Chapter 5. Short Descriptions

The <shortdesc> element is perhaps the most versatile and yet most challenging element to write for because this element does more than just act as the first paragraph in a topic. The short description text can be seen in links, and in some cases, search engine results.

After you convert content to DITA or when you start writing your first DITA topics, make writing effective short descriptions a priority.

The <shortdesc> Element

The <shortdesc> element contains the first paragraph of a topic and is valid in several locations:

• Between the <title> and body elements of standard topics (concept, task, and reference)

• Inside the <abstract> element, which also goes between the <title> and body elements

• Inside a <topicref> ...

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