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How to View EPUB Files

EPUB files are a popular choice for e-books due to their flexibility and support for reflowable content, adapting text and images to different devices. Understanding how to view EPUB files is essential for readers who prefer digital books. This guide will explore various methods to access and enjoy EPUB files across different platforms, including detailed steps on how to view an EPUB file, how to view EPUB files on Android, how to convert an EPUB file, and an explanation of what happened to EPUB books in Microsoft Edge.

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How to View an EPUB File

EPUB files are widely used for distributing eBooks due to their flexible format that adapts well to various screen sizes and devices. If you are looking to start reading an eBook that is in EPUB format, it’s important to know how to open and view these files effectively. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to view an EPUB file across different devices using various applications.

On Windows:

  1. Choose an EPUB Reader: For Windows users, Calibre, Adobe Digital Editions, and Sumatra PDF are excellent choices for reading EPUB files. These programs support the format and offer a range of reading tools.
  2. Install the Reader: Download and install your chosen EPUB reader. Both Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions can be easily found online with free downloads available.
  3. Open the EPUB File: After installation, launch the program, and open your EPUB file using the File menu (usually found at the top left corner). Navigate to the location of your EPUB file, select it, and click ‘Open’ to start reading.

On macOS:

  1. Use Apple Books: macOS comes with a built-in application called Apple Books, which natively supports the EPUB format.
  2. Add EPUB to Apple Books: Simply double-click on the EPUB file, and it should automatically open in Apple Books. If it does not open, right-click on the file, select ‘Open With’, and choose ‘Books’.
  3. Manage and Read Your eBook: Apple Books provides a user-friendly interface to manage your library and offers tools for adjusting text size, bookmarks, and more while reading.

On Linux:

  1. Select a Linux-Friendly Reader: Calibre is also available for Linux and is one of the most versatile tools for managing and reading eBooks including EPUB files.
  2. Install and Launch Calibre: Install Calibre from your Linux distribution’s package manager or download it from the official website. Open Calibre and add your EPUB file to your library by dragging it into the Calibre window or using the “Add books” button.
  3. Read Your eBook: Once your EPUB is added to Calibre, simply double-click on the book in the library to open it in Calibre’s eBook viewer.

On Mobile Devices (iOS and Android):

  1. Download a Compatible App: For iOS, Apple Books is again the recommended application. For Android, apps like Aldiko Book Reader, Moon+ Reader, or FBReader are popular choices.
  2. Install the App and Open the File: Once you have downloaded and installed the app, you can often open the EPUB file directly from an email attachment, web download, or from files stored on your device. Simply tap on the file, and it should open in your chosen reading app.
  3. Sync Across Devices: Many apps offer the ability to sync your reading progress and bookmarks across devices if you are logged into the same account on each device.

How to Convert an EPUB File

EPUB files are favored for their adaptability and user-friendly format for e-readers and mobile devices, but there may be situations where you need to convert an EPUB file to a different format for compatibility or preference reasons. Whether you need to change an EPUB to a PDF for easier printing and sharing or to a MOBI file for Kindle compatibility, the conversion process is straightforward with the right tools. Here’s how to convert an EPUB file using various methods.

Using Calibre

Calibre is a powerful, free e-book management software that not only organizes your e-book library but also converts e-books to different formats. Here’s how to use Calibre to convert an EPUB file:

  1. Download and Install Calibre: Visit the official Calibre website to download and install the software on your computer.
  2. Add the EPUB File: Open Calibre and click on the “Add books” button located at the top left of the window. Select the EPUB file you wish to convert from your computer.
  3. Convert the EPUB: Select the book in your library, click on “Convert books,” and then choose your desired output format from the list at the top-right corner of the conversion window. Popular formats include PDF, MOBI, and AZW3.
  4. Adjust Conversion Settings: Calibre allows you to customize the conversion process, such as changing the book’s metadata, layout, and formatting options to suit your needs.
  5. Start the Conversion: Click on “OK” to start the conversion. Once the process is complete, the converted file will be available in Calibre’s library directory.

