Separating procedures into granular steps

Steps within a task topic must be written so that a single step contains just one user action (known in DITA as a command).

DITA task information types have a structure where each step is designed to contain one command only. This one command per step principle can be stretched a little, such as in the following example.

<step><cmd>Enter your password, and 
click <uicontrol>OK</uicontrol>.</cmd></step>

In this example, there are technically two actions (entering the password, and clicking the OK button), but a simple action such as "clicking OK" can be treated as part of the entering text step.

However, aside from this exception, steps must be limited to one action or command. For example, the following is semantically incorrect (although technically valid).

<step><cmd>Browse to, and accept 
the security certificate. Use factory defaults to 
log in. (Enter user name <userinput>admin</userinput> 
and password <userinput>password</userinput>).</cmd></step>

New DITA adopters often ask how a line break can be inserted into a step command. The answer is that it can't, because a line break is a formatting device, not a semantic device, and DITA only stores the semantics.