Working with Landscape and Portrait Orientation in iBooks Author

The template used in the examples below is the In Focus Template. You can find it here.

When you create your book in iBooks Author, one of the most important features to understand is Page Orientation.

When viewing a book on the iPad there are two choices for orientation: landscape and portrait. For readers, there are some differences when viewing a book in each orientation. We’ve put together this guide to help explain the benefits and drawbacks of each – and how you can use both – so you can make the best decision for your content.

Landscape and PortraitYour guiding thought when choosing page orientation should be consumption dictates form. How do you want people to read your content? Will they be reading it on a tablet or on a desktop? Do you have a lot of images or mainly text? The answers to these questions will help you decide.


Portrait orientation is taller than it is wide.

ibook page orientation, book page layout, ibooks author portrait page

Generally, books that are text-heavy will benefit from a portrait orientation.

It enables our eye to travel comfortably over a shorter distance than we would if reading in landscape orientation. Of course, you can fix that by creating multiple columns in landscape orientation. But a general rule of thumb is to use portrait orientation and skip the multiple columns.


Landscape is wider than it is tall (think of an actual outdoor landscape). 

iBooks Author Landscape Layout Orientation

If you have a lot of images, graphics, video, or other supporting objects within your text, you’ll want to choose landscape as your orientation.

You’ll have an easier time incorporating those elements in this orientation. Landscape orientation tends to allow you to create more interesting layouts. This can and will be more challenging, so make sure all those layouts really add to your book and aren’t just a distraction.

Can I Make A Book In Both Landscape and Portrait Orientations?

Maybe you want to have a book that works in both orientations.

If you have a simple layout, this is easy to accomplish. But there are a few things to consider when working in iBooks Author:

If you start with one of Apple’s default landscape orientation templates, when a reader rotates iPad to portrait orientation, the book reformats automatically to this:

Show in portrait ibooks author

As you can see, all graphics, widgets, and multimedia have been placed in a small column on the left and all text on the right. So a graphic appears to the side of text, rather than below a specific part of the text as you had it in landscape mode.

If a book uses one of Apple’s default portrait templates, the book stays in portrait orientation, even if a reader rotates their iPad to landscape orientation.

With the landscape templates, you can prevent the book from switching to portrait orientation by selecting “Disable portrait orientation” in the Document inspector. You can’t use the Orientation buttons with a portrait template (because they don’t allow landscape anyway).

My Images Disappeared in Portrait Orientation!?

Are you having this problem?

When I switched from landscape orientation to portrait orientation my images just disappeared! What happened?

image landscape ibooks authorno image portrait ibooks authorImages imported into iBooks Author are referred to as objects, and there are three different kinds of objects. When you drag and drop an image into your book, they are inserted by default as either anchored or floating objects. Those two types of objects don’t appear in portrait orientation unless you give them either a title or a caption. Luckily, that’s pretty easy to do and here’s how:

  1. Click on your image.
  2. Go to the Inspector in the upper right menu bar.
  3. Click the last righthand icon called Widget Inspector (it looks like a folder with a gear on it).
  4. Check the Title check box and you’ll see that your image now has a dummy title and border around it.
  5. Layout and your cartoon now has a dummy text title as well as a light gray border around it
  6. You could opt to add a caption below the image instead. Both work, it’s just a matter of personal preference.

iBooks Author inspector widget


Now let’s look at it in portrait orientation again on the iPad:

Show in portrait ibooks author

Voila! Problem solved.

Keeping Images Anchored to Text in Portrait Orientation Trick

What if you don’t want images to show up in the lefthand thumbnail track when you switch from landscape to portrait? Is there a way to keep them within the text?

Here’s a trick to do just that:

Pick the spot you’d like your image to appear. When inserting an image, press and hold the command key while you drag your image from your desktop to your book.

If you do this, there’s no need for title or captions. So this might be a great option if you’d prefer not to have a title or caption.

iBooks Author Templates

Of course, the first step to creating your book is to find a template that matches your needs.

iBooks Author Templates has the largest selection of professionally designed iBook templates on the market. Choose from a variety of styles, like Classic textbooks, Cookbooks, Photo books, Children’s books, Novels, and much more here.

The template used in the examples above is the In Focus Template. You can find it here.

Need something else? Check out all of our professionally designed iBooks Author templates here).


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