How to Make a User Manual for Software

Thu. 03 Aug. 2023 960 3 mins

A detailed user guide on software will spare your support team loads of time that can be expended in dealing with crucial issues. It also will help to build a good professionalism for your software in the market. 


Read this blog if you are confused about how to make a well-crafted user manual for the software, or if you are trying to optimize your user guide for more targeted, more user-friendly, and even more appealing. 


So, how do you do this without any knowledge of technical writing required? There will be certain things that only you will be familiar with. 


Table of Contents


1. What is user manual for software

2. How to avoid boring user manual

3. 5-Steps to make a user manual for software 

4. What should be included in a good users’ manual 



What is the user manual for software?


A software user manual (guide) is a step-by-step set of instructions that aims to assist users in using a particular product, service, or application properly. It often unravels the usage of every feature across your product, and the crux is how to write a user-friendly software manual, setting your users on their way to exercise your product easily. Let’s continue to have a look at how to write an interesting one! 



How to avoid a boring user manual?


Most user manuals for software contain both a written guide and associated images, which is a typical choice, yet the unattractive user manual for software is a fatal flaw. But another good choice deserves to be taken into your consideration as well: using video! 


It is very helpful when you find it hard to prevent the target audience churn. Because the video is more appealing and easier to engage your users in and it can visualize your lengthy and complex textual expressions, giving a lasting impression.  


We highly recommend the Filmage Screen here! For instance, if you want to introduce a specific function of your application or product, its picture-in-picture mode supports explaining your software manual while recording. It’s free download, you can try it right now. 



Whether you choose a written guide or a video guide, the concern now is what you need to do before starting to write a user manual for software.  



5-Steps to make an excellent user manual for software


Hardly people read the manual entirely, but almost every end-user usually looks at the table contents of the software app user manual, finds the page or topic they are searching for, and then reads the segment which they want to understand.


Below are the steps you need to consider:  


1). Pre-assessment of work


In this stage, you should have a better assessment of your task and your target audience. 


Firstly, a thorough evaluation will determine what contents and materials are required at each stage, as well as upcoming steps. Secondly, a good user manual should always tailor your users, that is to say, you need to have a deep understanding of who are your main buyers and what they want to find in your manual for the software.


Doing so will greatly help you build and design your software app manual, especially for sketching your outline.


2). Sketch your manual 


A good and appealing sketch usually starts from how you organize your outline of your software manual. The first step is the tone of your sketch, as you are reading here, you almost know what your users want to learn and solve. With this in mind, you can organize rationally, and decide which parts of your segments should focus more attention on, which focus less. 


Keep your software manual must proceed in such a manner that the users find it most helpful. Split it into sections or chapters and comprise a table of contents so that each such section can be found promptly. And most importantly, you better know what should be included in a good users’ guide? 


3). Create a readable or a visualized manual


End-users prefer short paragraphs over rambling and long paragraphs. Also your explanation should combine with graphics or tables related to your software’s features and usage. That would be helpful if you include Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) in so that your audience can greatly understand your app. 


Besides, you may consider using the case studies video to provide an instance, demonstrating your explanations and contents more concisely, direct and clearly. Leveraging the Filmage Screen to show not to tell, it supports visualizing your technical writing up to 4k, helping every user grasp the app concept swiftly and gain a better understanding. Luckily, you can use the edit suite of Filmage Screen to symbolize importance by using color, contrast, emboldening, and shading. 


4). Test your manual 


A  user manual cannot be gauged until someone utilizes it. Hence, you need to test it before your software is marketed to the planet. The engineers and developers should be included in your test group for the closed beta test, then try to invite a group of beta testers or real users to test. 


5). Keep the manual updated 


Remember that the content of the software manual is only helpful if it is correct. So you must review and update it without delay to ensure what you offer your users can help them employ your application. 



What should be included in a good users’ guide for software?


It is very wise of you to use the templates, which can greatly reduce your work stress. But you still need to know how to stand your software manual out of crowds, and the key query is to familiarize yourself with what makes a good user manual for software. 


1). General overview Parts 


You should indicate the purpose of this manual as well as the target audience. It also should include the software overview, organization of your manual, and the copyright section. Remember to furnish a keyword index utilizing the terminology of the targeted audience and ensure that this index includes synonyms. 


2). Software summary parts 


In this section, you should give a detailed description of capabilities such as the software configuration, software inventory, software environment required, and assistance-problem report. 


3). Description of the software's function 


If your users scroll down to this part, you should convey to the users, with a clear and detailed portrayal, what the software functions are and what features it will offer. 


4). Using the application


This part is a step-by-step instruction. You should show your users the initiate operation (how to install and log in), maintain operation, terminate and restart operation. Please pay more attention to guiding the first-time user of the software. Anyway, you may also click here to find the Best Screen Recording Software for Tutorials. 


5). FAQs


As previously discussed, you should include the Frequently Asked Questions to help your audience understand your software better. Such as error handling, special instruction for error correction, and recovery from malfunctions. 


6). Contact details & index (for larger guides) 


In the last, you should add the contact details in case the issue isn’t resolved by your user’s manual. The contact details must include the e-mail/phone of the company's technical team for your users to inquire. 





To wrap this up, if you are troubling with how to make an awesome user manual for your software, we highly recommend you use Filmage Screen to record your video type of user's manual. Filmage Screen can help streamline your workflow and save you time and effort. Give it a try and just click here to download it easily! 


Get started with Filmage Screen