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How to create a knowledge base article (with 3 templates you can use)

how to find angel investors

You’ve done the hard part. You’ve set up a knowledge base on your website.

Your customers are now empowered and ready to self-serve and solve (most of) their own questions by searching on this handy knowledge base.

Now, your customer support team is guaranteed to get fewer repetitive calls and questions. Yay, productivity!

Who’s reviewed your knowledge base articles? How should you go about creating your knowledge base content? What customer service best practices should you follow to make sure your articles are actually useful? And more importantly, can you start downsizing your customer service team now that you’ve got all these awesome self-service options?

Below, we’ll cover:

  • The thing most businesses get wrong about knowledge base articles

How to write an effective knowledge base article in 7 steps

3 knowledge base article templates (with examples).

How customer-obsessed is your business? Take the quiz. 💚

🌟 Want to provide better customer service?

Enjoy the quiz!

First, let’s define what we mean by a “knowledge base article.”

What do most businesses get wrong about knowledge base articles?

A knowledge base is an online library of articles and resources designed to help your customers get the most out of your products and services. Simple enough.

But even though this can be a great cost-effective initiative, many businesses tend to expect too much of their repository of knowledge base articles. Your knowledge base isn’t a replacement for providing good customer service —but it is a potent complement to your support team.

Even if you’re not investing in fancy automated customer service , you have to have the bare minimum: someone (or some people) on your team dedicated to customer service. (And if you do most of your business online, they should probably focus on online customer service. )

If you do have a customer service team, make sure they’ve got the tools they need to do a good job—namely some kind of contact center solution.

Now, let’s look at another way that businesses ask too much of their knowledge base articles. You shouldn’t have a knowledge base article for every single type of customer question you get. Knowledge base articles are great for two specific types of questions:

  • For example: How to set up your new home thermostat in 3 easy steps
  • For example: What are your weekend hours? (Although here we’d argue that a knowledge base article probably isn’t the answer either—this should be on your homepage and social media profiles)

For more complicated questions that are rare cases or are specific to the customer’s situation, a knowledge base article probably is not the answer. In these cases, you’ll need to have an actual human. Ideally, someone who isn’t already under a ton of pressure and distressed from juggling a Facebook Messenger conversation and Twitter DMs with five tabs open while taking a call. If this sounds like you, you might need an omnichannel customer service tool :

The goal of a knowledge base article is to solve the customer’s problem as quickly and as straightforwardly as possible. You don’t want people to have to keep searching on your website or Google after landing on your article just to piece together a complete answer. That’s why, unlike blog posts, it’s generally okay for a knowledge base article to have a high bounce rate: a customer finds the article, solves their problem, and then gets on with their day.

Thank you for your interest in RingCentral.

What can you do to consistently write knowledge base articles that make it easy for customers to find the information they need?

Well, you need a writing process that takes into account the reader’s frame of mind and  makes every effort to make sure the reading experience itself is engaging and comfortable.

It all starts with a little organization…

1. Plan your article

Creating an effective knowledge base article takes some planning.

You want to make sure that each article addresses a real customer issue and that the information is presented in a logical way.

You should refer to your knowledge base content plan when selecting the topic for your article. Make sure that you only have one article per specific topic—you don’t want to confuse people or by splitting things into multiple articles dedicated to the same subject matter.

Once you’ve selected a topic, jot down your main thoughts in bullet points to begin building an article outline. It’s a good idea to take a look at your old support tickets and talk with your support team to identify any pain points or customer questions that commonly crop up around that topic. The more of these issues you can check off in the article, the better.

The next step is to arrange your notes into a structure that reflects the customer’s process as they’re using your product or service. For example, if your instructions have to be carried out in a certain order, make sure your information is laid out chronologically. If the instructions don’t have to be carried out in any specific sequence, it’s best to place the easier steps at the beginning and move onto more difficult tasks as the article progresses.

When you’re happy with your outline, give it one final check to make sure the flow of information makes sense and that you haven’t left anything out.

2. Create your title

Your customers will find your article either by searching for a specific keyword or by browsing through a list of topics in your knowledge base.

So, it’s crucial that you create a title that clearly states what problem or task the article deals with. The title should be simple and to the point—there’s no need to craft anything eye-catching.

3. Get writing

Next up, writing.

The key here is clarity and precision. The top priority for whoever writes the article—whether it’s you, another support agent, or a technical writer—is to make sure that readers can easily understand the content.

Of course, the outline you’ve prepared will make sure your article has a natural progression to it, but you’ll also need to mind your writing style—no jargon or overly technical terms—to make sure your readers can easily understand the information they need.

Make no assumptions:

Don’t assume your readers have any familiarity with your product (unless, say, the article is explicitly directed toward “advanced” users). What may seem self-evident to you as someone who knows the product inside-out may be a source of confusion for the reader.

Put yourself in a beginner’s shoes and make sure you mention even the smallest details when laying out your instructions.

Whenever you mention something that could raise doubt in the mind of the reader, give an example to clarify what you mean. So, if the goal of your article is to explain how a certain feature works, first describe what it is and what it does, then bring it to life with an example or two.

The key takeaway here: leave nothing to guesswork.

Avoid jargon:

Another way to be clearer is to stick to well-understood words and phrases.

If you do have to use any technical terms, make sure you define them clearly in the text or point to a glossary where readers can look up what they mean.

It’s also good practice to use the same language your customers use to talk about a particular concept or feature. You can find out how readers refer to the topic in question by checking your support tickets and looking up what people search in Google.

Here are some extra tips to help make your writing more effective:

  • Go step-by-step: Writing your instructions with one point per step will make your article much easier to follow.
  • Don’t sell: Your support article isn’t there to persuade your customers to buy new products or pay for more upgrades. Its sole purpose is to help customers solve their product-related problems.
  • Watch your tone: Similarly, your support articles aren’t the best place to offer opinions and analyses—save all that good stuff for your blog. Keep your tone professional and friendly, and adjust it as necessary to reflect the reader’s mindset. For example, if the article is about a recurring difficulty, you could acknowledge the frustration in your introduction and reassure the reader that by following the steps laid out in the article, they’ll solve the issue for good.

4. Format for readability

Don’t put off your readers by placing a dense wall of text in front of them.

Clear formatting will make your article easier to digest and will allow readers to quickly find the information they need.

These tips will help make your content more accessible:

  • Break the article into short paragraphs and organize them under different headings and subheadings.
  • Include a table of contents with anchor links so that users can jump straight to whichever section is most relevant to them. This is especially useful for longer articles.
  • Draw the reader’s attention to key pieces of information or action items by using bold, italicized, or highlighted text.
  • Use numbered lists, bullet points, and tables to parcel related or sequential information.
  • Make sure any asides or notes are clearly differentiated from the rest of the text.

Ideally, customers who land on your article will find all the information they need on that one page.

But in cases where a customer wants to learn more about a related topic or feature, or when your article only covers one aspect of a larger set of tasks, it’s important to give readers links to other relevant pages.

The trick is to use links strategically—you don’t want to break the flow of the article by distracting the reader with links in every other word.

At the bottom of your article, it’s a good idea to include a “related articles” or “further reading” section. This will often draw the customer’s attention to problems they didn’t know they had (and reinforce your reputation for providing useful, proactive customer support.)

6. Add visuals

No matter how clearly you format and write your support article, it can be very hard for readers to understand the information without visual aids.

Sometimes, it’s better to show than tell.

Screenshots and videos are especially helpful in the context of a knowledge base article.


Screenshots come in handy when explaining instructions with multiple steps. Instead of having to explain each part of the process in words, screenshots fill in the gaps and make it easy for the reader to follow along. Here’s a great example from Asana (you can’t see it here but it’s actually a GIF):

How to create a task in Asana

One way to improve the clarity of your screenshots is to annotate them with numbers, arrows, and circles. This lets you draw the reader’s attention to a specific area of interest.

It’s also good practice to place the screenshot after the instruction it’s used to illustrate, to avoid confusion.

Videos are well-suited for tutorials and product demos. They work less well when people are looking for quick solutions because they tend to want to jump straight to the piece of information they need.

It’s best to place your video at the start of the article or at the top of a new section. Placing it in the middle of the text risks breaking the flow of the article.

It’s also a good idea to add a transcript to your video for customers who are hard of hearing or just prefer no sound.

Before you go ahead and publish your new knowledge base article, you’ll need to review it for any spelling or grammatical errors.

You should also double-check that all the technical information within the article is accurate and up to date. One way to do this is to run the completed draft past a subject matter expert within your company.

Inaccurate information and obvious mistakes will only frustrate customers and diminish their trust in your knowledge base.

One of the best ways to streamline the production of your support articles is to use a standardized set of templates. This will save time for your writers and will ensure that all your articles have a consistent feel and structure throughout the knowledge base.

You’ll need a different template depending on the type of article you’re creating. Most knowledge bases will consist of one or more of the following article types: FAQ pages, how-to guides, troubleshooting articles, and general product documentation.

Here are three template examples to help you on your way:

1. How-to article

How-to articles teach customers how to perform a certain task or use a specific product feature by breaking down the procedure into step-by-step instructions.

Here’s an example of a how-to article from Dropbox: 1

example of a how-to article from Dropbox

The article begins by giving a brief description of the feature being covered. It also distinguishes this feature (setting link-sharing permissions) from a related, but separate, feature (managing link-sharing permissions). This makes sure that readers are on the right page from the outset.

The different article sections are also listed in a table of contents. This gives readers an immediate idea of what the article is about and gives them the option to skip ahead to the section that interests them most.

Instructions to limit user access in Dropbox

Here we see how the instructions are laid out within each section. The structure is simple enough: a description of the task, then a series of actions for the user to take, followed by a description of the outcome.

How to article template

Title: How to [task name]

Task: Brief description of the task to be completed

Prerequisites (if applicable): Brief description of which products/features/customers the task does/doesn’t apply to

Table of contents (if necessary)


Outcome: Brief description of what should be possible once the task is completed

Further reading: Links to related articles

2. Troubleshooting article

Though quite similar to how-to articles, troubleshooting articles focus on providing solutions when things go wrong , as opposed to teaching customers how to get the most out of a particular feature.

Here’s an example from Asana about how to troubleshoot connectivity issues: 2

Example from Asana about how to troubleshoot connectivity issues

The introduction jumps straight into listing the types of problems the article will help solve, listing the different error messages the customer is likely to have encountered before looking for a solution.

Asana's introduction shows the types of problems and listings of different error messages the customer is likely to encouter.

The article goes on to list a variety of potential solutions to the user’s connectivity issues, before breaking each one down with links to relevant resources.

Once again, the general structure of a troubleshooting article is simple: describe the problem, list potential solutions, and expand on each solution.

Troubleshooting article template

Title: [Problem name]

Problem: Brief description of the problem to be solved

Overview of possible solutions (if applicable)

Outcome: Brief description of how to confirm the problem is solved and what to do if it isn’t

3. FAQ page

An FAQ page consists of a list of common questions about a particular customer service topic or product feature.

Some companies will use just a single, all-encompassing FAQ page, while others will have smaller FAQ pages for distinct product areas.

Usually, the questions are listed in a table of contents with anchor links that let readers jump to the answers lower down the page.

Here’s an example from Zappos 3 :

Zappos FAQ Page

Here we see that Zappos lists the FAQs for all its topics on a single page. Questions are organized by category and are linked directly to their corresponding answers lower down the page.

Zappos FAQ Page

Notice that a “Return to Top” link sits beneath each answer. This makes navigation much easier given the length of the page.

FAQ template

Title: [Topic] Frequently Asked Questions

Topic (if applicable): Brief description of the topic being covered

Table of contents:

Ready to create your next knowledge base article?

A knowledge base can transform your customer support for the better.

Customers enjoy the convenience and satisfaction of solving problems for themselves, and your support team spends less time fielding repeat questions and more time dealing with essential customer interactions .

But your knowledge base won’t fulfill this function if your articles aren’t up to scratch.

Support articles must be thoroughly planned, clearly written, and carefully reviewed to be of any use to customers.

Use the tips and templates covered in this post to take your knowledge base articles to the next level.

1 2


Originally published Jun 01, 2020, updated Nov 18, 2021

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An Easy Guide to Writing Effective Knowledge Base Articles [+ Templates]

Swetha Amaresan

Published: June 23, 2022

Raise your hand if you like waiting on hold for customer service?

Service rep using knowledge base templates

When faced with calling customer service versus finding the answer ourselves, we'd much rather solve problems on our own.

Having a webiste with a knowledge base empowers customers to reslove their issue without needing to contact customer service. This isn't exactly the best news for someone in customer service , but it doesn't mean your job is becoming obsolete. Rather, it's evolving to fit the changing needs of customers.

→ Access Now: Free Knowledge Base Article Template

Creating an effective knowledge base is a big undertaking. We've put together a handy knowledge base template to take the guess work out of helping customers find the resources they need.

What Is a Knowledge Base?

Knowledge bases are online databases that store information about a specific company, its products or services, or related industry topics. The data is either collected and stored through artificial intelligence or manually uploaded by expert contributors.

A company's knowledge base can provide valuable information to customers, prospects, and even employees. You can include important facts about each department, directions for product or service usage, FAQs, and original content that can provide in-depth solutions.

HubSpot's knowledge base helps us better serve and delight our customers by helping them access the solutions they need 24/7. Knowledge bases have also decreased the need for customers to search for questions on search engines. They can simply search the same question on your company's knowledge base, knowing the answer will exist in relation to the appropriate product or service.

Knowledge Base Article

A knowledge base article provides information about a specific product or service and acts as a guide to help users solve common problems. They often provide step-by-step instructions on how to use the product and all of its features.

These articles also don’t have to be limited to written content. They can come in the form of an infographic, video, gif, or other visual aids.

Knowledge base articles allow users to find the information on their own and resolve issues at their own pace while also freeing up time for your customer service agents since they won’t have to answer the same, repetitive questions. Common types of knowledge base articles include:

  • Troubleshooting guides
  • Tool descriptions
  • Informational
  • Industry guides

It's evident knowledge bases are an invaluable resource to both your company and your customers. But, how do you go about creating one?

How to Write a Knowledge Base Article

When a customer is looking for a solution to a problem, your knowledge base should make it as easy as possible to find answers. It's important that your knowledge base articles not only contain the solution that the customer is looking for, but is also formatted in a way that makes the answer clear and obvious. When writing new articles for your knowledge base, check out this guide for writing effective knowledge base articles.

Featured Resource: Knowledge Base Article Template

HubSpot free Knowledge Base template

1. Select simple titles using target keywords.

Knowledge bases are mainly for your customers and prospects, and not internal stakeholders. Thus, the language being used in the titles and articles should be simple, clear, and concise.

When choosing titles, put yourself into the customer's shoes. What kinds of topics would they search for? What's their expected difficulty level in terms of knowledge on the product or service? Write titles based on this information. It's also helpful to use search-engine-optimized keywords in the title to attract more search volume.

The most common titles start with:

  • How to [insert topic]
  • Setting up [insert topic]
  • Using [insert topic]
  • Getting started with [insert topic]

It's also helpful to use search-engine-optimized keywords in the title to attract more search volume. In addition to the list above you can also title articles based on the actions your customers will be taking. For example you could write “Creating your first video” or “Installing a widget.”

2. Only have one article per specific topic.

It's inefficient to have more than one article for the same topic. Not only does this split traffic between multiple articles, but it can get confusing for customers if they have to keep switching back and forth between multiple pages to find all the information they need.

If you gain more information on a topic, do a keyword search to see if there are any articles with similar keywords. If so, you can update the existing article with more information.

This will make the article more all-encompassing so readers can gain all the information they need from a single source.

If you’d like to cover a related topic, you can link to it in the existing article. We’ll discuss covering related topics later on in this post.

3. Categorize articles for easier browsing.

Knowledge bases aren't just for searching. While many customers will search specific questions to solve problems, they may also use the database as a way to browse through related topics. This means your articles should be categorized by sections and subsections.

For example, on HubSpot's knowledge base, you can search by HubSpot product, the type of resource, or a variety of topics, such as Blog, Dashboard, Emails, Integrations, and Sales Templates.

Knowledge Base example: Pinterest

Pinterest's knowledge base for business (pictured above) groups articles with easy categories like Create a shop, Advertise, and Create content to help users quickly identify the articles of interest.

Using categorieskeeps the knowledge base organized and ensures every article has a place and a purpose.

4. Include a table of contents, if needed.

Sometimes, an article can get pretty long, especially if you've updated it with added information. Dedicated customers will scroll until the end when they want an in-depth, complete understanding of the problem and solution.

Knowledge base example: HubSpot table of contents

5. Describe the problem, if applicable.

Start off the article by stating what the problem is, for scenarios that are problem-solution based. Not all knowledge base articles are meant to solve problems; some may just explain how to complete a task. In those cases, you can skip this step.

Identify what the symptoms of the problem are to clearly relay what customers should be looking for. For example, list what error messages should be popping up if the problem does exist. You want to use basic language and make it as clear and concise as possible. The briefer this section is, the better, as people reading will likely be looking to get to the steps to solve their problem quickly.

6. Relay the steps to accomplish the task at hand.

After stating the problem, you should immediately jump into showing readers how they can solve the problem. Lay out this section in easy-to-read steps that can be read and followed in succession. You want to make sure the steps actually solve the problem they claim to solve. If the problem can't quite be solved, the steps can help eliminate potential causes or reveal what the root problem is.

You'll want to lay out steps specifically for articles that are solving problems or showing how to accomplish a task. A quick and easy way to do this is by using a tool like HubSpot's free Guide Creator . This Chrome extension uses AI to capture step-by-step instructions with images as you complete your task.

For comprehensive guides, you might not need to utilize steps. Instead, you can divide up the text by explaining different aspects under separate headers.

7. Announce what the solution should be.

You should end the article by describing what the solution is. After all, since not every problem can be completely resolved, the solution may be an improvement of the problem or an update of a product to avoid a former glitch. If needed, you can explain why a permanent solution couldn't be attained but that the solution laid out is the best case scenario for improving their situation.

If there's no direct solution, or if the end result is self-explanatory, this step may not be needed. Instead, you can reiterate in the final step or paragraph that you've reached the end and that the task has been achieved.

8. Offer other article links for further reading.

You never know if you've completely exhausted a topic for interested readers. Rather than making them browse through related articles on their own, you can link some of your other articles at the bottom or side of the article.

This will help customers gain a more well-rounded education on the topic at hand. And, it helps get more eyes onto the articles you and your team worked hard to create. The more your readers use your knowledge base, the more they'll trust your organization as a source of accurate information.

These steps can help you create knowledge base articles that are effective and clear. However, not every article will be structured in the same format. Articles can vary in layout and design depending on the solution they're providing.

9. Show, not tell.

When trying to explain a concept or deliver instructions, visual aids can work wonders to communicate your ideas. This is especially true when you’re trying to explain a complicated topic.

Rather than just posting a wall of text instructions, consider using photos, charts, video and other media to help the reader gain understanding. This method can be super helpful when describing a multi-step process.

Knowledge base example: Semrush visual aids

Semrush uses a combination of photos and gifs to walk readers through checking their online visibility. This way readers get a step-by-step visual breakdown showing how to complete the task.

Words are great, but can easily be misinterpreted. Showing users how to solve their issue rather than just telling them will help them follow along and accomplish their task.

10. Ask for feedback.

While you may think you have the best knowledge base out, you should always strive to make it better. Who better to help you with that than the people who use it?

Each article should have a spot where users can submit their feedback. The CTA should be as simple as possible and not require a heavy lift on the user’s behalf. Instead you can ask them a simple question like “Was this article helpful?” or “Did this article resolve your issue?” with a simple yes or no option response.

knowledge base example: Semrush feedback survey

Semrush, pictured above, uses a simple thumbs up or thumbs down symbol to solicit user feedback. It’s quick and effective. For those that answer “no,” you can add a text box pop up for users to further explain what went wrong. Understanding the user’s pain points and making adjustments will improve user experience and the effectiveness of your knowledge base.

Knowledge Base Article Templates

The structure of a knowledge base article plays a major role in the piece's clarity and appeal. Customers are looking for specific and concise answers, and don't want to waste time scrolling through an essay to find it. Utilizing the common knowledge base article templates can play an instrumental role in determining the effectiveness of your self-service customer support.

knowledge base template: how-to article

Image Source

How-to articles are typically brief. They show you exactly what steps to take to complete a specific task or perform a certain function. This is usually the type of knowledge base article that helps visitors solve problems they're facing with their products.

