How do you start the process of creating an index in DITA?

Initiating the process of creating an index in DITA XML documentation involves a structured approach to ensure that users can efficiently locate and access information. This process is integral to enhancing the usability and accessibility of technical content. Here are the key steps to begin creating an index:

Identify Key Terms and Concepts

The first step is to identify the key terms, keywords, and concepts that users are likely to search for within the documentation. These terms should represent critical topics, subjects, or elements discussed in your content. Make a list of these terms as they will form the basis for your index entries.

Associate Terms with Content

Once you have identified the key terms, you need to associate them with the specific content or topics where they are discussed. This involves adding references or links to the content related to each term. These references should point to the exact location or topic ID where the term is explained or discussed. This association between terms and content allows users to navigate directly to the relevant information when they access the index.

Create the Index Structure

With the terms and their content associations in place, you can proceed to create the index structure. This typically involves organizing the terms alphabetically, which is a common practice in indexes. You can use XML elements or tools designed for indexing in DITA to structure and format the index entries. Ensure that the index is well-organized and user-friendly to enhance the overall user experience.


Here’s an example that demonstrates how to start the process of creating an index in DITA documentation:

  <entry term="Keyword 1" loc="ch01_topic1.html" />
  <entry term="Concept 2" loc="ch02_topic2.html" />
  <entry term="Troubleshooting" loc="ch03_topic3.html" />
  <entry term="Guide" loc="ch04_topic4.html" />
  <entry term="FAQs" loc="ch05_topic5.html" />

In this example, key terms like “Keyword 1,” “Concept 2,” and “Troubleshooting” are associated with their respective content locations (loc). This is the initial stage of creating an index, with further refinement and formatting required for the complete index.