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As we learned in our examination of link types in DITA XML, a link either establishes a navigation relationship or a use-by-reference relationship, called a Content Reference (conref). Conrefs allow text from one topic to be reused in multiple places by cross-referencing.

Reusing content with conrefs is much easier than copying and pasting, it prevents you from creating redundant content, and keeps your content up to date and synchronized. Use-by-reference relationships establish the structure of your information set; it is always best to develop your taxonomy first, as this will guide you how best to build links and dependencies into your structure.


To insert a conref into a topic you are editing in easyDITA, simply click Reuse Content on the toolbar. The Importer dialog shows you all the content that is available for reuse, and you can Browse or Search for the content you need. After finding the perfect topic, click to preview both the content and the underlying DITA structure in the Pick Import window.


Moving your cursor over the navigation tree will highlight each individual DITA XML element for you to choose, or you can import the whole topic with a single mouse click.

The easyDITA Editor shows the reused content that you imported with gray highlighting around it, to let you know the content cannot be edited here. Clicking on the reused content will open the source file for editing, if you have permission to do so.

When you edit the source file of a conref, all the files that reference the source will inherit the change.

Other ways to define links are explored in other posts in this series:


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