How to [Name of Task]

Applies to [Your Appropriate Products]

[Brief Description of Problem, if Needed]

[Brief Description of Solution, if Needed]

Related Articles:

[Three to six articles with links]

knowledge base template: FAQ

FAQ articles include a list of questions about the same, related topic on a single page. This includes general and tool-specific questions. They're usually all listed at the top in a table of contents with anchor links that allow you to jump down the article to the specific question you need to be answered.

[Topic Name]: Frequently Asked Questions

[Brief Description of Topic]

Table of Contents:

[Question 1]

[Question 2]

[Section 1]

[Section 2]

[Tool-Specific Category 1]

[Tool-Specific Category 2]

3. Tool Description

Knowledge base template: tool description

Tool description articles give a short description of what a specific tool or function is. Rather than answering questions or laying out steps, it tells you exactly how something works.

[Tool or Function]

[Brief Introduction of Tool or Function]

[Description of Tool]

[Final Tips/Information to Note about the Tool]

4. User Guide

User guide articles are long, comprehensive guides that cover an entire tool or function. Similar to an instruction manual, they include information on using every single feature to give you a well-rounded education on the tool or function.

A Guide to [Tool or Function]

[Main Feature 1: Description]

  • [Sub-Feature 1: Description]
  • [Sub-Feature 2: Description]
  • [Sub-Feature 3: Description]

[Main Feature 2: Description]

5. Quick Answers

Knowledge base template: quick answers

Quick answer articles highly resemble user guide articles. They, too, are long, comprehensive guides that cover an entire tool or function. However, the difference is that quick answer articles include a table of contents in the form of anchor links -- like FAQ articles -- that allow you to jump down the article to the specific topic you want to learn more about.

[Tool-Specific Category 1]:

[Tool-Specific Category 3]

[Tool Specific Category 1]:


It's always helpful to include screenshots as examples for any tools, functions, steps, or descriptions that may be confusing to explain in words. Also, by showing your text alongside a visual, readers can follow along on their own product while reading your knowledge base and compare their progress.

Create Your Knowledge Base

Knowledge bases empower customers with the information they need to resolve issues and allows your service team to have some variety in their work day. Keep your articles clear, descriptive, easy to navigate, add helpful visual aids and you'll be sure produce resource that delights customers.

Editor's note: This article was originally published in March 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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A free knowledge base article template (+4 other free templates).

Service Hub provides everything you need to delight and retain customers while supporting the success of your whole front office

Tips & Templates for Writing Great Knowledge Base Articles

Mercer Smith

When a customer hits a snag while using your product, the first thing they interact with won’t likely be a helpful member of your team — it’s more often a knowledge base article.

Much like your front door, you want to make your knowledge base articles as welcoming and friendly as possible. By defining and following knowledge base best practices, your team can ensure that this integral part of the customer experience is as helpful and impactful as possible.

We’ve collected a whole list of knowledge base best practices to make this process easy for you. Beyond that, you’ll find several knowledge base article examples and learn how to go about creating templates for them so it’s even easier to build effective documentation.

This is a chapter in our  Ultimate Guide to Using a Knowledge Base for Self-Service Support . When you're ready, check out the other chapters:

Chapter 1 – Knowledge Base 101: Definition, Types, and Benefits

Chapter 2 – Quick Start Guide to Creating a Knowledge Base

Chapter 3 – Knowledge Base Design Tips for Better Self-Service Support

Chapter 4 – Incredible Knowledge Base Examples That Get It Right

Chapter 5 – Tips & Templates for Writing Great Knowledge Base Articles

Chapter 6 – Creating Knowledge Base Videos: Tips, Tools, and Examples

Chapter 7 – Simple Knowledge Base SEO Tips Anyone Can Follow

Chapter 8 – The Best Knowledge Base Software + How to Choose One

Chapter 9 – Actionable Knowledge Base Metrics to Start Tracking Today

Chapter 10 – Knowledge Base Tips for a Better Customer Experience

Chapter 11 – How to Revamp Your Knowledge Base Architecture

What is a knowledge base article?

A knowledge base article is a piece of online documentation that answers a frequently asked question or provides instructions for solving a problem that customers commonly run into. Common knowledge base article types include informational articles, how-tos, troubleshooting guides, and FAQs.

Knowledge base articles are helpful for customers in all stages of their lifecycle, but they are incredibly impactful during the “help me help myself” phase of exploring your product.

But as Kathy Sierra shares in her book Making Users Awesome , companies often drop the ball with post-purchase publishing. Help content is usually one of the first things to feel the sting of mediocrity.

And while a knowledge base tool like Help Scout Docs makes it easy to create visually compelling knowledge base articles, clean, organized writing doesn’t come in the same turnkey fashion. It takes a sincere effort.

Discover the power of self‑service

Create and publish answers for customers and reduce your customer support volume by at least 20% with Help Scout Docs.

Discover the power of self‑service

8 best practices for writing effective knowledge base articles

The best help content is informative, engaging, unquestionably straightforward, and mindful of how and why a customer searched for help in the first place. To build knowledge base articles that meet all of those criteria, follow these eight best practices.

1. Don’t make assumptions

Customers turn to your self-service documentation to solve problems, so your most important goal is to be incredibly clear. Customize the tone that you use in your documentation for the audience reading it.

For instance, write your basic help desk articles imagining that the people reading them are complete beginners. Save the advanced terminology and jargon for advanced documentation, and be wary of mentioning to-dos in passing. It’s safer to assume that customers will need guidance for each step.

For example, if a customer is looking up how to migrate their website to a new host, which one of the following leaves the least room for error?

Before you continue, make sure to change your IP address.

Before continuing, change your IP address by going to Settings > Manage Domain > IP Address.

Option one assumes that the reader knows how to change their IP address, while option two meets the needs of both customers who know how to change their IP addresses and those who don’t.

Don’t self-sabotage by making assumptions about “simple” instructions. It’s better to over-communicate. More experienced users can simply skim past instructions they don’t need, but beginners will hit hurdles when you leave critical details out of your documentation.

Similarly, use pictures and videos where you can to ensure that nothing gets lost in translation. You may know what a specific term means, but it will be easier for your customers to understand if you show them what you are talking about.

2. Use anchor links in lengthy articles

Avoiding assumptions means that you may sometimes have to write lengthier knowledge base articles to ensure you’re explaining every step of the process.

When writing a longer article, include a table of contents with anchor links to make it easy for more advanced users to skip past the information they don’t need and navigate directly to the details they’re looking for.

Anchor Links Example

Even for average-length articles, users will appreciate being able to jump to the section they want. Links are also handy for list-type knowledge base articles like FAQs or best practices.

As an added bonus, well-structured documents also help search engines index specific sections of your content, making it even easier for your users to find them in a search.

3. Make the content easy to skim

Especially if you are writing significantly longer knowledge base articles, it’s essential to ensure that you don’t intimidate readers with a wall of text. When solutions aren’t easy to find, contacting support will be the customer’s next step, and no one wants to have to wait to resolve an issue.

Designer Rafal Tomal shows how proper use of subheadings and line breaks are a shortcut to an easily scannable document:

Rafal Tomal - Content Styling

Use headers, callouts, bullet points, spacing, and visuals to highlight important information and keep the complete set of instructions visible at a glance.

Here’s an example from our Docs knowledge base article about getting started with Workflows :

Help Scout doc - Workflows

It uses various types of formatting — bolding for navigational elements, an ordered list for steps in the process, and a different background color for a note — that attract attention to the critical pieces of information on the page. A reader scanning to find pertinent details will quickly find what they need.

4. Make things easy to read

A few key points to consider when you’re writing for a knowledge base are:

Write as you would speak to a friend, but edit to clarify your thoughts. Your knowledge base articles shouldn’t read like a stream of consciousness.

Consider your readers’ goals: Is the knowledge base article about learning the ins and outs of your product (curious) or fixing a bug or problem (frustration)? Adjust your tone and your content accordingly.

For articles on non-troubleshooting issues, a bit of humor is fine, but the line of annoyance is quickly crossed. Consider what frame of mind your customer will be in when they get to your knowledge base article, and write to that point.

Avoid slang and anything that may have an alternate meaning.

Get to the point quickly and simply. Some knowledge base editors offer AI features that can help cut out any extraneous content.

Stick to your brand’s tone guidelines while also writing the most practical knowledge base articles for your reader base. One of the best resources on the web for honing your voice in writing is Mailchimp’s Voice and Tone guide , which is a great resource for developing your own style guide.

5. Organize your knowledge base article logically

Good knowledge base articles become great when they’re designed around the reader’s workflow. As you create your knowledge base article process, add a step to consider where your customers will be when they read your articles.

Unless you want your customers to feel confused and disoriented and become even more frustrated, getting the flow right is vital. Here are three principles to live by:

Chronological order: It’s a must to organize a piece of help content in the chronological order of steps. The first thing your customers should see is the first step in the process they need to take to succeed.

Order by difficulty: If multiple tasks can be performed “first” (i.e., the order doesn’t matter), have customers do what’s easiest first. Early friction decreases the likelihood that they’ll finish or even follow your advice, so begin with a quick win.

Be mindful of workflow: Structure responses in a way that sustains activity and momentum. Avoid interrupting a problem-solving workflow until near the end.

Ensure you’re addressing related questions and issues by closing the article with a quick list of common follow-up questions, like in this example:

Docs-article follow-up questions

Put yourself in the customers’ shoes and consider what follow-up questions or needs they might have, and then answer them proactively.

6. Use links strategically

Including links in your knowledge base articles is a great way to direct customers to other details and instructions they may need. It also helps you stay focused on the topic at hand without covering every possible issue or piece of help a customer might need.

Article Table of Contents

While linking to other helpful articles is a best practice, it’s important to use links strategically. If you link to the wrong things at the wrong time, you increase the chance of readers getting distracted or more deeply confused. You want to nudge customers to click links only when following a link is the natural next step.

Besides embedding links directly into your content, you can also include related articles at the end. As mentioned above, including related knowledge base articles on topics that your reader might be curious about next is a great way to proactively help them move forward in their journey.

7. Stick with simple article titles

Restrain your creativity in favor of clarity, and keep titles as straightforward as possible. When stuck, ask yourself: What might a customer search for?

Better yet, if your knowledge base article tool offers insights like this, you can even look at what searches your customers have made and whether the search results returned anything. If you are a Help Scout user, our Docs report is excellent for this:


Optimize your knowledge base article titles based on what people are searching for.

This list is also a great resource when trying to determine what to write. If you see that people are regularly searching for a document or category that you don’t yet have, you can use this search functionality to guide your documentation strategy moving forward.

Remember that people search with basic phrases. For instance, instead of “how to migrate your WordPress website,” they’d likely use “migrate WordPress site.” Create titles that include the operative phrases.

If you’re a Help Scout user searching for information on “forwarding emails,” our knowledge base returns the following:

Docs-article search titles

None of the titles are exciting. Instead, they’re straightforward — just as they should be.

Additionally, rely on action words in the active voice for a majority of your titles:

“How to (Blank)”

“Using (Blank)”

“Setting Up (Blank)”

Or use exact phrases of the actions they’ll take, such as “uploading your first video,” “installing your plugin,” and so on.

8. Use images to save time and create clarity

“Show, don’t tell” is important to remember when creating knowledge base articles. When you’re walking customers through how to do something in your system, you can write fewer words and make your instructions clearer by including screenshots or GIFs showing each step in your interface.

For instance, if a Help Scout customer wants to learn more about assigning conversations, this is what they would see in our documentation:

Screenshots Example

Each explanatory paragraph of text is followed by a screenshot showing customers exactly what they should see when performing that step.

4 knowledge base article templates and examples

Now that you know how to write excellent knowledge base content, let’s break down the different types of knowledge base articles and look at how you can create templates for them. Templates help keep the knowledge base article process clean and easy for your team whenever they need to make new content.

1. Informational articles

Informational articles help to review a specific system, function, or feature within your product.

They are not designed to describe problem-solving steps or get into the technical nitty-gritty of a particular feature. Instead, they educate the user on something they aren’t familiar with and provide an overview of any features or options available within it.

Here’s an example of an informational article from our support knowledge base:

example informational knowledge base article

This article, Understanding reports in Help Scout , is an overview of the reports functionality in Help Scout. Right at the top, we explain what this informational knowledge base article is about and provide quick links to jump to whatever topics are relevant to the reader.

Informational article template

Title:  About [Feature Name]

Description:  Brief overview description of the product or feature the informational article is about.

Links:  Anchor links to any of the individual topics within the more extensive informational article.

Further reading:  Links to related articles or other content around this specific feature.

2. How-to articles

How-to articles are similar to informational articles in that they describe how to use a specific feature without additional troubleshooting steps. They are typically structured as a list and should be limited to a single feature or task, like changing a password or adding a new user.

Here’s an example of a how-to article from our support knowledge base:

help scout docs forward conversations

This article, called Forward Conversations Outside of Help Scout , is a how-to that includes a list of steps to take to share a Help Scout message with someone who doesn't have an account.

The article also includes information on how to keep to keep track of conversations that have been forwarded.

help scout docs tracking forwarded convos

How-to article template

Title : How to [task name]

Task:  A description of the task that your readers are looking to accomplish.

Prerequisites (if applicable):  If you have different pricing tiers, this should include information about which products or pricing plans this how-to applies to.

Table of contents (if necessary):  Create anchor links for quick navigating.


Outcome:  What users can expect to happen after completing the steps in the how-to knowledge base article.

Further reading:  Links to related knowledge base articles or how-tos.

3. Troubleshooting articles

Troubleshooting articles address a specific problem that a customer is having and offer steps to resolve it. Just like how-to articles, troubleshooting articles need to focus on one particular issue. While you can have multiple different options for troubleshooting, they should all be focused on a single problem.

For instance, you may have four different processes by which someone could resolve an issue with their browser. All four processes have a place in the troubleshooting article, but they all need to fix the same problem.

Here’s an example of a troubleshooting article from our documentation:

example troubleshooting knowledge base article

This article, titled Troubleshoot Email Delivery Issues with Google Groups and Help Scout , starts by detailing the different reasons why someone may run into delivery issues. It then breaks down the two causes in more detail.

We lead with the least complicated troubleshooting step and then follow up with the second option and a bulleted list of actions to try to fix it:

example troubleshooting knowledge base article

Troubleshooting article template

Title:  Troubleshooting [name of the issue]

Problem:  Brief description of the problem to be solved and the typical reasons why it occurs.

Anchor links to the specific resolutions (if there’s more than one).

Solution 1 (with a bulleted list, if applicable)

Solution 2 (with a bulleted list, if applicable)

Solution 3 (with a bulleted list, if applicable)

Outcome:  Brief description of how to understand if the issue is resolved or if it is still occurring after trying a troubleshooting step.

Further reading:  Links to related articles.

An FAQ page is a knowledge base article that lists common questions around a specific area of your product. For instance, some companies have an FAQ on things like shipping and order issues, payment processing, and account management.

You may consider having a single FAQ or several more minor FAQs for specific product areas.

Here’s a great example of an FAQ page from our Docs site:

example faq knowledge base article

The article, Learn about Help Scout Docs , has a series of subheaders, each one dedicated to specific questions readers might have about the product.

FAQ article template

Title:  Frequently Asked Questions about [Product or Feature]

Topic (if applicable):  Brief description of the product or feature that the article pertains to, perhaps including images or an overview video.

Table of contents:  Anchor links to each question that is answered within the FAQ.

Further reading:  Links to related articles, such as how-tos or troubleshooting related to the product

Go forth and create beautiful, impactful knowledge base articles

Knowledge base articles are the first thing that most of your customers will see when it comes to your product. They have a variety of uses:

They can help educate users on your product.

They can answer commonly asked questions.

They can assist when troubleshooting specific issues.

Because of how integral they are to your customer’s experience, it’s very important to pay attention to how you write and structure them.

Create a knowledge base article process that supports your team in writing impactful, informative articles from the start, and then use precise language and a defined structure to ensure that your customers always know where to find answers when they need them.

Like what you see? Share with a friend.

Mercer smith.

Mercer is the VP of CX Insights & Community at PartnerHero, a yoga fanatic, and strives to make the world a little bit happier one customer at a time. You can find her at and on Twitter .

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The Complete Guide to Knowledge Base Articles

This complete guide will cover everything you need to know about writing Knowledge Base Articles for business, from setting the foundation of your knowledge base to updating and maintaining it.

20 min read

Knowledge Base Articles

What are knowledge base articles?

  • The perks of having a knowledge base

It’s for every business

Setting the foundation of your knowledge base, creating your knowledge base articles, steps to take after creating your knowledge base, knowledge base key takeaways, introduction.

In today’s competitive environment, it’s not enough to offer a good product. For a business to be successful, it needs to build a loyal pool of customers. To keep customers happy (and coming back for more) a business needs to have top-notch customer support. Not just for when things go wrong, but also to help customers make the most of a product or service.

Customer support is really where you can separate your business from competitors. Plus, it has a huge impact on your bottom-line with 64% of people saying that they prioritise customer service over price when dealing with a company. Offering great support also retains more customers. Businesses that increased customer retention by just 5% saw profits rise by a whopping 95% . But the stakes for customer support are getting higher because of increasing expectations. 67% of Millennials think that their expectations of what constitutes great service have increased in the past year.

That’s where knowledge base articles come in as a (relatively) quick way to vastly improve your customer support – and they’re even more important if you have a complex product.

Simply put, a knowledge base article features a set of information about a product as a user guide or to solve common problems. Although technically an ‘article’ it doesn’t always have to be written. Some companies use videos, images, infographics and animations to get their point across.

Creating an effective knowledge base article is tough. There’s a lot of ground to cover and many people don’t realise how involved it is. A good knowledge base article needs to keep things simple. It needs to speak to a range of different people from complete novices to techies and experts. It must talk about a lot of topics – anything that your users may need to know or any issues that they might encounter. Plus, it needs to be interesting and engaging.

So, it can be hard to know where to begin. To help you out, this piece offers a complete guide to creating knowledge base articles. From the bare bones of your strategy to measuring if it’s working and knowing when to give it a refresh.

The perks of having a knowledge base?

First things first, a knowledge base is incredibly useful for your customer support team. With a knowledge base at their fingertips, your team can quickly resolve common customer issues. They can point people towards specific documents or videos as a solution, instead of asking endless questions and trawling through a list of different troubleshooting options.

Of course, customers might not even reach your support team. A knowledge base gives them the freedom to search for answers to their questions without ever darkening your team’s door. This is preferable for some customers. 70% of customers prefer to use a company website to find a solution instead of picking up the phone or writing an email. Millennials, in particular, are well documented as phone-phobics, so if they make up a lot of your customer base then providing online support options are a must.

Having knowledge base articles available to your customers creates a kind of triage system for your customer support. Only the most complex questions and issues will reach your support team (the ones your knowledge base cannot resolve).

As an added bonus, having knowledge base articles can improve your website traffic. 45% of companies that offered some kind of self-service support option experienced an increase in site traffic and fewer phone calls to their support team.

To clear up a potential myth, don’t believe that you have to be a large business to reap the benefits of knowledge base articles. They work for every business. Every company needs to offer great customer service, from the smallest sole trader to the largest conglomerate. In fact, having a knowledge base can benefit small businesses more than larger ones. They’ve often got little-to-no dedicated customer support and limited resources, so a knowledge base relieves some of the pressure.

Before you ever put pen to paper there are a few steps to do that will ensure your knowledge base articles hit the right note. These will lay the foundations of your knowledge base, so it’s vital that you take your time and don’t miss anything out.

Know your audience

Your customer support needs to be tailored to (you guessed it!) your customers. Knowing your audience will inform every aspect of your knowledge base. They might not even like to read, for instance.

It will also tell you how simple your knowledge base needs to be, although a good rule of thumb is to keep it as accessible as possible. Most people cannot understand highly technical jargon unless they are industry insiders.

Without knowing your audience’s technical understanding or preferred form of learning, your base won’t be able to fully cater to their needs.

In theory, you should already have a good grasp of your customer behaviour as part of your marketing strategy. But if not, there’s no harm in consulting a few customers when developing your knowledge base. Releasing a ‘beta’ version to a select few can help you refine your content, the format and identify any areas for improvement.


Content is king of the knowledge base

Any good knowledge base article has great content. As previously mentioned, this doesn’t necessarily mean a text-only article. It can include imagery and video too. But good writing underpins all of this because you’ll have to come up with the script for a video or the words for an infographic. Our article on how to write amazing knowledge base articles covers this in more detail. 

