Element Reuse

Many paragraphs, phrases, steps, and other topic elements are used multiple times over many topics. You can reuse topic elements in any topic that supports the element. Element reuse is an important feature of DITA that Heretto CCMS supports.


You reuse topic elements by using content references (conref attributes).

Figure 1. Element Reuse Operation.
The following example shows that:
  • “Element B” is reused in “Topic A” and “Topic B”
  • “Element C” is reused in “Topic B” and “Topic C”
Element reuse example
Tip: You can view detailed reuse information about every file in Heretto CCMS by clicking a file and selecting Links in the right pane. The Links tab shows incoming links, outgoing links, or all file dependencies.


The following examples show the element reuse mechanism in Heretto CCMS. The Content Editor indicates reused elements with a gray background in the target topic.

Figure 2. Element Warehouse Topic.

The following example shows a warehouse topic that includes two reusable topic elements (“Element B” and “Element C”). Each of these elements has an unique @ID attribute assigned. The unique @ID attributes enable you to reuse these elements.

Tip: Heretto CCMS includes a reuse indicator that enables you to quickly check and navigate to the resource where an element is reused.
Figure 3. Topic A.

In this example, “Element B” is reused from a “Warehouse Topic”.

Element reuse example
Figure 4. Topic B.

In this example, “Element B” and “Element C” are reused from a “Warehouse Topic”.

Element reuse example
Figure 5. Topic C.

In this example, “Element C” is reused from the “Warehouse Topic”.

Element reuse example

Localization Considerations

If you localize content or plan to localize content, keep the following considerations in mind while reusing elements:

  • You can reuse the following types of elements:
    • Block elements (for example, section elements, paragraph elements, or note elements)
    • Inline elements (for example window title elements, UI control elements, or phrase elements)
  • Reusing inline elements may make your content difficult to localize because sentence structure can vary from language to language. Reused inline elements created in one language may cause grammatical errors in other languages. Furthermore, reused elements are often translated out of the context which may result in mistakes related to declension when translated documents are published.
  • Reusing block elements is safer than reusing inline elements. However, you should still pay attention to the context in which you reuse block elements.