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Reusing content is one of the key features of DITA. DITA provides several methods for reusing content. Oxygen XML Editor provides support for each of these methods.

Reusing Topics in DITA Maps

A DITA topic does not belong to any one publication. You add a DITA topic to a publication by referencing it in a map. You can reference the same topic in multiple maps.

Reusing Content with References and Keys

DITA allows you to reuse content by referencing it in another topic. DITA provides several mechanisms for including content by reference (conref, conkeyref, coderef). A conref creates a direct reference to a specific element of another topic. A conkeyref creates a reference to a key, which then points to a specific element in another topic. The advantage of using a conkeyref is that you can change the element that is included by changing the key reference. For example, since keys are defined in maps, if you include a topic in multiple maps, you can use a different key reference in each map. A coderef references an external file that contains literal code.

Oxygen XML Editor provides support for all of these mechanisms.

While the conref and conkeyref mechanisms can be used to reference any content element, it is considered best practice to only conref or conkeyref content that is specifically set and managed as reusable content. This practice helps reduce expensive errors, such as an author accidentally deleting the source element that other topics are including by conref. Oxygen XML Editor can help you create a reusable component from your current content.

Reusing Content with Reusable Components

DITA allows you to select content in a topic, create a reusable component from it and reference that component in other locations. Each reusable component is created as a separate file. Anytime the content needs to be edited, you only need to update it in the component file and all the locations in your topics that reference it will also be updated. This can help you to maintain continuity and accuracy throughout your documents.

Reusing Content with Variables

DITA allows you to replace the content of certain elements with a value that is pointed to by a key. This mechanism effectively means that you can create variables in your content, which you can then create multiple outputs by changing the value that the key points to. This is done by profiling the definition of the key value, or by substituting another map with a different key value.

Reusing Content with DITA 1.3 Concepts

DITA 1.3 allows you to use some advanced concepts to expand content reuse possibilities even further. Key Scopes (or scoped keys) allow you to reuse topics with variable content depending on the particular context and it maximizes reuse possibilities for keys. Branch Filtering allows you to reuse the same content that is profiled in multiple ways within the same publication, each time using a different filter.