Include strong sections of definition, description, or both, as necessary, using the guidelines on content, organization, and format in the chapters on definition and description.
Sometimes, words simply cannot explain the step. Some situations must be so generalized or so variable that steps cannot be stated.
Give a general idea of the procedure and what it accomplishes. Listing tasks may not be all that you need to do. General warning, caution, danger notices. There are ways to overcome these problems!
In instructions, you must alert readers to possibilities in which they may damage their equipment, waste supplies, cause the entire procedure to fail, injure themselves or others--even seriously or fatally. If you designed a set of instructions on this plan, you'd write steps for using each button or feature of the photocopier.
And finally there exist instructions that really cannot use numbered vertical list and that do little if any straightforward instructional-style directing of the reader.
In some cases, individual steps within a procedure can be rather complex in their own right and need to be broken down into substeps. For information on use, customization, or copies, e-mail hcexres io. Now remember: you may not need all of these elements, and some of them can combine neatly into single sentences.
See Appendix A for discussion of audience and steps to use in defining audiences.