How to Write a Tutorial
The internet is a great way to learn how to do things. Because
there is such a large audience of people interested in learning from
the internet, writing tutorials can be a great way to get hits and be
seen by people around the world. Keep your tutorials specific, concrete,
and clear. If you do that, you could become an internet celebrity.
• Pick a Topic to Write About
Find a problem to fix. If there is something that you are
interested in or that you want to know how to do, it is likely that
it is on someone elses mind too. Brainstorm some interesting topics
to write about.
Narrow your topic. If your topic is too broad, you will
find it difficult to cover everything important. Many people will
lose interest because they need to wade through material that isn't
relevant to what they are interested in. If you have a broad topic,
try to think about a way to define it more narrowly.
For example, instead of writing a tutorial on how to use Microsoft
Word, write a tutorial on how to insert chapter breaks in a Word
Explain why the subject matters. People are more likely to
read your tutorial if they know what it can do for them. In the
introduction, explain the benefits of learning the skill. If, for
example, you are explaining a photo processing program, tell the
reader some of the fun things it can do with pictures.
Research existing tutorials. If you really want your
tutorial to be read, it is best to pick a topic that hasn't been
written about too often. Look online for existing tutorials and see
what you will be competing with.
Think about your audience. Who is your audience? Is the tutorial
meant for beginners or for advanced users? Consider what additional information
your audience might need to understand your tutorial.
Write a title. The title should clearly describe what the
tutorial is about. It should be brief and precise.
Consider the title "How to insert page numbers in Microsoft
Word." If you left out "Microsoft Word," the title
would not be precise enough and the reader wouldn't know which
program you were working with.
Consider the title "How to insert footnotes, endnote,
references, and citations in Microsoft Word." Footnotes and
endnotes are all types of references and simply be labeled
references. So, for a brief title, you would write "How to
insert references in Microsoft Word."
Write an introduction. Write a quick paragraph in which you
clearly tell the reader what you are writing about. Explain to them
why this subject will be useful. Try to get them excited.
It can help to include a picture of the finished product at the
end of the introduction. If you give the reader some idea of what
they're working toward, you're more likely to get them excited about
• Writing Your Tutorial
Write out steps. Each step should be clear and brief. Try
to include a picture that illustrates each step. Do not leave
anything to the imagination.
Split up complicated steps. If you find that the step is
getting overly long or complicated, ask whether it would be better to
split up into two separate steps. You should be able to summarize the
gist of each step in a sentence. It is better to have multiple short
steps than one long one.
Practice what you preach. After you finish, try following
your own tutorial. Perform each step. Ask yourself if there was
anything you needed to do to finish the project that wasn't included
in the step. If so, add that step to your tutorial.
Describe each step thoroughly. Don't skimp on the details.
Describe each step as clearly and precisely as possible. Don't leave
anything to the imagination.
Keep it short and simple. Don't use big words or go off on
irrelevant questions. Be sure that the reader can quickly skim the
article and get the point.
For example, if you are writing a tutorial on how to clean up a
stain simply say “apply dishwashing soap to rag.” Do not
give the chemical name for the type of soap and go through a list of
alternative soaps and why they don't work as well.