By Stilo Corporation (July 12, 2023)


Converting content to DITA XML can be a complex process, but by following a structured approach, you can streamline the conversion process. Here are 10 steps to guide you through the conversion:

  1. Define Conversion Scope: Determine the scope of the conversion project, including the specific content to be converted and the desired output structure in DITA XML. Identify any specific requirements or constraints related to the content, formatting, or metadata.
  2. Assess Content: Review the content to understand its structure, complexity, and formatting. Identify any challenges or potential issues that may arise during the conversion process, such as complex tables, graphics, or non-standard layouts.
  3. Plan the Conversion Strategy: Develop a conversion strategy based on the content assessment. Determine the best approach for extracting content from the source, including text, images, tables, and other elements. Consider using conversion software to automate the initial extraction process.
  4. Prepare DITA XML Structure: Define the DITA XML structure and create the necessary topic types, elements, and metadata to accommodate the converted content. Customize or extend the existing DITA specialization modules or create new ones as per your specific requirements.
  5. Map Source Content to DITA XML: Map the extracted content from the source content to the corresponding elements in the DITA XML structure. Determine how the source headings, paragraphs, lists, tables, and other content elements will be represented in the DITA XML structure.
  6. Establish Tagging Guidelines: Develop tagging guidelines to ensure consistent and accurate tagging of content during the conversion process. Define guidelines for tagging headings, lists, images, tables, references, and other content elements according to the DITA XML structure.
  7. Perform Content Conversion: Apply the defined tagging guidelines and convert the extracted content from source into DITA XML (preferably using automation tools). Use XML editors or specialized conversion tools to facilitate the conversion process and ensure adherence to the DITA XML structure and tagging guidelines.
  8. Validate and Review: Validate the converted DITA XML content using XML validation tools or DITA-aware XML editors. Perform a thorough review of the converted content to ensure accuracy, consistency, and adherence to the desired DITA XML structure. Address any identified errors, inconsistencies, or formatting issues.
  9. Enhance and Optimize: Enhance the converted content by refining the structure, applying consistent formatting, and improving the metadata. Optimize the DITA XML content by identifying opportunities for content reuse, modularization, and metadata enrichment.
  10. Publish and Test: Generate output from the converted DITA XML, such as PDFs, HTML, or other desired formats. Test the generated output for accuracy, formatting, and usability. Make any necessary adjustments or refinements to ensure the final output meets the desired quality standards.

Throughout the conversion process, it is crucial to maintain thorough documentation, communicate with stakeholders, and seek feedback to address any challenges or refine the conversion strategy. By following these steps, you can effectively convert any source content to DITA XML, enabling structured content management and facilitating efficient content reuse and delivery.


About Stilo Corporation
Stilo develops tools to help organizations automate the conversion of content to XML and build XML content processing components integral to enterprise-level publishing solutions. Operating from Canada, Stilo supports commercial publishers, technology companies and government agencies around the world in their pursuit of structured content. For more information, visit