Getting Started

Importing a Pressbooks or WordPress File

For this chapter there is both a video, with transcript, and written text on how to import Pressbooks (XML) file into Pressbooks.

Video and Transcript: How to Import a Pressbooks File

Transcript of video

In this video we’ll be going through how to import an existing Pressbooks file from So if you’re looking to adapt and remix a textbook from the BC Open Textbook Collection, you’ll probably want an easily editable version of the book, and a Pressbooks XML file is the easiest to work with in Pressbooks, as it’s already correctly formatted for Pressbooks use.

So there are several places to find a book – in your existing textbook, you can click on the PB Textbook panel, and use the Search and Import tool to find a book in the collection, or you can go to Download Textbooks and find a comprehensive list of books. You can also navigate to, and then click on “Find a Textbook” to open up the search page in the collection. Once you’ve found the right book, you can download the Pressbooks Backup XML version of the book. To save time, I’ve already got an XML file saved on my hard drive, so let’s get to work importing that file back into Pressbooks.

And we’ll click on “Import” on the left sidebar, and then leave the type of file as is. We’ll select our XML file, and then click upload file.

On this next screen, we can choose how this document will import. If I want to import all of the chapters, I can tick the “select all” box, or just tick a few of the boxes if I only want to import certain ones. I can also choose to have each section import differently – over on the right, I can choose to import them as chapters, parts, or as front matter or back matter. Since this Pressbooks file comes from a reviewed and edited textbook, I trust that everything’s in the right place; so I’ll import everything and then scroll down to the bottom and click “start.”

And we can see that the document has been imported. Now, if we go into the text panel, we can see that everything we imported has a “draft” status. We want all our chapters to be published, so a quick trick to publish everything is to tick the “private” box next to each chapter twice, and this will publish the chapter. So there you go! You now know how to import a Pressbooks XML file into Pressbooks.

Written Text: How to Import a Pressbooks or WordPress File

If you have an account in Pressbooks and want to import an existing open textbook, the easiest way to do this is by importing it using a Pressbooks or WordPress file of the textbook as follows:

  1. Begin by downloading the Pressbooks or WordPress file (.xml) of the textbook to your computer. If you are having difficulty saving the downloaded file, seek technical assistance at your institution.
  2. Then, create a book in your Pressbooks account. Pressbooks automatically sets up an Introduction in the front matter, Chapter 1 in the main body, and an Appendix in the back matter. Delete all of these from the Text view before beginning the import.  If this is not done, then all items will import into the main body.
  3. Go to the “Dashboard” of the new book and “Import” on the left-hand toolbar.
  4. From the “Type of file” drop-down menu, select “WXR” (WordPress eXtended RSS).
  5. Using the “Browse” button, select the downloaded Pressbooks or WordPress file from where ever you saved it on your computer. The file will be labelled with the name of the textbook, some numbers and the extension .xml
  6. Click the “Upload file” button.

Once the import has occurred, you will land on a page that says “Import” at the top, and on the left-hand toolbar “Tools” will be highlighted, and “Import” under that.

  1. To ensure that each item ends up in the right place in the book, confirm that the correct part (Front Matter, Main Body, or Back Matter) is selected under each of those columns.
  2. Select each item to be imported by clicking on the box in the Import column. There is a “Select all” option at the top of the list if you want to import the entire textbook. This is recommended if you plan to use the whole book or will be making minor revisions.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the red “Start” button. With a large book, this may take several minutes. Do not interrupt this process.
  4. Once this process has completed, you will be taken to the Text view.
  5. If an extra (and empty) main body part appears after the import, delete it from the Text view.
  6. Click on the “Dashboard” view (left-hand toolbar) to review the layout and order of chapters and chapter sections.

Lastly, go to “Appearance” in the left-hand toolbar, and select “Themes”. Make sure that your book is using the “Open Textbook” theme, as this will provide you with the most options for creating and adapting an open textbook.

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