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Configuring Options

XFC is preloaded with conversion settings that produce RTF, PDF, and HTML files. For some people, these options are sufficient. Others, though, will want to customize the conversion. If you fall into the latter category, you'll want to take advantage of XFC's range of configuration options.

You can set up any number of unique conversions, or variations of specific conversions. My own copy of XFC has conversions set up for PDF, PostScript, HTML, XHTML, presentation slides, HTML Help, and WebHelp (a popular cross-platform, HTML-based help format that's delivered using a web browser). Some of the variations that I use include omitting a document's table of contents, using different slide layouts, and generating single and multipart (X)HTML files.

To begin setting up the conversions, click the New button in the main XFC window. Figure 1 shows the application window used to configure transformations.

Figure 1Figure 1 Configuring transformations in XFC.

Most of this window is self-explanatory. In this window, you can do all of the following:

  • Give the conversion a name.

  • Select the XSLT stylesheet that controls the transformation.

  • Choose an XSL-FO processor to use if you're creating a document to be printed.

  • Determine an output extension for the file.

  • Specify the command that launches an application (such as a web browser or PDF viewer) to view the output when the conversion is finished.

If you're new to DocBook, and to XML in general, you may find the FO Processor section of the Transformation window confusing. An XSL-FO processor is basically a typesetting program. When you convert your DocBook file using an XSL-FO stylesheet (such as the one included with the DocBook stylesheet distribution), the resulting file is a combination of the text of your DocBook source plus a set of commands describing how to format the document. You can run this file through an XSL-FO processor to generate a PDF, a PostScript file, a plain text file, or one of several other formats.


The most popular XSL-FO processor is called FOP (short for Formatting Objects Processor).

Generating output from an XSL-FO file is usually a two-step process: Transform your DocBook source into XSL-FO, and then run it through an XSL-FO processor. XFC combines these steps. You can select the following options in the FO Processor section of the Transformation window:

  • XFC converts your file to Rich Text Format using XFC's internal FO processor.

  • FOP uses the version of FOP that's bundled with XFC to convert your file to PDF or PostScript.

  • Other uses a different FO processor, such as a newer version of FOP or the popular RenderX converter, to perform the conversion.


You can learn more about XSL-FO at the RenderX XSL-FO tutorial site, at ibiblio.org, or from Dave Pawson's book XSL-FO (O'Reilly and Associates, 2002).

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