The body elements support the most common types of content authoring for
topics: paragraphs, lists, phrases, figures, and other common types of exhibits
in a document.
A paragraph element (<p>) is a block of text containing a single main idea.
A <note> element contains information, differentiated from the main text, which expands on or calls attention to a particular point.
The phrase (<ph>) element is used to organize content for reuse or conditional processing (for example, when part of a paragraph applies to a particular audience). It can be used by specializations of DITA to create semantic markup for content at the phrase level, which then allows (but does not require) specific processing or formatting.
The <keyword> element identifies a keyword or token, such as a single value from an enumerated list, the name of a command or parameter, product name, or a lookup key for a message.
Use the cross-reference (<xref>) element to link to a different location within the current topic, or a different topic within the same help system, or to external sources, such as Web pages, or to a location in another topic. The href attribute on the <xref> element provides the location of the target.
An ordered list (<ol>) is a list of items sorted by sequence or order of importance.
In an unordered list (<ul>), the order of the list items is not significant. List items are typically styled on output with a "bullet" character, depending on nesting level.
A list (<li>) item is a single item in an ordered <ol> or unordered <ul> list. When a DITA topic is formatted for output, numbers and alpha characters are usually output with list items in ordered lists, while bullets and dashes are usually output with list items in unordered lists.
The simple list (<sl>) element contains a simple list of items of short, phrase-like content, such as in documenting the materials in a kit or package.
A simple list item (<sli>) is a single item in a simple list <sl>. Simple list items have phrase or text content, adequate for describing package contents, for example. When a DITA topic is formatted for output, the items of a simple list are placed each on its own line, with no other prefix such as a number (as in an ordered list) or bullet (as in an unordered list).
A definition list (<dl>) is a list of terms and corresponding definitions. The term (<dt>) is usually flush left. The description or definition (<dd>) is usually either indented and on the next line, or on the same line to the right of the term.
The <dlhead> element contains optional headings for the term and description columns in a definition list. The definition list heading contains a heading <dthd> for the column of terms and an optional heading <ddhd>for the column of descriptions.
The definition term heading (<dthd>) element is contained in a definition list head (<dlhead>) and provides an optional heading for the column of terms in a description list.
The definition descriptions heading (<ddhd>) element contains an optional heading or title for a column of descriptions or definitions in a definition list
In a definition list, each list item is defined by the definition list entry (<dlentry>) element. The definition list entry element includes a term <dt> and one or more definitions or descriptions <dd> of that term.
The definition term <dt> element contains a term in a definition list entry.
The definition description (<dd>) element contains the description of a term in a definition list entry.
The figure (<fig>) element is a display context (sometimes called an exhibit) with an optional title for a wide variety of content. Most commonly, the figure element contains an image element (a graphic or artwork), but it can contain several kinds of text objects as well. A title is placed inside the figure element to provide a caption to describe the content.
The <figgroup> element is used only for specialization at this time. Figure groups can be used to contain multiple cross-references, footnotes or keywords, but not multipart images. Multipart images in DITA should be represented by a suitable media type displayed by the <object> element.
The <desc> element contains the description of the current element. A description should provide more information than the title. This is its behavior in fig/table/linklist, for example. In xref/link, it provides a description of the target; processors that support it may choose to display this as hover help. In object, it contains alternate content for use when in contexts that cannot display the object.
Include artwork or images in a DITA topic by using the <image> element. The <image> element has optional attributes that indicate whether the placement of the included graphic or artwork should be inline (like a button or icon) or on a separate line for a larger image. There are also optional attributes that indicate the size to which the included graphic or artwork should be scaled. An href attribute is required on the image element, as this attribute creates a pointer to the image, and allows the output formatting processor to bring the image into the text flow. To make the intent of the image more accessible for users using screen readers or text-only readers, always include a description of the image's content in the alt element.
The alt element provides alternate text for an image. It is equivalent to the alt attribute on the image element; the attribute is deprecated, so the alt element should be used instead. As an element, alt provides direct text entry within an XML editor and is more easily accessed than an attribute for translation.
DITA's <object> element corresponds to the HTML <object> element.
The parameter (<param>) element specifies a set of values that may be required by an <object> at runtime. Any number of <param> elements may appear in the content of an object in any order, but must be placed at the start of the content of the enclosing object. This element is comparable to the XHMTL <param> element.
The preformatted element (<pre>) preserves line breaks and spaces entered manually by the author in the content of the element, and also presents the content in a monospaced type font (depending on your output formatting processor). Do not use <pre> when a more semantically specific element is appropriate, such as <codeblock>.
The <lines> element may be used to represent dialogs, lists, text fragments, and so forth. The <lines> element is similar to <pre> in that hard line breaks are preserved, but the font style is not set to monospace, and extra spaces inside the lines are not preserved.
The <cite> element is used when you need a bibliographic citation that refers to a book or article. It specifically identifies the title of the resource.
The long quote (<lq>) element indicates content quoted from another source. Use the quote element <q> for short, inline quotations, and long quote <lq> for quotations that are too long for inline use, following normal guidelines for quoting other sources. You can store a URL to the source of the quotation in the href attribute; the href value may point to a DITA topic.
A quotation element (<q>) indicates content quoted from another source. This element is used for short quotes which are displayed inline. Use the long quote element (<lq>) for quotations that should be set off from the surrounding text.
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OASIS DITA Version 1.1 Language Specification -- OASIS Standard, 1 August 2007
Copyright © OASIS Open 2005, 2007. All Rights Reserved.