Can internal links be used to create navigation structures in DITA outputs?

In DITA XML, internal links are a powerful tool to create navigation structures in DITA outputs, enhancing the user’s ability to access and navigate through the content. These links allow you to connect related topics, making it easier for users to find and explore information. By creating a well-structured web of interlinked topics, you can guide your audience through complex documentation and improve their overall experience.

With DITA’s internal links, you can create various navigation structures. For example, you can establish a table of contents (TOC) that provides an organized list of links to the main sections of your content. This TOC can be created using DITA map elements and topicrefs, connecting the map to the topics it represents. Additionally, you can use internal links to create next and previous topic links at the end of each topic, enabling seamless sequential navigation.


Here’s an example of how you can create a simple table of contents (TOC) using DITA map elements and topicrefs:

<!-- DITA map with a simple table of contents (TOC) -->
  <title>Main Documentation</title>
  <topicref href="introduction.dita" format="dita"/>
  <topicref href="overview.dita" format="dita"/>
  <topicref href="features.dita" format="dita"/>
  <topicref href="conclusion.dita" format="dita"/>

In this example, the map connects to individual topics, allowing you to generate a TOC that provides users with direct links to key sections of your content, facilitating easy navigation.