What is the impact of changes to table and list structures on existing links in DITA content?

Changes to table and list structures in DITA content can have a significant impact on existing links. When you modify the structure of tables or lists, it’s essential to consider how these changes affect the links within the content to ensure a seamless and accurate reading experience. Here are some key considerations and potential impacts of structural changes:

1. Link Integrity: Altering the structure of tables or lists may break existing links. If you’ve linked to specific rows, columns, or cells, those references may become invalid when the structure changes. This can result in nonfunctional links or links that lead to incorrect content. To address this, you should review and update the links to ensure they point to the intended content after structural modifications.

2. Anchor Relocation: If you’ve used anchors to create navigational elements within tables or lists, structural changes can relocate the anchor points. When anchor points move due to changes in the content structure, it’s essential to adjust the links accordingly. Failure to do so can lead to readers being directed to the wrong sections of the document or experiencing link errors.


Consider a DITA document with a table that originally had five rows, and you created links to specific cells within the table. If you decide to add a new row to the table, the structure changes, and the links to the cells in the modified table may no longer align correctly. You would need to update the links to reflect the new structure, ensuring that readers are directed to the correct cells within the modified table.

  <row><entry><a href="#cell-1">Link to Cell 1</a></entry></row>
  <row><entry><a href="#cell-2">Link to Cell 2</a></entry></row>
  <row><entry><a href="#cell-3">Link to Cell 3</a></entry></row>
  <row><entry><a href="#cell-4">Link to Cell 4</a></entry></row>
  <row><entry><a href="#cell-5">Link to Cell 5</a></entry></row>

In this example, adding a new row to the table will shift the structure, and the links to cells in the modified table may need adjustment to remain accurate.