Free How To Guides

Free How To Guides PDF Downloads

These guides provide step-by-step instructions for solving real-world problems.

These are directions, or recipes that will help you achieve a particular end. How to Create a Web FormHow to Plot a Three-dimensional Data-SetHow to Enable LDAP Authentication.

They are goal-oriented.

Tutorials are completely different from how-to guides and should not be confused

  • A tutorial is what you tell a beginner to learn.

  • A how-to guide provides an answer to a question only someone with experience can formulate.

A how-to guide assumes some knowledge and understanding. It is possible to assume that the user knows basic skills and can use basic tools.

Software documentation, unlike tutorials, tends to be well-written. These guides are also easy to write and fun.

How to write good how-to guides

A series of steps should be taken

How to guides must include a list with steps that must be followed in order to work (just like tutorials). It doesn’t matter if you start from the beginning; just at a reasonable point. While how-to guides need to be reliable, they don’t have to be as repeatable as a tutorial.

Concentrate on the results

Guides must be focused on the practical goals. Any other distractions are unacceptable. Here, as in tutorials detailed explanations are not appropriate.

Find the solution to a specific problem

A how to guide must address a specific problem:

This is how how-to guides differ from tutorials in that the reader can assume they know what should be achieved, but not how. In a tutorial, you determine what the reader needs to know.

Don’t explain concepts

A how to guide should not be confusing. They will get in the way. Link to explanations if they are necessary.

You should allow for some flexibility

A how to guide should be able to show you how to do something differently. The user must also understand how the guide can be used to adapt to a different system or configuration than the one you are assuming. You don’t have to be specific so that the guide doesn’t serve the purpose you intended.

Don’t forget to leave things alone

Usability is more important than completeness. How-to guides don’t have to be complete. You can end them wherever you feel is appropriate. You don’t have to include everything just because it is relevant to the topic. An overly detailed how-to guide won’t help users get to their solution quickly.

Name guides are very useful

A good title for a how to document is How to create class-based views . How to create a class-based view or worse Class-based views are not.