Without the right content that covers every potential question and problem, your knowledge base will fail. It needs to simplify any technical concepts so that anyone can understand what you’re talking about. Jargon, acronyms (that aren’t spelt out) and buzzwords are a big no-no. You also have to make it engaging. If people don’t enjoy reading or watching it then they’ll switch off from your content. Getting ideas for your knowledge base can be tricky at the start, so we’ll offer some inspiration in another guide.

Identify common pain points

Problems that appear time and time again are perfect to include in a knowledge base article. If one customer encounters an issue, it’s highly likely that others will too. So save your team (and your customers) time and effort by including a troubleshooting section.

To uncover recurring and common problems, consult your historical customer support enquiries. Alternatively, you can sit down with your team and ask them about questions that crop up over and over. This has an added perk for your product development – any problems that can be easily resolved will improve later iterations of your products.

Where to locate your knowledge base

The location of your knowledge base shouldn’t be an afterthought. It needs to be in a place that’s often used by your customers. That’s why many companies put their knowledge bases in a dedicated customer support hub or on their website.

It also needs to be responsive, meaning your knowledge base can be accessed from any device including mobiles and tablets. If you’re using Document360 to create your knowledge base then this won’t be a problem as this happens automatically for all content.

Calendly is a relatively simple online tool to use (it only involves a few clicks!) so it hosts its knowledge base on its website. Customers can access it from the footer of the homepage and it then reveals a list of different topics. These expand further into the articles themselves and further options.

calendly- help

Think of the format

Another key decision that you must make about your knowledge base is how to format it. Some companies, such as Calendly, use purely visual formats like videos. Others will use only text-based. As a start, there are tons of article templates that you can use freely available online.

What you decide on will depend on your customers. Consider what channels they actively engage with already – do they prefer to read your content or are your videos particularly popular?

A mix of different formats can work well. Wunderlist uses a mix of words and screenshots to help guide users through its tool. You could also do a summary video and go into more detail in your text later on. Having some text in your knowledge base helps with SEO too. Our article on how to SEO your knowledge base articles goes into more detail on this.

Make it easy to navigate

How you structure your knowledge base and its articles will either help your customers sift through it all – or confuse and frustrate them. Some of your customers will likely be turning to your knowledge base because they have a problem, that means they’ll already be stressed and annoyed. So, you want to make it as simple and intuitive as possible to navigate through your knowledge base.

It goes without saying that it needs to be well planned and logical to follow. For your structure, there are a few different options:

  • Chronological : organised based on a sequence of steps (to set up a new system for example).
  • Workflow-based : considering how someone would naturally use a tool and what problems they may encounter at that point.
  • Categories : grouped into different sections such as ‘troubleshooting’ and ‘getting started’.
  • By difficulty : when proposing a solution, walking someone through the simplest tasks first before getting more technical.

Decibel Insight shows a good example of a knowledge base structured in categories.


Whatever structure you end up using, remember that your customers should learn everything they need to know by going through it from start to finish.

Numbered steps can be helpful when guiding users through a particular set-up or problem-solving task. LastPass does this well for users who cannot gain access to their account. It also features an extensive FAQ section of commonly asked questions and an option to escalate the case.

After laying the foundations of your knowledge base, it’s time to start creating it. This may take some time, but you can always prioritise or rank articles by how important you think they are and how much your customers are likely to benefit from them. A knowledge base is a work in progress, so you should always be adding content to it.

Speaking of which, it’s a good idea to get yourself some knowledge base software that will grow as your business grows. You don’t want to put lots of effort into a knowledge base that fails to scale with your organisation!

Getting to grips with technical writing

You’re likely to need to do some technical writing at some point in your knowledge base creation. Technical writing is a bit of a unique skill, in that it takes complicated and jargon-filled information and simplifies it for everyone to understand. It’s so involved, that we’ll go into more detail about popular tools for technical writing.

Titles and headings need to be simple

Titles and headings will help your customers find the answers that they are looking for. Don’t get too creative with them, instead focus on creating instantly understandable, simple titles so customers can easily click on the right one. Action words work well in knowledge base titles, that’s words like ‘How to’ and ‘Using’.

Having a menu that is easily accessible (scrolling with them on the side of the web page, or static at the top) can help customers even more.

Subheadings within an article will help break up long sections of text or lots of information, plus it helps customers who might be skim-reading. You could also include a bulleted brief at the top of each article for people who are only looking for a summary or quick solution.

SEO should also be considered in your titles. Consider what phrases people will be using to search online. Usually, they revert to a caveman-type speak such as “reset master password LastPass”.

Images can inspire and engage

Knowledge base articles can be dry and long-winded if they aren’t broken up effectively. One good way to do this is to use a mix of imagery, from screenshots of your product to infographics.

Some customers will be visual learners so imagery will really help them understand your product. Infographics, graphs, tables and charts can also summarise your articles for customers with limited time. They aren’t too difficult to create either, online tools like Canva mean you don’t need a graphic designer to knock-up a quick visual – and Snagit is a great option for image and video screenshots.

Keep it concise and simple

Incidentally, many customers won’t have much time to sift through reams of information. So you should break your article up into ‘skimmable’ chunks. One good rule to follow when evaluating the length of your article is: if you cannot read through an article yourself in an entire sitting, then it’s probably too long.

Bullet points can help break up text and summarise information, or if your article is really long you might want to consider breaking it down into a series of smaller posts. Again, imagery is your best friend in this scenario – infographics can highlight key points and videos are great for quick run-throughs.

Google Analytics’ knowledge base uses mini content sections to help navigation through its articles. These are located at the start of each article, allowing users to jump straight to the answers that they need.


Check your tone of voice

The tone and type of language that you use need to reflect your brand and any other content your company has already published. It needs to be engaging, but also informative, not too technical and it shouldn’t be confusing. People need to get its meaning immediately, otherwise, they’ll be frustrated.

Make sure that your language is straightforward and talks like your customers talk. Nobody really chats in jargon or acronym, so keep these out of your articles. Avoid being salesy too, at this point you’re trying to onboard someone or solve a problem, so it really isn’t the time or place for selling.

SEO-optimising your knowledge base

Again, a really involved topic that we’ll get into more in another guide. For now, you need to be mindful of some SEO best practice to help your knowledge base rank in search results. Stick to commonly used search terms for your titles and focus on one or two keywords in each article. These keywords need to appear in any text, as well as image and video descriptions, headings and subheadings. Plus, you can include links to other articles in your knowledge base if they are relevant, as these can help boost your SEO further.

Keep an eye on the details

Details matter in a knowledge base article. If there’s something important that your customers need to know for that specific solution, then make sure you include it; for example, if a certain function is only available on a higher tier plan or if information needs to be in a certain format. If it’s a bit tough to write out, then use a video or screenshot that points directly to what you’re talking about.

Take a look at Hootsuite, which does this well when it highlights that a date needs to be in a specific format when scheduling content. This saves a lot of time, effort and frustration in the long run because attention is drawn to the program quirk early on!


Collaborate within a wider team

You don’t necessarily have to do all the work when creating a knowledge base. This is especially relevant if you have a large user group and an extensive product range. Instead of one person spending all their time creating a knowledge base, share the load with different people within your organisation. Coworkers in other departments might also be best-placed to create a guide on a certain subject.

Just make sure that everyone is communicating regularly and that they stick to the same style and tone. This can be made a lot easier by using Document360 , which offers collaborative tools as part of its knowledge base software.

Search functions help your customers find stuff

Along with menus, headings and other navigation tools, you should include a search function to help your customers locate the articles that they need. Remember, your customers are likely time-poor so anything that can help them find answers quickly will vastly improve their user experience.

But, of course, make sure your search function actually works well! Results need to be relevant to the question or phrase that a customer has typed in. It’s a good idea to always include contact information for your customer support team somewhere obvious in the results as well – just in case your knowledge base can’t answer your customer’s enquiry right away.

Document360 offers a fast search function as part of its knowledge base software. This goes a step further than a simple search, predicting what your customers are likely looking for as they’re typing out their enquiry.

We like Survey Monkey’s style when it comes to the search on its knowledge base. The results are simple and clear, plus there’s a highlighted option to contact the team if the search results don’t provide the right answers.


Your work isn’t done after you’ve created your knowledge base articles. There are a few other steps that you need to do regularly to ensure your knowledge base remains useful and up-to-date.

Get regular customer feedback

Gaining feedback on the usefulness of your knowledge base will help refine it and make it even more useful to your customers. Document360 offers a quick feedback option for any customers using one of its knowledge bases. This quickly tells a company if their knowledge base is ticking all the right boxes or if there’s room for improvement.

It’s also worth asking your customer support team if the knowledge base has helped with their daily work. Have regular meetings with your team to review your knowledge base and see where content might be missing or need a refresh.

Freshdesk has a short survey included at the end of all its articles. After reading the guide, users are asked if they found it helpful and – most importantly – if they select ‘no’ then whoever wrote the article is sent an alert. This instant action then tells the author that they need to return to the article and look for ways to improve it.


There’s hidden gold in your analytics

The data behind your knowledge base can be a useful form of feedback as well – telling you whether people are using the articles and what content is most popular.

Not only will this tell you if your knowledge base is a hit, but it might also highlight any issues that many users are experiencing. This gives a valuable opportunity to improve your products and remove any recurring problems or pain points.

Constantly update your knowledge base articles

As previously mentioned, your knowledge base is a work-in-progress. Your work is never completely done on one! It’s an embodiment of your business, your customer support and products. As such, you need to review it regularly (set yourself a calendar reminder at least every quarter or bi-annually) to check that it is helping your customers and reflects the current state of your business.

New products will have to be added to the knowledge base, new languages might have to be supported if your business expands globally and articles that aren’t working well will have to be redone.

The SEO of your knowledge base articles should be double-checked to ensure there are no broken links that might be negatively impacting your ranking. If you’re feeling thorough, you can also review current SEO best practice to see if your articles need a bit of tweaking to still rank well.


Starting your knowledge base can be time and resource intensive, but it will pay off in the long run. Once you’ve created it, you can continuously work on your knowledge base articles to improve and add to them. Plus, creating your knowledge base can be a lot easier if you use a dedicated software to do the technical groundwork.

Your knowledge base articles will be the backbone of your customer support. So don’t neglect it. Make sure you adapt your knowledge base to any product or business changes in your organisation, as well as refine it based on feedback.

In this day and age, every business needs a knowledge base. Good customer support is the very least that is expected of your company. Fail to meet your customers’ expectations and you’ll see them headed for the door. Provide a good knowledge base and stop them in their tracks.

9 Simple Hacks to Write Better Knowledge Base Articles

tips to write knowledge base articles

A knowledge base is a set of organized information about your product or service that a reader can go through to learn about said product or service or how to solve related problems. It is usually a collection of articles with images, videos, and text included. 

Knowledge bases can be aimed at internal or external audiences and can serve different purposes.

For example, a software company may have FAQs and download instructions for their customer-facing knowledge base and also have an internal knowledge base for their employees to understand work-related tools and company policy. 

Knowledge bases are used by customer service, customer support, and customer education teams. 

Creating your own knowledge base article can benefit readers as they can find all the information they need in your article. We will walk you through nine tips that can get you through writing an informative, knowledge base article. 

1. Ask the right questions

This first step will prime your article for success. It’s important to take a close look at what you want to say, but more importantly, you need to recognize the needs of your audience and how your information will help your future customers or clients.

Is there a problem that your current customers face that you can help them with? That may be your next topic. Your goal should be to help users find answers to the questions they have about your product or service. 

To write an effective knowledge base article Here are five questions, which will help you develop excellent customer education content :

  • What is the goal of the content?
  • What are your audience’s expectations and needs?
  • What are the processes people currently use?
  • What is your audience’s current experience?
  • What will resonate with your audience?

They’ll help you pinpoint your audience’s expectations and needs, as well as their current experience. 

2. Pick one idea per article

This might sound a bit like a high school English class, but see if you can also define your thesis statement . 

This will help you narrow down your article and create a specific answer for a specific problem.

Real-life example

For example, Slack doesn’t have a help article on “How to use messages.”

Instead, they target a specific customer need, such as, “Format your messages” or “View all your unread messages.” 

screenshot of a slack knowledge base article

3. Talk with subject matter experts

Understanding the “why” to your article will help you remain focused and pull targeted research. When possible, we suggest working with subject matter experts. 

However, if you need to draft a knowledge base template and you’re not an expert in the field, that’s okay. Interviewing a subject matter expert will help you work around that. 

4. Use headers to break up your content

Once you’ve decided on a specific strategy for your article, it’s time to start painting the picture. With the research you’ve gotten yourself or the information you’ve gathered from your subject matter expert, you can begin to outline your article.

Setting your subheadings (often written in H2) creates the base-structure of your article. They direct the structure and flow of your information and, most importantly, guide readers through your information. 

Take this example from Zendesk :

screenshot of a zendesk knowledge base article subheading

In their article they do a great job of breaking up their content using simple subheadings.

screenshot of a zendesk knowledge base article subheading

On longer articles, Zendesk even adds a table of contents at the top of each article.

screenshot of a zendesk knowledge base article table of contents

We’re all guilty of scanning the headers of an article before reading all the way through to make sure it’s something we want to invest our time in. Creating a headline that indicates what information is found below, you are well on your way to getting readers past the title.

5. Focus on your intro 

After you create your headers, you can shift the focus to your intro. Keep this short and sweet, but be sure to include your thesis statement or key message of the article up top.

how to write a good kb article

Your intro doesn’t have to be complicated. Even just a quick one or two-sentence summary can help add clarity for people looking for answers.

6. Kill the curse of knowledge

Always remember that your audience may have no knowledge on the subject matter at hand; you always want to use language that people of all levels of expertise can understand.

In the world of online education, step-by-step guides are an excellent tool to help someone learn something new or get help.

Start with the most basic details of your content area and build from there. If you don’t already, try creating a “Getting Started” guide or article list to help your users get started using. your product quickly.

You can advance to more complicated topics only after you’ve laid a solid foundation. 

7. Add images 

For many, this is the fun part. With your educational content in place, it’s time to add images.

Adding images will improve your content’s performance because, no matter how ‘good’ your content is, it will likely get overlooked without visuals.

And they’re really simple to create:

If your step-by-step guide is showing folks how to download and set up an application, include helpful screenshots of the process to help them visualize your information. 

how to write a good kb article

One thing to note with screenshots is that you need to make sure to keep them up to date .

Screenshots are just the ticket for taking your article from a helpful blog post to a full-blown reference guide, so, they’re well worth the little bit of upkeep that’s required. 

8. Add videos

Embedding videos in your article will also improve your content. Articles with videos often increase viewership more than those without. 

Having a relevant video in your article can increase the value a reader gets from your content and it typically keeps them on your page longer. The more time someone spends on your page, the more familiar they will get with your brand . 

Real life example:

In this example, Privy created a custom video to with their article.

how to write a good kb article

You don’t need to create a Hollywood-level video either.

To start, just record your desktop as you walk through the process.

Here’s a quick video that will show you how:

We recommend using Snagit , for short, quick videos, and Camtasia , for more advanced instructional videos .

9. See if you’re SEO friendly

Now that you’ve written your article, it’s time to make sure your article gets found. Here, we enter the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

You always want to write your content organically and keep your user in mind. However, when all is said and done, you also want to make sure your information gets found on Google (and other search engines).

Because if people can’t find your help, it’s not very helpful.

The best place to start is with keywords.

In an article about building a company app, be aware of what search terms people are plugging into Google when they want to know how to do this. Is it, “building an app,” “how to build an app,” or “developing an app?”

Add important keywords

Fortunately, there are tons of free keyword research tools out there that will tell you what people are typing into Google to find information on your topic. With your primary keywords in hand, be sure to include them in the following areas: 

  • Article titles
  • Intro paragraph
  • Meta descriptions

how to write a good kb article

Be cautious of keyword stuffing though.

For example, once you know which keyword will rank well, don’t stuff it into as many paragraphs as possible in an effort to rank higher. Google will actually penalize you for doing this.

Focus on your meta description

What exactly is the meta description? Think of it as a short blurb that describes what your article is about. This is what we scan when we pull up our search results on Google. It helps people see if the article is worth reading even before they look at your headers.

So, without question, your meta description is important and it needs to include your primary keyword. It answers, “What’s in it for me?” and entices online users to click on your article over anyone else’s work that pops up on Google.  

Include Alt text

Alt text is used to describe the function of an image. This is separate from a caption. People reading your article will be able to read your caption, but not the alt text (unless your image didn’t display for some reason). 

Search engine crawlers are what read your alt text . When Google (and others) crawl your site to index the content, it’ll pick up the alt text on your image and, if it has a popular keyword in it, you have the opportunity to rank higher. 

Write better knowledge base articles today

We love helping content creators include images and videos for better training, tutorials, lessons, and everyday communication.

When you’re ready to turn your next article into an almighty how-to with step-by-step guidelines, screenshots, and video, we’re here to help you bring that to life.

how to write a good kb article

Lizzy Smiley

Marketing Content Writing Specialist at TechSmith. I love my dog and The Office.

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Writing guide for Knowledge Base articles

how to write a good kb article

As a knowledge base contributor, you use words to help half a billion users. That's a big job. Users come to the knowledge base from all over the world, and they expect easy solutions, but we also want to delight them with our voice. How do you do that? Here are some things that we came up with in our research.

Table of Contents

  • 2 Writing style
  • 3 Writing style (comprehensive)
  • 4.1 Write a good introduction
  • 4.2 Organize the article effectively
  • 4.3 Use descriptive and action-oriented heading titles
  • 4.4 Make step-by-step instructions easy to follow
  • 4.5 Readability
  • 5.2.1 Fix the slug
  • 5.3 Categories, products and topics
  • 5.4 Keywords
  • 5.5 Write a good search summary
  • 5.6 Number of steps
  • 5.7 Parallel structure
  • 5.8 Directional cues
  • 6 Style guide and copy rules

Write with the brand in mind. Mozilla is about user choice. We believe in freedom and flexibility. We value privacy and security. We are a community-driven non-profit with contributors all over the world who share common values.

You don't need to hammer this story in every time you write an article. It's just something to keep in mind when you're describing features.

Writing style

Write for a general, non-technical audience.

We want our articles to be usable by everyone, not just advanced users. This means we're writing for a general audience rather than one very familiar with computer techniques and terminology. Assume the person you're writing for doesn't know how to change preferences or add a toolbar button without step-by-step instructions. Also, we should assume that they haven't changed any of the default application or operating system settings.

To summarize, you should follow these guidelines:

  • Keep it short. People come to the knowledge base looking for quick solutions. They might not care about the inner workings of the tool – they just want to know what they should do to fix it. Go ahead and chop off some words. See how much you can convey with fewer words. It's like poetry!
  • Keep it clear. Avoid jargon. Be specific. Use words in the title and in the article that the reader would use. If your 13-year-old nephew won't understand it, write it so that he would. See the next section for a more extensive guide.
  • Be friendly, fun and empathetic. (In short: Be human.) Okay, so users don't come to support expecting fun. That's what makes this powerful. Brighten up the user's day with a little humor. But be careful not to sacrifice clarity by using fun metaphors or expressions. If you're not sure how to balance this, just write straightforward instructions and use the tone in the introduction or conclusion.
  • Beginning: this gives the reader some context. What is this article about and why should I care? Keep it short.
  • Middle: The instructions go here. This should answer “How do I do this?”
  • End: Are there any next steps to the article or feature? Tell the reader where he or she should go next if they want to learn more.

Read the next section for more comprehensive guidelines.

Writing style (comprehensive)

  • Conversational writing style – Use an informal, active style similar to the way you'd speak to someone in person.
  • Humor and emotion – Using humor is great but it's sometimes hard or impossible to localize. Emotions like surprise and “I didn't know that/Eureka!” might be easier to include.
  • Multiple learning styles – Just like in school, people learn differently. Also, everyone benefits from seeing the same content expressed in multiple ways.
  • Repetition – When you explain something in a different way with different media, you're also, obviously, repeating it which is another good way to help people remember what's important.
  • Images and video – Using images and video along with text is not only the next best thing to helping in person, it's an easy way of including multiple learning styles and repetition. Too many images, however, can make localizing an article more difficult, so try to add images only when it is helpful to a step or concept. For example, for a step that is clicking a button, you could say “Click OK ” instead of adding a screenshot of that button's dialog box.
  • Activities – Especially in a tutorial, it's good to give people something useful to accomplish. It's one thing to read instructions and understand the process, but it's often helpful to remind and enable people to try things out.

