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XMetaL Community Forum DITA and XMetaL Discussion Figures not appearing in PDF output, and cross-references rendering gobbledygook

  • Chartered Ham

    Figures not appearing in PDF output, and cross-references rendering gobbledygook

    Participants 1
    Replies 2
    Last Activity 13 years, 7 months ago

    This is my first post. I'm a relatively new XMetaL user of just over a month. I have over ten years of experience in technical writing working with all kinds of tools (FrameMaker, RoboHELP, WebWorks Publisher Pro, etc.), and I've never experienced something so frustrating as this. I feel as though I'm about to tear my @#$! hair out. It doesn't help that it's Friday night.

    The problem is this:

    I'm working with a collaborator on a big doc project. This collaborator (who is an engineer) has put a number of diagrams as child topics below certain topics, like this:0

    Topic 1 (parent topic)
    Figure 1 (child topic)
    Figure 2 (child topic)

    These figure topics took this form:

    TOPIC TITLE: Figure Name

    The following figure blah blah blah…


    Not only is making a figure into a child topic generally bad practice, but it's against the conventions of my tech pubs group. I decided it was necessary to make these child topics into reusable components and then link to those components from the parent topic (and then delete the former child figure topics underneath).

    I performed these steps for each of the topics:

    1. Because my collaborator had left out the figure titles in the child figure topics, I re-imported the image file into the child topic and designated a figure title. (I guess I could have gone into the raw XML and written it in, but I didn't.)

    2. I selected the (new) figure title and the figure itself and then created a reusable component. In

    3. Finally, I returned to the original parent topic, and inserted links to the reusable components for the figures. I deleted the old Figure 1 and Figure 2 topics, since they were no longer needed.

    So the new topic structure was was:

    Topic 1 –> [reusable component Figure 1] [reusable component Figure 2]

    I also inserted cross-references to these new figures within the topic itself.

    And I figured, piece of cake, right?


    When I generated the PDF, the figures weren't included in the PDF. The cross-references looked odd.

    For example, two of the cross-references read

    “#unique_66 illustrates the basic operation of…”


    “#unique_54/fig_13E357ECE56249CBB994836FD87C2D43 illustrations the reaction of…”

    where the variables beginning with “#unique_…” should have read “Figure 2” and “Figure 3.”

    What I can't figure out is that one of the figures and its cross-reference have translated perfectly to the PDF.

    Does anybody know why this might be happening? Any help is appreciated.

    Thank you!



    Derek Read

    Reply to: Figures not appearing in PDF output, and cross-references rendering gobbledygook

    This isn't entirely clear (to me) because you refer to the figures as being “topics”, but I assume that will make more sense if we can see your files.

    Can you please attach a copy of the documents that aren't working?

    If you don't wish to do that on the forum please submit a support case so we can see what is in the XML and try to get it into a form that the DITA OT likes and can produce a PDF from.

    (after submitting your case using this form you can reply to the auto-response you get and attach your files to that message)


    Chartered Ham

    Reply to: Figures not appearing in PDF output, and cross-references rendering gobbledygook

    Hi Derek,

    Thanks for your reply. I've figured out a workaround for the time being. Will pick this up again later if I need to.



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