Generating a DITA-OT PDF Plugin

You can use the DITA-OT PDF Plugin Generator to quickly create customized PDF plugins.

Tip: Generating a PDF plugin by using the DITA-OT PDF Plugin Generator is much easier than developing one from scratch. If needed, you can extend the generated plugin with some custom development work.

DITA-OT Plugin Generator

The DITA-OT Plugin Generator is a free online tool that enables you to easily build custom DITA-OT PDF plugins.

Generate a DITA-OT PDF Plugin

The DITA-OT PDF Plugin Generator enables you to quickly create custom PDF plugins for the DITA Open Toolkit.

  1. In your web browser, go to
    Figure 1. PDF Plugin Generator Page
    DITA OT PDF Plugin Generator Page
  2. In the Target environment section, do the following:
    1. From the DITA-OT version drop-down menu, select one of the available DITA-OT publishing engine versions.
      Remember: DITA-OT plugins may require specific versions of the DITA-OT publishing engine to operate properly. In Heretto CCMS, you can use different DITA-OT publishing engines and plugins in different publishing scenarios. We recommend using the newest DITA-OT publishing engines available.
    2. From the XSL formatter drop-down menu, select a PDF rendering engine.
      Different XSL formatters support different plugin customization features. The FOP formatter is open source. The AntennaHouse Formatter and RenderX XEP are available for purchase.
  3. Set page size, margins, columns, header and footer, and other options according to your preference.
  4. In the Metadata section, do the following:
    PDF Plugin Generator Metadata
    1. In the Plug-in ID field, enter a plugin name.
      Remember: We recommend that the plugin name contains the transformation type (transtype). For more information about transtypes, see DITA-OT transformations.
      The naming convention for DITA-OT plugins follows this pattern: <com, org, or edu>.org-name.plugin-identifier.transtype. So in this example plugin name, com.heretto.grayscale.pdf, com indicates a business entity, heretto is the business name, grayscale is a unique characteristic of the output from this plugin, and pdf is the transformation (output) type.
    2. In the Transtype field, provide a unique name for your plugin transformation type.
      Important: The transformation type (transtype) defines which plugin the DITA Open Toolkit uses to create output. The transtype name must be unique within the plugins for a given DITA-OT. To help ensure your plugin transtype name is unique, we recommend adding your organization name.

      You will need the transtype name to:

      • Add a new DITA-OT publishing scenario in Heretto CCMS
      • Publish content by using a local DITA-OT instance
      For the plugin name com.heretto.grayscale.pdf, we would name the transtype heretto-grayscale or alternately, heretto-grayscale-pdf.
    3. Optional: If you would like to keep track of the plugin version, type a value in Plug-in version.
    4. Click Generate plug-in.
      The PDF Plugin Generator creates your new plugin in a ZIP file.
You can upload the new plugin into Heretto CCMS to use in a publishing scenario or you can embed the plugin in an applicable DITA Open Toolkit.
To apply advanced customizations to your plugin, see Developing a DITA-OT Plugin.