Free Instruction Manuals Templates: Your Secret to Creating User-Friendly Manuals

Rana Bano
September 6, 2022
min read
March 21, 2024
Photo credit
Create user-friendly manuals in minutes with free instruction manual templates. With these easy-to-use templates, you can save time, enhance product usability and boost the customer experience.
Generate Process Docs Free!


Even if you’re selling a water bottle, you need an instruction manual to help your customers use your product. In fact, over 80 percent of people say they’re more loyal to businesses that provide educational documentation.

But simply having a user manual isn’t enough — it should also be well-crafted and user-friendly, with just the right amount of detail to provide value.

Case in point: 55 percent of people have stopped using a product because they didn’t fully understand how to use it.

What can we say? Your user manual matters. 

In this guide, we’ll tell you exactly what goes into making the perfect instruction manual template to turn your users into fans.

Jump to a template:

TL;DR: Instruction manual templates

  • Instruction manuals are crucial for user experience and customer loyalty.
  • A well-crafted and user-friendly manual can prevent customers from abandoning a product.
  • The core elements of a successful instruction manual include an introduction, step-by-step user instructions, illustrations and diagrams, a troubleshooting guide, safety information, and related resources.
  • Top challenges include accessibility, usability and design, and keeping up-to-date.
  • Automate your instruction manual templates and create user manuals in minutes with Scribe.

What is an instruction manual template?

An instruction manual or user manual is a technical document created to guide customers on how to use your product or service. They contain step-by-step user instructions, additional tips and troubleshooting FAQs. We usually see them in written or video format.

An instruction manual template outlines the core components with sections already in place as a guide to standardize instruction manuals for different use cases.

100+ free customizable templates


‎You’ll find hundreds of free, customizable templates in the Scribe gallery. Create step-by-step guides for use cases like:

  • New client and employee onboarding checklist templates.
  • Knowledge base templates.
  • User guide templates.
  • Process documentation templates.
  • Business manual templates.

... and so much more. Choose any and create a template in seconds!

Here are 10 free customizable templates to jumpstart your end user manual creation.

Instruction manual template

Free instruction manual template
Instruction manual template

‎Whether it's a new piece of technology or product, one of the main benefits of instruction manuals is helping users get the most out of your product. This instruction manual template includes:

  • Table of contents.
  • Introduction.
  • Product overview.
  • Getting started.
  • Step-by-step guide.
  • Troubleshooting.
  • Maintenance and care.
  • Warranty information.

👉 ‎Try this instruction manual template for free.

User manual template

Free user manual template
User manual template

Use this user manual template to target everyday users and provide instructions on installation, operation and basic maintenance.

  • Product information and intended use.
  • User instructions.
  • Setup instructions.
  • Product features and capabilities.
  • Troubleshooting tips and solutions for the user’s problems.
  • Maintainence.
  • Technical specifications.

👉 ‎Try this user manual template for free.

Software user manual template

Free software user manual template
Software user manual template

Help users navigate, troubleshoot and understand software features with this software user guide template that outlines:

  • Introduction.
  • System requirements.
  • Installation instructions.
  • User interface overview.
  • Using [Software Name].
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
  • Troubleshooting.
  • Contacting customer support.

👉 ‎Try this software user manual template for free.

Product training manual template

Free product training manual template
Product training manual template

Use this template to create a product training manual for employees, external partners and users that includes:

  • Product overview.
  • Getting started. 
  • Intended uses and best practices.
  • Related training materials and help content.

👉 ‎Try this product training manual template for free.

SOP manual template

Free SOP manual template
SOP manual template

‎SOP manuals detail specific procedures and instructions for accomplishing tasks. Use this SOP manual template for:

  • Onboarding and training new employees.
  • Outlining standard operating procedures for specific tasks or processes.
  • Providing safety information and proper procedures to prevent accidents and injuries.

👉 ‎Try this SOP manual template for free.

Operation manual template

Free operation manual template
Operation manual template

Provide clear guidelines on the day-to-day operation of systems or machinery with this operational manual template:

  • ‎Table of contents.
  • Scope, mission & vision.
  • Strategic goals.
  • Company hierarchy.
  • Product/service description.
  • Operations workflows.
  • Resources and help content.
  • Tasks & deliverables.
  • Timelines.
  • Job aids.
  • Emergency procedures.
  • Contact details.

👉 ‎Try this operation manual template for free.

O&M manual template

Free Operation maintenance and manual template
Operation maintenance and manual template

Try this Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Manual to create comprehensive instructions on how to operate and maintain a physical plant, facility or specific piece of equipment. ‎

👉 ‎Try this operation maintenance and manual template for free.

Troubleshooting guide template

Free Troubleshooting guide template
Troubleshooting guide template

This troubleshooting guide template provides technical instructions and help content so users can identify, diagnose and resolve technical issues quickly and efficiently.‎

👉 ‎Try this troubleshooting guide template for free.

Work instructions template

Free Work Instructions Template
Work instructions template

‎Work instructions, sometimes called work guides or job aids, provide step-by-step instructions on how to perform a specific task or activity. This customizable template includes:

  • Work instruction title.
  • Brief introduction or overview.
  • List of materials or equipment.
  • Sequential step-by-step instructions.
  • Safety warnings and precautions.

👉 ‎Try this work instructions template for free.

Safety work instructions template

Free Safety work instructions template
Safety work instructions template

‎Develop, share and store scalable step-by-step guides with safety instructions for tasks with hazards and safety controls.

👉 ‎Try this safety work instructions template for free.

6 elements of successful instruction manuals

Successful instruction manuals should not only educate people about your product or service but also teach them how to use its features correctly to achieve the desired goal. 

