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8.3 Parts of a Cross Reference

A cross reference command to a node requires only one argument, which is the name of the node to which it refers. But a cross reference command may contain up to four additional arguments. By using these arguments, you can provide a cross reference name, a topic description or section title for the printed output, the name of a different manual file, and the name of a different printed manual. To refer to another manual as a whole, the manual file and/or the name of the printed manual are the only required arguments (see Top Node Naming).

Here is a simple cross reference example:

@xref{Node name}.

which produces

*Note Node name::.

in Info and

See Section nnn [Node name], page ppp.

in a printed manual.

Here is an example of a full five-part cross reference:

@xref{Node name, Cross Reference Name, Particular Topic,
info-file-name, A Printed Manual}, for details.

which produces

*Note Cross Reference Name: (info-file-name)Node name,
for details.

in Info and

See section “Particular Topic” in A Printed Manual, for details.

in a printed book.

The five possible arguments for a cross reference are:

  1. The node or anchor name (required, except for reference to whole manuals). This is the location to which the cross reference takes you. In a printed document, the location of the node provides the page reference only for references within the same document.
  2. The cross reference name. If you include this argument, it becomes the first part of the cross reference. It is usually omitted; then the topic description (third argument) is used if it was specified; if that was omitted as well, the node name is used.
  3. A topic description or section name. Often, this is the title of the section. This is used as the name of the reference in the printed manual. If omitted, the node name is used.
  4. The name of the manual file in which the reference is located, if it is different from the current file. This name is used both for Info and HTML.
  5. The name of a printed manual from a different Texinfo file.

The template for a full five argument cross reference looks like this:

@xref{node-name, cross-reference-name, title-or-topic,
info-file-name, printed-manual-title}.

Cross references with one, two, three, four, and five arguments are described separately following the description of @xref.

Write a node name in a cross reference in exactly the same way as in the @node line, including the same capitalization; otherwise, the formatters may not find the reference.

makeinfo warns when the text of a cross reference (and node names and menu items) contains a problematic construct that will interfere with its parsing in Info. If you don’t want to see the warnings, you can set the customization variable INFO_SPECIAL_CHARS_WARNING to ‘0’ (see Other Customization Variables).

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