Can you create custom note types in DITA?

In DITA, custom note types can be created to address specific informational needs beyond the standard note types. This customization allows for the definition of custom note types with specialized content and formatting.

DITA provides a way to create custom note types through the process of defining specialization. Custom elements can be extended from a base DITA note element, such as <note>, by giving them a unique name, which becomes the custom note type.

The process for creating custom note types typically involves defining specializations, defining attributes and content, and defining formatting.

Define Specializations:

Start by creating a specialization of a base DITA note element, like <note>.

Name the custom note type based on its purpose, such as a custom <warning> note type.

Define Attributes and Content:

Specify the relevant attributes and content structure for the custom note type. For example, a custom <warning> note type might include attributes like @severity and @reason, along with specific child elements like <cause> and <action>.

Define Formatting:

Define how the custom note type should be formatted in the output. This could involve creating stylesheets or templates to control the appearance of the custom notes.


A custom <warning> note type with specific attributes and content is created for a DITA documentation project.

<!ELEMENT warning (cause, action)>
<!ATTLIST warning
          severity (low | medium | high) "medium"
          reason CDATA #IMPLIED>

In this example, a custom <warning> note type is introduced, including attributes like severity (with possible values “low,” “medium,” or “high”), a reason attribute, and specific child elements, cause and action. This custom note type permits authors to provide warnings with varying severity levels and reasons, accompanied by details about the cause and recommended actions. The custom note type can be used within DITA topics as needed.