What are the primary components of an index in DITA?

Creating an index in DITA documentation involves several primary components, each contributing to the effectiveness and usability of the index. Understanding these components is essential for building a well-structured and user-friendly index in DITA XML.

Index Entries

The core of an index in DITA is the index entries themselves. These entries consist of terms, keywords, or concepts that users might search for within the documentation. Each entry is associated with the location or reference to the topic or content where that term or concept is discussed. Index entries are the building blocks that enable users to find relevant information efficiently.

Alphabetical Organization

An important aspect of an index is its alphabetical organization. Entries in the index are typically sorted alphabetically to make it easy for users to locate specific terms. This organization ensures that users can quickly browse through the index and find the information they need in a structured manner.

Reference to Content

The index entries must include references to the actual content or topics where the terms or concepts are discussed. These references may include links to specific DITA topics or other location identifiers within the documentation. Users can click on these references to navigate directly to the relevant content, improving the user experience and efficiency of information retrieval.


Here’s an example illustrating the primary components of an index in DITA documentation:

  <entry term="Topic 1" loc="ch01_topic1.html" />
  <entry term="Keyword" loc="ch02_keyword.html" />
  <entry term="Concept" loc="ch03_concept.html" />
  <entry term="Guide" loc="ch04_guide.html" />
  <entry term="Troubleshooting" loc="ch05_troubleshooting.html" />
  <entry term="FAQ" loc="ch06_faq.html" />

In this example, the index includes entries such as “Keyword,” “Concept,” and “Troubleshooting,” with references (loc) pointing to the respective DITA topics where these terms are discussed. This structure forms the core components of an index in DITA documentation.