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Writing User Guides


Designed for people who want to enter the technical writing field, this course focuses on writing effective user (how-to) guides and gives an introduction to the job of a user guide writer. Whether writing for the users of a company's computer system, for cashiers who need to know how to use a scanner, or for owners of a new appliance, user guide writers are needed. And, writing for the end user is one way to enter the technical writing field. Many writers start their jobs at companies maintaining and creating end user materials.

Coursework focuses on how to write reader-friendly documentation, what to look for in maintaining existing guides, the steps involved in creating new guides, working with style considerations, the differences between editing and proofreading, and the job of the user guide writer.

Students will get the opportunity to write several end user pieces. The first four weeks of the class introduce students to the how-to of writing user guides and give an over of this aspect of the technical writing field. The last four weeks of the class will act as a workshop. While additional topics will be discussed, the focus is on writing a major assignment. With instructor guidance, students will hone their projects. The goal of the assignment is to create a sample piece for the student's portfolio.


Students are assessed by:

  • By making updates to the pages of a fictitious user guide based on a mock source document.
  • By writing a short how-to section on using a grocery store scanner.
  • By completing a proofreading exercise and a writing exercise
  • By creating a mini-user guide detailing an e-mail system
  • By creating a style-sheet


After taking this course, students will:

  • Understand what is involved in doing the job of a technical (user guide) writer
  • Be able to create reader-friendly documentation
  • Have a sample "how to" piece to add to their portfolio
  • Have a basic understanding of the field of technical writing
  • Know the difference between proofreading and editing and be able to apply these skills to their work

course quick facts
course code DED285
cost $285.00
estimated time to
complete course
30 Hours
course materials
8 Weeks

A freelance writer with over 1000 published articles, Elsie Walker has written for a variety of national publications as well as Elsie writes for several New Jersey newspapers. Elsie is as well a technical writer who specializes in user guides and writers in the workplace. Her specialization within technical writing is taking information and translating it into easy-to-understand text for the layperson. She teaches a number of online courses in technical writing and writing certification.


"I have already enrolled in four other online courses. I have applied to become a certified technical writer. I enjoyed this class and would have no objections to taking more online classes with your company. " - Tamara Tennenbaum

"It was a great refresher in grammar and proper punctuation.I am now able to convey technical instructions in a more clear and concise manner.I got my moneys worth out of this workshop" - Tina Stewart

"I've learned the correct way to write a user guide. I got my moneys worth out of this workshop." - Alyce Ossmann