AEM Guides Native PDF Publishing: A game-changing solution

  • Posted on March 17, 2023
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
AEM guides to native publishing

AEM Guides, previously known as XML Documentation for AEM, is a feature-rich tool to handle the DITA-based content and delivery of the content in multiple formats such as AEM Pages, HTML5, EPUB, JSON, and PDF.

The release of feature-packed Native PDF Publishing brought great strength in generating PDFs natively and publishing them to production environments within a short span. In other words, it is a simple, highly productive, and powerful feature in AEM.

In this blog, we will understand briefly about native PDF publishing, tech-stack, features available, PDF output options, benefits, and release cadence.

Native PDF Publishing
Adobe rolled out the feature in 2022, and it is gaining popularity due to its simplicity and capability of generating PDFs with styling.

Using this method, one can produce PDFs using W3C CSS3, CSS paged media standards, and JavaScript. Harnessing the power of CSS3 and JavaScript gives the capability of producing standard compliance and complex PDF documents. On top of that, the AEM authoring experience provides greater control over handling and injecting dynamic content into the PDFs.

Native PDF Publishing works on the following concepts:
  • Templates: folder-based templates that have layouts, CSS stylings, resources to add template-specific assets, and settings to fine-tune the PDF output.

Native PDF Publishing

  • Presets: a configuration node that can be created individually or globally for DITA maps. These configurations provide authoring options to choose a template along with many other options to control the PDF output.

Native PDF Publishing Presets

Tech stack
The tech stack used behind Native PDF Publishing Engine is:
  • NodeJS
  • PDF Utilities JAR

Here’s a diagram that depicts the process steps:

Native PDF Publishing Process

The Native PDF Template feature ships with many features that are essential for producing a PDF output.
  • The ability to add multiple layouts for the PDF pages.
  • Print configurations.
  • Dynamic Table of Contents
  • Friendly User Interface
  • Security features like password protection, document restriction, etc.
  • Printing color spaces (RGB, CMYK, Pantone)
  • Document compression


PDF output options in AEM
AEM does offer the PDF generation in other two ways as well for the DITA content. But you can bet on the native PDF templates, which provide more flexibility, faster rollout, and productivity.

Three options to produce PDF output for DITA content in AEM:
  1. Native PDF Publishing: Uses W3C CSS, media standards, and scripts.
  2. DITA OT—Open Tool Kit Plug-in, which requires a custom plug-in to be deployed. The verbosity of XSLT and XML syntax makes it harder.
  3. FrameMaker Publishing Server: Requires configurations from AEM to FrameMaker Server. Additional licensing costs are involved.


If you host DITA content on AEM, the Native PDF Template feature provides best-in-class benefits compared to any other solution on the market.

  • Infrastructure Investment Reduction: The solution is native to the AEM, so the customer can completely avoid the investment or cost associated with other infrastructure or products in producing a PDF output for DITA content.
  • Quicker delivery: In terms of development, quality testing, and maintenance, compared to DITA OT plugin-based PDF output generation, which cuts down on the costs associated with complex deliveries.
  • Reliability: The product is well documented, and dedicated Adobe support is available. Down the line, Adobe is planning to integrate many more complex PDF features into the product.

If you’re looking to solve a business use case, feel free to reach out to us.

Release Cadence
Cloud Services: https://experienceleague.adobe.com/docs/experience-manager-guides-learn/tutorials/release-info/release-notes/cloud-release-notes/release-notes-2023.2.0.html?lang=en
On-prem/Managed Services: https://experienceleague.adobe.com/docs/experience-manager-guides-learn/tutorials/release-info/release-notes/on-prem-release-notes/release-notes-4.2.html?lang=en


Techs and Specs Newsletter

Stay up to date with our latest news.

Share this page
Modal window