As manufacturers produce their products, they also have to think about the user manual to go with it. This is important as it will help the consumers learn how to use the product correctly. An operation manual template will contain relevant guidelines.

Those which you would need to work with a product you’ve purchased. Usually, this manual template comes in the form of the booklet. Then the manufacturers would include it in the packaging of the product.

It’s a technical document which provides the required explanations. There are different types of instruction manuals out there. They can be for products or for other purposes too. The important thing is that it would provide explanations for the reader. Such a document would contain the following information:

  • The product’s name
  • The product’s model number
  • The features of the product
  • The functions and capabilities of the product
  • The installation instructions written in detail
  • Safety guidelines, precautions, and health-related issues if any
  • Frequently asked questions
  • A troubleshooting section which includes technical instructions
  • A table of contents along with the references of materials
  • Warranty statements

These are important parts of an instruction manual template. However, manufacturers can add other information as needed. You can create a template on your own or download one from here. Either way, you need to learn more about them.

Instruction Manual Templates

Types of instruction manual templates

Before you start making a user manual template for your product, you need to know which one to use. There are different kinds of templates you can create. Include them with your products to help your customers learn more about them. Some templates are fairly simple while others are very detailed. The template you will create must depend on what you need. You can make templates for:

  • Digital cameras
  • Financial procedures
  • HR policy and procedures
  • Operations and maintenance
  • Software
  • Technical instructions
  • Training
  • Users
  • Work instructions

Instruction manuals will give the user information he needs about your product. You can create your own template with your team in the organization. You can even download a template from here and work with it.

This will make things a lot easier for you. Then all you have to do is focus on the content of your manual. In doing this, you’ll be able to put more effort in the content which is actually more important.

Uses of instruction manual templates

No matter what product you produce or purchase, it should come with an instruction manual. This manual would contain information on how to best use the product. There are different operation manual template formats.

All these would depend on the nature of the product. Manufacturers put a lot of effort into designing the manual template. They need to make sure it compliments their product. It’s very beneficial for products to come with user manuals.

Operation Manual Templates

These documents, which usually come in booklet form, are extremely useful. Here are some benefits of user manual template:

  • The manual would help the user understand the product’s functionality. It would contain a lot of details pertaining to the product’s functions. Manuals are usually created by a technical team, those who have extensive knowledge about the product.
    This also applies to machinery, procedures, and more. Therefore, the manual would help the users comprehend the product just by reading it.
  • The template would also contain instructions on how the user would do certain tasks. This is especially true for manuals means for training programs. Such manuals would contain everything the company would like its employees to know.
    It would clearly explain details about their job responsibilities in different ways.
  • Such documents can also help explain steps users need to take clearly. This applies to when there’s a need for troubleshooting. Then all the user needs to do is look at the manual to solve any problem.
  • Instruction manuals are very helpful even for our daily life. It includes all the instructions needed to handle and operate products and appliances. These manuals enable the users to operate the equipment, system or item.
    They do this while using the proper functions and settings.
  • Manuals are also very convenient because of their familiarity. When a person purchases a product, he would immediately look at the manual to learn more about it.
  • With a manual, users can properly maintain their products and equipment. With it, they can even perform preventive maintenance on their gadgets and devices.
  • Instruction manuals also provide technical information about the product, item or system. This is very useful especially for those who want to know everything they can about what they bought.
  • Sometimes without a manual, users can’t even start using their product. This is especially true for complicated machines, tools or equipment.

As you can see, manuals are really useful and beneficial. They contain all the information you would need to learn about what you’ve purchased. Of course, making such a document requires a lot of thought and careful consideration. You need to include all the relevant information without making it too long and boring.

User Manual Templates

How to make an instruction manual template

User manual templates are well-written documents which help guide the users about the product. This would usually be a hard-copy document or an electronic one. The important thing is it’s included with the product.

Great manuals should be able to educate the users adequately. It should teach them how to use the features and functionalities effectively. So it’s very important to create the manual with a lot of thought. Here are some tips to guide you:

Choose appropriate content for your manual template

The most important part of an operation manual template is the content. You have to think about everything you include in it. Leaving out any important detail out might cause problems for you.

This is especially true if your users don’t have any experience dealing with your product.

