Learn how to export your ebook as a Windows Desktop App.
Why export as a Desktop App?
Exporting your ebook as a Desktop App allows your readers to view your book from their computers. Instructional ebooks, particularly ones with complex diagrams are better viewed on a wide screen. That's why desktop apps are commonly used in schools, training centers, libraries etc.
Export a Windows App
This format will run on all Windows machines including older ones. If you are targeting 64-bit Windows machines, exporting to Windows 64-bit may give a better performance and hence user experience. For larger coverage of your distribution, we advise exporting to both the 32 and 64formats. When exporting to Windows Desktop, you will be given a collection of files, including an executable (.exe) file named accordingly. You may add a Windows icon (.ico file) to provide better branding for your application. The ebook can be run by simply double-clicking on the executable file.
To export desktop apps:
- Click on Export in the header bar to go to the export screen.
- Click on Export Desktop App in the left column.
- Fill in an Application Name.
- Add an App logo if you'd like to create a shortcut icon for your desktop app.
- Choose Windows.
- Click on Create to choose where you want to save it, then Save.
Package into a single EXE file
By default, when exporting your app, you will a zip file containing the raw files of your Windows application. You may run the app by running the EXE file, but still all other files are required in order for the EXE file to run correctly.
If you wish to instead export a single packed EXE file, with no dependencies, you may use the Bundle as single file option.
Create a Windows Installer
A software installer has many advantages for your users. It allows them to conveniently create shortcuts (on start menu, desktop, etc) and better manage the software through the operating system itself. To create an installer, you need to download and install Inno Setup (a free installer) to help with this.
Right before you export your Windows app, enable the option Include installer setup file as shown below.
Now when you extract your exported zip file, you will find a file named Installer.iss.
Double click that file and it will open automatically in Inno Setup if you had it installed correctly.
Select Build > Compile (or use Ctrl F9 shortcut) from the top menu. It will take approximately a minute to finish packing your app into an installer. Once it completes, navigate to the parent folder (where the exported zip file was saved to), and you will find a new setup file created that you can share with your users.
Note Inno Setup is very powerful. You can modify the script in the Installer.iss to include features beyond a simple installation wizard. You can add an EULA for example, or a customized welcome screen, or language selection. For more information on how to achieve this, be sure to check the online Inno Setup user guide.