Start with an effective and descriptive title

A well-crafted title is more than just a label; it's a user's first point of contact with your KB article. A good title should not only grab the reader's attention, but also serve as a concise and informative preview of the article's content. When creating titles for SUMO, consider the following:

  • Clarity and Descriptiveness: Craft titles that clearly convey the article's topic or purpose. Avoid vagueness and overly general terms.
  • Keyword Inclusion: Incorporate relevant keywords to improve search engine visibility and help users find your article.
  • Conciseness: Keep titles brief while still providing adequate information. Shorter titles are often more user-friendly.
  • Action-oriented: Use action verbs when applicable to indicate what users can do to resolve an issue or achieve a goal. Avoid using gerunds (words ending in “ing”) in titles to ensure they remain action-oriented.

Write a good introduction

Along with the title and the table of contents, the introduction is what people will use to quickly determine if they are in the right place.

  • For a tutorial or how-to article: Give a brief summary of what things can be learned.
  • For a reference article: Give a brief explanation of the feature.
  • For a troubleshooting article: Give a brief summary of the problem and its symptoms.

Also, remember to set expectations about what kind of information readers will find in the article. Keep in mind that a good introduction can usually serve as a good search summary. Often you can just copy it into the “Search result summary” field and you're done.

Organize the article effectively

The general idea here is to try to build skills from simple to complex while trying to keep the information needed by most people near the top. So a simple, common solution would usually come before a complex or edge-case solution.

Use descriptive and action-oriented heading titles

Our articles are usually comprehensive so it's important to use descriptive and action-oriented headings to help people find the part of the article that they need. Take a look at your table of contents. Does it work with the introduction to give you a nice overview of the scope of the article? Also, avoid using gerunds (words ending in “ing”) in headings to ensure they remain action-oriented.

Make step-by-step instructions easy to follow

The main thing to keep in mind when writing step-by-step instructions is to be careful to include all the actions needed to complete the task. If, for example, you have to click OK after selecting a preference in order to move to the next step, be sure to include clicking “OK” as part of that step. Some additional things to consider:

  • There are always multiple ways to achieve a result. We should always pick the most user-friendly way by using the graphical user interface and menus when possible.
  • Use full sentences when describing how to access the user interface.
  • Include expected results when giving instructions (for example, Click “OK” and the window will close. ).


The text must be readable. To do this, you must:

  • Split an article into small logical/semantic blocks with subheadings.
  • Use numbered or bulleted lists.
  • Write short or relatively short sentences.
  • Avoid writing large paragraphs.

There is no limit to the amount of text. The more material, the better; however, you should not artificially expand it. Provide only useful, valuable, necessary information.

Technical guidelines

  • To learn how to actually create a new article, see Create a new Knowledge Base article .
  • To learn how to edit an existing article, see Edit a Knowledge Base article .
  • See About the Knowledge Base for an overview of how the Knowlege Base works.
  • See Improve the Knowledge Base for a full list of article documentation.
  • Title length: Google's search results page will display up to 65 characters. Your title can be longer than this if necessary but make sure your important keywords are included in the first 65 characters.
  • Capitalization: The first word in the title should be capitalized, as well as proper nouns and names, not every major word. Use “sentence” style, not “headline” style (the same applies to heading titles). See the Style guide and copy rules section below for other rules on capitalization.
  • Do not use a colon in the article title since it prevents creating a wiki link to that article ( bug 749835 ). Also make sure you don't have extra spaces in the article title, which will also prevent wiki links from working.
  • Try to vary the way you name articles. Don't use the same words or phrases in every title. For example, don't always start articles with “How” and avoid using “ing” task names such as “Setting the home page”.
  • Remember that the entire explanation doesn't have to go into the title. You can use the summary to give the user additional information about what is in the article.

When you create a new article and enter a title, SUMO will automatically create a slug (the part after kb/ at the end of the URL for the article). A reviewer can edit the title of an existing article but the slug remains the same, unless manually changed (this is by design). The slug has a 50 character limit. Spaces are rendered as dashes. The slug should be consistent with the title, but given the tighter space restraint, doesn’t need to be the same.

Fix the slug

Be sure to check the end of the auto-generated slug. Sometimes a word gets cut off or it ends in a dash. Please fix things like that.

Categories, products and topics

For the most part, an article belongs in either the How-to or Troubleshooting category. Occasionally, we write “How To Contribute” articles (like this one) or something in one of the other categories.

Articles are also “relevant to” at least one product. They also belong in one main “Topic” and, optionally, a “sub-topic”.

The keywords field in an article can be used to improve search results on SUMO. It should be used only under specific circumstances though, as misuse can actually hurt search. We rarely need to use keywords. For details, see When and how to use keywords to improve an article's search ranking .

Write a good search summary

The article summary, along with the title, helps users judge whether an article will answer their question. We call this “User Confidence” and it directly impacts click-through rates. Even if we serve the correct article at the top of the search results list, the user needs to make the mental connection between the search query and the results we display in order for them to click through to the article.

A summary for a how-to article should include the topics covered in the article. A troubleshooting article should try to include symptoms. In addition, a summary should follow these guidelines:

  • Short and to the point. Remember classified ads? Write it like that. Search engines may cut off anything longer than 140 characters. If you use a longer summary, keep the important information at the beginning. Note: The KB software will show 20 characters remaining when the summary reaches 140 characters because the internal search limit is 160.
  • Don't use wiki markup.
  • We'll show you
  • We'll explain
  • This page explains
  • This article describes

Number of steps

When guiding users through a process, consider using numbers for procedures with more than two steps, and bullets for those with up to two steps. It's generally a good practice to try and keep the total number of steps in the range of six-seven.

Parallel structure

Use the same phrasing or pattern of words for every step you write. Parallel structure is important in KB articles because it makes things clear and easy to follow. When similar elements have a consistent format, users can understand and complete tasks more smoothly. This structure simplifies instructions, reduces mistakes, and ensures information is conveyed effectively.

For example:

  • Click on the Settings… button.
  • Make sure that Form & Search History is not selected.

Directional cues

Directional cues are references or indicators that guide users to the specific location or position within a user interface where they need to take a particular action. These cues help users navigate and interact with software, applications or websites more effectively. They typically include phrases like “On the top-right corner,” “In the left-hand menu,” or “Below the search bar,” which provide users with a clear sense of where to find and perform actions.

In your KB article instructions, make sure to provide directional cues before the action. For example, instead of saying Click the button , use On the top-right corner, click the button . This format helps users easily locate and perform actions within the interface.

Style guide and copy rules

Like we said before, you should use an active, conversational style when you write. Avoid saying things like, “If a user's bookmarks have been lost” and instead say, “If you've lost your bookmarks”. Here are other common style and copy issues you may run into when writing support articles: Always use terms the way they appear in the Mozilla interface. For example:

  • Plugins does not have a hyphen.
  • Add-ons does have a hyphen.
  • Home page is two words.

General computing terms:

  • The Internet is uppercase.
  • Website is one word. Web page is two words.
  • Log in and log out are verbs. Example: “Log in to the website.” The same applies to sign in and sign out. Do not use “log into” or “sign into”.
  • Login and logout are nouns (usually used as adjectives). Example: “Click the login button.”
  • Use email instead of e-mail.
  • The plural of CD-ROM is CD-ROMs.

Links to should not contain the locale:

  • Use instead of

When incorporating links into sentences:

  • Do: Go to your account settings to cancel your subscription.
  • Don't: Click here to cancel your subscription.

Capitalize the following items:

  • Proper nouns and names, including brand names, product names and feature names
  • The first word of a complete sentence
  • The letters of abbreviations and acronyms, unless they are normally lowercase
  • The first word in numbered or bulleted lists
  • The name of a key on the keyboard
  • The first word of a complete sentence following a colon
  • The first word in a heading or title

Mozilla accounts:

  • The “a” in Mozilla accounts is always lowercase except in navigation items where it’s included with other navigation items that are using headline casing.
  • Always use “sign in” and “sign out”.
  • In verb form, use “sign in to your account” (not “sign into”) to be grammatically correct.
  • You can also use “Sign in with Mozilla”.
  • “Sign” should always be used as a verb. If you are using it as a noun, use “login”.
  • Use “sign up” as the call to action to create a new account.

For details on how to reference to Mozilla accounts in KB article, visit Editorial guidelines for Mozilla accounts .

Don't use “i.e.” and “e.g.” . These Latin abbreviations can confuse people. For the sake of clarity, use “in other words” or “to put it differently” instead of i.e. when you want to explain something in a different way. Use “for instance”, “for example” or “such as” instead of e.g. when you want to give examples.

Don't use serial commas in a list of items. For example, use “Extensions, themes and plugins” (without the serial comma), not “Extensions, themes, and plugins”.

Use initialisms that are considered to be generally understood. For example:

Numbers appearing in the version of a product, error codes, keys and buttons will not be spelled out.

Write instructions in active voice. Write instructions in active voice. Active voice and the present tense simplify instructions, making them easier to follow and encouraging prompt action. Example:

“Restart Firefox to update” not “Firefox has to be restarted”.

Spell out backslashes(\) and forward slashes(/) for paths and searches to avoid confusion.

Example: “Some pathnames to images contain backslashes (\\)”.

Keyboard shortcuts Capitalize the first letter of a keyboard shortcut or combination of shortcuts: Ctrl + Shift + C or Command + Shift + C .

Don't use slang and idioms . All of our articles are translated into many different languages, so they are read and translated by non-native English speakers. Slang and idioms can be ambiguous which can confuse readers and make translation more difficult.

We have special visual styles for a number of items that can be achieved by adding the proper wiki markup around the item. See the Markup cheat sheet for the most common styles.

We have a special wiki markup – {for} – that allows you to target information for specific versions of Firefox or specific operating systems. For example, you display one set of instructions to people running Windows and another to people using macOS X (see How to use For for details).

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How to write a perfect knowledge base article

How to Write an Effective Knowledge Base Article

According to Statista, 88% of customers expect companies to offer an online self-service portal. Creating a great knowledge base article is the first step to promoting self-service. But how do you create a great knowledge base article? How do you choose which questions need to be answered in your knowledge base? And how do you measure if your knowledge base is successfully helping customers get quick answers, while unburdening your support team? Here’s a quick guide for you to write different types of knowledge base articles and help your customers find answers without any agent assistance.

What is a knowledge base?

A help desk knowledge base is a repository of information about your product or service. This curated resource portal can be leveraged to find answers to product-related issues or may contain a step-by-step guide t o learn how to use the product or service. A modern knowledge base will support multiple formats of learning, including solution articles or FAQs, product manuals, tutorials, videos, and troubleshooting guides, all categorized into distinct themes or folders. It acts as the source of truth for the product or service to its stakeholders i.e. customers, employees, and partners. 

A knowledge base may be a part of a company’s self-service portal or may be a section on its homepage. For easy navigation, it’s advisable to add a search functionality that helps customers type in their queries to get directed to relevant resources right away.

Advantages of creating an effective knowledge base article

According to Forrester, self-service yields a better CSAT rating as compared to a virtual agent interaction. That’s not all. A knowledge base is equally useful for your customer support agents as much as it is for your customers. Your support agents can refer to the internal knowledge base articles to answer any customer queries quickly instead of reaching out to someone for guidance or trying multiple solutions. On the other hand, your customers can search for answers to common questions in the knowledge base instead of contacting your support team and waiting for a reply.

The end-to-end guide to an effective knowledge base article

It doesn’t matter what the size of your company is or the kind of industry you work for, getting started with the creation of a knowledge base is easy. You can even make use of a knowledge base software to choose a template of your choice, create the table of contents using search optimized article titles, and provide structured solutions to commonly raised concerns.

Remember: Your customers should just a web search away to your knowledge base articles.

There are no predefined rules to creating the best knowledge base article. You fail, learn and repeat. We have written hundreds of articles for our knowledge base, and it is used by over 150,000 customers. Having leveraged SEO to our advantage, we are still experimenting with the way we optimize our articles so they are easily searchable.

Here’s a look at what worked for us (and a little bit of what hasn’t).

Getting started with a knowledge base article:

  • Answer FAQs
  • Onboard users

Before writing the knowledge base article:

  • Understand user pain-points
  • Write for the average user
  • Cater to different kinds of learners
  • Eliminate the writer bias

While writing the knowledge base article:

  • Tips to follow while writing the article

After writing the knowledge base article:

  • Interlink articles
  • Gather feedback

When you are creating your knowledge base for the first time, you will have a lot of topics to choose from. Start by collaborating with your customer support team to collect and analyze customer feedback. Enable your team to leverage these insights to deliver an exceptional customer experience by creating help articles that encompass step-by-step instructions to perform tasks in no time. You can even save time on creating your articles by creating knowledge base article templates for How to, User guide, FAQs, and more. 

One of the following techniques (or maybe both) should help you identify and prioritise which KBase articles to create first knowledge base:

What are the questions that have been frequently asked by your customers to your customer support team ?

If you are not sure, browse through your support tickets from the past month (or week, if the ticket volume is huge). If that doesn’t give you enough information, find out what your customers are searching for by looking at your search terms in Google Analytics.

Tip: Connect your support portal to Google Analytics and get insights

Enlist these identified keywords and search terms. The next step is to start creating and adding these articles to your knowledge base.

Here’s a way to approach the creation of help articles. Write down the top 10 things your customers should be doing for them to see value in your product. Should they invite their team to use it? Should they import data from their previous system?

Collaborate with subject matter experts to write support articles that can assist your users in using the product/service to their advantage. Organize them based on the key features so that customers who visit your support portal can find them easily. You can also create a seamless customer experience for users visiting your support portal by creating playlists. This gives you an opportunity to categorize articles and let your customers transition to the next relevant article without the need to exit the portal.

While answering FAQs will help your agents immediately, writing articles that help onboard new users will help you in the long term. We started out by writing basic FAQs and now, we write articles for every new feature that gets launched.

You have to make sure you have researched what you need to achieve before even getting started with a knowledge base article. Take time to understand and confirm the topics you should write about, identify customer pain points and determine the structure of your article.

  • Understand user pain points.

Before writing a tutorial, follow the step-by-step instructions yourself. You may even ask a couple more people to try the same. Take notes as and when you get stuck or about the steps that got others confused. Did something result in a delayed response? Do you need to rectify any of these aforementioned steps?

You might have a lot of tickets recorded on your helpdesk. Go through related tickets and find out where your users face issues. This approach will help you anticipate user pain points and questions, and present a way to eliminate or avoid these using troubleshooting guides. With the right software, your help desk can categorize tickets based on the queries raised, further reducing human effort.

Example of understanding user pain-points

You are not writing your knowledge base articles for just one kind of customer. What comes easy for a power user may be too complex for an average user. If you feel like you need to explain more to a newly onboarded customer (wrt the information that a power user would like), split the use-case into multiple articles and link them to the original longer article . This way, the article written for the average user doesn’t need to have too much information.

For example, while explaining about the social tab in Freshdesk, instead of just telling users ‘You can search Twitter using the social tab’, we wrote a separate article on how to search on Twitter (that a power user wouldn’t need) and linked it to the original one.

Different people learn differently. Some like to learn using images and videos while some prefer a step-by-step manual to get started. You need to put yourself in the shoes of the customer to determine the format and the kind of resources that need to be shared using the article. Figure out the sufficient number of screenshots that make the process self-explanatory. Based on the customer behavior, you may also determine if it’s a better idea to incorporate a video instead. You may even add a video at the end of every article.

Take Wistia’s FAQ section for example. Even though they’re a video-hosting company, they don’t fill the entire page with videos without text.

Note: We experimented with presentations and GIFs as a medium, but found that people need a quick solution and don’t wait to watch the different steps in the animation.

You should not let your exposure to customer problems affect the article in a negative way. If you actively support your customers, you are likely to remember all the problems customers face as far as the features are concerned. If you are a tech writer, you are also likely to remember the step-by-step demo you received from the product manager.

Your article about a product feature should neither be a detailed explanation of the UI nor a mini-FAQ. It should be a mix of both. This allows users to understand and learn about the feature and find an effective solution to specific problems.

Here’s an article on SSO on our support portal to help our users understand remote authentication and address common user problems that may involve them getting locked out of their account.

Now that you’ve figured out what you should be writing about and what points you should get across, it’s time to actually write the articles. Make sure you stick to the basics and actually follow through on your plans.

1) Talk like your users talk

Do not use over-the-top words or technical jargon in your articles. Find out what customers call the feature you are writing about (use search terms in GA or by reading tickets). Use those words in the article, headings, and subheadings to help them understand your article easily.

2) Be straightforward.

Your articles need to be easy to scan through and understandable in just one read. You can create tutorials in a way that makes them easy to consume. If you want to improve customer experience, personalize the template, not the content (take a cue from Amazon).

Amazon knowledge base

3) Feature trumps benefits

When you write on a support portal, remember that you are not trying to sell. A solution article is written to help, not to convince. So your articles should talk more about the nuances of the features and not cover the benefits of using your product .

4) Treat every article as a mini-onboarding process

Start by explaining the feature in simple words. Then, use an example to walk the customer through the product interface and let them know what happens once they follow these instructions. This way, even if the setup process is elaborate, users will follow it through till the end.

5) Bullets and tables are your best friends

Needless to say, formatting solution articles is extremely important. Carefully choose your headers and subtitles. Structure your articles using bullet points and arrange your content using different sections. You may even make the action items bold in each step so it’s easy for readers to skim through your content.

6) Always state the prerequisites

Don’t make it hard for users to find out the limitations of a product . If your app doesn’t run on IE, say it. If this feature is available in the highest plan only, say it. You will save yourself from unnecessary grievances or concerns by being upfront about your services .

7) Nothing is too obvious

Don’t leave out even the tiniest of details assuming that it’s obvious. Use a tabular form or create annotated screenshots when you want to explain multiple little things without making the article too long.

8) Do not sell.

Selling or upselling in support articles is like selling a support ticket (not recommended).

You’ve finally finished writing your article. You can now move on to the next task and forget about this one, right? Nope.

You are not done writing a support article once it’s published. You have to make sure that it is useful, that it’s updated from time to time and it serves the purpose of helping your customers resolve their issues by themselves.

Go through the article you had just written one more time and find out if you can embed any other solution articles. Repeat the same exercise for the other related articles and provide links to the new article.

For example, if your new article talks about plans and billing, you can link it to the one about payment options. This helps readers navigate easily (even if they land up there by mistake) and it increases the chances of the article being found on search engines.

  • Actively listen to feedback and improve

A few days after your article is published, you can check if your article is actually helping your agents and customers. Has it reduced the number of tickets for this feature? Are other agents using this article to support their answers? If not, why?

Here’s a way we made life simple for our support team. Freshdesk’s knowledge base has a small survey at the end of every article. Every negative feedback gets converted into a ticket in the helpdesk in which the author is added as a viewer. This way, the author can quickly update the article based on the feedback received.

How to write an effective knowledge base article

Extend KBase to AI Chatbots

Integrate your knowledge base with your AI chatbot to automate FAQs for your customers. Chatbots offer self-service through conversation, reducing the effort of searching for answers in your knowledge base.

Smart chatbots learn from every customer interaction and offer intent-specific answers by pulling information from your knowledge base directly. Not just that, chatbots even go above and beyond to inform you of the gaps in your information and signal the scope for improvement of your answers.

Your checklist for writing a knowledge base article

Here are the steps you need to follow to write a knowledge base article:

  • Determine the topics that you need to cover
  • Structure the articles in an easily consumable format
  • Write the articles with the average user in mind
  • Add screenshots and videos especially when you explain something complex
  • Be detailed as well as specific to help all kinds of users
  • Format your articles
  • Interlink them
  • Get feedback from readers and improve them

A knowledge base article is perfected over time as you update it based on the feedback you receive from readers and support agents.

The perfect article also differs from business to business. You can follow this article to get started with the first few knowledge base articles, but once you get accustomed to the workflow, you can experiment and figure out what suits your customers’ needs. Even if you cannot see the effects of the articles on your users right away, it will be helpful to your agents from day 1. It is also a great way for new agents to get up to speed with your product/service.

Here are some of the tools we use to create our knowledge base content:

  • Google docs – to collaborate with multiple stakeholders
  • Freshdesk – as a knowledge base provider
  • Quicktime – to record screencasts
  • Sketch – to annotate screenshots and create graphics
  • Grammarly – to spell check the articles

Your turn now.

