Can organizations create conditional publishing templates for DITA outputs?

Organizations can indeed create conditional publishing templates for DITA outputs, allowing for the dynamic generation of output formats tailored to specific requirements. These templates involve the use of conditional processing attributes within the DITA content to control aspects like format, style, layout, and delivery, enabling organizations to efficiently produce multiple output versions from the same content source.

Conditional Attributes:

Conditional publishing templates rely on conditional attributes applied to DITA content elements. These attributes specify conditions such as target audience, product version, or delivery format. By defining and attaching these attributes to content, organizations can designate under what circumstances specific content should be included or excluded in the final output.

Conditional Processing Profiles:

Organizations establish conditional processing profiles that outline which conditions should be active during the publishing process. For example, a profile might focus on content intended for a particular audience, enabling the inclusion or exclusion of relevant sections. Different profiles can be created to address various output scenarios.

Output Customization:

Conditional publishing templates allow for extensive customization of DITA outputs. Depending on the active processing profile, organizations can generate different output formats, such as PDF, HTML, or mobile-friendly versions. They can also control styling, layout, and branding, ensuring that each version aligns with specific presentation requirements.

Efficient Content Reuse:

Through the application of conditional publishing templates, organizations can maximize content reuse. Common content shared across multiple output versions remains in a single source, reducing redundancy and simplifying content management.


A global electronics manufacturer produces product manuals in various languages and formats. They have a DITA map for a specific product that includes content like safety instructions, specifications, and troubleshooting guides. To create tailored product manuals for different regions, they use conditional publishing templates.

  <title>Product Manual</title>
  <topicref href="safety_instructions.dita">
    <props locale="en-US"/>
  <topicref href="safety_instructions.dita">
    <props locale="fr-FR"/>
  <topicref href="specifications.dita"/>
  <topicref href="troubleshooting.dita">
    <props locale="en-US"/>

In this example, they apply conditional attributes like “locale” to differentiate content for English (en-US) and French (fr-FR) audiences. They create two conditional processing profiles, one for the “en-US” locale and another for the “fr-FR” locale. When generating the product manual for the English-speaking audience, only content with the “en-US” attribute is included, ensuring that the manual is in English and matches their region’s requirements. This approach allows the organization to efficiently produce region-specific product manuals while keeping content management centralized.