Overriding an XSLT-processing step

You can override specific XSLT-processing steps in both the pre-processing pipeline and certain DITA-OT transformations.


  1. Develop an XSL file that contains the XSL override.
  2. Construct a plugin.xml file that contains the following content:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <plugin id="plugin-id">
      <feature extension="extension-point" file="relative-path"/>
    • plugin-id is the plug-in identifier, for example, com.example.brandheader.
    • extension-point is the DITA-OT extension point, for example, dita.xsl.xhtml. This indicates the DITA-OT processing step that the XSL override applies to.
    • relative-path is the relative path and name of the XSLT file, for example, xsl/header.xsl.
  3. Use the dita install subcommand to install the plug-in.
    For more information, see Installing plug-ins.


The plug-in installer adds an XSL import statement to the default DITA-OT code, so that the XSL override becomes part of the normal build.

Example: Overriding XHTML header processing

The following two files represent a complete, simple style plug-in.

The plugin.xml file declares an XSLT file that extends XHTML processing:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<plugin id="com.example.brandheader">
  <feature extension="dita.xsl.xhtml" file="xsl/header.xsl"/>

The xsl/header.xsl XSLT file referenced in plugin.xml overrides the default header processing to add a banner:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<xsl:stylesheet version="1.0" 
  <xsl:template name="gen-user-header">
    <div><img src="http://www.example.com/company_banner.jpg" 
              alt="Example Company Banner"/></div>