The navigation title (<navtitle>) element is one of a set of alternate titles that can be included inside the <titlealts> element. This navigation title may differ from the first level heading that shows in the main browser window. Use <navtitle> when the actual title of the topic isn't appropriate for use in a table of contents, navigation pane, or online content (for example, because the actual title is too long). Beginning with DITA 1.2, the navtitle element is also available in the <topicmeta> element in a <topicref> in a map, and its use is preferred over the topicref's navtitle attribute.

When navtitle is used in a map, it functions in the same way as the navtitle attribute; both are used to specify a navigation title for the target of the <topicref> element. That is, the title itself will only be used as an actual navigation title when the title is locked; the title is locked when the closest ancestor topicref element sets or inherits the attribute locktitle="yes". If the title is not locked, processing systems will typically retrieve the current title from the target topic, looking first for a navtitle element and second for the general title.

When both a navtitle element and a navtitle attribute are specified, the navtitle element should be used.

Because the navtitle element is available within topicmeta, and topicmeta is used in many different contexts, it is possible that navtitle can be specified in contexts where a navigation title does not make sense (for example, on the topicgroup element). In those situations, the navtitle element has no defined purpose.

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