Difference Between Technical Description And Instructions

Technical descriptions provide a detailed account of an object, system, or process, while instructions provide step-by-step guidance on how to perform a task or process.

Difference Between Technical Description And Instructions

Difference Between Technical Description And Instructions

When it comes to technical writing, two common types of documents that are often used are technical descriptions and instructions. While both serve the purpose of providing information about a particular subject or process, there are distinct differences between the two. In this article, we will explore these differences and understand the unique characteristics and goals of technical descriptions and instructions.

Technical Description:

A technical description is a piece of writing that provides a detailed account of a particular object, system, or process. It focuses on describing the various components, their functions, and how they interact with each other. Technical descriptions are commonly used in engineering, science, and technology fields to provide information about the design, features, and capabilities of a product or system.

One of the key objectives of a technical description is to provide a clear and accurate representation of the subject matter. It aims to convey information in a manner that allows the reader to understand the object or process being described without any ambiguity. Technical descriptions often include diagrams, images, and illustrations to enhance the clarity of the content and help the reader visualize the subject matter.

In terms of structure, a technical description typically starts with a general introduction, providing an overview of the object or process. It then proceeds to describe each component or part in detail, highlighting its purpose, characteristics, and functions. The description is presented in a logical sequence, typically following the order in which the components are arranged or the process is carried out.

The language used in a technical description is precise, objective, and based on factual information. It avoids the use of subjective opinions or interpretations. Technical terms and jargon that are specific to the field are commonly used to ensure accuracy and clarity. Additionally, the writing style is formal and impersonal, focusing on providing information rather than engaging the reader's emotions or opinions.


Instructions, on the other hand, are a type of technical writing that provides guidance on how to perform a specific task or process. They are designed to instruct the reader on the steps or procedures required to achieve a desired outcome. Instructions can be found in various forms such as user manuals, operation guides, assembly guides, or troubleshooting guides.

The main objective of instructions is to enable the reader to effectively carry out a task by providing clear and sequential steps. Unlike technical descriptions, instructions are action-oriented and focus on guiding the reader towards a specific goal. Instructions are commonly used in various industries, including manufacturing, software development, and medicine, to guide users or operators on how to use a product or execute a process safely and efficiently.

The structure of instructions typically follows a logical sequence of steps or procedures. It starts with an introduction that provides an overview of the task and its purpose. This is followed by a list of step-by-step instructions, which are presented in a clear and concise manner. Each step is described using simple language and presented in a sequential order, ensuring that the reader can easily follow the instructions without confusion.

Unlike technical descriptions, instructions often include visual aids such as diagrams, illustrations, or charts. These visual elements serve to enhance the understanding of the instructions and provide additional guidance to the reader. The use of visual aids is especially important when explaining complex or intricate processes where visuals can simplify the understanding of the instructions.

The language used in instructions is clear, direct, and action-oriented. It focuses on providing instructions in a concise and unambiguous manner, leaving no room for misinterpretation. The tone of instructions varies depending on the target audience, but it is generally friendly and supportive to encourage the reader to follow the instructions with confidence.

In summary, technical descriptions and instructions are two distinct types of technical writing that serve different purposes. While technical descriptions focus on providing a detailed account of a subject matter, instructions aim to guide the reader through a specific task or process. Both types of documents require precision, accuracy, and clarity in their writing style and structure. By understanding the differences between technical descriptions and instructions, writers can effectively create documents that cater to the specific needs of their audience and provide the necessary information or guidance.