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How to Write Help Desk Manuals


For some, technology has always been a difficult thing to understand and master. This is particularly true with computers since so many different types of software are available. Information technology (IT) departments in businesses around the world are often inundated with phone calls and emails about problems people are experiencing with computers or software. This is why it is often beneficial for an IT or a company's communication employee(s) to learn how to write a help desk manual.

Learn the software program. Before you can write a help desk manual you must be well-versed in the software program. This means that you have spent time using it and feel comfortable answering any questions others might have about it. You need to know all the different features of the software as well as the shortcuts.

Consider how people will navigate the program. Organizing a help desk manual is often the difficult part since there are so many aspects to computer software programs. This is why it is important in the beginning to take time to consider how users will navigate the program and when they will seek additional help from the manual.

Write step-by-step instructions. Begin writing instructions of what you can do with the software and how you use it. Give specific details so users will know exactly what they need to do next.

Add screenshots to the manual. For many people the ability to see what they need to do is easier than reading written instructions. You can make your help desk manual much more user friendly by simply adding screenshots that provide visual information for users.

Index the help desk manual. Since different aspects of software programs can fall into different categories, individuals may have trouble finding the solution to their problem. A great, useful index at the back of the help desk manual can help readers find solutions to their problems quickly.

Edit the manual. Prior to publishing or distributing the help desk manual it’s important that you read through it to make sure it makes sense and there are no mistakes. Misspelled words not only make you look bad but can make people doubt whether your manual is accurate.

Tip
  • You may find it beneficial in the editing stage to have users unfamiliar with the software test out the instructions and procedures in your manual. They'll help you identify steps you may be missing or directions that are hard to understand. You can use Microsoft Office or desktop publishing software to create your help desk manual.
About the Author

Allison Dodge has been a writer since 2005, specializing in education, careers, health and travel. She has worked at educational institutions for more than 10 years. Dodge has a master's degree in education administration.