How is pagination managed in DITA publishing for print output?

Pagination management in DITA publishing for printed output is essential for creating well-structured and readable documents. It involves controlling how content is divided into pages, ensuring proper page breaks, and generating pagination elements like page numbers.

Page Layout and Pagination Properties:

Definition: In DITA publishing for printed output, pagination management begins with defining the page layout and pagination properties. This includes specifying page size, margins, headers, footers, and other aspects of the printed page.

Purpose: Properly configuring these properties ensures that content flows correctly onto pages, maintaining readability and visual consistency in the printed document.

Components: Pagination properties are usually set within the DITA publishing system or through style sheets. Elements like page size (e.g., letter, A4), margins, and the presence of headers and footers are specified.

Pagination Elements:

Definition: DITA documents contain pagination elements, such as page breaks and page numbers, that control the layout of content on printed pages.

Purpose: Page breaks determine where content should flow from one page to the next, while page numbers help readers navigate the document.

Components: To insert a page break in DITA, elements like <pagebreak /> can be used. Page numbering is typically automated by the DITA publishing system, and the format of page numbers may be defined.

Conditional Pagination:

Definition: Conditional pagination involves specifying conditions under which certain content should be paginated or excluded from the printed output. For example, content maybe included or excluded based on the version of the document.

Purpose: Conditional pagination allows for tailored printed documents, ensuring that specific content is included or excluded depending on the requirements.

Components: Conditional pagination is often set within the DITA publishing system using filtering or conditional processing attributes.


The pagination management for a software user manual would involve the following:

Page Layout: It is specified that the printed manual should use a standard letter-sized page, with 1-inch margins on all sides. Headers and footers are also defined to include the document title and page numbers.

Pagination Elements: In the DITA source content, <pagebreak /> elements might be inserted at the end of each chapter to ensure chapters start on new pages in the printed manual.

Page Numbers: The DITA publishing system, using the defined style sheets, automatically generates page numbers at the bottom of each page.

Conditional Pagination: Suppose the software manual has different editions, one for beginners and one for advanced users. Using conditional processing attributes, it can be specified that advanced topics only appear in the advanced edition, affecting the pagination based on the selected version.

In this example, pagination management ensures that the manual’s content is organized into well-structured pages with proper page breaks, page numbers, and the ability to create distinct editions, meeting the specific needs of different user groups.