Taking time to write out an employee training manual may seem like a laborious task. Using Microsoft Word 2007's features makes part of the development process easier. Before you begin to write, do some planning. Decide what tasks your employees need to accomplish and what can be written down to help them. Plan on wear you will be using the training manual--in a face-to-face class or a self-guided tour. Once you have an idea of what type of manual you are going to need, here are some of the features you can use to make your idea a reality.
Use the outlining feature in Word to create a multilevel list of the tasks your employees need to learn. This process will help you decide how long your manual is going to be and help with breaking down jobs into smaller chunks, which are easier to explain to a new employee. To use Word's outline feature, you start with a blank document and select the "Home" tab. In the Paragraph group, there are three buttons: bullets, numbers and multilevel lists. Choose "multilevel lists" or you can click on the down arrow for a gallery of outlining choices. You can also come up with your own. Write your outline for your manual. To go to the next level of a multilevel list, press "Tab." To move back to a previous list number, press "Shift + Tab." Write in the steps for your training and the other information to explain to your employees how to do the tasks needed for their job.
Use the header and footer function in Word to add page numbers, content sections and a title for each page of your document. Headers and footers are visual references for the employee to know where they are in the training material. When you are doing training, adding page numbers helps you refer to certain pages as well as certain subjects. Click on the "Insert tab," then in the Header & Footer section select "Header." You will be given a choice of header styles to choose from or you can make one of your own. The Header appears on each page of your manual, or you can choose to have it appear on opposite pages if you want your manual to be more book-like. Footers appear at the bottom of the page and are generally used for page numbers, dates, and ownership information. Click "Footer" in the Header & Footer section and just like the Header section, you will have a number of styles to choose from.
Add a cover page or title page for your training material to differentiate this material from other items you give your employee, like an employee handbook. Create your title page by clicking on the "Insert tab" and then clicking on "Cover Page" in the Pages section. You will see a number of cover page styles to choose from or you can create your own. Give your training manual a descriptive title; include the date created and the author(s), since often training manuals are a group effort.
Add headings to help you create your table of contents for your training document. This will also help visually organize your document for ease of use by your employee. Create Heading styles for each section of your document by using the outline you created (this is not the same as a Header, which goes at the top of the page). Heading styles are font styles you use to indicate the different sections in your training, as well as the different subsections.
If you were writing a training manual on how to write business correspondence, your Head 1 would be "How to Write a Business Letter" and then your subhead would be "What to Include." To mark the Heading 1 and Heading 2, select the "Home" tab. In the styles section, you will see a number of different styles you can choose from including Heading 1, Heading 2, Subtitle, etc. Select the text for your Heading 1 and click on the Heading 1 style to indicate its importance in your outline. Click on the next section of your outline to make a Heading 2. Go through your entire outline, selecting Heading 1 and Heading 2. These will be included in your table of contents when you are done.
Add a Table of Contents (TOC) to help your employees find the information they need when they need it. If you already added Heading 1 and 2s to your document, have Word do the work of creating the TOC for you. Click at the beginning of your document where you want the TOC to appear (usually after the cover page) and click "References," then click "Table of Contents" in the Table of Contents section. You will see a list of the automatic tables you can use. Click on one of the automatic selections and your TOC should appear, using the Heading styles from your outline.
Arrange the headings and sections of your training manual in a step-by-step order. The final and most essential section of the manual is the index. The more complete your index is, the more your student will be able to search for answers by page number and topic afterward. To create an index, highlight the word you wish to put in the index. Click on "References," then on "Mark Entry." Continue to do this for each item you wish to add to your index. Once done, scroll to the end of your training manual and insert the Index by clicking on "References," then on "Insert Index."
Spell check and save your file. Once you have created your first training manual, you can turn this manual into a template for other training manuals by clicking the "Open Office" button, then click "Save As." When the dialog box appears, in the section "Save as type," click the down arrow and select Word Template (.dotx). Then you can reuse your work on another training manual.
Add graphics and other illustrations to your document to help employees understand what you are writing about.
Be sure you test any training information used in the manual with at least one other person before you give your training material to your employees.
Word 2003 and Word 2007 have different interfaces. While these suggestions are written for Word 2007, you can do the same functions in Word 2003.
- Office Online: Create a Multilevel List
- Office Online: Style Basics in Word
- Office Online: Create a Table of Contents
- Sacramento Business Journal: Create a Training Manual as a Blueprint for Success
- HelpScribe.com: Writing a Training Manual - Tips and Templates
- Office Online: Word 2003 Help and How-to