Writing a Manual Answers

For the course final project, you will be writing a 5- to 7-page manual, due in Week 5. Refer to pp. 569 to 571 (Ch. 20) of your text for an example of the elements and style of a manual. (Page count does not include table of contents, list of illustrations, references, index, glossary or appendices.)

Choose a subject for the manual that is related to your current or previous work life. As you decide on a subject for your manual, consider the following questions:

  • What procedure or computer program in your workplace would perform better or be used more efficiently if clearly written instructions were available?
  • Is there a procedure or computer program in your workplace that you would like to know more about?

If you do not have related work experience, you may select one of the following University of Phoenix programs as the focus of your manual:

  • Phoenix Connect
  • University Library
  • The Center for Writing Excellence

Write the manual with a specific user audience in mind. If you are writing for your workplace, decide if your manual is written for the entire organization, or specific group/s. If you choose a University of Phoenix program, the audience you are writing for the students.

For inspiration and further guidance, locate a user manual on the Internet. Check with instructor via Private Message is you are not sure if it serves as a good example.


Your manual will include the following REQUIRED AND OPTIONAL sections

Introduction or “Front Matter” REQUIRED

  • Statement of device/program with sentence definition. State the brand name as applicable.
  • Statement of intended user;
  • Statement of purpose of manual and what the reader will be able to do if he/she uses the manual;
  • Overview of contents;
  • Typographic conventions;
  • List of tools/materials/equipment needed;
  • Safety warning/s (with related graphic element)
  • Where to get help.
  • See Chapter 20.

Purpose (stated in the Introduction)

The purposes of a manual include the following. From this list, identify what purposes will be supported by your manual.

  • Training
  • Installation
  • Operation
  • Maintenance
  • Trouble shooting
  • Repair
  • One, some or all of the above

Audience: Stated in the Introduction:

One manual may be developed for all audiences below or separate manuals may be needed for respective audiences. Audiences for manuals include the following. For your project, identify user/s for whom you manual will be developed:

  • First time users
  • Generalists
  • Experienced operators
  • Technicians
  • Specialists

General Content of a Manual: Based on audience and purpose, the body of the manual may include the following as needed for clarity, accuracy and completeness. Unless otherwise noted, these sections are optional for your manual, but be sure to include those that will produce a clear, accurate and comprehensive manual.

  • Descriptions of objects and parts REQUIRED
  • Process descriptions (how something works)
  • Instructions (step by step; numbered: how to).REQUIRED with alerts, safety warnings, etc.
  • Illustrations MIN. 1 REQUIRED in addition to alert/s or safety warning/s.
  • Analyses
  • Explanations
  • Procedures (how something works)
  • Tutorials (what the reader must do, defining terms, clarifying concepts, describing/illustrating step by step instructions).
  • Government or industry regulations or standards
  • FAQs
  • Demonstrations
  • Operation

Conclusion or Back Matter: REQUIRED

Summary of manual content, including

  • Summary statement of intended user an purpose REQUIRED
  • Specifications;
  • Government or industry standards that the device/system supports;
  • Contact/s for maintenance and servicing
  • Index.
  • Glossary
  • See Chapter 20


  • Title
  • Title page in APA style/format
  • Table of Contents
  • List of illustrations
  • Headings in APA style/format
  • 10-12 pt. Arial or Times New Roman. Smaller font may be used in illustrations
  • Introduction
  • General Contents, as noted above
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Appendix OPTIONAL
  • Index OPTIONAL
  • Any other information needed to assist the user
  • Effective use of white space
  • Use of fonts, boldface, color, etc. to highlight important information
  • Visual elements, such as photos, screen shots, illustrations, charts, graphs, etc. Min. 1 visual element, inserted adjacent to related information.
  • In the discussion preceding the visual, be sure to indicate what the illustrations depicts.
  • Label each illustration as Fig. 1, Fig. 2, etc.
  • Cite the source of each illustration if it is not original.



Refer to the rubric for additional detail and guidance.

Use APA format: Title page. Page numbers. Double spacing. In-text citations and References. 10 or 12 pt. font; Times New Roman or Arial

AFTER THE TITLE PAGE, TABLE OF CONTENTS AND LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS, you may deviate from APA format to produce a more realistic manual. See examples in the textbook and online.

Submit assignment to Write Pont & Plagiarism Checker and post results with assignment.

Save all assignment document files: Last name_first initial_title of assignment

Due Dates for the Final Project

  • The Table of Contents for your manual is due in Week 2.
  • The completed manual is due in Week 5.
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