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8. User Guides

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A user guide is essentially a book-length document containing instructions on installing, using, or troubleshooting a hardware or software product. A user guide can be very brief—for example, only 10 or 20 pages or it can be a full-length book of 200 pages or more. While this definition assumes computers, a user guide can provide operating instructions on practically anything—lawnmowers, microwave ovens, dishwashers, and so on. The more complex the product, the greater the page count. When this happens, some elements of the user guide get split out into their own separate volumes—especially the installation procedures, troubleshooting procedures, and the commands. A user guide can even contain a brief tutorial—for example, getting users started using the product—but if there is too much tutorial, it too goes into a separate book.

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