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Guest Blog: Why a Manual?

Posted by ClickHelp TeamClickHelp Teamin Technical Writing on 1/6/2015 — 2 minute read

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Do you plan on bringing a product to the market soon? There’s a good chance that this product should be equipped with a manual. Automatically you will face various issues. This blog briefly discusses some of these common questions about manuals.

Why a manual?

For many products, it is mandatory to include a manual. But why is this so?

Delivering a manual for a product has everything to do with product safety. In Europe (and also in the rest of the world) we believe it is important to make arrangements for products, so that the user’s safety is ensured. At European level, producers are required to bring products to the market which meet the general safety requirements. Additionally, the producer must ensure that the user gets the necessary information, allowing the user to form an opinion on the risks associated with the product.

This also applies to my product?

For some products, it is more important to make arrangements for security than for other products. A lawnmower for example calls in this connection more attention than a duvet. Agreements and obligations of the main product groups are defined in the European New Approach Directives. Here is also the information about your obligation with regard to the manual.

What should be in a manual?

Of course, the contents of each manual differs. However, the goal of a manual is usually the same, namely to explain the user how the product can be used properly and safely. This ensures that we often see a number of recurring parts or chapters in each manual. In the IEC 82079 these components will be described. This standard specifies that a good manual should contain at least the following contents:

  1. Technical specifications
  2. Precautions and safety instructions
  3. Description of the product; composition of the product
  4. Assembly, installation, commissioning
  5. Description of controls, method
  6. Care and maintenance schedule
  7. Decommissioning
  8. Dismantling, demolition, storage and transport
  9. Troubleshooting
  10. Environment
  11. Disposal and recycling

How can I create a manual?

There are various software packages to create your manual. Your business situation determines which software is most suitable.

If you are making manuals on regular basis, you would do well to consider a single-source content management system (CMS). Such systems help you to effectively reuse content for multiple output channels.

Selecting the right tool is often a choice for the long term. Be well informed and try different options. Many suppliers give you the opportunity to try their software for free for a limited time. You can also make an appointment with a user of the software, to see the possibilities and limitations of the software ‘in action’.

Who can make my instructions?

Making a manual can be outsourced or you can do it yourself. This choice is usually based on the available knowledge relating to the making of manuals, the complexity of the product, the risks, the time available, and, of course, the available budget.

The advantage of making your own a manual is mainly in terms of costs. The benefits of outsourcing are saving time, worry-free and quality. Always remember that writing a good Technical Manual is a profession. There are no training, but specific knowledge is required from various fields, such as graphic arts, the linguistic sector, Industrial design and engineering. To achieve the main objective of the instructions (to ensure safety) and to provide a higher customer rating, it can best be done with the ‘designer’ new approach ‘. This is the designer who both good writing and design skills possession.

About the Author – Manualise

This blog is written by Manualise. The Manualise Team are specialists in writing user-friendly manuals that meet international standards.

Want to know more about the subject ‘manuals’ or want to get in touch with Manualise? Visit their website at

Happy Technical Writing!
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