variablelist — A list in which each entry is composed of a set of one or more terms and an associated description.


variablelist ::=


Common attributes and common linking attributes.

Additional attributes:

  • spacing (enumeration)
    • “compact”
    • “normal”
  • termlength


A variablelist is a list consisting of terms and their definitions or descriptions.

Processing expectations

Formatted as a displayed block.

There are many ways to present a variable list. DocBook does not mandate any particular presentation. The termlength attribute may influence the presentation of terms. The termlength attribute is often specified as a number of characters, but other forms are possible. This is an interchange issue.


Common attributes and common linking attributes.

any attribute

Any attribute in any other explicit namespace


Specifies (a hint about) the spacing of the content

Enumerated values:

The spacing should be "compact".


The spacing should be "normal".


Indicates a length beyond which the presentation system may consider a term too long and select an alternate presentation for that term, item, or list


These elements contain variablelist: abstract, acknowledgements, answer, appendix, article, bibliodiv, bibliography, bibliolist, blockquote, callout, calloutlist, caption, caution, chapter, colophon, cover, danger, dedication, dialogue, drama, entry, example, figure, footnote, glossary, glossdef, glossdiv, glosslist, important, index, informalexample, informalfigure, itemizedlist, legalnotice, linegroup, listitem, meta (db.meta.content), note, orderedlist, para, partintro, poetry, preface, procedure, qandadiv, qandaset, question, result, revdescription, section, setindex, sidebar, simplesect, step, taskprerequisites, taskrelated, tasksummary, textobject, tip, toc, variablelist, warning.


The following elements occur in variablelist: address, anchor, bibliolist, blockquote, bridgehead, calloutlist, caution, danger, dialogue, drama, epigraph, equation, example, figure, formalgroup, formalpara, glosslist, important, indexterm (db.indexterm.endofrange), indexterm (db.indexterm.singular), indexterm (db.indexterm.startofrange), info (, info (, informalequation, informalexample, informalfigure, informaltable, itemizedlist, literallayout, mediaobject, note, orderedlist, para, poetry, procedure, qandaset, remark, revhistory, sidebar, simpara, simplelist, stagedir, table, task, tip, title, titleabbrev, variablelist, varlistentry, warning.

See Also

Related elements: calloutlist, itemizedlist, listitem, orderedlist, simplelist.


 1 |<article xmlns=''>
   |  <title>Example variablelist</title>
   | <variablelist><title>Font Filename Extensions</title>
 5 |  <varlistentry>
   |    <term><filename>TTF</filename></term>
   |    <listitem>
   |      <para>TrueType fonts.</para>
   |    </listitem>
10 |  </varlistentry>
   |  <varlistentry>
   |    <term><filename>PFA</filename></term>
   |    <term><filename>PFB</filename></term>
   |    <listitem>
15 |      <para>
   |        PostScript fonts. <filename>PFA</filename> files are common
   |        on <acronym>UNIX</acronym> systems, <filename>PFB</filename>
   |        files are more common on Windows systems.
   |      </para>
20 |    </listitem>
   |  </varlistentry>
   | </variablelist>
Font Filename Extensions

TrueType fonts.


PostScript fonts. PFA files are common on UNIX systems, PFB files are more common on Windows systems.