Can a single document contain multiple DITA topic types?

In DITA, a single document can indeed contain multiple DITA topic types. This flexibility allows content creators to combine various types of information within a single document to meet specific content needs.

DITA is designed to promote structured and modular content authoring. It provides several predefined topic types, each tailored for a specific purpose, such as tasks, concepts, references, and glossaries. While DITA encourages using specific topic types for specific content, documents are constructed by mixing different topic types together into a single product by use of DITA maps.

Using multiple topic types improves content richness, organization, and contextualization.

Content Richness

Combining multiple topic types within one document can enrich the content, providing a comprehensive view of a subject. For example, a software user guide may include task topics for step-by-step instructions, concept topics for explanations, and reference topics for in-depth details.

Content Organization

Mixing topic types helps organize information effectively. It allows content creators to present related content in a logical order, improving the overall readability and user experience.


Different types of information can be presented in context. For example, a troubleshooting section within a task-based document can include reference topics that offer additional details about error messages or configurations.


A comprehensive guide for a digital camera includes various topic types:

  • Task Topics: These can cover tasks like “Taking a Photo,” “Transferring Photos to a Computer,” and “Changing Camera Settings.” They provide step-by-step instructions.
  • Concept Topics: These explain concepts such as “Understanding Exposure” or “Using Different Shooting Modes.” They provide background information.
  • Reference Topics: These contain detailed reference information about camera features, specifications, and accessories.
  • Glossary Topics: To define camera-related terms and abbreviations like “ISO,” “Aperture,” or “JPEG.”
  • Troubleshooting Topics: To address common issues and solutions like “Blurry Photos” or “Battery Charging Problems.”

In this example, the guide seamlessly integrates different topic types to deliver a comprehensive resource for camera users. It combines procedural instructions, explanatory content, detailed references, glossary definitions, and troubleshooting assistance, all within a single document.