Are there considerations for generating print-ready documents from DITA for IT technical manuals?

When generating print-ready documents from DITA for IT technical manuals, several considerations must be taken into account. IT organizations often require high-quality, well-formatted print outputs for user manuals, reference guides, and technical documentation. DITA, with its structured content approach, can facilitate this process, but additional steps are needed to ensure the output is print-ready.

Output Specialization:

One key consideration is DITA output specialization. IT organizations can define specialized output formats specifically tailored for print. These specialized formats may include page layouts, page numbers, headers, footers, and typography that are optimized for print media. This approach allows the generation of documents that closely resemble traditional printed manuals, ensuring a professional and user-friendly appearance.

Print CSS Styles:

Another important consideration is the use of CSS styles tailored for print. IT organizations can create cascading style sheets (CSS) designed for print media. These styles define how content should be rendered when printed. They control factors like font sizes, margins, pagination, and even the inclusion of print-specific headers and footers. Applying print CSS styles ensures that the DITA content looks well-formatted and readable in print-ready documents.


Here is a simplified example of DITA content with print-specific styles:

<topic id="print-example">
  <title>Print-Ready Example</title>
    <p>This is a sample DITA topic with print-specific formatting.</p>

/* Print CSS in an external stylesheet */
@media print {
  #print-example {
    font-size: 12pt; /* Set a comfortable font size for printed text */
    margin: 1in; /* Define margins for printed pages */

In this example, the print-specific CSS styles ensure that the content within the <topic> element is appropriately formatted when printed. It sets font size and margins for the print output.

By considering output specialization and creating print-specific CSS styles, IT organizations can generate high-quality, print-ready documents from DITA sources. This allows them to deliver professional-looking IT technical manuals and user guides to their audience, meeting both print and digital publishing requirements.