What are some of the things that worked with your knowledge base articles? What are some articles that helped you out as a user? What are some best practices for writing a knowledge base article that you’ve learned from your experience?

Share with us in the comments below.

Originally published on Jun 1, 2018. Updated on February 16, 2022.

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Updated On: Jan 16, 2024

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6 Steps to Create Knowledge Base Articles (+Templates)

Knowledge Base Articles

Where immediate access to information is paramount, knowledge base articles are automatic gatekeepers of support and guidance. Like a friendly and inviting front desk, these articles are often the first point of contact for customers facing challenges or seeking answers. Its importance to today’s customer experience cannot be overstated.

In today’s business, we can offer quick fixes and design interactions with customers that will leave a lasting good impression. Your team can enhance this critical part of the customer journey through effective knowledge management , ensuring a reliable, helpful, and impactful resource.

In this article, we will walk through potential solutions with solid knowledge base articles and see how to make templates that streamline the process, making it simpler than ever to create documents that are as effective and user-friendly as you desire for your front door.

Table of Contents

1. make the content easy to skim, 2. use anchor links in lengthy knowledge base articles, 3. stick with simple knowledge base articles titles, 4. use images to create clarity, 5. incorporate feedback, 6. incorporate proper formatting practices, benefits of well-written knowledge base articles.

Knowledge base articles underpin both top-notch customer service and seamless internal operations. Imagine this scenario: A customer faces a confusing issue and feels frustrated and stuck. At this moment of need, a structured KB article provides a straightforward, step-by-step approach to solving the problem.

Knowledge base articles are like trusted companions for customers facing challenges with a product or service. The result? Frustration is reduced, and the customer journey becomes a positive experience.

Additionally, KB articles reduce the work of supporting teams by providing tools that allow customers to independently search for answers. This reduced number of support tickets enables support staff to focus on complex issues, providing personalized assistance that increases satisfaction and loyalty.

Furthermore, knowledge base articles offer a cost-effective onboarding solution, reducing the need for resource-intensive training programs. Status is another benefit; standardized Knowledge base content ensures that all employees receive consistent training and promotes the operational norms of a unified corporate culture.

How to Write KB Articles

  • Make the content easy to skim
  • Use anchor links in lengthy articles
  • Stick with simple article titles
  • Use images to create clarity
  • Incorporate feedback
  • Incorporate proper formatting practies

Break the content down with clear headlines. Use bullet points and outlines for quick understanding.

Grabbing and holding readers’ attention can take a lot of work. Consider the surprising fact that 79% of the users scanned any new page. This brief discussion emphasizes how crucial it is to simplify KB calculations.

One powerful technique to attract more readers is to break down your content into reader-friendly sections, each marked with clear headings. People not only find such content more approachable but also remember it better.

This structured approach is the difference between a story that captures readers’ attention and one that leaves them lost in digital noise. So, when creating knowledge base content , remember that clarity and simplicity are your friends in your efforts to better inform, engage, and empower your audience.

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For prolonged articles, provide anchor links at the pinnacle to allow readers to jump immediately to the section they need

Data overload is the norm today, and the strategic use of anchor links in lengthy KB articles could make all the distinctions. Long articles often deter readers, overwhelming them with facts. By deploying anchor hyperlinks at the article’s outset, you provide readers with a shortcut to their preferred section.

The effect of anchor links on user engagement is vast and quantifiable. This increase underscores their effectiveness in streamlining the reader’s adventure and saving precious time.

With anchor links directing readers to precise sections like “Data Analysis,” “Charts,” or “Formulas” in a comprehensive knowledge base article on “Advanced Excel Techniques,” users can efficiently navigate to the ideal statistics they are seeking.

This complements their revel in and encourages them to explore and interact with the content material.

Use straightforward titles that carry the article’s purpose. Avoid jargon or overly complex terminology.

The power of simplicity in KB articles can’t be overstated, mainly in crafting article titles. Research has shown that titles with 6-13 words attract the highest and most consistent traffic. This fact underscores the importance of speaking the language of your audience, making your content material instantly relatable and on hand.

By selecting clean and concise titles that precisely convey the article’s purpose, for example, “How to Improve Workflow Efficiency,” you’re increasing the probability of attracting readers and setting the proper expectations.

The reader can explore and gain from the information you provide by using simple titles, improving the user experience overall.

Visual aids, inclusive of screenshots or diagrams, can considerably enhance understanding. Ensure the images are clear and relevant.

The statistics speak volumes: articles enriched with applicable photos experience a superb 94% growth in views. This surge in engagement transcends limitations to carry facts swiftly and successfully. Strategically positioned screenshots illustrating every step of the troubleshooting process are invaluable. These pictures enhance readers’ comprehension and instill confidence in the provided solutions.

If a person encounters a complicated software error message, an adequately crafted knowledge base articles , supported with transparent and pertinent screenshots, guides them through the resolution process without difficulty. This confidence in the provided solutions also instills a feeling of empowerment in the person, bolstering their confidence in navigating similar demanding situations.

Continuously update articles based on customer comments and evolving desires. This guarantees your expertise base stays applicable and powerful.

Customer feedback is a valuable asset in the world of knowledge base articles . In fact, customers would be willing to continue doing business with a company if it directly addressed their concerns. This highlights that responsive customer service is essential in fostering brand loyalty.

By making customer comments an indispensable part of KB article development, you now clear up instant issues and exhibit a steadfast commitment to consumer satisfaction.

When a customer encounters an outdated knowledge base articles while searching for help, promptly addressing their remarks by updating the item not only resolves their difficulty but also showcases your determination to improve their experience.

Moreover, feedback-driven improvements contribute to reducing support ticket volume . When clients find accurate solutions within KB articles , they may be less likely to submit support tickets, streamlining operations and freeing up resources for more complicated problems.

Accurate layout, such as fonts, colors, and bolds, makes your story more compelling.

Consistent formatting isn’t just an aesthetic; it’s a powerful statement about professionalism. A well-structured knowledge base articles is comparable to a well-organized library of information, inviting users to quickly explore it.

For example, take a customer navigating a support knowledge base article . Using an eye-catching layout with vibrant colors, fonts, and your brand’s logo increases trust in the reliability of the information presented. On the other hand, a complexly formatted article can create confusion and erode their confidence. This resembles a cluttered library where people get frustrated trying to find important information.

By implementing these suggestions and spotting the impact of statistics, data, and sensible examples, you may create KB articles that captivate, inform, and ultimately contribute to a more seamless and satisfying customer experience.

3 Knowledge Base Articles Templates

The structure of a knowledge base article plays a significant role in its clarity and appeal. Customers seek precise, concise answers and don’t want to spend time scrolling through lengthy essays. Utilizing standard knowledge base article templates can be instrumental in delivering adequate self-service customer support. Let’s explore some templates and examples:

1. How To Articles

Template: How to [Name of Task]

  • Applies to [Your Appropriate Products]
  • [Brief Description of Problem, if Needed]
  • [Brief Description of Solution, if Needed]
  • Related Articles: [Three to six articles with links]

Let’s look into the example of “How to Reset Your Password.”:

  • [Brief Description of the Problem]: Forgot your password? Learn how to reset it quickly.
  • [Step 1]: Click the “Forgot Password” link on the login page.
  • [Step 2]: Enter your email address.
  • [Step 3]: Check your email for a password reset link.
  • [Brief Description of Solution]: You’ve efficiently reset your password. Log in with your new credentials.
  • Related Articles: [Links to articles on account security and password tips]

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2. FAQ Articles

Template: [Topic Name]: Frequently Asked Questions

  • It’s about [Your Appropriate Products]
  • [Brief Description of Topic]
  • Table of Contents: [list of questions and answers with anchor links]
  • Further reading: [Links to related articles]

Let’s look into the example of “FAQs on billing and payment”:

  • [Brief Description of Topic]: Find answers to frequently asked questions about billing and payments.
  • Table of Contents:
  • [Question 1]: How can I update my payment method?
  • [Question 2]: When will I be billed for my subscription?
  • [Q3]: What payment methods are available?
  • Further reading: [links to articles on invoice details and subscription policy].

3. Tool Description Articles

Template: [Tool or Function]

  • [Brief Introduction of Tool or Function]
  • [Description of Tool]
  • [Final Tips/Information to Note about the Tool]

Let’s look into the example of “Understanding Task Manager”:

  • [Brief Introduction of Tool or Function]: Learn the Task Manager tool.
  • [Description of Tool]: Task Manager permits you to display and control running processes on your device.
  • [Final Tips/Information]: Use Task Manager to improve system performance and troubleshoot troubles.
  • Related Articles: [Links to articles on optimizing system performance]

These templates are the foundation for creating structured, informative, and user-friendly knowledge base content . By adopting these considerations, you can simplify your knowledge sharing and enhance the customer experience.

Create Your Knowledge Base with Knowmax

Whether you’re guiding users through a specific task, answering often-asked questions, or explaining the functionality of a tool, a well-structured knowledge base articles guarantees your customers can get access to the statistics they need without difficulty. For organizations looking to create and manage KB articles efficiently, Knowmax is a game-changer.

By uploading information to knowledge base software such as Knowmax, AI can identify relevant data types and convert the exact text in Q&A format into FAQs for customer support. Uploaded content can be cleaned and reused to meet customer service needs.

Knowmax’s knowledge management allows graphics and video guides to be integrated into issues and troubleshooting operations wherever necessary. This helps agents resolve issues faster the first time, resulting in higher FCR and improved customer service.

In addition, content modules such as knowledge solutions, articles, visual guides , troubleshooting workflows , and others provided by Knowmax can be intuitively linked for searchability information, and the information is clearly identified.

Looking to supercharge your CX?

how to write a good kb article

Kamal Pathak

Lead product manager.

Kamal Pathak has over 10 years of experience as a product manager building successful B2B SaaS products in customer experience space. He enjoys writing, speaking, and coaching aspiring product managers.

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A Simple Guide to Writing the Perfect Knowledge Base Article

Learn how to write an effective knowledge base article that solves your customers’ problem in a jiffy.

David Oragui

Last Updated

April 09 2022

Knowledge base article: an illustration of a person typing on a typewriter

Before we start on how to write an effective knowledge base article, I have a quick question:

Do you know what   bounce rate   is?

Assuming you do... forget everything you know about it!

Well, while it might be an effective metric when it comes to product or even blog pages, you won’t need it when dealing with your knowledge base solution .

Anyone who taught you about creating content, optimizing user experience on your website etc. will tell you this: REDUCE YOUR BOUNCE RATE!!! ✘

How Bounce Rate Relates to Writing KB Articles

When creating regular content, you want to lead your reader through the article and you want to make them take additional actions on your website after they read it.

Your goals might be different. It might be that you want them to subscribe to your newsletter, to buy something. 

However, if they don’t do any of that you want them to click on related articles to generate more page views, reduce your bounce rate and increase the time spent on your website.

But with a knowledge base , it’s totally opposite. Higher bounce rate and lower average time spent on a kb article means that it works perfectly – your users are finding their answers very quickly.

Let’s imagine this situation: You are searching for an answer which is very important to you and you find an article which seems to have your answer.

You are super excited to read the answer you need but, unfortunately, the guy who wrote your answer seems to have had a poetical inspiration of his life.

So you get an 1000+ words article and you see a poetical intro then you see some philosophy , bla bla but where’s your answer???

You go to the middle of the article and you are reading like crazy to see if your solution is there. Nope.

The article is so poetical you just can’t get it. You are angry, you just spent 15 minutes and you got nothing. You want to punch yourself in the face. You don’t even need the answer anymore.

OK, let’s stop here. You got it.

So, the main point is: People who search for something in your knowledge base just want to get the answer and leave and do whatever they were doing.

You don’t want to keep them there.

Enough of the theory, let’s see how the perfect knowledge base article looks like in practice :

A screenshot of a weather forecast result on Google

Whoa? What’s that, man?

Well, in case you missed it: Google is a kind of knowledge base!

And what Google does is giving you very brief (and very relevant) answers to your questions .

Even more, when Google finds that it might give you the answer you wanted directly on its page, it will embed the content for you so you even don’t have to click ( and boil another kettle ).

That’s exactly what you want to do with your knowledge base!

So, your main goal when creating a kb article is to give your users  just what they need and wish them good luck.

OK, now when we know what our goal is it’s easy to know what we need to do:

How to Write an Effective Knowledge Base Article

1. use task-oriented writing style.

Task-oriented kind  of content is “useful” content which is written for someone who is searching for an answer on how to do something . 

So, this is what you will be doing most of the time.

In order to create this kind of content, you will want to make your articles concise , straight to the point,  readable and informative .

Task oriented style is more like answering questions and writing directions for someone to do something.

The best way to make your article concise: shorten your sentences and paragraphs . 

If you have to write a long kb article separate it into smaller sections with subtitles.

If the solution you are offering in your article is more complicated, you might want to separate it in several steps and create step-by-step guide instead.

2. Get rid of writer’s bias

If there is a place where your opinion matters less, it is a kb article. 

You need to be objective and focused on technical information that you are about to provide. Keep your opinion for your blog.

3. Don’t sell

You don’t need to sell anything inside your knowledge base articles. It’s help center area of your website. 

People will feel insulted if you are trying to sell them something there. 

They are already your customers who are there to see how to solve the issue they have with your product.

4. Use simple, plain words and terms

You will need to define your writing style and language before starting. 

Remember, your users just want to know how to solve their problem. There is no need to use complicated terms.

You will want to forget all fancy words you learned from your Harvard dictionary. 

So, instead of saying “ enormous ” you can just say “ big ” or instead of saying “ purchase ” your readers will love to see “ buy ”.

Be consistent with the terms you are using and don’t mix them with their synonyms. You don’t want to confuse your readers. 

If you are not sure which terms to use, you will want to check your knowledge base analytics first.

Write your articles as if you were writing them for 12-year-olds . Yep, even grown-ups like simplicity. 

You can use tools like this one for checking how readable your articles are. The ideal grade you want to score is from 6 to 8.

5. “How to” and titles in form of questions

You want your knowledge base users find the information they need as fast as possible. 

Once they browse your knowledge base articles through categories or via search bar they will have a list of dozens of articles in front of them. 

They will need to scan all offered titles quickly.

So, the best way to attract their attention is to make your titles in form of questions they are asking themselves while browsing your knowledge base.

6. Go straight to the point

Skip intro unless it helps clarifying the issue you are writing about. 

If your article title is written in form of a question then you can answer it like you are just continuing the conversation:

A screenshot of a knowledge base article on Helpjuice

7. Include visuals

In case you missed it, your knowledge base users love visuals, even if it’s just different font size or color.

When writing task oriented content, visuals are a must do. Actually, you might want to include visuals inside all of your knowledge base articles.

“ A picture is worth a thousand words ” and video might be worth a million .

Even when you simplify your instructions on how to do something, your readers will still struggle with understanding your article. 

In order to ensure your users get the point as quickly as possible, you will want to include photos and or videos showing them how to do it.

If you forgot it: Your users are just scanning through your knowledge base article to find what they need.  

If you offer them relevant photo or video, they might not need to read the written instructions, at all.

And that’s it. You are now ready to write you knowledge base articles like a pro but remember, your knowledge which you are about to share matters the most. 

Don’t hesitate to share it with us, too.

P.S. If you want to get more articles like these, don’t forget to hit that subscribe button down there.

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How You Can Write a Good Knowledge Base Article

An illustration of three people reading knowledge base articles from their devices

An effective knowledge base article is clear, engaging, and helpful. Here's how to write one (with some help from AI) that your customers will love.

how to write a good kb article

Meagan Meyers

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Great customer service doesn’t always involve an agent. We’ve found that 59% of customers prefer self-service tools for simple questions and service issues. 

Your customers can easily get the answers they need with knowledge base articles, which are informative help articles on your site. They can find what they need at any time (even at 3 a.m.), which frees up agents to focus on more complex service requests. 

Service agents can also use knowledge base articles to solve customer problems and reduce their average handle time. 

Provide the answers your customers want

Can your customers find solutions to their problems without asking an agent for help? Learn how you can deliver a knowledge-filled self-service strategy, on Salesforce+.

how to write a good kb article

This blog post will tell you everything you need to know about creating a knowledge base article. You’ll learn what a knowledge article is, why they’re important, what to include when you’re writing, and tips and tricks (like generative AI) to help you get started. 

What is a knowledge base article?

A knowledge base article is a web page that answers a frequently asked question, troubleshoots a problem, or helps your customers use your products and services. They often include written directions and responses, but can also include images, videos, links, and other multimedia elements. 

Knowledge base articles typically live within a central place on a company’s website or platform — this could be a help center, FAQ page, or a support portal. This hub should make it easy for your customers to find the answers they’re looking for. 

While the structure of this hub will vary based on the needs of your business and your customers, it should have a search function, article tags based on your offerings, and titles that make it clear what the article is about. 

If your contact center has a chatbot , it can surface information from knowledge articles in response to a customer message. Very soon, chatbots with generative AI technology will be able to answer service questions and give better, more personalized responses by pulling from the knowledge base.

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Why are knowledge base articles important.

Here are the top three reasons why knowledge base articles are important to your business: 

  • Providing a better service experience: Customers are 10x more likely to use self-service than contacting a service center directly. Having a knowledge hub where your customers can easily find answers gives them the service experience they want and allows them to get service 24/7. 
  • Reduce caseload on your contact center: As more customers solve their problems independently, fewer cases require agent support. This frees up agents to focus on solving more complex customer issues and reduces overall contact center caseload.
  • Cut down average handle time: As agents solve unique cases and formalize institutional knowledge into articles, more agents can use that information to solve their cases faster and reduce average handle time. Research shows that using knowledge base articles can result in 33% faster resolution . 

How to write a knowledge base article 

This section will walk you through the important steps to take before writing a knowledge base article, which elements to include, and some helpful tips to make it even easier to write a knowledge article.

Before writing a knowledge article 

There are a few steps you want to take ahead of writing your article — the first is figuring out which topic to write about. 

Consider these three questions when identifying the right topic for your article:

  • What are the most common questions you get service requests for? 
  • What are the most common issues your customers need help with? 
  • What information would help your customers get the most out of your products and services? 

Once you’ve identified the most common issues, make sure you don’t already have a knowledge article about this topic. If an article already exists, decide if it needs to be edited to add updated information. 

If no article exists on that topic yet, it’s time to start writing! 

4 components of a good knowledge base article 

  • A clear title: Let your customer know what your article will cover in the title. Ensure that the headline is clear, concise, and accurately describes the content within the article. This also makes the article easier to find.
  • Bulleted lists or subheadings: Make your knowledge article easy to skim so your customers don’t need to read every word to find what they need. Create bulleted lists or subheadings that show what’s covered in each section. If you’re writing a tutorial, write step-by-step instructions — including which buttons or menu items to click — and put them in chronological order.
  • Images, links, or videos : Give your customers as much detail as you can so that they can successfully solve the issue on their own. Add screenshots, images, links to other articles, or videos to your article to help them. 
  • Simple language: Write in a way that can be easily understood by everyone. Do your best to avoid jargon that specifically relates to your product and service. Your customers won’t have as much product knowledge as you, so use simple language in each step of your article. 

how to write a good kb article

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how to write a good kb article

What a complete knowledge base article looks like

Here’s an example of a knowledge base article we created for a fictional payment software, called ZapPay. This knowledge article would help ZapPay customers link their bank account to their ZapPay account.

Connect your bank account to your ZapPay account

  • Find out how to connect your ZapPay account to your bank account to send money, pay bills, and transfer ZapCash into your bank account.

TIP: Make sure you have your bank account and routing numbers handy before you start this process. 

  • Log in to your ZapPay account. 
  • From the dashboard, tap your name and then click Profile.
  • Select “Connect Bank Account.”
  • From there, a popup window will show up on your screen. 
  • Input your bank account number in the text box labeled “Account number” and your routing number in the text box labeled “Routing number.”
  • Double-check that your details are correct before moving forward. 
  • Once you’re done, select “Save.”
  • Within 24 hours, you’ll see a ZapPay withdrawal of ten cents or less come through your account and then a refund for that same amount shortly after. This is to ensure that you can successfully withdraw and deposit money between your ZapPay account and your bank account. 

