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Create PDF, HTML, ePUB and MOBI eBooks with AsciidocFX

02 August 2016, Mike Williams

AsciidocFXAsciidocFX is a cross-platform open-source markup editor for building PDF, HTML, ePUB and MOBI ebooks, documents, slides and more.

It’s not the easiest package to use, but could still have a lot of appeal for anyone creating academic, technical or scientific documents.

Getting started is simple. A toolbar allows setting text styles, inserting lists or images, and there’s support for all the usual keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl+B for bold, i for italic).

You work at all times in a plain text window which shows the markup only. Make text bold and you’d see *bold*, but a preview window to the right displays bold so you can check it at a glance.

AsciidocFX starts to get interesting with the Blocks list, which contains some handy document components.

AsciidocFX

Type AsciiDOC markup in the middle pane and it’s instantly previewed on the right

Inserting an “Example”, for instance, gets you the italic text “Example 1. Title” with a box underneath, perfect for entering worked examples like program code or mathematical equations. Enter more examples as required and AsciidocFX updates the numbers for you.

The “Admonitions” list works in a similar way, inserting icons for tips (light bulb), notes (an information sign) and so on, along with space to enter the related text.

The bundled “Filesystem Tree” extension was a surprise. Drag and drop a folder onto AsciiDocfx and it automatically generates a graphic showing any subfolders and their files.

There’s even the ability to insert multiple chart types (pie, bar, line, area, scatter, bubble, stacked). Data can be entered within the document, or you can have AsciidocFX import it from a CSV file.

More technical extensions support entering mathematical equations via Tex or MathML, and UML diagrams via PlantUML.

Whatever you produce may be saved as HTML, PDF, ePub and MOBI ebooks, and more.

As with any markup editor, AsciidocFX can seem awkward to use at first: typing in one pane, and looking in the other to see the finished results. But the powerful extensions and range of export formats are a strong point, and if you need to create technical or scientific documents then we’d give the program a try.

AsciidocFX is an open-source application for Windows, Linux and Mac.

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