When writing an instruction manual, your ultimate goal is for your audience to be easily read, understand and absorb all the information you present.

Keeping this in mind, let's look at instruction manual examples and the core components of effective user instructions.

1. Introduction

Introduce the reader to the instruction manual. Add a meaningful heading and concise introduction to its purpose and what to expect.

Suppose your product allows users to create meeting agendas. Your instruction manual will guide them on how to go about it. 

A meaningful heading would be "How to Use (Product Name) to Create Meeting Agendas."

Your introduction would be one to two lines about your product’s user selling points, like: "Learn how to create an effective meeting agenda at the click of a button."

You can also use colorful elements to make the introduction page and welcome screen attractive and eye-catching.

2. Step-by-step instructions

Step-by-step instructions guide the user through the process of using the product, like assembly, operation or maintenance procedures.

  • Avoid information overload — keep user instructions detailed and concise.
  • Arrange steps in a logical hierarchy for easy navigation.
  • Use plain language, not technical jargon.

3. Illustrations and diagrams

Even with the best instruction manual templates, you need to understand what works (and doesn’t) for your audience and, of course, the intended use. 

Visuals can help to clarify written user instructions and make the manual easier to understand:

  • Illustrations.
  • Diagrams.
  • Screenshots.
  • Images.

After all, the ultimate goal here is user success.

4. Troubleshooting guide

Include a troubleshooting section and help content to assist users with identifying and resolving common problems they might encounter with the product.

5. Safety information 

If applicable, include important safety warnings and instructions to help users avoid injury or damage to the product.

6. Related resources 

It's a common misconception that an instruction manual should only cover the topic at hand. While you should aim to cover the topic comprehensively, it's also a good idea to include links to additional resources and help content if your audience needs more than what's in the user manual.

📌 Learn more: Top 10 Instruction Manual Software (+ How You Can Choose the Right One)

3 instruction manual challenges & solutions

Writing an effective instruction manual is only half the battle — you also need to maintain it, incorporate the latest updates and make it accessible to your audience. 

Here are the top challenges of creating and updating manual documentation.

1. Accessible content

There’s no point in creating an instruction manual if no one can access it. Think about it:

  • Customers want to know how to use a specific product feature.
  • Employees will need the instruction manual template to create more documentation. 

This is also where online user manuals and a knowledge base work well for creating accessible content. You can easily send a PDF format or share a URL via email, which is far more convenient than distributing a printed book.

2. Usability and design

Navigating through instruction manuals can be challenging when they are poorly formatted, jam-packed with information and lack visual aids. A dull layout or complex structure can make users hesitant to even attempt to consult the manual.

Great user manuals are clear, concise and user-friendly, making it easier for your audience to follow along and successfully complete their tasks.

It’s also important to keep things consistent — including the wording, sentence structure, borders, and spacing.

  • Using Arial font size 12? Stick to it. 
  • Leaving 1.5-inch border space on the first page? Add it for all the remaining pages. 
  • Using "Click" in the first step? Use the same word throughout; don't substitute with "Press/Select."

3. Keeping up-to-date

Products are constantly evolving, and manuals can quickly become outdated if not regularly revised. New features or bug fixes might leave end users referencing outdated information.

Whether adding a new feature or removing an old one, your user manual should reflect your products and services to a T.

Create instruction manual templates in minutes with Scribe

‎Sure, you can make an instruction manual manually. But is it really worth it, considering how time-consuming and error-prone the entire process is? 

User manual software simplifies the instruction manual creation process and stores your instruction manual template for later use.

The good news is there is a solution that can:

  • Make your instruction manuals easy to access.
  • Lets you and others make unlimited updates — all at the touch of a button.
  • Create a template or manual fast.

Scribe creates comprehensive, easy to follow instruction manuals in seconds. All you have to do is click a button and start using your product. Once you’re done, click “Stop Capture.” Scribe will automatically break down your process into sequential step-by-step instructions, complete with text and annotated screenshots, like this one:

Scribe Getting started with Asana
Getting started with Asana

With Scribe Pages, you can combine multiple Scribes with text, video, images, GIFs, and more. And here's where you can really save time — ask the AI to write your instruction manual for you!

Use Scribe

Just type a prompt and select the Scribes you want to include, and the AI will place them throughout your user manual — and it'll make your document specific to your company's processes and tools.‎

Plus, you can edit and update your training manuals in seconds — and with universal updates, the changes will be made wherever your documentation is stored. Scribe offers version control and change tracking, allowing you to easily review revisions and keep your manual up-to-date.

You can edit, share or embed a Scribe in seconds:

  • Add teammates to your workspace in the built-in extension.
  • Create and share an automatic link.
  • Create an HTML file.
  • Export as a PDF.
  • Click "Embed file" to generate a code that you can embed in almost any knowledge base or third-party extension.

It’s one of the easiest and most effective ways to onboard and train anyone. 

Don't just take our word for it — Scribe user Vivek Agrawal says,

"Shoutout to @ScribeHow for making User Manual creations a breeze.

Plenty of hours saved in creating How-to Guides and User Manuals in last 2 working days!

Thanks ScribeHow for making such an useful product!"

Wrapping up: instruction manual templates

Instruction manual templates are valuable tools that help you save time and create effective user guides.

With instruction manual templates, you can streamline the process and create step-by-step guides in minutes — and ultimately, help users get the most out of your product.

Sign up for Scribe to create a template in seconds or choose from 100+ free templates!

Ready to try Scribe?

Scribe automatically generates how-to guides and serves them to your team when they need them most. Save time, stay focused, help others.