<xsl:copy> Element

Copies the current node from the source to the output.

  use-attribute-sets = QNames


  • use-attribute-sets
    A white space separated list of attribute sets, specified as a list of Qualified Names. Specifying this attribute declares each attribute in each listed attribute set.

Element Information

Number of occurrences


Parent elements

xsl:attribute, xsl:comment, xsl:copy, xsl:element, xsl:fallback, xsl:for-each, xsl:if, xsl:message, xsl:otherwise, xsl:param, xsl:processing-instruction, xsl:template, xsl:variable, xsl:when, xsl:with-param, output elements

Child elements

xsl:apply-templates, xsl:attribute, xsl:call-template, xsl:choose, xsl:comment, xsl:copy, xsl:copy-of, xsl:element, xsl:for-each, xsl:if, xsl:processing-instruction, xsl:text, xsl:value-of, xsl:variable, output elements


The <xsl:copy> element creates a node in the output with the same name, namespace, and type as the current node. Attributes and children are not copied automatically. This element makes identity transformation possible.


The following example performs an identity transformation on an entire document. The identity transformation copies each node in the source to the output to provide a logically equivalent tree. It does not yield character-by-character equivalence: Entities will be expanded, and white space not marked as significant might be removed.

XML File (booksshort.xml)

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<?xml-stylesheet type="text/xsl" href="identityxfm.xsl"?>
    <book id="bk101">
        <author>Gambardella, Matthew</author>
        <title>XML Developer's Guide</title>
        <description>An in-depth look at creating applications with
    <book id="bk102">
        <author>Ralls, Kim</author>
        <title>Midnight Rain</title>
        <description>A former architect battles corporate zombies,
 an evil sorceress, and her own childhood to become queen of the
    <book id="bk103">
        <author>Corets, Eva</author>
        <title>Maeve Ascendant</title>
        <description>After the collapse of a nanotechnology society
 in England, the young survivors lay the foundation for a new 

XSLT File (identityxfm.xsl)

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<xsl:stylesheet version="1.0"
      xmlns:xsl="http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform" >

  <xsl:template match="/ | @* | node()">
      <xsl:apply-templates select="@* | node()"/>



This is a portion of the formatted output, truncated on the right side:

Gambardella, MatthewComputer44.952000-10-01An in-depth look and her own childhood to become queen of the world.Corets, EvaFa

This is the processor output:

<?xml version="1.0"?><?xml-stylesheet type="text/xsl"

href="identityxfm.xsl"?><catalog><book id="bk101"><author>Gambardella,

Matthew</author><title>XML Developer's


-10-01</publish_date><description>An in-depth look at creating

applications with

XML.</description></book><book id="bk102">