What is the role of image attributes in DITA?

In DITA, image attributes play a crucial role in providing information and instructions about images included in documentation. They describe the image’s source, dimensions, alt text, and more, ensuring accessibility, consistency, and proper rendering in different output formats.

Source and Location

Image attributes specify the source location of the image, which can be a file path or a URL. This is crucial for rendering the image correctly in various output formats.


Attributes like width and height define the image’s size, ensuring consistent rendering and preventing distortions in different media, be it print or online.

Alt Text

Alt text is vital for accessibility. It provides a textual description of the image for users with visual impairments or when images cannot be displayed. Well-crafted alt text ensures that the content remains accessible to a wide audience.

Long Descriptions

For more complex images, long descriptions can be provided, offering additional context or details to assist readers in understanding the image’s content or purpose.

Scaling and Sizing

Attributes like scale, content depth, or content width can help adjust image dimensions and scaling for various output formats, ensuring optimal visual representation.


A software interface using DITA needs to include a screenshot of a dialog box. In the DITA topic, the content creator specifies the image attributes like the source file path (e.g., “images/dialog.png”), dimensions (width=”600″ height=”400″ pixels), and provides alt text (“Dialog Box: Save Settings”) to make the image accessible. These attributes ensure the image is displayed correctly, is accessible to all users, and maintains consistency across different media.

Additionally, they may include a long description for complex images to provide in-depth information about the dialog box’s features and functionality, enhancing the user’s understanding.