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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.

81 Responses to “User guide” »

  1. Comment by Ivan — 02/10/2013 @ 19:40

    Looking for an instruction manual for an Ideal lcombi boiler 24kw, with built in clock and standard flue..many thanks

  2. Comment by Andrew Macdonald — 05/10/2013 @ 10:34

    Any chance of a free replacement user guide for Toshiba lcd tv 27WL56P ?

    Thanks in advance . Andy .

  3. Comment by Mandi howard — 07/10/2013 @ 20:27

    could you please send me a copy of the instruction manual forthe Rio slim gym professional 10 pads as i have lost mine. Many thanks

  4. Comment by Wendy — 14/10/2013 @ 10:35

    Hiya. Can you help find an instruction manual for a Bush twin cordless phone SN100-2
    Many thanks

  5. Comment by Darren Kelly — 16/10/2013 @ 12:45

    I am looking for the user manual for the Lamona HJA 8553 Washing Machine.

  6. Comment by Hazel Theodorou — 01/11/2013 @ 14:52

    Can you please find a user manual for a Lifestyle CS111 programmer. Thankyou

  7. Comment by john urquhart — 15/11/2013 @ 11:54

    Where can I find a user manual for a excelvan tablet or note book

    thank you

  8. Comment by Joshua — 30/11/2013 @ 07:16

    Can you please find a Nissan HDD HC306-A CW376 user or operation manual in English?

  9. Comment by Steve Rawlings — 15/12/2013 @ 17:49

    Can you send me the user Manual for the Luxor tv DVD combi. Model number LUX 19-882 COB. Stephen Rawlings 120 Regents Court ,Sopwith Way, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT2 5AQ.

  10. Comment by Graham Morgan — 20/01/2014 @ 18:07

    Hi! Please could you try and post a link for a Lamona HJA7043 microwave please?

    Thank you :-)

  11. Comment by Steve — 26/01/2014 @ 14:38

    Drayton Lifestyle LP112 24 hr Programmer User Instructions

  12. Comment by Terriss Dennett — 02/02/2014 @ 10:57

    I am trying to find a user manual for a Hurskylock 560 ED overlocker sewing machine
    I have been given.
    Can you please help

    Many thanks

  13. Comment by chris — 27/03/2014 @ 16:17

    can you please send an intruction manual for a’ Lamona single fan oven’

  14. Comment by marcus Yeo — 13/04/2014 @ 21:57

    Hi, I need a instruction manual for a rio slim gym can you help at all? Many thanks

  15. Comment by Kelly connolly — 17/05/2014 @ 17:03

    Please can I have for free a copy of the user guide for the lamona washer dryer model HJA8701

  16. Comment by carlie — 17/05/2014 @ 18:00

    Ive been trying to instructions for a 47inc bracket to put it on wall; I have no box or manual sorty & thanks

  17. Comment by Wes — 15/06/2014 @ 16:26

    Hello have you got a user guide for a LUXOR LUX-22-822-COB TELEVISION? Thank you

  18. Comment by Notary Public Sacramento — 25/06/2014 @ 02:23

    Hello this is some what of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding experience so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  19. Comment by Tracey — 25/07/2014 @ 14:13

    Hi

    I am looking a userguide/manual for Wharfedale ICS171 car stereo…can anyone help?

  20. Comment by carpet cleaning company — 02/08/2014 @ 20:17

    Quality posts is the key to interest the viewers to pay a visit the website, that’s what this web page is providing.

  21. Comment by Andrea — 07/08/2014 @ 20:29

    I am looking for the rio slim gym manual can anyone help

  22. Comment by kojo som — 17/10/2014 @ 19:26

    Can you please send me user manual for bush digital receiver DFTA11 to my mail for download, Thanks

  23. Comment by kirsty — 23/10/2014 @ 11:34

    Hello have you by any chance got a manual for a belling microwave model BEL SJ/SS17?

  24. Comment by george — 08/01/2015 @ 11:57

    Can you help me with user manual for logik l612wm13 washing machine please? Thank you

  25. Comment by Martin beech — 22/09/2015 @ 12:05

    I need a user manual for a bush A127qw washing machine could you please send it to me free thanks

  26. Comment by David Langley — 15/11/2015 @ 20:08

    Have you please got a manual for a Bush flat panel hi fi cmc 11
    Have inherited one with no instructions. Thank you

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