A wide variety of instruction manuals and guides exist under the umbrella term ‘technical documentation’. The following defintions and examples help to differentiate between such documents:
Assembly Instructions: this instructs the end-user how to assemble a product (e.g. flat-pack furniture) so that it can be used in the correct manner.
Data Sheet: this only contains technical data about the product in question.
Installation Guide: this assists the end-user in installing a product (e.g.: a radiator, a printer, a piece of computer software) and/or connecting it to the power supply so that it can be used correctly.
Instant Reference Guide: this is instructions for the correct use of products designed to be used immediately (e.g.: a fire extinguisher or parking ticket machine) correctly.
Instructions for Use: this instructs the end-user in the correct usage of a medical product (e.g.: an endoscope or ultrasound generator).
Instruction Manual: this is the general term for all kinds of manuals used exclusively in the DIN EN 82079-1 norm.
Maintenance Guide: this instructs a technician in how to carry out the maintenance procedure for a product (e.g.: a refrigerator).
Operating Instructions: this instructs the end-user in the correct usage/operation of a machine (e.g.: labelling machine or forklift truck).
Quick Start Guide: this is a condensed version of an instruction manual that summarises the most important functions or steps.
Service Manual: this allows authorised service technicians to carry out servicing work on a machine, a system, a piece of medical equipment or a consumer product.
Software Documentation: this instructs the end-user in how to use a computer program by familiarising them with basic functions, pointing out possibilities and explaining dependencies.
Spare Parts Catalogue: this is a systematic overview of spare parts for a product – interactive images in such documents often facilitate the end-user’s search for spare and replacement parts and service information.
System Documentation: this contains information regarding the design, function and operation of a system that consists of multiple individual machines or assemblies (e.g.: a bottling or packaging lines).
Transportation Instructions: this instructs the end-user in how to transport a machine correctly so as to avoid damage to people or property.
Uninstallation Guide: this instructs the end-user in the uninstallation of, for example, a piece of computer software, or in the complete removal of a product.
User Manual: this instructs the end-user in the correct usage of a consumer product (e.g.: kitchen equipment or television).