Can attributes be applied to any DITA element?

In DITA XML, attributes can be applied to many elements, providing a powerful way to customize and control various aspects of content. These attributes help define how elements should behave, how they should be styled, and even when they should be included or excluded in the output. While most elements support attributes, the specific attributes that can be applied to an element depend on its role and intended use within the DITA topic.

Common Attribute Usage

Attributes can be applied to elements such as “title,” “section,” “figure,” “table,” “list,” and “topic.” For instance, the “class” attribute can be used to assign a specific CSS class for styling purposes. Similarly, the “outputclass” attribute allows content authors to specify styling or processing information that is not part of the core DITA specification. Conditional attributes, like “conkeyref,” are used to control content inclusion based on conditions, making it possible to tailor content for different output scenarios.


Here’s an example illustrating how attributes can be applied to DITA elements:

<section outputclass="important">
  <title class="custom-title">Custom Section</title>
  <p>The content of this section is styled differently and marked as important.</p>

In this example, the “outputclass” attribute specifies that the section is important, allowing for custom styling. Additionally, the “class” attribute is applied to the title element to further customize its appearance. This showcases the flexibility of using attributes to control element behavior and presentation.