5 Cross-references

Cross-references are used to refer the reader to other parts of the same or different Texinfo files.

Use cross-references to provide access to information that is too detailed for the current context, or incidental to it. An online help system or a reference manual is not like a novel; few read such documents in sequence from beginning to end. Instead, people look up what they need. For this reason, such creations should contain many cross-references to help readers find other information that they may not have read.

In a printed manual, a cross-reference results in a page reference, unless it is to another manual altogether, in which case the cross-reference names that manual. In Info, a cross-reference results in an entry that you can follow using the Info ‘f’ command. (See Following cross-references in Info.) In HTML, a cross-reference results in an hyperlink. In DocBook, the <link> element is used for cross-references unless it is to another manual, in which case the cross-reference names that manual.

The various cross-reference commands use nodes, anchors (see @anchor: Defining Arbitrary Cross-reference Targets) or float labels (see @float [type][,label]: Floating Material) to define cross-reference locations. When TeX generates a DVI file, it records each cross-reference location page number and uses the page numbers in making references. Thus, even if you are writing a manual that will only be printed, and not used online, you must nonetheless write @node lines (or @anchor anchors) in order to name the places to which you make cross-references.