15 Free Manual Templates for Every Business

Christina Ballinger
February 8, 2024
min read
March 19, 2024
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Use these 15 free user-friendly training manual templates to simplify your training process and boost your team's productivity.
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Whether it's training manuals, instruction manuals or end-user manuals, these documents are essential for effectively ramping up teams and keeping customers satisfied.

In fact, most customers these days prefer self-service: 81 percent of customers attempt to find their own answers before reaching out to a live representative, according to this Harvard Business Review study.

Manual templates provide a pre-built framework for creating different types of manuals. These easily customizable templates include pre-defined sections and formatting, so you can easily build your own manual.

Here are 15 free manual templates to jumpstart your process.

Jump to a manual:

TL;DR: Manual templates

  • Manual templates provide a pre-built framework for creating interactive and engaging manuals.
  • This blog provides 15 free manual templates, plus a gallery of 100+ templates.
  • How to write a manual: walk through the key steps to writing manuals and what to include.

15+ free manual templates

From creating user-friendly instruction manuals to streamlining employee onboarding and development, you can create a template in seconds with these customizable manuals.

Check out our template gallery with 100+ templates to create more manuals, SOPs, how-to guides and more.

Here are the 15 most popular manual templates to get you started.

‎Software user manual template

Software user manual templates
Software user manual templates

‎Software user manual templates provide step-by-step instructions on how to use software applications effectively. User manual templates provide a structured format for organizing information, making it easier for users to navigate and understand the content.

You can easily add your information and add or remove sections to customize:

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

‍👉 Try this software user manual template in Scribe.

‎In‎struction manual template

Instruction manual template

Instruction manual templates are perfect for creating step-by-step guides for using products or software.

You can quickly customize this instruction manual, and add images, diagrams, videos and more to create a comprehensive, visual instruction manual.

Easily customize this instruction manual template outline:

  • Table of contents.
  • Introduction.
  • Product overview.
  • Getting started.
  • Processes/tasks.
  • Troubleshooting.
  • Maintenance and care.
  • Warranty information.

‍👉 Try this instruction manual template for free.

‎Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) manual template

‎Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) manual templates
‎Standard Operating Procedures manual template

SOP manuals outline the standard operating procedures for a specific task or process, providing a guide employees can use to perform duties consistently and accurately.

They can help you standardize procedures across departments, ensure compliance with industry regulations, establish quality control measures, and improve productivity.

Tailor this SOP manual template to save time and resources while ensuring that your SOPs are clear, concise, and consistent:

  • Scope.
  • Purpose.
  • Glossary.
  • Step-by-step processes.
  • Helpful references.

‍👉 Try this SOP template for free.

‎Us‎er manual template

User manual templats
User manual template

User manuals provide instructions and guidelines for product or service users, including information on product features, setup, troubleshooting, and frequently asked questions.

This user manual template provides a consistent layout and design, ensuring that all your user guides have a unified, professional design:

  • Product introduction.
  • Getting started.
  • Step 1: Unpacking and assembly.
  • Step 2: Installation and setup.
  • Step 3: Basic operation.
  • Advanced features.
  • Troubleshooting.
  • Maintenance and cleaning.
  • Technical specifications.
  • Contact information.
  • Warranty and returns.

‍👉 Try this user manual template for free.

‎Operational manual template

‎Operational manual templates
‎Operational manual templates

‎Operational manuals (or operations manuals) provide step-by-step instructions for completing tasks and procedures, which can help reduce errors and improve efficiency.

This operation manual template can be quickly customized to communicate your company's policies and procedures:

  • Introduction.
  • Table of contents.
  • Scope.
  • Organization.
  • Operations workflow.
  • Resources.
  • Tasks & deliverables.
  • Timelines.
  • SOPs & workflows.
  • Job aids & templates.
  • Emergency procedures.
  • Contact details.

‎‍👉 Try this operational manual template for free.

‎Operations and maintenance manual template

Op‎erations and maintenance manual templates
Operations and maintenance manual templates

Operations and maintenance manual templates are used to document procedures for operating and maintaining equipment, machinery, or systems.

Add your information to this operation maintenance and manual template to explain the maintenance approaches, including:

  • Summary.
  • Facility details.
  • Standard operating procedures.
  • Maintenance guidelines.
  • Emergency procedures.

‍👉 Try this operations and maintenance manual template for free.

Training manual template

Training manual templates
Training manual template

Training manuals provide your employees with the necessary information, guidance and instructions for effective job performance.

Here's a training manual template you can use to provide structured training materials for employees or users. Tailor it with your learning objectives, lesson plans, activities, and assessments.

