Can organizations define custom styles for image presentation in DITA?

Yes, organizations can define custom styles for image presentation in DITA by using specialization, customization, and styling mechanisms. This allows them to tailor the appearance of images in their DITA content to meet specific branding and formatting requirements.

In DITA, custom styles for image presentation can be achieved through specialization and customization.

Specialization involves creating new document types or extending existing ones, which allows organizations to define custom elements and attributes that pertain to image presentation. For example, they can create custom attributes like “image-style” or “image-border” to control image styling.

Customization, on the other hand, is the process of specifying how these custom elements and attributes should be processed and presented. This is typically done in a customization layer, where organizations can define transformation rules or stylesheets to control the rendering of DITA content.


A software company uses DITA for its documentation. They want to ensure that all screenshots in their user manuals have a consistent appearance. The organization creates a specialized DITA element called “custom-screenshot” that extends the standard “image” element. They add custom attributes like “screenshot-style” and “screenshot-border” to control styling. In the customization layer, they create an XSLT stylesheet that interprets these attributes. When a writer uses a “custom-screenshot” element and sets “screenshot-style” to “frame” and “screenshot-border” to “shadowed,” the stylesheet automatically applies a specific frame and shadow effect to the screenshot image during the publishing process, maintaining a consistent and branded image presentation across their documentation.