New in calibre 5.0

Welcome back, calibre users. It has been a year since calibre 4.0. The two headline features are Highlighting support in the calibre E-book viewer and that calibre has now moved to Python 3.

There has been a lot of work on the calibre E-book viewer. It now supports Highlighting. The highlights can be colors, underlines, strikethrough, etc. and have added notes. All highlights can be both stored in EPUB files for easy sharing and centrally in the calibre library for easy browsing. Additionally, the E-book viewer now supports both vertical and right-to-left text.

calibre has moved to using Python 3. This is because Python 2 was end-of-lifed this year. This should be completely transparent to calibre users, the only caveat being that some third party calibre plugins have not yet been ported to Python 3 and therefore will not work in calibre 5. For status on the various plugin ports, see here. This effort involved porting half-a-million lines of Python code and tens-of-thousands of lines of extension code to Python 3. This would not have been possible without the help of Eli Schwartz and Flaviu Tamas.

  • Highlighting in the E-book viewer

    You can now highlight text in the E-book viewer. Highlights can be created in many styles, with associated notes. By default, when highlighting EPUB books, the highlights are stored in the book file itself for easy sharing. They are also stored centrally in the calibre library and can be browsed using the Browse annotations tool that you can access by right clicking the View button.

    Highlights can be created by simply selecting text and clicking the Highlight selection button.

    Highlighting even works using the in-browser viewer that is part of the calibre Content server. You can choose to have highlights created there sync automatically with highlights created in the calibre E-book viewer via a setting in the Miscellaneous section of the E-book viewer preferences.

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  • Dark mode support

    calibre now fully supports dark mode throughout, in the main interface, the E-book viewer, the E-book editor and even the Content server. On Windows and macOS dark mode is activated automatically based on operating system settings. On Linux you have to set the CALIBRE_USE_DARK_PALETTE=1 environment variable.

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  • Enhanced search in the E-book viewer

    The E-book viewer now supports enhanced searches with whole word, regular expressions, etc. Search results are displayed grouped by chapter. There is a button that takes you back to where in the book you were after you are done searching.

  • Backwards incompatibilities

    There are a few minor backwards incompatibilities to be aware of in calibre 5

    • Because calibre has now moved to Python 3, some third party plugins will no longer work, until they are also ported to Python 3. For status on the plugin porting effort, see here.
    • Because of the support for library wide annotations, the database format was slightly changed. While calibre 4.23 is able to open and operate with calibre 5 databases, older versions of calibre may have trouble.

This is an appropriate time to throw out a big thank you to the calibre community who have contributed selflessly of their energy and enthusiasm — without which many of the features above would never have seen the light of day.

Note that some of these features were actually introduced during the lifetime of the 4.x series. This document describes new features as compared to 4.0

See what was new in previous major calibre releases: 4.0, 3.0, 2.0, 1.0, 0.9, 0.8, 0.7.

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