How is visual documentation (e.g., diagrams, schematics) created and managed in manufacturing using DITA?

In manufacturing, creating and managing visual documentation, such as diagrams and schematics, using DITA provides a structured and efficient way to include these elements within training materials and documentation. Here’s how visual documentation is typically handled:

Structured Representation

DITA allows for structured representation of visual documentation. Diagrams, schematics, or images are typically included as elements within DITA topics. These elements can be referenced and managed using DITA markup. For example, a <figure> element may be used to encapsulate an image, providing attributes for referencing the image source, alternative text, and more. This structured approach makes it easier to manage and update visual content across manufacturing training materials.

Reuse and Versioning

One of the advantages of using DITA for visual documentation is the ability to reuse and version these elements. Visual documentation elements can be shared across multiple topics or modules, reducing duplication of content. This reuse also simplifies updates, as changes made to a visual element are reflected wherever it is used. By leveraging DITA’s versioning capabilities, organizations can track changes to visual documentation over time, ensuring that manufacturing training materials remain accurate and up-to-date.


Here’s an example of how DITA XML is used to include a diagram within manufacturing training materials:

<topic id="assembly_instructions">
  <title>Assembly Instructions</title>
  <figure href="diagram.png" alt="Assembly Diagram" />

In this example, a DITA topic titled “Assembly Instructions” includes a diagram represented by the <figure> element. The “href” attribute specifies the source of the diagram (in this case, “diagram.png”), and the “alt” attribute provides alternative text for accessibility. This structured approach simplifies the inclusion and management of visual documentation in manufacturing training materials.