Using an Online Converter

If you prefer not to install software, numerous online converters can handle EPUB to PDF or other format conversions:

  1. Choose an Online Converter: Websites like Zamzar, Online-Convert, or CloudConvert offer free conversion services.
  2. Upload Your EPUB File: Go to the converter’s website, upload your EPUB file, and select the format you want to convert it to. Most websites allow you to convert to PDF, MOBI, and other popular e-book formats.
  3. Convert and Download: Initiate the conversion process by following the on-site instructions. Once the conversion is complete, you can download the converted file directly to your computer.

Using Adobe Digital Editions

Adobe Digital Editions is another tool you can use for converting EPUB files, especially if you are already using it for e-book management:

  1. Open Adobe Digital Editions: Launch the program on your computer. If you don’t have it, download and install it from Adobe’s website.
  2. Add the EPUB File: Drag and drop the EPUB file into Adobe Digital Editions.
  3. Export as PDF: Right-click on the book in the library view, select “Export as PDF,” and choose where to save the file.

Why Convert an EPUB File?

  • Device Compatibility: Not all devices and e-readers natively support EPUB files. Converting an EPUB to a compatible format ensures you can read it on any device.
  • Printing and Sharing: PDFs are easier to print and share with others who may not have an e-reader.
  • Preference and Features: Some formats may offer features or visual elements that EPUB does not, catering to personal or professional preferences.

Understanding how to convert an EPUB file is a valuable skill in managing your digital library effectively. With tools like Calibre, Adobe Digital Editions, and various online converters, you can easily adapt your e-books to meet your specific needs, whether for reading, sharing, or compatibility purposes.

What Happened to EPUB Books in Microsoft Edge

For several years, Microsoft Edge supported reading EPUB files directly in the browser, providing users with a convenient way to open and read e-books without needing additional software. This feature was well-received because it integrated seamlessly into the Windows ecosystem, making Edge a versatile tool for reading digital books. However, as of March 2020, Microsoft discontinued the support for EPUB files in Microsoft Edge. This section will explore what led to this change and what alternatives are available for users who used to rely on Edge for reading EPUB books.

Discontinuation of EPUB Support

Microsoft’s decision to end EPUB support in Edge was part of a broader initiative to rebuild Microsoft Edge on the Chromium source code, the same codebase that powers Google Chrome. This transition aimed to enhance web compatibility and streamline the browsing experience by leveraging Chromium’s strengths. However, during this overhaul, certain features like the native EPUB book reader were phased out.

Reasons Behind the Change

  • Focus on Web Experiences: Microsoft shifted its focus towards enhancing core web browsing functionalities. The company aimed to prioritize features that would broadly benefit all users of the browser, thus streamlining operations and reducing less commonly used functionalities like the EPUB reader.
  • Maintenance and Support Issues: Supporting an EPUB reader within a web browser involves continuous updates and security patches specific to that feature, which might have drawn resources away from more critical browser functions.
  • Market Demand and Usage: It’s possible that the usage statistics for the EPUB reader in Edge were not high enough to justify its continued development, especially when numerous third-party readers are available.

Alternatives for Reading EPUB Files

With the removal of EPUB support in Edge, users need to find alternative software to read their EPUB files. Fortunately, there are several robust options available:

  • Dedicated E-Book Readers: Applications like Calibre, Adobe Digital Editions, and Apple Books offer excellent EPUB file support. These programs provide extensive features for managing and reading e-books, far beyond what was available in Edge.
  • Browser Extensions: For those who prefer to stick with browser-based solutions, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox offer extensions and add-ons that can read EPUB files. Extensions like “EPUBReader” for Firefox and “Readium” for Chrome provide functionality similar to what was available in Edge.
  • Convert EPUB Files: If you prefer using a reader that does not support EPUB, converting your EPUB files into PDF or other widely supported formats is another solution. Tools like Calibre can convert EPUB files to almost any other e-book format, maintaining a high level of formatting fidelity.


Understanding how to view EPUB files across various devices and platforms ensures a seamless reading experience. Whether using dedicated software like Calibre, built-in programs like Apple Books, or browser extensions, each method offers effective solutions for accessing and enjoying your digital books. By familiarizing yourself with these tools, you can easily open and read EPUB files, enhancing your enjoyment and productivity in the digital reading landscape.

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