or searching for “book” would also highlight part of “Pressbooks” and change it just the same.
  • If you’re searching for something that appears very frequently in your book, it can easily overwhelm the system and not return any results. There’s no easy solution for this except to copy your book into a text editor such as Word or Notepad++, run the search and replace, and import or copy it all back in.


Here you can control a few more settings that apply to you book.

  • Privacy – set your book to ‘Private’ or ‘Public’ globally, and choose who can see chapters set to ‘Private’
  • Export – choose to have your export error logs sent to you or not
  • Google Analytics – add a Google Analytics ID to connect it to your Pressbooks books
  • PB LaTeX – check the LaTeX plugin is working properly, and set a couple of display options
  • Disable Comments – choose which parts of your book will have comments available (default is all comments are disabled)


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Pressbooks for EDU Guide by Book Oven Inc. (Pressbooks.com) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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