What role do conditional attributes play in DITA conditional processing?

Conditional processing attributes in DITA play a pivotal role in selectively including or excluding content based on predefined conditions, allowing for content customization for different outputs or audiences.

Conditional processing attributes are essential for managing content variations in DITA maps. This involves conditions, conditional text, and output customization.


Conditional processing attributes, such as @props and @audience, are used to tag specific elements or content for conditional processing. These attributes can have values like “print” or “online,” indicating where the content should be included or excluded.

Conditional Text

Authors apply conditional processing attributes to individual elements or sections within a DITA map. For example, a user guide might include content specific to different software versions. Conditional attributes can tag content related to version 1.0 as <p props="productVersion(1.0)">, and content related to version 2.0 as <p props="productVersion(2.0)">.

Output Customization

These attributes allow organizations to create multiple versions of content from the same source, tailored for various outputs (e.g., print vs. online) or audience segments (e.g., beginner vs. advanced users). By using conditional processing attributes, content customization becomes more efficient and manageable.


In a DITA map for a software manual, the installation instructions need to vary based on the user’s operating system. Conditional processing attributes are applied to specific steps. For Windows users, a step is tagged as <step props="os(win)">, while for Mac users, a corresponding step is tagged as <step props="os(mac)">. When generating the manual, the conditional processing tool can include the appropriate steps based on the user’s OS, ensuring that the content is customized for the target audience.