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calibre User Manual

Table Of Contents
calibre User Manual
The main calibre user interface
Adding your favorite news website to calibre
The calibre ebook viewer
Customizing calibres ebook conversion
Editing ebooks
Comparing ebooks
Editing ebook metadata
Frequently Asked Questions
Customizing calibre
The Command Line Interface
Setting up a calibre development environment
calibre is an ebook library manager. It can view, convert and catalog ebooks in most of the major
ebook formats. It can also talk to many ebook reader devices. It can go out to the Internet and fetch
metadata for your books. It can download newspapers and convert them into ebooks for convenient
reading. It is cross platform, running on Linux, Windows and OS X.
Youve just started calibre. What do you do now? Before calibre can do anything with your ebooks,
it first has to know about them. Drag and drop a few ebook files into calibre, or click the Add
books button and browse for the ebooks you want to work with. Once youve added the books,
they will show up in the main view looking something like this:

Once youve admired the list of books you just added to your hearts content, youll probably want
to read one. In order to do that youll have to convert the book to a format your reader understands.
When first running calibre, the Welcome Wizard starts and will set up calibre for your reader
device. Conversion is a breeze. Just select the book you want to convert then click the Convert
books button. Ignore all the options for now and click OK. The little icon in the bottom right
corner will start spinning. Once its finished spinning, your converted book is ready. Click the
View button to read the book.
If you want to read the book on your reader, connect it to the computer, wait till calibre detects it
(10-20 seconds) and then click the Send to device button. Once the icon stops spinning again,
disconnect your reader and read away! If you didnt convert the book in the previous step, calibre
will auto convert it to the format your reader device understands.
To get started with more advanced usage, you should read about The Graphical User Interface. For
even more power and versatility, learn the Command Line Interface. You will find the list of
Frequently Asked Questions useful as well.
An ebook version of this user manual is available in EPUB format, AZW3 (Kindle Fire) format
and PDF format.


The Graphical User Interface

Adding your favorite news website
The Ebook Viewer
Ebook Conversion
Editing E-books
Comparing E-books
Editing Ebook Metadata
Frequently Asked Questions
Customizing calibre
Command Line Interface
Setting up a calibre development environment

The main calibre user interface

The Graphical User Interface
Search & Sort
The Search Interface
Saving searches
Virtual Libraries
Guessing metadata from file names
Book Details
Tag Browser
Cover Grid
Cover Browser
Keyboard Shortcuts

Adding your favorite news website to calibre

Adding your favorite news website
Completely automatic fetching
Customizing the fetch process
Tips for developing new recipes
Further reading
API documentation

The calibre ebook viewer

The Ebook Viewer
Starting the viewer
Navigating around an ebook

Customizing the look and feel of your reading experience

Dictionary lookup
Copying text and images

Customizing calibres ebook conversion

Ebook Conversion
Look & Feel
Page Setup
Heuristic Processing
Search & Replace
Structure Detection
Table of Contents
Using images as chapter titles when converting HTML input documents
Using tag attributes to supply the text for entries in the Table of Contents
How options are set/saved for Conversion
Format specific tips

Editing ebooks
Editing E-books
Basic workflow
The Files Browser
Search & Replace
Automated tools
The Live Preview panel
The Live CSS panel
Miscellaneous Tools
Special features in the code editor

Comparing ebooks
Comparing E-books
Understanding the comparison view
How to launch the comparison tool

Editing ebook metadata

Editing Ebook Metadata
Editing the metadata of one book at a time
Editing the metadata of many books at a time

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
Ebook Format Conversion
Device Integration
Library Management


Adding your favorite news website
Managing subgroups of books, for example genre
XPath Tutorial
The calibre template language
All about using regular expressions in calibre
Integrating the calibre content server into other servers
Writing your own plugins to extend calibres functionality
Typesetting Math in ebooks
Creating AZW3 EPUB MOBI Catalogs
Virtual Libraries

Customizing calibre
Customizing calibre
Environment variables
Overriding icons, templates, et cetera
Customizing calibre with plugins

The Command Line Interface

Command Line Interface
Documented Commands
Undocumented Commands

Setting up a calibre development environment

Setting up a calibre development environment
Design philosophy
Getting the code
Windows development environment
OS X development environment
Linux development environment
Having separate normal and development calibre installs on the same computer
Debugging tips
Using calibre in your projects
API documentation for various parts of calibre

Managing subgroups of books, for example

Some people wish to organize the books in their library into subgroups, similar to subfolders. The
most commonly provided reason is to create genre hierarchies, but there are many others. One user
asked for a way to organize textbooks by subject and course number. Another wanted to keep track
of gifts by subject and recipient. This tutorial will use the genre example for the rest of this post.
Before going on, please note that we are not talking about folders on the hard disk. Subgroups are
not file folders. Books will not be copied anywhere. Calibres library file structure is not affected.
Instead, we are presenting a way to organize and display subgroups of books within a calibre

Useful Template Functions

The commonly-provided requirements for subgroups such as genres are:

