As a general best practice, people say to avoid inline links if possible, but if referring to another topic or page, it might seem odd not to include the link.

The topic title will automatically be used as the anchor text for the link.

   <xref href="sample.dita"/>

If you want to manually specify the anchor text, code it like this:

   <xref href="sample.dita">Sample</xref>

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If you're linking to an external source, you need to add the scope and format attributes to your link:

   <xref href="" scope="external" outputclass="external" format="html"></xref>