How to Write Great Instructions

Much government writing involves giving customers instructions. Customers will appreciate receiving instructions they can understand, and they are more likely to respond or comply. Your agency will spend less time and money correcting customer errors.

Key Elements

  1. Clearly label what the instructions are about.
  2. Break down your instructions into short, distinct steps.
  3. Use a clear, firm tone, but don't "shout" with capitalizations and threats.
  4. Tell customers how to respond.
  5. Tell customers what will happen next.
  6. Do your homework when writing legal instructions.

Download the instructions document


Use the mailing envelope for key messages. Messages such as "Dated material enclosed" or "Your response is required" can save your letter from the shredder.

Do your homework when writing legal instructions.