Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) Version 1.3 Part 1: Base Edition

OASIS DITA Technical Committee

The topichead element provides a title-only entry in a navigation map, which should appear as a heading when the map is rendered as a table of contents. In print contexts it should also appear as a heading in the rendered content.

Beginning with DITA 1.2, the navtitle can be specified by using a navtitle element within the topicmeta element, so the topichead element no longer requires the navtitle attribute. In order to ensure backward compatibility with earlier versions of DITA, the new navtitle element is not required. However, a topichead element must contain either a navtitle attribute or a topicmeta element that contains a navtitle element. DITA processors SHOULD generate a warning if a navigation title is not specified.

Content models

See appendix for information about this element in OASIS document type shells.


+ map/topicref mapgroup-d/topichead


Note that in the following example, the first topichead element uses a navtitle element to provide the title, while the second topichead element uses a navtitle attribute. This is only to illustrate that both uses are valid; in general, the element is preferred over the attribute.

    <topicref href="eniac.dita"/>
    <topicref href="system360.dita"/>
    <topicref href="pdp8.dita"/>
  <topichead navtitle="Books">
    <topicref href="hardback.dita"/>
    <topicref href="paperback.dita"/>


The following attributes are available on this element: Universal attribute group, Attributes common to many map elements, navtitle and copy-to from Topicref element attributes group, and outputclass. Although locktitle is available as part of Attributes common to many map elements, it has no defined purpose for this element.

The scope, format, and type attributes from Link relationship attribute group are also available.