Task topics answer the question "How do I?". They provide step-by-step information that tell a user how to do something. Task topics are the heart of DITA content. They provide the core information readers are looking for in documentation. That is, task topics provide information users need to achieve their goal, for example, configure something. Concept and reference topics supplement task topics with information related to the task topic content that doesn't belong in the task topic itself.

The basic task structure goes as follows:

  1. Title: Name of task
  2. Pre-requisite: What the reader needs to know prior to performing the task
  3. Task steps: Step-by-step instructions
  4. Result: Outcome of completing the task
You can use some or all of this structure to establish a content standard. Having a title and steps could be mandatory but a pre-requisite could be optional. There are additional elements that can be added to a task, such as step results or sub-steps.

Here's an example of a task topic in the toaster manual:

Toasting Bread

Toast bread to the perfect doneness using your Classic Toaster.


You will need: Sliced bread, the toaster, an outlet, and a spread (if desired).

Task Steps

  1. Plug toaster plug into outlet.
    Figure 1: Plug toaster into outlet
  2. Insert sliced bread into bread holes located at the top of the toaster.

  3. Adjust the timer for how long you want to cook the toast.

  4. Press the lever down.
    Figure 2: Insert bread and press down lever
  5. When toast pops up, remove from the toaster and place on a plate.
    Figure 3: Take toast out when toaster pops-up
  6. Use desired spread on top of toast.
    Figure 4: Add butter or jam


Your toast is ready. Eat it before it gets cold!