Congratulations! You’ve successfully connected your ZapPay to your bank account! If you need any additional help, see the links below: 

  • Add money into my ZapPay account 
  • Transfer money from ZapPay into my bank account
  • Disconnect bank account
  • Add credit card to ZapPay account

3 simple tips to get started with knowledge base articles (hint: AI)

Now that you’ve got what you need to write the perfect knowledge base article, here’s how you can get started. 

  • Pull information from old case logs and notes to ensure that you’re including as much detail as possible and that you’re following the same steps to get a resolution.
  • To ensure accuracy and readability, work with a manager to set up a knowledge article approval process. This will ensure that grammar and spelling are correct, that the information is accurate, and that article formatting is uniform across the hub.
  • Connect a generative AI tool to your service console and have it create the first draft of your knowledge article based on conversation details and CRM data for your experienced agents to review. This will save you time and help you get your articles out faster.

Now you know what a knowledge base article is and why they’re important for both customers and agents. Start writing articles today to give them both an awesome service experience and increase the efficiency of your contact center.

Save time for your customers and agents

With self-service tools like knowledge base articles, customers can get answers to frequently asked questions any time — freeing up your agents. Our guide shows how high-performing service orgs make self-service easy to do.

how to write a good kb article

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Knowledge Base Articles: Tips, Tricks, and Templates

how to write a good kb article

Knowledge management is the ITIL practice that increases service desk resolution rates, and improves technical skills and everyone’s experience . Done well, a shared knowledge base will help technical teams and end-users. In this sense, knowledge base articles are a great way to build a library that provides valuable insights into how things work.

By giving access to these articles, we are spreading resourceful information (a great asset!) across the organization. Hence, knowledge provides: 

  • Informed decisions
  • Improved efficiency because there will be no need to rediscover knowledge
  • A better understanding of the context and interaction with the knowledge consumer

They can be used in many different ways, such as:

  • Helping others understand how something works
  • Providing instructions for how to do something
  • Sharing tips, best practices, and other helpful information

Basically, this is a strategy that makes processes better, faster, and cheaper.

Let's take a look at how you can use and write knowledge base articles to take your support offerings to the next level.

Knowledge base article definition

A knowledge base article is an information about a product or service the reader can use to learn more about them, access frequently asked questions, or solve everyday problems. Everyone in and connected to your organization can benefit from knowledge articles .

Some benefits include:

  • A central store of valuable articles to eliminate superhero syndrome (a.k.a. single point of failure ), meaning you can eliminate the dependence on that one technician who knows all the critical systems inside out. The problem with superheroes is that if the team relies on that one person, they can get burnt out and feel like they can never switch off. Knowledge management takes your team from having one superhero to being a team of superheroes.
  • A central store for end-users to go for all their questions allows everyone to get what they need and get back to work.
  • They can act as a signpost for other services, for example, more information or links to the ITSM tool or service catalog .
  • Better and faster decision-making.
  • 24/7/365 access to organizational knowledge.

Best practices for writing knowledge base articles

Getting your ideas and strategy sorted is always the most difficult part when writing a condensed piece of information. That is why we are presenting you some of the best practices to consider so you don’t leave anything to the imagination of your readers. 

Start where you are

Look at what you have already, for example, incident resolution data from your ITSM tool , software maintenance docs, or hardware installation guides. 

Keep it simple

One of the mistakes when creating content is to make it overly complicated. Stick to an informative overview of the service, its use, common faults and FAQs, pictures and diagrams where appropriate, and links to supporting documentation.

Use links and length wisely

Use anchor links as a table of contents to signpost the reader to the content they need without forcing them to go through unnecessary text or preamble. This is because nothing is more frustrating than a lengthy article with no diagrams, headings, pictures, or links to break it up. Being faced with a wall of text when your end-users are already experiencing tech issues is unnecessary.

Look at your most common faults

Start with your top ten ticket types . What are the things you get asked to fix a day in and day out? No matter your organization type, you will always be asked about network, email, and desktop issues. Make sure you capture that content and have the service restoration documents with screenshots and diagrams to make them easy to follow.

Get inspired by customer questions to drive content 

You’ve looked at the most frequently logged break/fix incidents. Now, let’s look at service requests and customer questions to add value. Use the customer’s own words to capture the question and explain the answer to focus on what the customer needs.

Lean into problem management

Problem management is the practice that can identify the root cause of incidents, repeat IT faults, and create solutions and workarounds. Work with problem management to capture problems, known errors, and so on. Make sure any workaround is documented, shared, and labeled with the appropriate service or CI so everyone can access it.

As Brian Skramstad ( IT Service Management Principal at Allianz Technology) said on the 17th episode of our tech podcast , Ticket Volume , it is always a good idea to do user experience research in order to identify problems.

Make your knowledge articles actionable  

Don’t have static articles that are limited in terms of customer experience (CX) .

Add links to related articles and content to drive traffic to the right places. Look for opportunities to be proactive, for example, creating FAQs for new services that will be released soon.

Incentivize your teams

Make your support teams your biggest champions of knowledge management by making the submission of quality articles that are worth their while. Whether it’s a dashboard that highlights the top authors or an Amazon voucher for the best submission of the month – incentivize people to submit knowledge articles so that you get a variety of content.

Shift left and upskill your people

One of our favorite knowledge management principles is “shift left.” Put simply, shift left is where more senior IT technicians in the back office make their knowledge available to the less experienced front-office agents, helping them to answer more difficult customer questions. 

Ask third-line support for tips that second-line support can use and second-line support teams for tips to be handed to first-line support. If you invest time and effort in your people, they’ll become more engaged, it builds loyalty and a sense of team spirit and delivers the required sharing of knowledge.

Create knowledge articles for self-help

Don’t limit knowledge sharing to technical teams. Open it up to end-users too. There’s nothing more frustrating as an end user than ages trying to get through to the service desk for what turns out to be a straightforward resolution. Instead, make a searchable knowledge base available for hints, tips, and FAQs.

Build knowledge sharing into the day job

Make it easy for your people to create and share knowledge articles and build a culture such that it becomes second nature for everyone in IT. The more knowledge management becomes part of the day job, the more articles you generate, and the potential for helping other support teams and ultimately end customers increases exponentially.

Make your content easy to access

There’s no point in having great knowledge articles if no one uses them. Have a central place to share knowledge such that your content is visible to all. Make sure your knowledge articles are easy to find and labeled accordingly.

Types of knowledge base articles 

As we mentioned above, a knowledge base article is a type of content that is used to provide information about a specific topic of your organization. It can be used to answer questions, provide instructions, or offer tips and tricks. Based on the intentionality, it’s relevant to know what type of article is appropriate for explaining certain topics.

Informative articles

Informative articles help the reader review a specific system, function, or feature within the product. They aim for end users to help explain something they aren’t familiar with and provide an overview of any available features or options.

How-to articles

These articles are typically written for end-users rather than technical teams and are usually structured as a list to give an overview of a single feature like logging in to the system or changing your password.

"How to" knowledge base articles are typically written for end-users rather than technical teams and are usually structured as a list to give an overview of a single feature like logging in to the system or changing your password.

Troubleshooting articles

These address a specific issue a customer is experiencing and offers steps to resolve it. While you can have multiple different options for troubleshooting, they should all be focused on a single problem and labeled accordingly.

Troubleshooting knowledge base articles address a specific issue a customer is experiencing and offers steps to resolve it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) articles

These consist of a list of common questions using the voice and language of the customer. An example of typical FAQs on a shopping platform could include order questions, shipping timelines, and account management. 

FAQ knowledge base articles consist of a list of common questions using the voice and language of the customer.

Knowledge base article templates

Knowledge base article templates are a great way to create content for your organization's knowledge base. These templates are designed to be flexible and customizable, so you can use them for any topic or industry. You can also change the layout and design of the template to match your company's branding.

Keep in mind that, if you need some assistance to fill them with content, you can check out these tips to write good knowledge base articles .

Informational article

Faq articles, how to create a knowledge base article in invgate service desk.

Creating knowledge base articles on InvGate Service Desk   is a piece of cake. Thanks to our intuitive UX, you can have them published with just a few clicks.

First, go to "Articles" and click on "New Article." Once the editor opens up, you'll be able to choose the article's category, so that it's properly tagged within the knowledge base. After that, write the subject and description (using all the advice we provided above), type your article, and hit publish.

At the top part of the editor, you'll also be able to decide whether you allow user comments, and choose the privacy of the article. 

And that's it! Remember that you can try it yourself with our 30-day free trial .

I have my knowledge base in place. Now what?

The lifecycle of knowledge base articles doesn’t end once they’re published. It’s essential to keep knowledge up to date with metrics so usage and overall performance can be measured. 

InvGate Service Desk provides you with insights on the number of views, article effectiveness, amount of comments, amount of times attached to a solution, and the rating average. Plus, there's a dashboard that shows the views and how useful or not it was in a period. 

With all of that data available, you'll be able to build a review cycle into your knowledge articles to ensure that they are correct, relevant, and add value. The “progress iteratively with feedback” concept from DevOps comes in handy here. Write an article, have folks use it, and refine it over time. Add links to related articles and content to drive traffic to the right places. Look for opportunities to be proactive – for example, creating FAQs for new services coming down the pipeline.

Team members across your organization will come up with various ways they want their knowledge base documented. They might use wikis, presentation slides, embedding video instructions within the knowledge base articles, or some other system.

Your work here is to capture these insights and extract constructive feedback. Analyzing this feedback can be very helpful when updating your knowledge base documents or creating resources for external reading lists like the Pixar Wikipedia Academy.

Final thoughts

Knowledge is power; it’s one of the most important assets your organization has, so share it to maximize the benefits. And for that, we believe these following principles condense all the good tips and tricks we’ve talked about:

  • Start small so you don’t get overwhelmed.
  • Be tactical, capture your most frequently logged incidents, and service requests, and document potential fixes and next steps.
  • Just do something! Whatever gets knowledge management started and then improves it over time. If you’re struggling, start with the problem that everyone dreads having to field calls on, and document some quick fixes. Marginal gains like this are something you can build on over time until you’ve got a full-fledged knowledge base.
  • It’s all about value. Writing knowledge articles is all about value creation via the product of actionable knowledge. Whether it’s an end-user trying to learn more about a service, a first-line support analyst fixing a laptop, or a data center engineer addressing performance issues, they’re all going to succeed more quickly with pertinent knowledge to them – better outcomes through actionable, accessible knowledge. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a knowledge base in itsm .

A knowledge base is a collection of articles, FAQs, and other content that can be used to answer questions. They are often created by IT professionals who have experience with the topic. These articles can be organized into categories or searchable by keyword.

What should be in a knowledge base article? 

A knowledge base article should include the name of the service with a brief overview of what it does, plus troubleshooting steps with diagrams where appropriate.

How do you structure a knowledge base article?

A knowledge base article should include: service, a brief description, a list of benefits for the reader, a list of benefits for the company, and some actionable steps that can be taken to help improve your ITSM program, diagrams, and what to do next if more help is needed.

How can knowledge base articles be used? 

Knowledge base articles are a great way to provide service desk agents with guidance on how to handle specific customer inquiries. Knowledge base articles can be used as a resource for both agents and customers. They are usually written in an article format that is easy to read and follow. These articles can be made available to the public or restricted to just the company's employees.

They can also be used to highlight product features and promote projects pre and post-go-live so everyone, IT and end users, know what to expect.

Is a knowledge article used to support incident resolution?

Yes, it is one of the tools used in the incident resolution process. 

Which is the best way to create and maintain the knowledge base articles? 

Build in a review process with triggered alerts, so no one forgets! Assign an owner to each article or to a group of articles so that there is someone responsible for reviewing and fostering that article.

Read other articles like this : Knowledge Management , IT support , Service desk manager

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how to write a good kb article


  • How to Write a Great Knowledge Base Article

Leslie O’Flahavan

I’m not going to lie. Writing a great knowledge base article is a lot of work. Your writing must be precise, concise, and easy-to-read. You must know your topic really well, and then you must try to un-know it, so you can think like your reader—who wouldn’t be reading your KB article if they knew as much about the topic as you do. 

But take comfort in knowing that your substantial writing effort will pay off. Your readers will get the information they need, your high-quality knowledge content will build customers’ trust in your company, and you’ll sell more products and services.

Here are seven of my best tips on how to write a great knowledge base article. Like I said, I’m not going to lie. Some of these tips are easy to follow, and others will require you to invest the time in your word craft. If you need motivation, please remember that enabling self-service means avoiding hand-holding. Only high-quality content can enable self-service.

1. Include a verb in the article’s title

The title of your knowledge base article should help the search engine serve up the right content (keywords) and the human reader confirm, “Yep. This is the article I need.” The best KB article titles include verbs because a group of words with a verb in it is usually a clause, which makes the title a complete, concrete thought.

Here are three ways to write article titles that include verbs.

  • Use the reader’s question for the article title: “How Do I Find Funding For My Community Nonprofit Organization?” The benefit to this FAQ-style naming approach is that readers see their own questions and feel confident in the KB information provided.
  • Use the problem for the article title: “I Can’t Find Funding For My Community Nonprofit Organization.” If you know that your KB readers begin their knowledge search when they’ve experienced a problem, this title approach may be best.
  • Use the solution for the article title: “Find Federal Programs That Fund Community Nonprofit Organizations.”

Avoid a topic title. Topic titles lack verbs, so they’re less specific and less helpful than other types of titles. The topic title “Funding for Community Nonprofit Organizations” is OK, but it doesn’t imply that the article will help the reader find funding, which is probably the kind of help they want. Few readers if any are just curious about funding.

2. Address your reader directly: use the pronoun “you”

When people are reading KB content, they have one big, overarching question: “Is this the information I need or want?” To reassure them that they’ve found the right article, write directly to them, using the second person pronoun “you.” Write “You can update your account information…” instead of “Users can update account information…” (Remember, users don’t refer to themselves as “users,” so you shouldn’t refer to them that way either.)

What should you do if there’s more than one “you”? Let’s say you’re writing an article for a financial institution’s knowledge base and your readers will be both account managers and account holders. You’ll confuse people if you use the same “you” to refer to two different groups of users who may have different permissions or be following different steps, etc. Here are a couple of work-arounds:

  • Use headings that call out the content for each type of user. In this example, you’d write these headings: “For Account Managers” and “For Account Holders.”
  • Use “if you are…” statements. Write, “If you are an account manager, you will…” and “If you are an account holder, you should…,” etc.

3. If your KB article focuses on the solution, identify the problem, too (and vice versa)

Let’s imagine you’re writing an article for a city government’s knowledge base , which is used by city residents. The title of your article is “Dispute an Incorrect Trash Service Charge,” and the article explains the steps a resident should take when they’ve been charged incorrectly for trash service.

Your article is about the solution, but you should also briefly mention the problem. So, you could begin the article by writing, “If you’ve received a duplicate trash service charge or if you’ve been charged for a recycling bin you do not have, follow these steps to dispute the incorrect charge.”

Or, you could be writing the same article with a focus on the problem. In that case, you might title the article “I’ve Been Charged Incorrectly for Trash Service.” Begin this article by explaining the solution. You could write, “You can formally dispute an incorrect trash service charge, and the city’s Solid Waste Department staff will review your account and issue you a credit, if necessary.”

Solution or problem? Should most of your knowledge base include articles that focus on the solution or the problem? That depends on how your readers think and what they ask. If few city residents are aware that they can dispute incorrect trash service charges, but many do complain about those charges, it’s better to focus on the problem: “I’ve Been Charged Incorrectly for Trash Service.” Each article should mention both the problem and its solution, so each article has the best chance possible to meet the reader’s needs.

4. Use headings and lists to make the article easy to scan

We know readers aren’t going to read the KB article thoroughly from top to bottom, so it’s our job as writers to make the article easy to scan. To make our writing scannable, we must include scannable features such as headings and lists. (If we omit scannable features, people will still try to scan our content, but they won’t do it successfully.)

Here’s a KB article from a local government knowledge base with the somewhat inauthentic title, “ Do I need to consider zoning before I apply for a building permit? ” (Side note: Don’t write “fake question” KB titles. Of course a prospective builder needs to consider zoning! A better title would be something like “How do I review zoning requirements before I apply for a building permit?”)

The original version of this article lacks the headings and lists that will help readers scan to the section they need. I’ve provided a revised, scannable version.

Just by looking easier to read, a KB article with headings and lists motivates the reader. If we want people to use our self-service options, we must make them look like they won’t be a ton of work.

5. Use relevant visuals, but add commentary

Many knowledge base articles have more visual content, especially screenshots, than they do written content. That’s OK. If showing your reader what the screen will look like is the best way to help them complete a task or understand a process, then provide screenshots galore, by all means.

However, expert KB article writers never provide screenshots without commentary. Here are examples of screenshot commentary in knowledge base articles provided by Digital Services Georgia (a state agency):

  • Write a title for the screenshot. In the article “ How do I get rid of the extra space on my homepage/Landing Page? ,” the first screenshot is titled “There’s extra empty space on my Landing Page,” which helps readers immediately understand what they are seeing.
  • Write a caption for the screenshot. The “ Why is my image cropping? ” article uses captions above each image.
  • Associate instructions or components with the screenshot. The “ Call to Action ” KB article uses numbers to indicate the five components of a call to action.
  • Use arrows, highlighting, or callouts to direct the reader’s attention in the screenshot. For example, the article “ Why won't my link URL update? ” includes a red call-out box in the Solutions screenshot.

6. Use internal hyperlinks for long articles

Internal hyperlinks help KB article writers cope with the “Goldilocks” problem. We don’t want to drown readers with articles that are too long, but we don’t want to leave readers thirsty for information with articles that are too short. Internal hyperlinks allow us to write articles that—with the click of a link—will be just the right length for individual readers.

Internal links also help readers move easily through or to the sections of a KB article, which is important. We know readers may return to a KB article several times as their need for and understanding of its content changes. Internal links will help them find the info they need, and skip the info they’ve already acquired.

7. Offer access to more — and deeper — information (but segregate it)

It’s a good idea to offer a Read More, Learn More, or Related Articles section in your KB article, but place the “More” list at the end instead of linking to the related information within the article body.

Final Thoughts

It’s not about the font. It’s not about the word count. And it’s certainly not about the fancy technical terms. Writing a great knowledgebase article is all about the reader. If you can anticipate and answer your readers’ questions on a topic or process, you can write a great knowledge base article.

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Best Practices for Writing Knowledge Base Articles

Everything you need to know to write knowledge base articles that people will read willingly and use easily.

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With examples from real knowledge base articles, both good and bad, you’ll learn how to:

  • Write a great title and headings to make an article easily scannable
  • Craft clear instructions both beginners and experts can follow
  • Avoid common mistakes that make an article badly written
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Guide, Tips and Templates for Effective Knowledge Base Article

On April 24, 2023

Gone are the days when a customer directly called a sales representative to require information, ask for instruction or even enquire refund policy. Customer self-service has changed the behavioural patterns of both business owners and consumers in a completely different way. Nowadays, buyers have a tendency to look for assistance themselves by diving into an informative knowledge base (KB) article . 

Understanding the significant role of helpful KB articles, in this post, Smart Tribune will be providing you with a comprehensive guide to smoothen customer experience and exceed their expectations with:

  • Digestive knowledge base article definition;
  • Steps to create high-quality content for help centre articles;
  • Key elements of support articles;
  • Knowledge base best practices;
  • Frequently asked questions about a help center. 

If you feel pumped and so do I, let's get the ball rolling.

A Complete Guide to Knowledge Base Article

What is A Knowledge Base Article  

Before digging deeper into how to create help articles on your website, we will be getting a better grip on the fundamentals of a knowledge base and a knowledge base article. 

Knowledge base refers to a centralized online resource of information in which a company or organization publicly shares their instruction, updates, reports, procedures, policies, articles, documents and other internal related info. 

Normally, internet users can easily search for information by entering keywords in search engines or access the knowledge base directly and look for the needed info within categories and tags . 

Screenshot knowledge base article

By the same token, knowledge base articles are specific pieces of content within a knowledge base that provides information and guidance on a particular topic. Knowledge base articles are typically written in a concise and structured format that is easy to read and understand . 

Common KB article types are

  • Step-by-step instructions , 
  • Troubleshooting tips , 
  • Best practices , 
  • FAQs  

that are related to a particular product, service, or process.

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Business owners can leverage knowledge base articles to improve customer self-service and enhance technical support operations . For example, if a customer encounters an issue with a product, they may search the knowledge base for an article that addresses the problem. Doubtlessly, knowledge base articles can help customers resolve their problems quickly and efficiently , without contacting customer support. 