A subgroup (e.g., a genre) must contain (point to) books, not categories of
books. This is what distinguishes subgroups from calibre user categories.
A book can be in multiple subgroups (genres). This distinguishes subgroups
from physical file folders.
Subgroups (genres) must form a hierarchy; subgroups can contain subgroups.
Tags give you the first two. If you tag a book with the genre then you can use the tag browser (or
search) for find the books with that genre, giving you the first. Many books can have the same
tag(s), giving you the second. The problem is that tags dont satisfy the third requirement. They
dont provide a hierarchy.
Calibres hierarchy feature gives you the third,
the ability to see the genres in a tree and the
ability to easily search for books in genre or subgenre. For example, assume that your genre
structure is similar to the following:
. History
.. Japanese
.. Military
.. Roman
. Mysteries
.. English
.. Vampire
. Science Fiction
.. Alternate History
.. Military
.. Space Opera
. Thrillers
.. Crime
.. Horror

By using the hierarchy feature, you can see these genres in the tag browser in tree form, as shown in
the screen image. In this example the outermost level (Genre) is a custom column that contains the

genres. Genres containing sub-genres appear with a small triangle next to them. Clicking on that
triangle will open the item and show the sub-genres, as you can see with History and Science
Clicking on a genre can search for all books with that genre or children of that genre. For example,
clicking on Science Fiction can give all three of the child genres, Alternate History, Military, and
Space Opera. Clicking on Alternate History will give books in that genre, ignoring those in Military
and Space Opera. Of course, a book can have multiple genres. If a book has both Space Opera and
Military genres, then you will see that book if you click on either genre. Searching is discussed in
more detail below.
Another thing you can see from the image is that the genre Military appears twice, once under
History and once under Science Fiction. Because the genres are in a hierarchy, these are two
separate genres. A book can be in one, the other, or (doubtfully in this case) both. For example, the
books in Winston Churchills The Second World War could be in History.Military. David
Webers Honor Harrington books could be in Science Fiction.Military, and for that matter also in
Science Fiction.Space Opera.
Once a genre exists, that is at least one book has that genre, you can easily apply it to other books
by dragging the books from the library view onto the genre you want the books to have. You can
also apply genres in the metadata editors; more on this below.

By now, your question might be How was all of this up? There are three steps: 1) create the
custom column, 2) tell calibre that the new column is to be treated as a hierarchy, and 3) add genres.
You create the custom column in the usual way, using Preferences -> Add your own columns. This
example uses #genre as the lookup name and Genre as the column heading. The column type is
Comma-separated text, like tags, shown in the tag browser.

Then after restarting calibre, you must tell calibre that the column is to be treated as a hierarchy. Go
to Preferences -> Look and Feel -> Tag Browser and enter the lookup name #genre into the
Categories with hierarchical items box. Press Apply, and you are done with setting up.

At the point there are no genres in the column. We are left with the last step: how to apply a genre to
a book. A genre does not exist in calibre until it appears on at least one book. To learn how to apply
a genre for the first time, we must go into some detail about what a genre looks like in the metadata
for a book.
A hierarchy of things is built by creating an item consisting of phrases separated by periods.
Continuing the genre example, these items would History.Military, Mysteries.Vampire,
Science Fiction.Space Opera, etc. Thus to create a new genre, you pick a book that should have
that genre, edit its metadata, and enter the new genre into the column you created. Continuing our
example, if you want to assign a new genre Comics with a sub-genre Superheroes to a book,
you would edit metadata for that (comic) book, choose the Custom metadata tab, and then enter
Comics.Superheroes as shown in the following (ignore the other custom columns):

After doing the above, you see in the tag browser:

From here on, to apply this new genre to a book (a comic book, presumably), you can either drag
the book onto the genre, or add it to the book using edit metadata in exactly the same way as done


The easiest way to search for genres is using the tag browser, clicking on the genre you wish to see.
Clicking on a genre with children will show you books with that genre and all child genres.
However, this might bring up a question. Just because a genre has children doesnt mean that it isnt
a genre in its own right. For example, a book can have the genre History but not
History.Military. How do you search for books with only History?
The tag browser search mechanism knows if an item has children. If it does, clicking on the item
cycles through 5 searches instead of the normal three. The first is the normal green plus, which
shows you books with that genre only (e.g., History). The second is a doubled plus (shown above),
which shows you books with that genre and all sub-genres (e.g., History and History.Military). The
third is the normal red minus, which shows you books without that exact genre. The fourth is a
doubled minus, which shows you books without that genre or sub-genres. The fifth is back to the
beginning, no mark, meaning no search.

If you search for a genre then create a saved search for it, you can use the restrict to box to create a
virtual library of books with that genre. This is useful if you want to do other searches within the
genre or to manage/update metadata for books in the genre. Continuing our example, you can create
a saved search named History.Japanese by first clicking on the genre Japanese in the tag browser
to get a search into the search box, entering History.Japanese into the saved search box, then

pushing the save search button (the green box with the white plus, on the right-hand side).

After creating the saved search, you can use it as a restriction.

Useful Template Functions

You might want to use the genre information in a template, such as with save to disk or
send to device. The question might then be How do I get the outermost genre name or
names? A calibre template function, subitems, is provided to make doing this easier.
For example, assume you want to add the outermost genre level to the save-to-disk
template to make genre folders, as in History/The Gathering Storm - Churchill,
Winston. To do this, you must extract the first level of the hierarchy and add it to the
front along with a slash to indicate that it should make a folder. The template below
accomplishes this:
{#genre:subitems(0,1)||/}{title} - {authors}

See The template language for more information about templates and the subitems() function.