  • Table of contents.
  • Introduction.
  • Purpose of the training manual.
  • Training program overview.
  • Training objectives.
  • Pre-training preparation.
  • Post-training evaluation.
  • Appendices.
  • References.

‍👉 Try this training manual template for free.

Training manual templates for different job functions

Employee training manual templates and SOPs are valuable resources to streamline new employee onboarding and training processes.

Depending on the department or function, you can use these pre-built templates to create specialized employee training manuals with a consistent layout and design.

IT‎‎ SOP template

‎An IT SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) template outlines step-by-step instructions for completing a specific IT-related task or process. IT SOPs standardize the procedures for completing tasks or processes, ensuring consistency and accuracy.

Customize this IT SOP template to outline procedures for:

  • Installing/configuring software or hardware.
  • Routine maintenance.
  • Troubleshooting IT issues.
  • Managing user accounts.
  • Responding to security incidents.
  • Creating/maintaining IT policies.
  • Creating training manual templates to onboard new IT staff.

‍👉 Try this IT SOP template for free.

Le‎‎adership development plan template

‎If you're looking to develop your high-potential employees into future leaders, a leadership development plan template can help you build a program that focuses on developing skills in:

  • Communication.
  • Team management.
  • Strategic thinking.
  • Change management.

‍👉 Try this leadership development plan template for free.

Sa‎‎les training guide template

‎Use this sales training guide template to provide a structured and organized approach to training sales reps. This customizable template covers a wide range of topics, including:

  • The sales process.
  • Communication techniques.
  • Objection handling.
  • Negotiation.
  • Closing strategies.

‍👉 Try this sales training guide template for free.

‎‎Cu‎‎stomer service training manual template

Customer service training manual templates
Customer service training manual template

Customer service training manual templates cover a wide range of topics including your company offerings, customer service policies and procedures, and guidelines for handling customer inquiries or issues.

Use this ‎customer service training manual template to create:

  • Client-facing documentation.
  • Guidelines for handling customer interactions.
  • Procedures for resolving customer complaints and ensuring customer satisfaction.

‍👉 Try this customer service training manual template for free.

Pr‎‎oduct training manual template

Pr‎oduct training manual templates
Pr‎oduct training manual template

‎Product training manuals are used to educate and equip internal teams and external stakeholders on your products and services.

Tailor this product training template to create a comprehensive training program with a variety of uses, like:

  • Training sales representatives on how to effectively market and sell a new product.
  • Troubleshooting issues.
  • Helping teams and users understand the most important features of the product. 
  • Train new employees and familiarize them with your products and services.

‍👉 Try this product training manual template for free.

Em‎‎ployee handbook manual template

Employee handbook template: manual templates
Employee handbook template

Use employee handbook manual templates to create comprehensive policy, procedure and training manuals that provide new employees with information on your company's policies, procedures, and HR guidelines.

Scribe's employee handbook template includes customizable sections for you to add your company information:

  • Table of contents.
  • Mission, vision, and value statement.
  • Employment policies.
  • Benefits and compensation.
  •  Performance and professional development. 
  • Company operations and procedures.
  • Glossary of terms. 
  • Acknowledgment of receipt of the handbook.
  • Amendments to the handbook.

‍👉 Try this employee handbook template for free.

Wo‎‎rk instructions manual template

Wo‎rk instructions manual templates
Wo‎rk instructions manual template

‎Work instruction manual templates provide detailed instructions for performing specific tasks or processes consistently and efficiently.

Quickly customize this work instructions manual template with your:

  • Purpose.
  • Scope.
  • Responsibilities.
  • Equipment and materials.
  • Procedure/processes.
  • References.
  • Revision history.
  • Approval process.

‍👉 Try this work instructions manual template for free.

Bo‎‎nus: Make your own manual template in seconds


Scribe is an AI-powered tool that captures your screen and creates step-by-step guides for you. Turn your unique process into visual business manuals that you can customize and share without having to write a word.

Here's how to use Scribe to create a manual template:

  • Scribe captures your screen and then builds you a guide, complete with text, links and annotated screenshots.
  • Create how-to guides in seconds, then use Scribe's AI to build comprehensive business manuals.
  • Quickly customize and personalize your manuals for your specific audience.
  • Tailor with company-specific information, and include images, videos, GIFs and other multimedia to make your manuals relevant and engaging.
  • With Scribe Pro and Teams, you can also add branding elements, like your company logo and custom brand colors to create professional, branded manuals.

How quick and easy is manual creation with Scribe? 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 a useful product!"

‍👉 Try Scribe's free manual creator.

How to craft a user-friendly manual

Creating a manual can seem daunting, but with the right approach, it can be a relatively painless process.

