section — A recursive section.



Common attributes and common linking attributes.

Additional attributes:

  • label
  • status

Additional Constraints

  • The root element must have a version attribute.


A section is one of the top-level sectioning elements in a component. There are three types of sectioning elements in DocBook:

  • Explicitly numbered sections, sect1sect5, which must be properly nested and can only be five levels deep.

  • Recursive sections, which are an alternative to the numbered sections and have unbounded depth.

  • simplesects, which are terminal. The simplesects can occur as the “leaf” sections in recursive sections or any of the numbered sections, or directly in components.

The section element may be more convenient than numbered sections in some authoring environments because instances can be moved around in the document hierarchy without renaming.

None of the sectioning elements is allowed to “float” in a component. You can place paragraphs and other block elements before a section, but you cannot place anything after it.

Processing expectations

Formatted as a displayed block. Sometimes sections are numbered.

Use of deeply nested sections may cause problems in some processing systems.


Common attributes and common linking attributes.


Specifies an identifying string for presentation purposes


Identifies the editorial or publication status of the element on which it occurs


These elements contain section: appendix, article, chapter, partintro, preface, section.

Children [+]

This element contains 71 elements.


  1 <article xmlns=''>
  2 <title>Example section</title>
  4 <para>This <tag>article</tag> uses recursive sections.</para>
  6 <section>
      <title>Like a Sect1</title>
  8   <subtitle>Or How I Learned to Let Go of Enumeration
                and Love to Recurse</subtitle>
 10   <info>
 12       <para>A trivial example of recursive sections.</para>
 14   </info>
      <para>This section is like a Sect1.</para>
 16   <section><title>Like a Sect2</title>
        <para>This section is like a Sect2.</para>
 18     <section><title>Like a Sect3</title>
          <para>This section is like a Sect3.</para>
 20       <section><title>Like a Sect4</title>
            <para>This section is like a Sect4.</para>
 22         <section><title>Like a Sect5</title>
              <para>This section is like a Sect5.</para>
 24           <section><title>Would be like a Sect6</title>
                <para>This section would be like a Sect6,
 26                   if there were one.</para>
                <section><title>Would be like a Sect7</title>
 28               <para>This section would be like a Sect7,
                        if there was one.</para>
 30             </section>
 32         </section>
 34     </section>
 36 </section>
 38 </article>
Last revised by Norman Walsh on 16 Jun 2011 (git hash: 7cf44d0f3aa4244c54913b42ac9cc634bd9b7fc9)