Are there any standards for preparing a user manual of electronic device?

I am trying to prepare a manual for a device. However, I could not find any format. If I find, I will take this as guide for me.

If there is no standard, what should be in the manual or what should not be in?

  • 2
    Humorous misuse of written English...? :) – occulus Jun 20 '12 at 9:43
  • @occulus Can you fix it? – user12278 Jun 20 '12 at 10:41
  • @occulus: you mean, as a standard for an electronic device manual, right? :) – haylem Jun 25 '12 at 18:34
  • Just collect a sample of few existing one and use the best one. – NoChance Jun 25 '12 at 19:46

The manual should contain whatever the owner of the device needs to know, including but not limited to:

  • Unpacking: how to unpack it
  • Operation: how to operate it
  • Integration: how to use it in conjunction with other devices, if appropriate
  • Care: how to care for it
  • Supplies: where to get any supplies that the device requires
  • Troubleshooting: what to do when it doesn't seem to work
  • Service: who to contact if it needs repair
  • Safety: any necessary safety information
  • Recycling and Disposal: how to get rid of it responsibly
  • Warrantee: statement of warrantee and any disclaimers or other legalese
  • Index: a thorough index

If using the device is complicated and/or if the users aren't expected to already be knowledgeable, it may be a good idea to include some examples.

I'm not aware of any general manual-writing standards, but I'm sure that some exist for specific markets. For example, one can easily imagine that you'd have to supply a manual meeting certain criteria if you plan to sell to the military, and certain countries might require that the manual be provided in the official language of that country.

For ideas, take a look at the manuals that came with your car, blender, stereo, DVR, printer, microwave oven, and any other devices you have around your house.

  • What should the general be title of the what to do when it doesn't seem to work, who to contact if it needs repair ? Thanks for your solution. Why is there no standart for manual ? – user12278 Jun 26 '12 at 6:56
  • In the US, the what to do when it doesn't work section is often called "Troubleshooting", and the who to contact if it needs repair could be called "Service" or "Repairs." I'd guess there's no standard because there's little benefit to standardization, and because different products are just that -- different. – Caleb Jun 26 '12 at 7:00
  • Should recycling and disposal be included in manual` ? If your answer is yes, can you update your answer ? – user12278 Jun 26 '12 at 7:29
  • Don't forget for electronic devices there are regulatory requirements as well; you should have a separate section for standards (for example UL) or SARS information for radio devices. – Burhan Khalid Jun 26 '12 at 15:07

Here's what I'd recommend:

  • Grab your iPhone's or iPod's box and manual,
  • Replicate the sections according to your device and content.

(Picking a device closer to your type of device might be a better fit, I just went for an example with probable decent support for such things.)

  • Not necessarily a good idea. Modern Apple devices refer to online help. – user1249 Jun 25 '12 at 18:40
  • 1
    @ThorbjørnRavnAndersen: Hence the note that it may not be the best fit. The main idea is just that that's nothing new, and if I were not able to find something that looks like an actual standard, I'd look for a de-facto standard or follow the stream. – haylem Jun 25 '12 at 18:44

There's a few different standards:

General format:

  1. Front page with any necessary version information and details of the author & publisher Contents page(s)
  2. General business over view of the system's scope and purpose
  3. General over view of the manual's scope and purpose
  4. General over view of the software including capabilities and it's hardware and software requirements
  5. General user orientated over view of the software
  6. Start up guide, covers: installation, setup, first time use, any default passwords ect
  7. Processing reference, guides user in performing every operation that the system is capable of

For more detail see MIL-STD-498