How does DITA support branching for content reuse?

Branching is a technique for content reuse that enables maintaining variations of content for diverse purposes, like different product versions or audience segments, while sharing a common base of content.

Branching for content reuse allows creating diverse branches from a central or “trunk” source of content. These branches can include alterations, enhancements, or customizations specific to a particular use case. This is highly advantageous in scenarios where generating several variations of a document is required while still preserving consistency and minimizing redundancy.


A software user guide for a product that has both a standard version and a premium version. The majority of the content, like installation instructions, will be identical between the two versions. However, there are features unique to the premium version that necessitate distinct content.

In DITA, a central document structure (the trunk) can be created that contains the shared content. Then, branches are established for each product version, where the unique content can be included. Here’s a simplified representation:

Trunk Content (Shared):

          <title>Installation Guide</title>
          <p>This guide explains how to install the software.</p>

Branch 1: Standard Version (Based on Trunk):

          <title>Standard Version Features</title>
          <p>Additional information specific to the standard version.</p>

Branch 2: Premium Version (Based on Trunk):

          <title>Premium Version Features</title>
          <p>Additional information specific to the premium version.</p>

Both the standard and premium versions branch from the trunk, sharing the common installation instructions. This structure simplifies content management. When updates are needed, they can be made in the trunk, ensuring consistency across all branches.