Designing a Manual

Posted on 2011-10-07
Last Modified: 2012-05-12

I have been making alot of small - small access packages more or less like Access Softwares. Now I have been told to make manual for all the systems I have made.

Can someone please guide me, how can I go about it or any example of a good manual from which I take some reference.

Question by:Rahul Sehrawat
    LVL 82

    Accepted Solution

    I don't know what your software does but manuals normally have these basic categories:

    1. Name and Description (About)
    2. System Requirements (other software and hardware required)
    3. Installation procedure (step by step procedure to get it installed and working)
    4. User Operating procedures (commands to use the software)
    5. Support contacts (what to do and who to call for support)
    LVL 17

    Assisted Solution

    by:Anthony Russo
    Also keep in mind when writing your manual:

    Think of a task  someone who never seen your software before would want to accomplish. Then think what would be the first thing they would need to do, then the next thing, then the next thing.. Act as if they never seen your software before and make sure your manual can get them to accomplish that task.
    LVL 7

    Assisted Solution

    in addtion to DaveBaldwin said:

    you can keep in mind that

    one Picture speaks more than 1000 words. Take enough screen shots of the application you developed.
    I have seen some of installation guides teach us through pictures.

    if you want any reference for example,

    checkout the following URL :
    this page tells you how to create a folder.

    I think now you got what I mean is!

    Good luck!

    I once again repeat " one Picture speaks more than 1000 words"

    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    Please put your feedback here! If you want anything specific to help you further.
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    Hi anshuverma1989,

    The best format that I can think of is to use video and audio. Try using Wink application. I have used it for over 7 years and it did wonders.

    I hope you'll find it useful too.


    LVL 8

    Assisted Solution

    Identify your audience and their general level of familiarity with the content and/or technical savvy before you start writing. That helps determine your approach.

    For example, there is a difference between:

    1. Add a new record.
    2. Complete the fields.
    3. Save the record.
     - and -
    1. Click the Add Record button, which can be found in the XYZ Toolbar. A new window opens.
    2. Enter information into the fields shown. You can click or use the Tab key to advance from field to field.
    3. Click the Save button at the bottom of the window. This window will close and you will return to the main screen.

    Author Closing Comment

    by:Rahul Sehrawat
    I am not really good at it. I did use the ideas given to me by all the experts.

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