There are a few ways you can start writing manuals. We recommend using a process documentation tool like Scribe so you can easily create, store and share your manuals.

Scribe generates manuals for you — just turn on the extension and go through your process. Scribe will capture your screen to create a step-by-step guide — complete with text, links and screenshots. Here's an example.

‎Whether you're using a tool or writing manually, here's a step-by-step guide on how to create effective manuals.

Step 1: Define your purpose and audience

First, define the purpose of your manual and consider how it will benefit your target audience.

  • What is the manual for? Is it a user guide for a new product, training material for employees, technical instructions, or something else?
  • Who will be using it? Write to your audience's knowledge level, technical skills, and needs.

Step 2: Plan your content and structure

A well-structured manual should include essential sections like a title page, introduction, table of contents, step-by-step tasks, contact information, summary, and FAQs.

  • Outline the main topics and subtopics. Create a logical flow that guides users through the information effectively.
  • If your manual covers a large number of subjects, you may want to group them using headers and sub-sections to organize the content. 
  • Dedicate sections for essential information. Include safety instructions, troubleshooting tips, and FAQs.

Plan to use a mix of different formats like text, images, diagrams, screenshots, or videos to enhance user understanding and engagement.

Step 3: Pick your software

Use Scribe

‎Automating documentation allows you to save precious time and reduces the possibility of spreading inaccurate information. It’s easy to miss critical information when dealing with complex, multi-step processes.

AI-powered tools like Scribe will automatically create visual step-by-step guides while you carry out the processes that you want to capture.

Watch Scribe user Liz Rowe walk through how she uses Scribe to create manuals in minutes:

Step 4: Write your manual

Next, design your manual by gathering relevant data and insights from your subject matter experts.

‎If you're using Scribe, simply capture your screen — or ask your SMEs to capture theirs — and build your step-by-step instructions with headers, text and annotated images in seconds.

  • Use clear and simple language.
  • Focus on explaining things in a way that your audience can easily understand.
  • Use headings and subheadings to make it easier for users to scan and find specific information.
  • Break down complex tasks into step-by-step procedures.
  • Include visual elements like charts, graphs, illustrations, infographics, checklists, and quizzes to keep your manual engaging.
  • Tailor your templates to include your company logo, colors, and fonts to create professional-looking manuals that align with your brand identity.

If you're writing a manual for employees, follow these best practices:

  • Create manuals for various roles within a company to streamline onboarding.
  • Specialized training manuals can be created for advanced skill development or specific tools.
  • Include real-life examples to help employees apply the information they have learned to real-world situations.
  • Add visual aids like images, diagrams or videos can help employees visualize the correct way to perform a specific task or interact with customers.

💡 Looking to save time? With Scribe, you can easily automate the process. Combine multiple step-by-step guides and ask the AI to write your manual for you with a simple prompt. Scribe pairs AI-powered text with your company-specific processes — just select the Scribes you want it to include to make your manual specific to your company's processes and tools.

Use Scribe

‎You can also easily add tips, alerts, links, images, videos, GIFs, and more to encourage engagement and active participation.

Looking for a deeper dive or specific instructions on how to write a manual? Check out these additional resources for tips, best practices and more:

Step 5: Test and refine

Before sharing with the team, you'll want to share your final draft for testing to ensure your manual is user-friendly and accurate.

  • Get feedback from potential users. This helps identify any areas that may be unclear or confusing and ensures the manual meets their needs.
  • Revise and edit based on feedback. Your goal is to make sure the manual serves its purpose effectively and provides users with the necessary information.
  • Ask an SME to review to make sure the information is accurate, up-to-date and easy to follow.

Don't forget to proofread your work! Carefully review the final draft to correct any typos or grammatical errors that may have been overlooked during the writing process.

💡 Scribe tip: Use Scribe's AI tools to improve your writing and fix grammar to save time!

Step 6: Share your manual

Once your manual is complete, you're ready to share it with your team and customers.

  • Share it online using a live link, enabling your employees to access the manual from any device with internet connectivity.
  • Inviting others to your Scribe Team — seamlessly share docs with your Scribe Team and choose between giving view or edit access.
  • Embed the manual on your website or in an employee portal, knowledge base, or company wiki, ensuring easy accessibility for your workforce.

Don't forget to keep your manuals updated with any changes or revisions, so you can ensure customers or employees have the most accurate and relevant information.

Wrapping up: manual templates

Not only do manual templates serve as a valuable resource for instructing employees on their day-to-day tasks, but they also familiarize both employees and customers with your company's products and services.

With Scribe's wide range of manual templates designed to engage and educate employees and customers, you can make the learning experience enjoyable — and make the creation process quick and efficient. Start building powerful manuals in half the time — for free!

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.