IdXML plugin: DITA to Adobe InDesign

The IdXML (InDesign XML) plugin is a DITA Open Toolkit plugin that enables DITA content to be mapped to any arbitrary XML structure.

IdXML: DITA to Adobe InDesignDesigners typically do not want to import complex DITA content into their templates, but prefer a simplified XML that can be mapped to their specific, and often changing, design elements. This provides a flexible approach allowing content to be mapped to a single “story” that can flow through an entire document. However, it is often the case that content needs to be mapped to different areas in a template. Our plugin can do this too.

Tags in the IdXML output can be mapped to design elements in a template. For example, a single piece of metadata can be mapped to a text frame. Or an image can mapped to a graphic  frame – perhaps a logo or product image. Or maybe it’s the entire document.

XML tags get mapped to styles that the designer keeps control over in their template. If they need to make a change they can do so without needing to find their developer or modify stylesheets.


InDesign scripting can be used to automate and ease formatting tasks.

The default XML import within InDesign can also be supplemented with InDesign scripting to help automated formatting tasks that other approaches often find difficult.

We have a sophisticated, yet simple, configuration that maps DITA to IdXML, this can also be supplemented with certain uses of outputclass.

Designer required…

The idea that a designer’s job can be automated is seldom welcomed, at least by the designers. In certain instances XSLFO can be a valid alternative but when design and flexibility are paramount there is no doubt that letting the designer continue to do what they do best, whilst providing them the content in a way that works for them is a better approach – that is the driver behind IdXML.