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 may reference their definition. For example, when glossentry topics are used to define acronyms, this will remind authors to create a key which <abbreviated-form> elements may 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 may 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.


Note: These models represent only the default document types distributed by OASIS. Actual content models will differ with each new document type.
Doctype Content model
map (technical content) (topicmeta) (optional)

Contained by

Doctype Content model
map (technical content) map, topicref, relcolspec, relcell, topichead, topicgroup, anchorref, topicset, topicsetref, keydef


+ map/topicref glossref-d/glossref


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


Name Description Data Type Default Value Required?
navtitle Specifies the title of the topic as it will appear in the navigation or tables of contents that are generated from the map. Beginning with DITA 1.2, the preferred way to specify the navigation title in a map is with the navtitle element, available inside the topicmeta element. CDATA #IMPLIED No
href 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. CDATA #REQUIRED Yes
keys Associates one or more space-delimited keys with the target of the glossary reference. See The keys attribute for information on using the attribute. NMTOKEN #REQUIRED Yes
query This attribute is deprecated. It may be removed in the future. CDATA #IMPLIED No
copy-to Use the copy-to attribute on the <topicref> element to provide a different file name for a particular instance of the topic in the map (for example, to separate out the different versions of the topic, rather than combining them on output). The links and navigation associated with that instance will point to a copy of the topic with the file name you specified.

Use the <linktext> and <shortdesc> in the <topicref>'s <topicmeta> to provide a unique name and short description for the new copy.

collection-type Collection types describe how links relate to each other. The processing default is "unordered", although no default is specified in the DTD or Schema.
Indicates that the order of the child topics is not significant.
Indicates that the order of the child topics is significant; output processors will typically link between them in order.
Indicates that one of the children should be selected.
Represents a tight grouping in which each of the referenced topics not only relates to the current topic but also relate to each other.
See Using the -dita-use-conref-target value for more information.

Usage of the collection-type attribute on <reltable> and <relcolspec> is currently undefined and reserved for future use.

(unordered | sequence | choice | family | -dita-use-​conref-​target) #IMPLIED No
type Describes the target of a reference. See The type attribute for detailed information on supported values and processing implications. CDATA #IMPLIED No
scope The scope attribute identifies the closeness of the relationship between the current document and the target resource. See The scope attribute for more information on values. (local | peer | external | -dita-use-​conref-​target) #IMPLIED No
locktitle If locktitle is set to "yes", the <navtitle> element or @navtitle attribute is used if it is present. Otherwise, the navtitle is ignored and the navigation title is retrieved from the referenced file.
Note: The @navtitle attribute is deprecated in favor of the <navtitle> element. When both a <navtitle> element and a navtitle attribute are specified, the <navtitle> element should be used.
The navtitle in the map is used.
The navtitle or title of the topic is used. This is the processing default.
See Using the -dita-use-conref-target value for more information.
(yes | no | -dita-use-​conref-​target) #IMPLIED No
format The format attribute identifies the format of the resource being referenced. See The format attribute for details on supported values. CDATA #IMPLIED No
linking Defines some specific linking characteristics of a glossary topic's current location in the map. The value defaults to "none" in order to keep individual glossary entries from creating links based on their location in the map.
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.
(targetonly | sourceonly | normal | none | -dita-use-​conref-​target) none No
toc Specifies whether a topic appears in the table of contents (toc); on this element the default is no. This value defaults to no for elements such as reltable, which typically cannot appear in the toc, and for elements such as glossref that generally are not desired in the toc. (yes | no | -dita-use-​conref-​target) "no" No
print Specifies whether the topic should be included in a print-specific rendition, such as PDF. On this element the value defaults to "no".
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 should not be included in other contexts, such as when rendering as HTML.
See Using the -dita-use-conref-target value for more information.
(yes | no | printonly | -dita-use-​conref-​target) no No
search Describes whether the target is available for searching. If the value is not specified locally, but is specified on an ancestor, the value will cascade from the closest ancestor.
(yes | no | -dita-use-​conref-​target) #IMPLIED No
chunk When a set of topics is transformed using a map, the chunk attribute allows multi-topic documents to be broken into smaller files and multiple individual topics to be combined into larger combined documents.

For a detailed description of the chunk attribute and its usage, see Chunking in the DITA Architectural Specification.

univ-atts attribute group (includes select-atts, id-atts, and localization-atts groups) A set of related attributes, described in univ-atts attribute group      
global-atts attribute group (xtrf, xtrc) A set of related attributes, described in global-atts attribute group      
class, outputclass, keyref Keyref provides a redirectable reference based on a key defined within a map. See The keyref attribute for information on using this attribute. Class and outputclass are described in Other common DITA attributes      

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