Technical Manual Writing Agreement

______________________, referred to as PROGRAMMER, and

______________________, referred to as WRITER, agree:


PROGRAMMER has authored a program entitled ______________________, and WRITER shall prepare manuals and other documentation for the same under the terms and conditions stated herein.


On or before ________________________, PROGRAMMER shall provide a copy of ______________________ to PROGRAMMER. Said program shall be substantially complete, that is, that the program shall perform all its major functions intended to be and shall be free from major defects. Some of the functions may be linked to stub

files. However, PROGRAMMER shall provide at the earliest opportunity functional code for such stubbed versions.


In the event that the program is not timely delivered or there are major defects in the same, the time for the completion of the manual shall be extended accordingly.


In the event of a substantial redesign, including the addition of major new functions, or any re-design of the end user interface, WRITER shall be entitled to reasonable additional compensation to be negotiated by the parties in good faith. Substantial re-design shall include but be limited to:

a.  change in operating system of the program, such as from MS-DOS to Windows;

b.  addition of major functions which comprise an addition of 20% or more of the total original components;

c.  re-coding which comprises 25% of more of the source code modules.


In the event that the WRITER discovers any programming inconsistencies (bugs) WRITER shall immediately inform PROGRAMMER of the same.


WRITER shall prepare a manual suitable for use by ___________________________, of approximately

______________________________ words.


WRITER shall provide ______________________ charts and __________________________ illustrations. The illustrations shall be ________________________.


WRITER shall provide a quick reference card detailing the basic program functions suitable for use by users needing command sequences or other information for the elementary use of the major functions of the program.


WRITER shall receive credit in the final distributed version of the manuals and other materials as the author.


WRITER shall deliver the manual and other materials provided for herein on or before _____________________, unless extended as is provided herein. Time is of the essence in this contract.


WRITER shall provide in addition to printed copies, a diskette of the manual and other contents in ASCII or any other mutually agreeable file format.


WRITER shall assist the PROGRAMMER during beta testing programs, if such are held, in the evaluation of the materials delivered by the WRITER to beta testers. Such assistance shall be limited, unless expressly contracted for herein to telephone or mail consultants of an intermittent, as needed basis. Based upon the results of the beta program, WRITER shall in good faith use WRITER’s best efforts to improve the manual based upon the test.


In consideration of the payments made herein, WRITER herewith unconditionally sells and assigns the copyright to the manual to PROGRAMMER. In applications or other filings related to the copyright, PROGRAMMER may be named as the author. For purposes of the United States Copyright Code, PROGRAMMER will be considered

to be the statutory author of the materials delivered herein.


WRITER agrees to execute any and all documents requested by WRITER to establish the full ownership of PROGRAMMER in the manuals and other materials prepared herein.


WRITER shall be paid as follows:


A total fee of $______________________

(_______________________________________________ & ______/100 dollars), due as follows:



This is the entire agreement between the parties and the same may only be varied in writing.


Dated: ___________________




______________________ By Programmer/Owner




______________________ By Technical Writer



Technical Manual Writing Agreement

Review List

This review list is provided to inform you about this document in question and assist you in its preparation.  Technical manual writing is tricky because the writer has to be intimately familiar with the program to make the project work well.  This is rarely the case in fact.  As a result, most technical manuals are not as effective as they should be for the end user’s purposes.


  1. Make multiple copies.  Give each signer an original copy.
  2. Be sure the technical writer has enough documentation, information, and skill, as a practical matter, for them to succeed in the project.  Otherwise, both parties will be unhappy with the outcome—and no legal document will cure that unhappiness, no matter how well crafted.



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