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Getting Started

What is Oxygen PDF Chemistry?

Oxygen PDF Chemistry allows you to obtain PDF output from HTML or XML documents simply by styling them with CSS. It is a CSS Paged Media processor based on the open-source Apache FOP XSL-FO engine. Its main purpose is to provide you with a simple tool that allows you to leverage your CSS knowledge to create printable deliverables. While the support for fancy formatting is limited, it is a great processor for generating technical documentation.

Why Use CSS Instead of XSL-FO?

There is not one simple answer. It really depends on the needed output, but both methods will generate PDF documents without any problem. So why use CSS?
  • CSS is a much easier language to learn and master than XSLT.
  • More people know CSS rather than XSLT (and there are more CSS tutorials available than XSLT tutorials).
  • The CSS debugging can be done directly from any browser or from Author mode/
  • In most cases, the CSS customization will cover all of the user's needs.
  • The CSS customization can be reused in any HTML output.
  • The cascading priority scheme makes CSS easier to extend (no need to know previous rules to create new ones).
  • PDF processors usually proposes both solutions (Oxygen PDF Chemistry, Antenna House, Prince XML).

Using CSS for Print

While CSS was designed as a language to style web pages, it turned out to be a good candidate to also format printed materials. The so-called CSS paged media module was thus added to the existing standard by W3C.

New concepts added by this module include:
  • Page size
  • Page breaks
  • Headers and footers
  • Footnotes
  • Links containing the target page number
  • Leaders that are used to fill spaces
For more information, see the following paged media specifications:
Note: There are many other processors that implement paged media standard: Prince XML, Antenna House, PDF Reactor.