The <glossref> element is a convenience element in maps for creating a reference to a glossary topic. It has a required @keys attribute, which forces the author to create a key by which inline terms can reference their definition. For example, when <glossentry> topics are used to define acronyms, this reminds authors to create a key which <abbreviated-form> elements can use to reference the short and expanded versions of that acronym.

Note that the key value does not need to match the target term or acronym. In fact, using a more qualified value for the @keyref will reduce conflicts in situations where the same term or acronym might resolve in many ways. For example, an information set could use “cars.abs” as the key for the term Anti-lock Braking System, and “ship.abs” to refer to the term American Bureau of Shipping.

Content models

See appendix for information about this element in OASIS document type shells.


+ map/topicref glossref-d/glossref


  <!-- ... -->
  <topicref href="car-maintenance.dita"/>
  <!-- ... -->
  <glossref keys="cars.abs" href="antiLockBrake.dita"/>
  <!-- ... key declarations for other referenced acronyms ... -->


The following attributes are available on this element: Universal attribute group , Topicref element attributes group , Link relationship attribute group (with a narrowed definition of @href, given below), outputclass, @keyref , and the attributes defined below. This element also uses @processing-role, @collection-type, @locktitle, @chunk, and @search from Attributes common to many map elements ; this element also uses narrowed definitions of @linking, @toc, and @print from Attributes common to many map elements , given below.
A pointer to a glossary definition, typically a <glossentry> topic. See The href attribute for detailed information on supported values and processing implications. References to content other than DITA topics should use the @format attribute to identify the kind of resource being referenced.
@keys (REQUIRED)
Associates one or more space-delimited keys with the target of the glossary reference. See The keys attribute for information on using the attribute.
Specifies whether a topic appears in the table of contents (TOC). If the value is not specified locally, but is specified on an ancestor, the value will cascade from the closest ancestor. On this element the default value for @toc is "no". See Attributes common to many map elements for a complete definition of @toc.
Specifies whether the topic should be included in a print-specific rendition, such as PDF. On this element the value defaults to "no". Allowable values are:
Include the topic in the print-oriented file.
Do not include the topic in a print-oriented file.
Only include the topic when rendering the DITA content in a print-oriented context; the topic is not appropriate for other contexts, such as when rendering as HTML.
See Using the -dita-use-conref-target value for more information.
Note: Beginning with DITA 1.3, the @print attribute is deprecated. It is replaced with a conditional processing attribute: @deliveryTarget. See @deliveryTarget for more details.
Defines some specific linking characteristics of a glossary topic's current location in the map. On this element the value defaults to "none" in order to keep individual glossary entries from creating links based on their location in the map. Allowable values are:
A topic can only be linked to and cannot link to other topics.
A topic cannot be linked to but can link to other topics.
A topic can be linked to and can link to other topics. Use this to override the linking value of a parent topic.
A topic cannot be linked to or link to other topics.
See Using the -dita-use-conref-target value for more information.