Appendix H. Backend Attributes

This table contains a list of optional attributes that influence the generated outputs.

Name Backends Description


xhtml11, html5

Link badges (XHTML 1.1 and CSS) in document footers. By default badges are omitted (badges is undefined).


The path names of images, icons and scripts are relative path names to the output document not the source document.


xhtml11, html5

Embed images using the data: uri scheme.


html5, xhtml11

Set a CSS signature for the document (sets the id attribute of the HTML body element). CSS signatures provide a mechanism that allows users to personalize the document appearance. The term CSS signature was coined by Eric Meyer.


xhtml11, html5

If the disable-javascript attribute is defined the asciidoc.js JavaScript is not embedded or linked to the output document. By default AsciiDoc automatically embeds or links the asciidoc.js JavaScript to the output document. The script dynamically generates table of contents and footnotes.

docinfo, docinfo1, docinfo2

All backends

These three attributes control which document information files will be included in the the header of the output file:

Include <filename>-docinfo.<ext>
Include docinfo.<ext>
Include docinfo.<ext> and <filename>-docinfo.<ext>

Where <filename> is the file name (sans extension) of the AsciiDoc input file and <ext> is .html for HTML outputs or .xml for DocBook outputs. If the input file is the standard input then the output file name is used. The following example will include the mydoc-docinfo.xml docinfo file in the DocBook mydoc.xml output file:

$ asciidoc -a docinfo -b docbook mydoc.txt

This next example will include docinfo.html and mydoc-docinfo.html docinfo files in the HTML output file:

$ asciidoc -a docinfo2 -b html4 mydoc.txt


html4, html5, xhtml11, docbook

Set the input and output document character set encoding. For example the --attribute encoding=ISO-8859-1 command-line option will set the character set encoding to ISO-8859-1.

  • The default encoding is UTF-8.
  • This attribute specifies the character set in the output document.
  • The encoding name must correspond to a Python codec name or alias.
  • The encoding attribute can be set using an AttributeEntry inside the document header. For example:

    :encoding: ISO-8859-1



Defines the html4 inter-section horizontal ruler element. By default html4 top level sections are separated by a horizontal ruler element, undefine this attribute or set it to an empty string if you do not want them. The default html4 backend value for the hr attribute is <hr>.


xhtml11, html5

Link admonition paragraph and admonition block icon images and badge images. By default icons is undefined and text is used in place of icon images.


html4, html5, xhtml11, docbook

The name of the directory containing linked admonition icons, navigation icons and the callouts sub-directory (the callouts sub-directory contains callout number images). iconsdir defaults to ./images/icons. If admonition icons are embedded using the data-uri scheme then the iconsdir attribute defaults to the location of the icons installed in the AsciiDoc configuration directory.


html4, html5, xhtml11, docbook

If this attribute is defined it is prepended to the target image file name paths in inline and block image macros.

keywords, description, title

html4, html5, xhtml11

The keywords and description attributes set the correspondingly named HTML meta tag contents; the title attribute sets the HTML title tag contents. Their principle use is for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). All three are optional, but if they are used they must appear in the document header (or on the command-line). If title is not specified the AsciiDoc document title is used.


html5, xhtml11

Link CSS stylesheets and JavaScripts. By default linkcss is undefined in which case stylesheets and scripts are automatically embedded in the output document.


html5, xhtml11

Set the document maximum display width (sets the body element CSS max-width property).


html4, html5, xhtml11, docbook (XSL Stylesheets)

Adds section numbers to section titles. The docbook backend ignores numbered attribute entries after the document header.


All backends

If this global attribute is defined all inline substitutions are suppressed and block indents are retained. This option is useful when dealing with large amounts of imported plain text.



Include the xhtml11-quirks.conf configuration file and xhtml11-quirks.css stylesheet to work around IE6 browser incompatibilities. This feature is deprecated and its use is discouraged — documents are still viewable in IE6 without it.



A short summary of changes in this document revision. Must be defined prior to the first document section. The document also needs to be dated to output this attribute.


html4, html5, xhtml11

Changes the "Last updated" field in the footer of the document or removes this field and the revision number (in the footer only). Can take 3 values:

  • none : Don’t display the "Last updated" and "Revision number" fields in the footer of the document
  • revdate : The "Last updated" field’s date in the footer will be the revision date specified in the document (revdate attribute)
  • default (or any other value) : The "Last updated" field’s date in the footer will be the date of the input file modification

This attribute can be set, for example, using :footer-style: revdate in the header of the file or using the --attribute footer-style=revdate command-line option.


html5, xhtml11

The name of the directory containing linked JavaScripts. See HTML stylesheets and JavaScript locations.



The --backend=docbook45 command-line option produces DocBook 4.5 XML. You can produce the older DocBook SGML format using the --attribute sgml command-line option.


html5, xhtml11

The name of the directory containing linked or embedded stylesheets. See HTML stylesheets and JavaScript locations.


html5, xhtml11

The file name of an optional additional CSS stylesheet.


html5, xhtml11

Use alternative stylesheet (see Stylesheets).


html5, xhtml11, docbook (XSL Stylesheets)

Adds a table of contents to the start of an article or book document. The toc attribute can be specified using the --attribute toc command-line option or a :toc: attribute entry in the document header. The toc attribute is defined by default when the docbook backend is used. To disable table of contents generation undefine the toc attribute by putting a :toc!: attribute entry in the document header or from the command-line with an --attribute toc! option.

xhtml11 and html5 backends

  • JavaScript needs to be enabled in your browser.
  • The following example generates a numbered table of contents using a JavaScript embedded in the mydoc.html output document:

    $ asciidoc -a toc -a numbered mydoc.txt


html5, xhtml11

Adds a scrollable table of contents in the left hand margin of an article or book document. Use the max-width attribute to change the content width. In all other respects behaves the same as the toc attribute.


html5, xhtml11

When set to auto (the default value) asciidoc(1) will place the table of contents in the document header. When toc-placement is set to manual the TOC can be positioned anywhere in the document by placing the toc::[] block macro at the point you want the TOC to appear.


If you use toc-placement then you also have to define the toc attribute.


html5, xhtml11

Sets the table of contents title (defaults to Table of Contents).


html5, xhtml11

Sets the number of title levels (1..4) reported in the table of contents (see the toc attribute above). Defaults to 2 and must be used with the toc attribute. Example usage:

$ asciidoc -a toc -a toclevels=3 doc/asciidoc.txt