I want to write an instruction manual, but how?

instruction manual

Do you ever have to produce instructions for your product as a consultant or technician, but don’t know how to begin? In this article, we provide you with several tips on writing an instructions manual.

Use the active voice.

When you write an instruction manual, you should use the imperative. This is because the direct form can cause ambiguity. As an example: ‘The door will be locked next by putting the key in the hole.’ then the reader does not know whether he has to close the door himself or whether the device will do it for him.

On the other hand, write: ‘Finally, you mute the door. You close the door by putting the key in the hole and turning it to the left.’ Then it is immediately clear which action the reader must perform himself.

Identify your target group.

It is wise if you know in advance who the target group of your text is. For example, are you making a manual on how to use a drill for experienced construction workers? Then you don’t need to explain in detail exactly how it is done. But if the manual is intended for the uninitiated, an extensive explanation may be useful.

A distinction in the type of information.

When writing an instructional manual, it is important to distinguish between conceptual and instructional information. The difference between the two is that conceptual information explains something, for example, what parts a cabinet consists of, or how a shoe is constructed.

Instructive information, on the other hand, explains aepnow how the reader of the manual can perform certain tasks. So you can break down the actions to be performed into different steps with numbering. This numbering then also shows the necessary sequence of the actions to be performed.

Keep it short.

This applies in principle to writing in general: keep it as short as possible. This is especially true for manuals. The advantage of a concise manual is that the less information it contains, the better it is. So write down the steps you want the manual to contain, with all the key points. Avoid redundant information that makes the manual unclear.

Use images.

For many topics, it is difficult to explain them without illustrations. For example, in the case of manuals for complicated machines, it is wise to see them richly illustrated with photos and other types of illustrations. But also in the case of software manuals, extensive use of images, especially screenshots, is recommended.

Make the manual easy to read.

The average reader of an instruction manual is often quite impatient and then it’s up to you not to test that impatience for too long. So you need to ensure excellent navigation in the instruction manual. There are several ways to do this.

First, the main layout of your instruction manual must be logical and well thought out. So the information that belongs together should be together.

In addition, it is smart to use headings and subheadings. A heading is a summary of the text that comes after it, so the reader immediately knows whether the page is relevant to them or not.

More information.

Do you want to know more about instruction manuals? Swipeguide.com has all the information you need.

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