Minimizing the involvement of customer support staff can profoundly boost your customer experience and build brand love as consumers spend no time waiting for assistance . Besides, businesses can optimize human resources cost and allocation since a knowledge base can support thousands of customers at once. 

save human resources by using knowledge base article

In addition to customer support, knowledge base articles also come in useful for the employee knowledge transfer process . They help potently share best practices and prowess across teams and departments.

As a knowledge base of paramount importance for efficient business operations, we've curated a pile of valuable articles just for you to make the most of it. 

  • Why Knowledge Base Boosts Your Employees Productivity?
  • The Basics of Creating and Managing A Knowledge Base
  • 100+ Best Knowledge Base Examples - Analyzation and Key Takeaways

How to Write A Knowledge Base Article That Benefits Your Customers

How to Write A Knowledge Base Article That Benefits Your Customers


  • Identify your target audience

Determining your target audience is essential when writing a knowledge base article because it allows you to tailor your content to their specific demands and level of understanding . 

By understanding who your audience is, you can apply language, examples, and other lexical elements that are appropriate for their expertise. Unfamiliar jargon or technical terms may bring about misunderstanding and poor customer experience. 

Additionally, deep insights into the target audience can help you anticipate their needs and expectations . 

For example, if your audiences are tech-savvy, they may require more in-depth information about a particular product or service. On the other hand, if most of your audiences are non-technical consumers, they may require more basic information and digestive explanations.

Use language that customers love in knowledge base article

By devoting more effort to identifying your target audience and customizing your content to satisfy their needs , you can ensure that your knowledge base article is useful and relevant . This will help your customer solve their problems in a much shorter time . 

Define the scope of your KB article  

By defining the scope, you establish the specific topic that you will cover, determine the level of detail of the content, and effectively manage time and resources . 

Defining the scope of a knowledge base article makes a significant contribution to keeping your content focused, applicable, and helpful for your audience.  

With the particular topic and level of detail in mind, you can actively narrow the scope of your article. By doing so, you make support articles more readable and easy to understand for your audience, as they won't be overwhelmed by too much information .

Simultaneously, defining the scope of your article allows you to avoid wasting time and resources on researching and writing about topics that are NOT relevant to your audience.

  • Conduct research

Gather all the information you need to write the article, including any supporting documentation or references . This may include user manuals, technical specifications, dev docs, business terms and policies, and the like. 

In this phase, to save time and yield your audience with insightful KB articles, asking for help from experts is highly recommended . Expertise, experience and knowledge collected from professionals can turbocharge your content, making it more valuable and impactful. 

conduct research before writing knowledge base article

That's all for the preparation phase. Now, it's time to pick up your pen. 


  • Organize your content

In order to keep your article organized and logical, you can build an outline template that includes several essential elements and general requirements. 

Content writers for knowledge base articles should lay out headings , subheadings , and bullet points to make the information easy to follow and digest. Also, they should be trained to use clear and concise language and avoid using overly complicated sentences .

A well-crafted outline must serve as a primer for creating a helpful knowledge base article. Check out the following key elements of a good outline to make yours:

  • Clear and specific topic : In the earlier stage, you've already determined the topic. So, in this step, make sure your outline covers all of the main points that your audience looks for.  
  • Logical organization : Organize your ideas in a logical and coherent manner, grouping related concepts together and arranging them in a logical order.
  • Main points : Identify the main points or arguments you want to make, and support each with evidence or examples.
  • Subpoints : Break down each main point into subpoints or supporting details, which add depth and clarity to your arguments.
  • Transitions : Use transitional phrases or sentences to connect one idea to another, and help the reader follow your train of thought.
  • Flexibility : Be flexible and willing to adjust your outline as needed. Your ideas and research may evolve as you work on your KB article, and your outline should be able to accommodate those changes.

Here comes a content outline example for knowledge base article.

Heading 1: The title or the main topic of the knowledge base article

Short introduction

Heading 2: First main point - Heading

Heading 3: Subpoint 1 - Subheading

Heading 3: Subpoint 2 - Subheading

Heading 3: Subpoint 3 - Subheading

Heading 2: Second main point - Heading

Heading 2: Conclusion

  • Write and edit your article

After the research phase and outline setup, you can start writing your article, focusing on providing clear and actionable information . 

After you've finished writing, proofread and edit your article to ensure it is error-free and understandable .

Proofread and edit knowledge base article

Use visuals 

To illustrate your points and make the content more engaging, you and the content team should incorporate visuals, such as images or screenshots. 

Post-writing Actions 

  • Ask for peer review

After finishing a knowledge base article, writers should ask for review and feedback from co-workers. A different point of view along with objective feedback will help you improve the knowledge base article quality as you may not spot a minor grammar mistake or a flaw in coherence.

By getting a co-worker to point out grammar, logic, wording or typo mistakes, you can quickly adjust knowledge base article content and ensure its highest caliber . 

Ask for customer feedback

Besides peer check, collecting feedback or comments from your customer is a brilliant idea to elevate your knowledge base content. 

A popup surveying customer satisfaction level or checking the helpfulness of the KB article enables you to constantly update content and raise the content quality . 

ask for customer feedback for knowledge base article

Thousands of websites and businesses ask for your customer feedback and modify their knowledge base articles accordingly to polish the content and improve customer experience. 

Audit and adjust your content

Knowledge base article is like other types of content. They need updating regularly to be up-to-date and helpful for audiences . 

Every 3 months or 6 months or a year (based on your business demands), your knowledge base system should be audited and edited in bulk as the provided information may no longer be applicable. In case you have a big change in your terms and policy or product attributes and other brand-related info, you should adjust content immediately to avoid misleading . 

Free Knowledge Base Article Templates 

To help you save time and get a broad picture of how a knowledge base article should be structured, we will walk you through some of the typical knowledge base article templates:

  • Step-by-step instructions, 
  • Troubleshooting tips, 

Even though each type of knowledge base article has a particular structure, writers must include an introduction , body , and conclusion in every piece of content . 

Step-by-step instruction 

Step-by-step instruction or How-to knowledge base article is a critical part of a useful knowledge base system used to show users how to perform certain tasks. Step-by-step instruction assists customers to troubleshoot the problems they encounter with a service or a product. 

Here is a universal step-by-step instruction knowledge base article format:

Title : How to [name the task]?

Task : A brief introduction of the task (eg.: "In this article, we will walk you through ...", "This article will help you to ...", "By following this instruction, you'll be able to ...")

Prerequisites (if applicable): A list of products/features/customers the instruction can be applied to]

Instructions :

Result : Brief description of what should be possible once the task is completed

Further Reading : A collection of related articles with links

Troubleshooting tips

The knowledge base should be as useful as possible, that's why troubleshooting tips are included. Troubleshooting tips in the KB article serve as official suggested solutions for customers to solve problems . 

Let's take a closer look at it:

Title : Problem name

Problem : Brief introduction of the problem to be addressed and overview of possible solutions

Solutions :

Result : Description of how to ensure the problem is solved

Alternatives : Further elaboration on the next steps if the problem isn’t solved

(e.g. “If none of these actions work, please call our customer support at +44 203 9257 966 or email us at [email protected])

Further Reading : A collection of related articles with links.

By providing articles on frequently asked questions, a business helps customers easily find solutions for common snags. 

Here comes the free FAQs knowledge base template: 

Title : Frequently Asked Questions

Table of contents :

Section 1 (e.g. General Questions)

Question 1 (e.g. What is function X?)

Question 2 (e.g. What are the benefits of function X?)

Section 2 (e.g. Applicable Cases)

Question 1 (e.g. When to use function X?)

Question 2 (e.g. Who should use function X?)

Tips for Creating High-Quality Knowledge Base Articles

There exist a handful of requirements for high-quality content of knowledge base articles. However, some of the knowledge base best practices can be considered as top priorities. 

Tips for Creating  High-Quality  Knowledge Base Articles

Using language that customers love

A business has a tendency to use branded terms to mention features or elements of its service or product, but customers may not know those terms and never search for them. To make sure your customer finds the appropriate support in the quickest manner, you should review support conversations to collect terms that your customers use to talk about your offerings and apply them to your knowledge base article. 

Deploying logical structure and formatting

Logical structure and formatting help your audience grab needed info in a shorter time. You can use headings, subheadings, bullet points, and other formatting techniques to improve readability .

Collaborating with subject matter experts

Before kicking off the writing process, you should research and ask for info from experts. Collaborating with subject matter experts can ensure the accuracy and depth of the content .

FAQs about KB Articles

What is a knowledge base article or what is a kb article.

A knowledge base is a centralized repository of information that contains knowledge, data, and other resources relevant to a particular topic or organization. It is designed to help people find answers to their questions quickly and easily by providing a comprehensive and searchable database of information.

How to write a knowledge base article?

Writing a knowledge base article involves several steps to ensure that the content is clear, concise, and helpful to the intended audience. Here are some general guidelines to follow when writing a knowledge base article:

  • Define the scope of your KB article
  • Use visuals
  • Encourage customer feedback
  • Audit and adjust content regularly

Conclusion of Knowledge Base Article

Customer self-service now has an essential role to play in elevating customer experience and changing online customer behaviour. That's why nowadays, businesses put in great effort to build a knowledge base with hundreds of helpful knowledge base articles. 

An effective knowledge base article can save you time and human resources in solving customer problems with your product or service. Besides, it gives you an edge in customer experience as your clients or buyers can address their issues themselves without waiting for sales representatives.

Hope that after reading this article, you can effortlessly build an informative support page filled with high-quality knowledge base articles. To quickly and easily store, organize and launch your help center, the use of robust technology is a must. Give Smart Knowledge a whirl to provide great customer self-service without a hitch ! 

Should you have any questions or inquiries about the knowledge base article, drop us a line to get instant support. 

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Jeremy Gallemard

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how to write a good kb article

How to Write a Knowledge Base Article in 6 Easy Steps

10 min read

So, you’ve been tasked with writing a knowledge base (kb) article for your company, now what? It might seem like an intimidating task at first, but it doesn’t need to be too hard at all. With this blog, we will cover everything you need to do to write a kb article in just 6 easy steps.

What is a kb article and why do I need to write one?

But first, let’s talk about what exactly a kb article is and why you might need to write one. Kb articles are a pretty wide term that covers essentially all product-related information that a customer might need to be successful with your product or service. This might include:

  • How-to guides
  • Troubleshooting information
  • Getting started and setup articles
  • New feature announcements
  • And much more

The reason you might need to write a kb article is if your company sells products or services that aren’t 100% self-explanatory. Which, with today’s technology advancements, are most companies.

For example, if you’re selling a banana, you don't need to write a user guide on how to peel and eat it because most, hopefully all, people already understand this. But, when selling a more complex product, or anything that involves setup information, you’re going to need to teach your customers how to best use and succeed with your product. For example, if you sell security cameras, your customers need to know how to set them up, connect them to their phone, download the videos, and much more. That is where a knowledge base comes in.

Now, let’s talk all about how to write an educational and successful kb article.

Step 1: Gather your info

Before tackling any writing, you first need to figure out what it is you are writing about. Is this kb article about setting up, is it troubleshooting a common problem, are you covering everything in one?

So, make sure you understand the exact process you need to cover in the article. For example, if this blog were a kb article, the “process” we are covering is writing a kb article .

Whatever you choose should be specific enough that a customer can find the info without reading a 100-page novel, but broad and common enough that it will help many customers. For example, this article isn’t about writing an article nor is it about how to write a kb article on connecting security camera devices to an iPhone . Balance is key.

After you’ve nailed down what exactly the kb article will be about, it’s time to do your research. If you’re going to write about connecting a camera to Bluetooth, you need to understand exactly how to do so. If you can’t understand it, then your readers won’t be able to either. This means rolling your sleeves up and diving into the product or service yourself to fully understand all of the nitty-gritty details.

After you’ve sufficiently gathered all of the information, it’s time to get inside your audience's head.

Step 2: Get inside your audience’s head

Now that you understand exactly how to use the product, you have to take a step back and pretend to forget everything you’ve just learned. Now I know, this may seem counterintuitive, however, it is absolutely critical in writing a successful kb article.

In order to properly educate customers, you have to speak a language they understand. And you have to bring yourself back to a beginner’s level. Try these three simple steps:

  • Start over. First, imagine you are brand new to this product or service and have zero knowledge of how it works. If you’re being tasked to write a kb article for an advanced, non-beginner audience, then imagine what level of knowledge they might contain versus what they do not yet know.
  • Ask questions. Now, think about all of the questions you might have about the process you are writing about. If your article is about connecting a camera to Bluetooth, you might ask yourself, do I even know how to turn on the Bluetooth settings on my phone? While that may not seem related to the camera your company sells, it is a critical step in informing your customers on how to succeed. The last thing you want is to make them conduct additional research on the steps you didn’t cover in your article. Oftentimes, these types of things can be overlooked. ‍
  • Assume nothing. The biggest key when climbing inside your audience’s head to write any kb article is to assume your audience knows nothing. Assuming they know more than they actually do is the worst mistake you can make because it will leave the reader feeling frustrated and confused. With every sentence you write, ask yourself, would an absolute beginner understand this?

Now that you understand who your audience is, what they know, and what they need to learn, it’s time to start drafting out the actual structure for your article.

Step 3: Plan your kb article structure

Finally, time to get into the actual article! The best way to tackle writing anything is to start with a solid plan. If you can get your article structure together, the writing will be a breeze.

But how do I build a kb article outline?

  • List topics. First, list out all of the questions that your article needs to answer (the ones we thought about in step two). Some kb articles might be very to-the-point and only discuss technical steps, while some like to talk about the advantages of a feature, benefits, ideas, and more. It all depends on your [brand’s voice].
  • Arrange topics. Now, try to make sense of these topic points by putting them in an order that flows well. As a whole, you will start with an introduction, discuss what the article will be about, dive into the most common information first, then get more advanced as you progress. Here’s an example: ‍
  • Add a table of contents. If your kb article is going to discuss more than a couple of topics (like our example above) then it can be a huge help to add in a table of contents at the top that will link throughout your article. This way, customers can easily find the specific answers they need without scanning through your whole page. ‍
  • Plan content. Now that you have all of your headers put together, it’s time to list out what you would like to discuss in each. Try adding a few bullet points on the topics you’d like to hit, so when it comes time to write, you already know exactly what to say. ‍
  • Plan visuals. Finally, start thinking about images. What parts of your guide will need further visual explanations? Do you need to create images or can you take screenshots? If you’re creating images, start a list of the ones you will need.

Step 4: Turn your notes into engaging writing

Yes, actually writing the article isn’t until the fourth step. But for good reason. Now, you understand your audience, thoroughly know what you need to explain, and have your entire article and necessary talking points planned out. Because we’re so prepared, writing will be a breeze.

However, there are still some important things you should keep in mind when transforming your notes into actual copy that customers will understand.

  • Use simple step-by-step numbered or bulleted lists whenever possible. This is a huge must-do for improving visibility and ensuring audiences can easily scan your document to find the necessary information they need. Customers prefer to read a few simple steps over a long, intimidating paragraph.
  • Keep paragraphs short. Break them up as much as possible with additional headers, lists, or images. Long bodies of text can look very intimidating and might cause a customer to give up on finding their answer. People like quick information in today’s world and don’t have the time to sit down for hours to read for answers.
  • Highlight the important information. If you have any important warnings, tips, ideas, or tricks inside your kb article that you want people to easily find, make sure it stands out in your text. You can highlight them in different colors, underline, bold, or whatever works with your brand style.

Highlight important information in kb article

  • Avoid jargon! As we discussed in the beginning, it’s best to assume your readers are complete beginners. Therefore, they are not going to understand any complex and technical language surrounding your product. Keep your language simple, easy-to-read, and human. And when you can, try to introduce some personality. Depending on your brand’s voice and tone , you could even add some light humor, quirky sentences, and relatable narration. But remember, the true purpose of the kb article is educational. So don’t let your important information drown in long personal stories or distracting jokes. Read some of our tips on crafting great copy .

Step 5: Add visuals

Now, for the fun part! Most of your customers are probably visual learners and will understand your kb article better if they can visually see what you are talking about. Unlike a blog post, kb article images are used for educational purposes, not flare.

Examples of media you might include in a kb article:

  • Screenshots of the process you are discussing (if it is an online one, of course)
  • Product or part images
  • GIFs walking the user through a few simple steps
  • Instructional videos
  • Demonstration videos

For each of these, a little editing can go a long way. Let’s say you are discussing the three steps to turning Bluetooth on from your iPhone. If step number two is to click on the “Bluetooth” button under the settings app, then in your screenshot, you could add a small red circle or arrow highlighting where this button is on screen. Sometimes when customers are unfamiliar with a new process, these types of callouts can help them find their answers quickly and easily.

Example of how to make visuals helpful in your kb article

But, how do I decide where I need to add visuals?

The best rule of thumb here is to add them to every place that makes sense. When it comes to visuals, the more the merrier, as long as they are useful and informative. If you want to include a screenshot of every single step a user must take, great. I’m sure many customers will find this useful. However, stray away from adding in a photo of your dog. While it may be adorable, your customers are just looking for answers right now.

If you’d rather stick to minimum images, read through your article, pick a couple of complex areas that could really use further information, and start there.

Step 6: Link to your other kb articles

Good news, the final step is the easiest one! Now that you’ve got a completed article filled with visuals and carefully-crafted information, the last thing to do is ensure customers can find all of your other content in case they come up with more questions while reading.

  • First, scan through your text and find areas where you discuss any topics that are mentioned in your other kb articles. If you don’t have any others, this is a great opportunity to jot down some ideas of more complex items you could expand more on in a future article.
  • Try to keep an eye out for product names and features. Maybe you mention the camera’s instant download feature and happen to have an entire article on how to use it. Go ahead and link it!

servicetarget kb article example of linking to other guides

  • Search for potentially confusing areas that you could link to external resources for. Maybe you don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty of iPhone’s Bluetooth capabilities but want to make sure your customers can learn if they need to. Go ahead and link out to one of iPhone’s articles, this way, your customer can find their information in just a click.
  • Finally, end your kb article with related articles. Maybe the next natural step for your customer after connecting their Bluetooth is to download your app. If that’s the case, go ahead and link to your kb article on setting up the app. This way, your customers don’t need to search for their next question because it’s already been answered.

If you take anything away from this blog, let it be this: Kb articles are not as hard as they seem . Don’t be intimidated by the complex details and tech language, because jargon is actually the opposite of what you should be writing. Keep it simple, stick to the facts, and your customers will be pleased.

Now, keep learning more about knowledge base articles with our blogs on elements of a great kb article plus examples , why your customers need kb articles, and Planning a brand new technical documentation kb from scratch - everything you need to know

how to write a good kb article

David Hayden

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Knowledge Base Articles: Types, Creating, and Examples of KB Articles

how to write a good kb article

Our modern world is so submerged in good products that such products don’t guarantee success. Loyal customers, on the other hand, can lend eclat to business. So the first thing to do to make customers happy is to have top-rank customer support. Not just for cases when a customer has troubles with a product but also to help customers make the most of a product. Great support helps to retain more customers. And knowledge base articles are an efficient way to improve your customer support.

What Is Knowledge Base Article?

A knowledge base (KB) is a brilliant source of information for users. That is an excellent repository – store, share, and organize the information the way you want and need. You can build it for both external (customers) and internal users (employees). If we talk about customers, it is vital to show them that you are ready to interact with them not only at the beginning of their journey with your product but all the way long. In case of internal users, you act for the sake of your workflow – to teach your employees how to work most effectively and reduce mistakes.

Types of Knowledge Base Articles

A knowledge base comes in many shapes and sizes. But the main two types known are internal and external knowledge bases.

An internal knowledge base prioritizes serving the company and the employees, and an external knowledge base is commonly created for the convenience of product users.

Since external knowledge bases are for customers, the content differs greatly from those on internal knowledge bases.

As for the knowledge base articles – there are many types of those:

  • informational;
  • troubleshooting;
  • documentation;
  • product descriptions;
  • installation guides;
  • and other customer service resources related to your product.

Each one of them demands its own unique structure and approach.

What Are the Reasons to Create a Knowledge Base?