  • First off, you must define your user. If you want to create a successful manual, develop your user’s profile. You can do this formally or informally. Make some reasonable assumptions about the characteristics of your users. This profile is very useful when you’re at the beginning of your development process.
  • When your customers read through the manual, they should be able to use your product well. You should think about how you want to present your manual. What you intend your users to do with it.
    Do you want the users to consult your manual only when problems arise? Or do you want your users to have to read through it before they start using the product? If so, you also need to include a “Getting Started” portion.
    This will be very helpful for the user. It would contain instructions on how the customer will start using the product.
  • Also, you need to consider how much experience users may have with your product. Is it a new type of product or are there similar products out there? This would determine how much information you will include about your product.
    It will also determine whether you have to include explanations on what your product is.
  • Once you’ve considered all this, it’s time to think of how you will write the content. The users need to understand your manual well enough. Don’t assume that all your users have technical backgrounds.
    Because of this, try to stay away from technical jargon which may be quite hard to understand. Instead, use clear, concise, and simple explanations. Also, organize your text in such a way that it flows the way users normally think.
  • Of course, there are times when you have to use technical terms in explanations. In such cases, it’s helpful to give a definition of the terms as well, along with some background.
  • You also have to include any and all information related to troubleshooting. Provide an explanation of the problems which may come up. Keep in mind that when a customer purchases a product, he may encounter problems.
    So you need to include any information which may help the user solve these problems.
  • Also, consider the complex problems and issues. In such cases, break down the solution to the problems. Do this so your users won’t get overwhelmed by all the steps. List all the parts of the solutions and make sure they’re sequential.

Design a manual that’s readable and interesting

Aside from the content, it’s also important to think about your manual’s design. You don’t want your user to take one look at your manual and just throw it aside. It has to look compelling so your user will have enough interest to read through it.

  • Choose fonts which are easy to read. When it comes to instruction manuals, it’s never a good idea to use cursive fonts. No matter how much you want to make your manual look fancy, restrain yourself. It’s more important to make your document readable so users can understand it.
  • Serif fonts look good but they may not be right for smaller text. This is because the letters have small embellishment lines at the end of each letter. So it’s best to use them for larger texts on your user manual.
  • On the other hand, sans-serif fonts don’t have any embellishments. Because of this, you can use them on a smaller-sized text. Even with such sizes, the reader will still be able to understand the text.
    Actually, these fonts are suitable for small and bigger-sized text. So you can use them for titles as well as footnotes.
  • When you’ve chosen the fonts for your manual, make a sample page first. Print out the page to see how the fonts will look on paper. Also, show this sample page to your team so they can also approve the fonts.
    Do these before you start entering all the content of your manual.
  • Aside from the fonts, consider the layout of your manual too. This will also play a role in how interesting and readable your manual will be. Think about everything you want to include in your template.
    When creating a new template, you need to think about everything.
  • To make the first page of your manual distinct, make sure it differs from the other pages. Make the layout of this page different from the rest. You can use different fonts and colors on the first page of the manual.
    Do this to make it more interesting for your readers. Match the colors to your own company or brand to make it more distinctive.
  • When designing your layout, make sure all the pages have appropriate margins. Do this so that the text won’t get compromised when you bind the pages together.
  • Speaking of the binding, also consider the type of binding for your manual. If your manual has a lot of pages, you need to bind them together correctly. Otherwise your manual might fall apart when your user reads through it.
  • There are different types of binding you can use for instruction manuals. The side-stapling type is inexpensive. It’s also ideal for manuals which have a lot of pages.
    The saddle-stitching type is ideal for third-party reference guides. It’s also ideal for manuals which don’t have many pages. The spiral-binding type is ideal for more rugged manuals. Some of these manuals may contain laminated pages to keep them intact.
  • It’s important to create a template for your manual. You can use any software you’re comfortable with to do it. You can create your own template from scratch or download one from here.
    No matter how you want to make your template, create it to suit your own needs.
  • Finally, make sure you save your template. You don’t want to have to create a template over and over again. This is especially true if you have different products or equipment.
    If you need to make a new manual, just modify the template you’ve created. Enter the information needed for the new manual then save it with a different file name.
TemplateLab July 2nd, 2018