The Minimal Manual was designed to address difficulties people have with state-of-the-art self-instruction manuals in learning to use powerful computing devices. It is briefer; it helps learners to coordinate their attention between the system and the manual; it specifically trains error recognition and recovery; it better supports reference use after training. In two experiments, the Minimal Manual was shown to afford more efficient learning progress than an otherwise comparable, commercially developed self-instruction manual, and was superior in the specific areas predicted by its design. © 1987, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.