How I Create a Step-by-Step Training Document

Several people have asked if I would share my steps for creating a training document and I am very happy to do that!  If you have to create training documents for others, here are my favorite FREE tools to do this and my process from start to finish.  :)

The first thing I do is walk through the steps of the task and take screenshots at each step.  I am a Mac user so I use the built-in screenshot tool (command+shift+3 for full-screen or command+shift+4 for click and drag).  If you're a Chrome user, you can get the Awesome Screenshot or Google Screen Capture tool in the Chrome Web Store.  Both of these tools allow you to select the entire screen or part of the screen and even make annotations.  You can check out Skitch, too, which also allows you to capture screenshots and make annotations.

After I have collected all of the images from each step of the process I am demonstrating, I open a new Google Presentation for my tutorial.  I have tried creating training documents in a Google Document, but find that it's easier to layer images, insert arrows and text boxes, and arrange my steps into a Google Presentation.  The wonderful thing about using a Google app is the ease of sharing.  And - you always have it no matter where you go!  (Did you know there's a Google Drive app for your iPhone?!)

I begin by inserting each of the screenshots into a new slide from the first one to the last one, even if I'm not sure I'll need that image.  Then I go back to the beginning and mentally walk through the process again, this time making notations and adding arrows or boxes to call attention to special areas.  At this point, if an image is unnecessary to the process, I delete the slide.  My finished product looks something like this:

A few tips:
  • Use the same title slide for each of your training docs.
  • Use the same font throughout your presentation.
  • Create a consistent look so people are familiar with your training materials.
  • Don't assume anything - type out each step in detail.
  • However, be as brief as possible with both images and text.


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