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User guide

A user guide or user’s guide, also commonly known as a manual, is a technical communication document intended to give assistance to people using a particular system. It is usually written by a technical writer, although user guides are written by programmers, product or project managers, or other technical staff, particularly in smaller companies.

User guides are most commonly associated with electronic goods, computer hardware and software.

Most user guides contain both a written guide and the associated images. In the case of computer applications, it is usual to include screenshots of how the program should look, and hardware manuals often include clear, simplified diagrams. The language used is matched to the intended audience, with jargon kept to a minimum or explained thoroughly.

Contents of a user manual

The sections of a user manual often include:

  • A cover page
  • A title page and copyright page
  • A preface, containing details of related documents and information on how to navigate the user guide
  • A contents page
  • A guide on how to use at least the main functions of the system
  • A troubleshooting section detailing possible errors or problems that may occur, along with how to fix them
  • A FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
  • Where to find further help, and contact details
  • A glossary and, for larger documents, an index

Computer software manuals and guides

User manuals and user guides for most non-trivial software applications are book-like documents with contents similar to the above list. The Starta User Manual is a good example of this type of document. Some documents have a more fluid structure with many internal links. The Google Earth User Guide is an example of this format. The term guide is often applied to a document that addresses a specific aspect of a software product. Some usages are Installation Guide, Getting Started Guide, and various How to guides. An example is the Picasa Getting Started Guide.

In some business software applications, where groups of users have access to only a sub-set of the application’s full functionality, a user guide may be prepared for each group. An example of this approach is the Autodesk Topobase 2010 Help document, which contains separate Administrator Guides, User Guides, and a Developer’s Guide. These guides are a valuable tool for On-the-job training.

34 Responses to “User guide” »

  1. Comment by Certified Nursing Assistant — 26/04/2010 @ 07:25

    I’ve recently started a blog, the information you provide on this site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

  2. Comment by timothy hewison — 20/06/2011 @ 09:40

    unable to source i touch manual for i pod 8g

  3. Comment by admin — 20/06/2011 @ 11:18

    Please provide serial number

  4. Comment by B J PEARSON — 26/06/2011 @ 13:51

    CAN YOU PLEASE LET ME DOWNLOAD FREE FOR A BUSH COMFORT PHONE HANDS FREE ON HOW TO USE IT
    PLEASE.

    MRS B J PEARSON

  5. Comment by admin — 27/06/2011 @ 11:19

    We sent to you Mrs B J Pearson

  6. Comment by J Mabbutt — 15/08/2011 @ 06:25

    Please could you send for free to me the instruction manual for a Rio Slim Gym Professional as I have lost my copy. Thank you very much

  7. Comment by condor — 18/08/2011 @ 08:45

    Sent to you Mabbutt

  8. Comment by keen a — 23/08/2011 @ 16:01

    need instruction manual for record c26 plus combi woodwork machine.thanks

  9. Comment by Evelyn Ranson — 26/08/2011 @ 09:53

    Can you please let me have a User Guide/Manual for Apple Ipad
    Serial DQVGST8YDFHW. Thanks.

  10. Comment by M Ward — 09/09/2011 @ 18:41

    Does anyone have instuction manual for Neff double oven E-Nr U1721NOGB

  11. Comment by b.d.moon — 11/09/2011 @ 19:46

    a manual for a Bosch EASYTRIM

  12. Comment by j tetlow — 12/09/2011 @ 11:17

    could you please let me have an instruction manual for a Bush Big Button Comfort Phone

  13. Comment by danielle — 12/09/2011 @ 13:26

    could you please send me a user guide for a kdw8st2a?

  14. Comment by Candelia — 15/09/2011 @ 20:54

    Looking for instruction leaflet for Rexel Gladiator Stapler

  15. Comment by Maureen Guy — 21/09/2011 @ 10:54

    Hello please could you send me the User Manual for the Bush Dfta11 Freeview set top box as mine is lost, thank you so much

  16. Comment by Maureen Guy — 21/09/2011 @ 10:54

    Hello please could you send me the User Manual for the Bush Dfta11 Freeview set top box as mine is lost, thank you so much

  17. Comment by j. wharf — 07/10/2011 @ 14:22

    I would be gratefull if I could have a free download users instruction book for the Garmin nuvi sat/nav. Thank you.

  18. Comment by Peat — 18/10/2011 @ 14:21

    Looking for user manual for Luxor 19 822 COB LCD TV/DVD as misplaced mine !! Any chance of a pdf download for said same ? Peat

  19. Comment by norman brook — 29/10/2011 @ 21:13

    I would like to download a copy of User manual for Toshiba Regza 32 AV505DB television

  20. Comment by Carole Coyle — 03/11/2011 @ 19:18

    Coiuld someone help me with a user manual for a Allfine Mini Notebook to download Thank you

  21. Comment by condor — 03/11/2011 @ 23:07

    Please give the exact model name or serial number

  22. Comment by enid pritchard — 11/11/2011 @ 21:20

    Please could I have a copy of user manual for a Lamona single fan oven. Having problems with the timer. Ref. HJA 3400. Thanks

  23. Comment by Mrs Norfolk — 13/11/2011 @ 20:24

    I have just purchased a retirement apartment

    Included in the sale were a Lamona slimline dishwasher, Lamona touch hob and Lamona single multifunction oven MJA 3560

    They left no instructions for any of them

    Help!!

  24. Comment by nadine vincent — 26/11/2011 @ 23:06

    I am looking for a user manual for a Lamona oven single fan model HJA 3400. Can you help? Thanks!

  25. Comment by Eileen — 03/12/2011 @ 18:15

    Pls could you send me user manual for Neon 37″ TV, TP3730F, can’t get freeview working.

  26. Comment by Richard Williams — 05/12/2011 @ 14:28

    I am looking for an instruction manual for a Sony BDPS 185B and am failing dismally. The Sony site seems as though it is going rather unwell.
    Thanks
    Richard

  27. Comment by newton — 07/12/2011 @ 16:43

    Could someone please send me a manual for Bush freeview and digital tv recorder, model number BU11FVRSD32 or BU11FVRD50. Thanks

  28. Comment by Anne Wilson — 11/12/2011 @ 14:42

    need an instruction manual for a steam press KB-217B

  29. Comment by RACHAEL — 12/12/2011 @ 00:02

    can i have instructions for rio slim gym please have lost mine

  30. Comment by Jackie lee — 17/12/2011 @ 17:19

    I need a user manual for zanussi ZKC6020W electric cooker

  31. Comment by George Young — 22/02/2012 @ 14:57

    Dear Sirs–May I have a Free User Manual for a MATSUI 145W–Washing Machine

  32. Comment by A. De Melo — 28/03/2012 @ 10:09

    Hiya I have been trying to find a user manual for the Lamona HJA 8553 Washing machine, could anyone please help me.

  33. Comment by condor — 06/04/2012 @ 08:56

    We sent to your email address

  34. Comment by L.SANDY — 14/05/2012 @ 13:02

    Can you please find a user manual for an Argos carpet cleaning machine – model no V135AV for download

    Mant thanks

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