Adding custom headers and footers

You add a custom header to include a publication title, company logo, or other common branding elements in HTML output. A custom footer can also be added with copyright information, legal boilerplate, or other fine print.

About this task

In HTML5 output, the contents of the header file will be wrapped in an HTML5 <header> element with the @role attribute set to banner.

For example, the DITA-OT documentation includes a simple header banner with the publication title and a horizontal rule to separate the header from the generated topic content:
<div class="header">
  <p>DITA Open Toolkit</p>
Note: Header and footer files should be specified using absolute paths and must contain valid XML. A common practice is to place all content into a <div> element.


  1. Set args.hdr to include an XML file as a running header that appears above the page content.
  2. Set to include an XML file as a running footer that appears below the page content.
  3. Optional: Add custom CSS rules to style headers and/or footers.
    For example, the DITA-OT documentation stylesheet includes the following header rules:
    div.header {
      font-size: 18pt;
      margin: 0;
      padding: 0 12px;
    div.header p {
      color: #777;
      font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;
      line-height: 1.3;
      margin: 0;
    div.header hr {
      border: 0;
      border-bottom: 1px solid #eee;
      height: 0;


Tip: For an example of HTML output generated using this method, see the HTML5 version of the DITA-OT documentation included in the installation folder under doc/index.html.