A Handbook (Greek ἐγχειρίδιον 's guide, something you hold in your hand ') is an ordered compilation of a section of human knowledge and can serve as a reference.

The arrangement of the knowledge can be made chronologically or especially thematically. Here is the systematic classification of the work, which is usually also offered in the form of a table of contents separately as an overview of particular importance. Manuals often have one or more editors, and numerous authors, who are responsible for the constitution of individual chapters. There are often all disciplines represented - thus may also appear in several parts or volumes, a manual. These two aspects are different manuals of monographs, which also usually treated much narrower topics. Manuals are in professional circles often cited with a short title ( eg the Dehio manual that LThK ).

The gräkolateinische term 's guide, which mainly referred to a short sword or dagger in classical Greek, was in its present primary importance of " manual" by Erasmus of Rotterdam Knight Guide Enchiridion militis Christiani ( " sword " or "Handbook of the Christian Soldier" ) from known in 1503.

In contrast to the dictionary, the presentation of the material in continuous prose takes place. The mixture of both - alphabetical order and prose - is referred to as pocket dictionary.

Detailed instructions for use are often - referred to as ( user ) manual - as Eindeutschung of the English manual. This term is also found in the area of software. Traditionally, the use of a program in UNIX manual pages describe without going into the details of the implementation, in that it is only a part of the technical documentation. It is intended as an aid especially to the user. In particular, the WWW and with free software, it is common to supplement the software manual by a FAQ, that is a collection of frequently asked user questions, or even to replace it.

As a guide, the rules and background volumes of role-playing can be designated. The rules can also be analyzed as instructions for use, while the descriptions of the game world may have chronological or thematic arrangement of the knowledge of the character of classic manuals.