Can DITA maps generate tables of contents (TOCs) for publications?

DITA maps can generate tables of contents (TOC) for publications. They serve as navigational structures that organize and display the hierarchical structure of DITA content, allowing users to easily access and navigate through the document’s sections and topics.

Importance of DITA Maps in TOC Generation

DITA maps are instrumental in generating tables of contents for publications. They provide a structure definition, which facilitates TOC generation and interaction navigation.

Structure Definition

DITA maps define the hierarchical structure of a publication by arranging topics and sections in a meaningful order. Each topic is linked to a DITA file that contains the actual content.

TOC Generation

Authoring tools and publishing systems that support DITA can automatically generate a table of contents based on the map’s structure. This TOC provides an outline of the document’s sections and topics, creating a navigational aid for readers.

Interactive Navigation

The generated TOC allows readers to interactively navigate through the document, clicking on TOC entries to jump to specific sections or topics. This aids in content discoverability and improves the user experience.


A DITA map for a software user manual includes the following structure.

      <title>Software User Manual</title>
      <topicref href="introduction.dita" />
      <topicref href="getting-started.dita" />
      <topicref href="features.dita" />
      <topicref href="troubleshooting.dita" />

With this DITA map, an authoring tool or publishing system can automatically generate a table of contents, which might look like this:

    Software User Manual
    Getting Started