How are fonts and typography controlled in DITA publishing?

In DITA publishing, controlling fonts and typography involves managing the visual appearance of text elements in the published output. This includes specifying font styles, sizes, colors, and other typographic attributes to maintain consistency and branding.

Font and Typography Control in DITA:

Definition: Controlling fonts and typography in DITA refers to the ability to define and apply styling to text elements in a DITA document. This control is vital for maintaining a consistent and professional look and feel in the published content.

Importance: Consistent typography ensures that content maintains brand identity, readability, and visual coherence. It helps convey the desired tone and professionalism in the documentation.

Methods and Best Practices:

CSS Stylesheets: Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are commonly used to control fonts and typography. CSS rules define font family, size, weight, color, and other typographic attributes. For example, a CSS rule can be created to style all H1 headings with a specific font and color.

Style Attributes: In DITA elements, style attributes can be used to specify individual font properties. For example, within a p (paragraph) element, the font-family, font-size, and color can be defined directly.

Typography Plugins: Some DITA publishing tools may offer plugins or extensions for enhanced typographic control. These tools provide features like kerning, tracking, and ligature settings to fine-tune the typography.

Responsive Design: Consider responsive design principles to ensure that typography adapts well to various devices and screen sizes. Using relative units like percentages or ems for font sizes can help with responsiveness.

Branding Guidelines: Adhere to branding guidelines that specify the approved fonts, styles, and colors for documents. Consistency with branding is essential for conveying a professional image.


A company that publishes product manuals in DITA wants to control fonts and typography for their documentation:

CSS Stylesheet: The company uses a CSS stylesheet called “product-manual-styles.css.” In this stylesheet, they define fonts and typography for headings, paragraphs, lists, and other text elements. For example, they set the font family for headings to “Arial, sans-serif,” the font size for paragraphs to “14px,” and the link color to “blue.”

Typography Plugin: The company utilizes a DITA publishing tool with a typography plugin. This plugin allows them to apply fine-tuned typography adjustments, like character spacing, to enhance the overall look of the content.

Responsive Design: To ensure their documentation is readable on both desktop and mobile devices, the company uses relative font-size units like percentages. They set the font size for headings to be 200% of the base font size, making them more prominent on smaller screens.

By controlling fonts and typography using CSS, plugins, and responsive design, the company maintains a consistent and visually appealing style across their product manuals.