The purpose of procedural documents is to explain to the reader
how to accomplish tasks. The task information type is specifically designed for
procedures, with a well-defined structure built around steps.
Semantics in steps
The steps of a procedure are defined in a task topic. Task topics typically have a simple structure of a single set of steps, but some procedures may require a more sophisticated structure that includes substeps and decision points.
The prereq element
The pre-requisites (prereq) element describes the status or situation that must be established before a procedural task can be started. It can contain cross-references to pre-requisite task topics.
Substeps within steps
Task topics allow two levels of steps within a single procedure: steps and substeps. Where possible, substeps should be avoided.
Single step procedure
A procedure or task containing just one action should be marked-up using the normal steps/step/cmd structure.
The command element
The command (cmd) element within the step element contains a single, active voice instruction to the reader.
Complex nested tasks
A complex process made up of a number of procedures can be documented by collecting, through the ditamap, the constituent task topics under a process stub topic.
Notes and extra information in a step
Information that supplements or supports a procedural step can be included within an info element. The info element in turn can contain block elements such as note elements.
Images within steps
Images that support a procedural step can be included within a stepxmp or an info element.
A choice table is used within a step in a task topic to describe a series of optional choices that a user must make before proceeding.
Non-sequential procedural steps
Some procedures are not made up of sequential procedural steps. When documenting these procedures, the steps-informal structure or the steps-unordered structure should be used.