How to Write a User Guide/Manual

Writing a User Guide

A user guide is an end user document which provides instructions for a certain system/software. In the IT field, it is usually written by technical writers. When writing a user manual you should consider the following:
1. Keep in mind that it is intended to give the user a proper understanding about the application (do not try to show how intelligent you are by using technical jargon or advanced English words). Therefore, it should be written in a very simple yet professional and organized manner.

2. When you are writing a user manual for a certain software/system you need to get hands on experience using the application. This is highly recommended, but when it comes to general concepts, you can just use your common sense.
I.e. When saving a document in an application, we usually know that the path is File- gt; Save or File- gt; Save As

I will divide the whole process into several steps so that you can better understand it.

Step 1 – Play around with the application and try to learn as much as you can about it.

Step 2 – Collect all the documentation related to the application such as Detailed Software Requirement Specification (DSRS), Detailed Software Technical Design (DSTD), previous Read Me, What’s New and Release Notes documents (if available).

Step 3 – Build the structure of the User Guide. Consider the following structure as an example:

• Welcome to application X help
Application X User Interface
Using Help
• Best Practices (If necessary)
• Application X Procedure 1 – You can detail some basic and common functionality under this topic.
• Application X Procedure 2 – Here you can detail slightly advanced functionalities.
• Application X Procedure 3 – You can detail some advanced functionalities here.
• Technical Support
• Glossary
• Index

Step 4 – Now you have to put all what you gathered into the structure. Consider the following example:

I will take Welcome to Application X Help- gt; Application X User Interface as the example:
Write down whatever you know to start with.

Application X User Interface

Have a look at the window. Then start describing what you can see.

Say something like: This window shows the standard interface of the application X.

(Then place the image here)

To perform an x process, carry out the following:
Click the button X.
Insert necessary details.
Click OK to accept or Cancel to close the window.

This is how to build it from the scratch. You can continue to write it using the same logical sequence.