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DITA: Keyref links

To avoid having to change your links, you can use a technique called key references.

DITA: Keyref links

You create a key (a word) in your map and define what the key links to. In your topic, you link to the key. This way, if you need to change the link, you need only change the key's reference in your map file. You don't have to change all the keys in your topics.

First add the key link in your map file like this:

<topicref href="argument_acme.dita" keys="argument" />
Alternatively, you can refer to it like this in the map:

<keydef href="argument_acme.dita" keys="argument" />
Then refer to the key in your topic like this:

<xref keyref="argument"/>

You just use keyref instead of href.

You can use a keyref anywhere there's an href:

<link keyref="argument"/>

or with images:

<image keyref="argument"/>

If the key isn't defined in the map, it doesn't appear in the output. This makes it better to use for your related links because you won't run into issues of the link being dependent on the file being present.

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer / API doc specialist based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation if you're looking for more info about that. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates below. You can also learn more about me or contact me. Finally, note that the opinions I express on my blog are my own points of view, not that of my employer.