The basic reasons to create a KB are the following:

  • To take care of your customers. Today, the relations between the customers and vendors include not only the sales process. That is a huge and carefully thought out strategy: customers are happy if after the purchase they get support whenever they need it. You can make them more confident by providing them with relevant information right away. It is not a problem if users do not know how to use a product in detail - they know where to look it up.
  • To save your support team from answering the same routine questions every day. In the majority of cases, the support team gets the same requests every day. They spend most of their time giving the same instructions. That is sad and unproductive. They could have done something more urgent and efficient. A knowledge base is a wonderful solution for all sides here. You will definitely reduce the number of tickets. Clients can find the information themselves, and that’s it.
  • To unify knowledge among employees. A KB created for internal use provides all the team members with the same information. Everyone acts according to the same instructions. That is a great way to eliminate information gaps, misunderstanding, and errors.

You can check out the following post to get deeper into the theme – Guest Blog: TOP 7 Reasons to Create an Online Knowledge Base .

people using gadgets to read

How to Write Knowledge Base Articles?

In fact, building a KB is not a super difficult task. Anyone can do it if they have the right tools. It depends on the company, but most often a technical writer is responsible for that. The main idea is to collect the most frequently asked questions and to write short but informative articles aimed at solving specific problems. You can ask not only the support team about the hot questions but also the sales managers, or you can check professional communities to learn about the users’ pains.

What you should pay attention to while creating a knowledge base to make it informative and efficient:

  • Define the goal of your KB. It can be anything from giving more information about your product to telling your readers about the logistics of your company. Your main intention will influence your KB’s character.
  • Involve all the departments of your company. A good KB has not only an informative function but also contributes to the marketing process and helps the sales department to attract customers. The information must be presented in a many-sided way.
  • Organize the KB using logic. KB articles should not be arranged randomly. Use a suitable structure to arrange them. It can be a hierarchy or a division into sections. The basic principle here is to make the KB convenient for those who are going to use it.
  • Take care of the branding. All the articles should be united by your brand’s style. That will make your KB look more reliable and professional.
  • Update your KB. As your product changes and gets upgraded, the information in your KB should be changed as well. Outdated information will only make customers stray away from your product.

Should I Password-Protect My Knowledge Base?

Tastes differ. Some companies prefer to make their information public. Others prefer to limit access to their docs. It depends on their aims. On the one hand, public information can be easily found by potential customers. That contributes to the sales process. But, on the other hand, not only potential customers will use it – your competitors may do this as well. It makes sense to give access to particular types of customers. So, if you want to limit access to information, make sure your knowledge management tool can do it.

In this respect, the Single Sign-On (SSO) technology becomes crucial. With its help, you can solve the access problem: you can give users limited access to your KB, and they will see particular sections they are supposed to see. Moreover, the SSO technology provides a clear authorization process. Users authorized in your product will be automatically authorized in your documentation portal. Check out this post if you want to learn more – Software Documentation in the SaaS World .

Knowledge Base Article Templates

One of the best ways to upgrade the creation of your support articles is to use a standardized set of templates. This will save time for technical writers and ensure that all your articles are consistent throughout the knowledge base. Every type of knowledge base article demands a certain template. Here are four template examples to help you with your KB:

Informational Article Template

Title: About (Feature Name)

Description: Brief description of the product or feature

Links: Anchor links to any topic within the more extensive informational article

Further reading: Links to related articles

FAQ Article Template

Title: Frequently Asked Questions

Topic (if applicable): Brief description of the topic being covered

Table of contents:

How-to Article Template

Title: How to (task name)

Task: Brief description of the task to be accomplished

Prerequisites (if applicable): Brief description of which products/features/customers the task applies to

Table of contents (if necessary)


Outcome: Brief description of what should be possible once the task is completed

Troubleshooting Article Template

Title: (what is a problem)

Problem: Brief description of the problem to be solved

Overview of possible solutions (if applicable)

Solutions :

Result: Brief description of how to confirm the problem is solved and what to do if it isn’t

Creating Knowledge Base Articles with ClickHelp

To create an effective KB, one should carefully choose the knowledge management software . Your tool should allow you to create and publish content easily, make the review process clear, make the collaboration and teamwork smooth. One of the best solutions for building a knowledge base is using an online documentation platform like ClickHelp . It can offer you all the above-mentioned features and many more options to make your KB awesome.

woman in white using laptop

Creating an informative knowledge base is not a big task if you have the right tool at hand. In a wide variety of tools, make sure you choose the most suitable one. Consider what type of information your users want to get and follow the tips described in this post to succeed in building your KB.

Good luck with your technical writing! ClickHelp Team Author, host and deliver documentation across platforms and devices

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Imaginative Writing vs. Technical Writing

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  • Feb 27, 2018

Tips for Building a Professional Knowledge Base: Your Customers Will Thank You

Knowledge Base Writing

“Information is not knowledge.”

A knowledge base is much more than a reservoir of information. A good knowledge base empowers users to solve issues on their own, without the help of an agent. When your users feel they can navigate your product without having to contact customer support, but rather by following step-by-step guides, they’re more likely to continue using the product. In addition, being able to master a process that looked complex at first can boost their confidence and make them appreciate your product even more.

Of course, a winning knowledge base starts with an even better  knowledge base software , but this article from our knowledge base experts provides some inside tips and tricks on how to create a good knowledge base.

01. Treat your knowledge base as a product

Documentation—which is the information about products that appears in a knowledge base—should always be forward thinking. This means it not only meets current gaps, but also predicts future needs that users might have. In this way, it’s like a product and should be treated as such.

02. Define your target audience

There are many types of knowledge bases out there. Some are external, providing information and support to customers, and some are internal, providing information to employees. Before you begin, define your audience: Who will use the knowledge base? Why would they come to the knowledge base? What are they expecting to find? When would they come to the knowledge base, e.g. before they perform an action, or when they’re stuck and need troubleshooting advice? Lastly, how can your knowledge base serve your organization?

Like any other product, a knowledge base should have clearly-defined KPIs. These help set the article’s tone and structure, and they allow you and others in your organization to measure how effective it is. One KPI for a knowledge base, for example, can be reducing the number of support tickets. Another can be increasing the use of a product or feature by making it more accessible and transparent.

Be sure to clearly define what “success” means for your knowledge base. Set up tools that will allow you to measure clicks and number of views. If possible, add a feedback button to help you assess whether or not users find the KB articles helpful.

03. Be proactive, not reactive

A knowledge base is a DIY solution for your users. Walk a mile in your customers’ shoes: think of the core tasks they want to accomplish, where they may encounter difficulty and what their main pain points could be.

Be proactive. Don't base your articles solely on tickets you have received; instead, imagine that you are a user who wants to perform a certain task. Click through all of the necessary steps, from beginning to end, and try to identify moments in the process where a user could get confused.

04. Don't stay in the realm of one operation, function or feature

Your users want a one-stop-shop solution to getting something done. They want to know what to do, how to do it and what effect it will have—all in one place. At Wix, when we explain how to add a video to a site, we not only explain how to add it to a website, but also include information about managing the video's settings and design, with links to more in-depth articles. We do this because we assume that once a user adds a video, they’ll then want to customize it. We try to answer their next question, before it’s been asked.

05. Style matters

Once you have clearly determined your target audience and the knowledge base's KPIs, it's time to take a top-to-bottom approach to writing. Start by creating a map of the main categories, subcategories, different article types and the connections among the articles.

Next, define a unified and consistent language - both verbal and visual. Formatting and structure are just as informative as text. They’re another form of language and once your users inherently understand a pattern, they can navigate the content more easily. In our knowledge base, for instance, we use a numbered list to indicate sequential steps and bullets to indicate a list of possible actions, tips, or important information.

Keep your articles as short as possible without taking away from the content. Use paragraphs and subheadings to divide up long text. Users may turn away if they see a huge chunk of text, so try to make sure your articles don’t seem intimidating.

06. A picture is worth a thousand words, a video is golden and a CTA takes the cake

Each of us learns and perceives information in different ways. Some people need verbal lists. Others need to see the action being performed. Some want to perform the actions themselves, while others are happy to click a button and have the task performed for them.

When you create your knowledge base articles, be sure to take into account various types of learners. Make sure to add visuals such as screenshots and videos, but don't forget to write the instructions as well, for those who prefer reading.

At Wix, we like to add a Call to Action (CTA) button that performs the task for the user, or at least provides a shortcut to the relevant location in the product.

07. Conclusion: Turn your information into knowledge

A knowledge base is an integral part of your product. Sometimes, users judge an entire product based on the quality and breadth of its knowledge base.

Your knowledge base is an important tool that can make or break your entire product. Include reviews, QA and constant updates. Define its audience and KPIs, and make sure it’s easy to navigate. Use visuals and CTAs to complement the text, and try to provide as complete a solution as possible, one that will take the user from the beginning to the very end of the task.

To sum things up, information is the key but without a method to the madness, it is useless. Knowing how to write knowledge base articles and maintaining a good KB can be a deal breaker or maker—the easier it seems to use a product, the more likely users are to choose it.

This means your knowledge base can be a very powerful marketing tool.

Looking to create a blog ? Wix has got your covered with thousands of design features, built-in SEO and marketing tools, that will allow you to scale your content, your brand and your business.

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Technique 5.1: KCS Article Structure

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Content Health begins with the article structure. A well-defined, simple structure is a fundamental element of KCS. A consistent structure contributes to both findability and readability of articles. The goal of KCS is to capture the organization's collective experience, or knowledge, in the form of articles . 

Articles capture what we have learned in responding to a request. The article content is the reusable part of the experience and should not include information that is specific to the requestor such as company names or contact information for people, entitlement, or specific locations.  That information should be kept in the system of record for interaction.  For support organizations, this event specific information is kept in the case or incident management system.

The KCS Knowledge Article.jpg

KCS is a modular approach to knowledge. Ideally, KCS articles are a page or less in length. A given situation may use multiple articles to get to the resolution. KCS articles often contain links to other other articles or more reference information that already exists in other databases.  

Establishing a Good Format or Template

The right structure ensures that KCS articles in the knowledge base are findable and usable by the intended audience . Identifying the intended audience is important because the audience defines the context for the KCS article. Ideally, the audience we are serving should be involved in creating and giving feedback on the articles.  Unfortunately, not many organizations actually enable this.

KCS seeks to create content that is good enough to be findable and usable by a specific audience.

One of the key goals of KCS is to capture the context of the issue: the description of the needs and perspective of the requestor, in their own terms. To achieve both broad reuse and relevance, the reusable context for a given situation is contained within the KCS article, in its own section.

We have found that a simple, single structure works best. And, this same structure can serve many different needs including:

  • simple Q&A
  • technical issues (both simple and complex)
  • how-to questions
  • process instruction
  • diagnostic procedures (both simple and complex).  

These are the four basic, common elements or fields of a KCS article:

  • Issue (symptom, problem, or question)—the issue is described in the requestor's words and phrases—what are they trying to do, what is not working, or what are they looking for?  It is helpful to view this field as belonging to the requestor (even though it may be captured by the responder). It must represent the requestor's perspective and context.
  • Environment —what product(s), category, or business process does the requestor have? Has anything been changed recently, such as upgrades, additions, deletions? The environment description should be as precise as possible, with standard ways to document product names, versions, or processes.  The environment will remain the same after the issue is resolved.
  • Resolution —the answer or the steps taken to resolve the issue.
  • Cause —the underlying cause of the issue.  Cause is an optional field as it is not appropriate or necessary for some types of articles.  A simple Q&A, for example, doesn't need a cause.  However, for complex technical issues, a cause can be very helpful in assisting the user in determining if an article is relevant to them.    

The article also contains a collection of attributes that describe a variety of things about the article called metadata .  Some of these attributes are added by the knowledge management system automatically, like dates, time stamps, versions, reuse counts, and the identity of  the knowledge worker(s) that created or have modified the article.  Other attributes are explicitly set by the knowledge worker as the article is created and used. This includes the audience, quality, and governance attributes.

Here again we must reiterate the "keep it simple" idea.  Resist the temptation to over-engineer the the structure or the number of templates or the metadata fields.  Make it as simple as possible and then try it.  Evolve the structure, templates, and metadata based on the organization's experience.  We have a tendency to want to make these things everything they could be in anticipation of the many ways we might use them.  Don't do it!  Use the principle of Demand Driven or, if you like, an Agile approach. Design it to be good enough to start and then plan to iterate on it: improve it based on experience.    

Leaders should note that structuring KCS article content requires a change in behavior for the knowledge worker.  There is a learning curve as the knowledge workers learn to capture and structure in their workflow.  They have to learn to distinguish the event-specific content (the event itself) from the reusable content (what we learned from the event). Coaching is crucial at this stage as that is how we promote and create new habits. This represents an investment. However, as the Solve Loop practices become second nature and we capture our collective experience as articles in the knowledge base, reuse quickly increases and create activity decreases.  The time invested in coaching to get "over the learning curve" will be more than compensated for by the time saved in the improved request-resolution process. 

The KCS article contains the reusable parts of the experience, not customer-specific or proprietary information.

Details on the Resolution Field

The resolution contains the answer to the question, a workaround, or a fix to the problem.  If the resolution contains a multi-step procedure, it improves article readability if we number the steps.

Sometimes the resolution requires authorized access, special tools or skills that the user or audience may not have.  If the audience for the article does not have the access or resources to complete the resolution, the resolution should provide instructions like "contact your support center for assistance in resolving this issue." The support center should have access to a restricted field in the article (which the user cannot see) that provides the steps to resolve the issue. It is a good idea to have an article that the user can find to indicate the issues known.  Including guidance for obtaining service in the resolution field of the externally visible article can help the requestor contact the support center and provide relevant information to the responder to minimize diagnosis.

Adding an "Internal Resolution" field in the knowledge article provides a place to capture a resolution that requires assistance.  The "Internal Resolution" field is not visible to requestors even on externally visible articles. This is a technology requirement for your knowledge management tool. If we don't have that capability, we can create a separate article that is flagged as "internal use only" and linked to the externally visible article. 

Details on the Cause Field

As we mentioned above, the Cause field is optional as not all issues have a cause (or the cause may not be known).  For example, "how-to" articles never have a cause, unless you'd like to point out that the requestor didn't read the instructions or manual.

If the cause of an issue is known, it should be added to the knowledge article.  This can be used to distinguish between two knowledge articles with the same issue description which are actually two different problems.  For example, an issue of "I can't print" may be due to the printer being out of paper, out of ink, paper jam, or a number of other potential causes, each requiring a different resolution.   When searching the knowledge base and multiple articles are found with similar issues, the cause within each article can be used to verify which problem exists for this reported issue.

An additional strategy of value to consider is to add an additional field related to the Cause field, called "Cause Test."   In the "Cause Test" field will be the procedure or description of how to validate the cause.  The requestor or responder can then use this test to confirm that the issue they have matches the knowledge article and will then have confidence that the resolution will address the issue.  For example, a cause of "out of paper" may include a cause test describing how to check the paper level in the printer.

Multimedia as Content

Throughout this document, we have talked mostly about KCS articles presented as text. However, for certain audiences and for certain types of knowledge, multimedia proves to be far more effective than text.  Many of the Consortium members are including pictures or screen shots, animation, voice and short videos as knowledge articles or as resolution to an article.  Visual images can bridge language gaps and overcome translation issues. Voice and audio clips are also increasingly common, both for ease of comprehension and for compliance with increasing regulatory requirements for accessibility. As more organizations pursue self-service, multimedia formats can be very beneficial in speeding resolution and improving the user's experience. But again, it depends on your audience.  The nature of the knowledge should dictate when and where multimedia makes sense. 

The KCS methodology and processes remain the same, but the knowledge base and delivery tools may need to be adjusted to accommodate multimedia content. 


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How Companies Should Weigh In on a Controversy

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Executives need guidance about managing their organizations’ engagement with societal issues—including hot-button topics such as gender, climate, and racial discrimination. Success in this realm does not mean avoiding public controversy or achieving unanimous support among key stakeholders, the authors write. Rather, it results from adhering to certain processes and strategies, which they have derived from recent global survey research along with examples from managerial best practice.

They offer an approach that is anchored in data but sensitive to values and context. It can be helpful in figuring out which issues to address and how; in ameliorating disappointment among stakeholders; and in managing any potential blowback.

Data can tell you what your various stakeholders care about, they write, but judgment is necessary to act in careful consideration of conflicting preferences while being consistent with your company’s values.

A better approach to stakeholder management

Idea in Brief

The challenge.

Given today’s widespread social and political polarization, executives need better guidance as they navigate hot-button topics such as gender, climate, and racial discrimination.

The Insight

Success at handling these subjects does not mean avoiding public controversy or achieving unanimous support among key stakeholders.

Executives can take stands on issues and skillfully address both internal and external pushback if they acquire a more sophisticated understanding of their stakeholders’ concerns.

On April 1, 2023, just as the March Madness college basketball tournament was getting underway, the transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney uploaded a sponsored post to Instagram to promote Bud Light. The backlash was immediate and cut deep. The beer brand was condemned by social conservatives across the United States, who launched a boycott.

  • DB David M. Bersoff is the head of research at the Edelman Trust Institute, a think tank dedicated to advancing the study of trust in society.
  • Sandra J. Sucher is a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School. She is the coauthor of The Power of Trust: How Companies Build It, Lose It, and Regain It (PublicAffairs 2021).
  • PT Peter Tufano is a Baker Foundation Professor at Harvard Business School , senior advisor to Harvard’s Salata Institue for Climate and Sustainability, and a former dean of Said Business School at the University of Oxford.

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Chris Hoffman

By Chris Hoffman , Computerworld |

Tech journalist Chris Hoffman has learned a few things during his 30 years using Windows. Follow along as he shares tips, tricks, and in-the-know insights into the Windows ecosystem.

Microsoft Copilot Pro review: Office joins the genAI revolution

Microsoft’s copilot pro brings the generative ai chatbot to office for everyone. but is it worth the monthly subscription fee.

Microsoft Copilot Pro

Microsoft’s $20-per-month Copilot Pro subscription gives you access to Microsoft’s Copilot AI assistant in Office. That means Copilot can help you write Word documents, work with Excel spreadsheets, create PowerPoint presentations, put together Outlook emails, lay out notes in OneNote, and answer questions about whatever file you have open.

That’s the hallmark feature of Copilot Pro: AI built into Office, finally available to anyone  — not just businesses. But Copilot Pro offers a lot more, and Microsoft will soon be pushing it to everyone via ads: The company is already experimenting with Copilot Pro ads in Windows 11’s Settings app.

So what exactly can Copilot Pro do, how good is it — and should you subscribe?

Looking for the ultimate Windows PC newsletter? My free Windows Intelligence newsletter delivers all the best Windows tips straight to your inbox. Plus, you’ll get free copies of Paul Thurrott’s Windows 11 and Windows 10 Field Guides (a $10 value) just for subscribing!

Copilot vs. Copilot Pro vs. Copilot for Microsoft 365

Copilot is the name of Microsoft’s genrative AI-based chatbot. Think of it like Microsoft’s ChatGPT — it uses the same underlying technology as ChatGPT. (Microsoft originally launched it as Bing Chat in 2023, but the company later renamed it “Copilot,” minimizing that Bing branding.)

There are three different Copilots to be aware of:

  • Copilot : The standard Microsoft Copilot is free. It’s built into Windows 11, and Microsoft is in the process of adding it to Windows 10. You can access Copilot on the web and via the Copilot apps for Android and iPhone .
  • Copilot Pro : This adds extra features to Copilot, including the ability to use Copilot in Microsoft Office apps like Word — something users of the free version of Copilot can’t do. It’s a paid subscription, and it’s intended for consumers or individual professionals — not businesses.
  • Copilot for Microsoft 365 : This is the version of Copilot intended for businesses . It’s more expensive than Copilot Pro, and it’s not just integrated into Office apps — with Microsoft Graph, it can tap into all of a business’s data so you can have it write a Word document based on the contents of an email, for example, or ask it for insights that might involve looking up information in a variety of documents.

Microsoft Designer generated this image when I asked it to create “a surrealist painting of a boost in an AI art generation application.”

Copilot Pro: Price and availability

Microsoft charges $20 per month for Copilot Pro. That gets you an individual subscription. Since Microsoft doesn’t offer a free trial, you’ll have to commit to at least one month to try it.

To use the Copilot Pro features in apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, you’ll need a Microsoft 365 subscription ($100 per year for a family of up to six people or $70 per year for an individual) on top of the Copilot Pro price.

That $20 per month cost matches the monthly price of ChatGPT Plus. In a lot of ways, Copilot Pro is Microsoft’s answer to ChatGPT Plus — and the most compelling aspect is integration in Office apps.

Microsoft charges businesses $30 per user per month for access to Copilot for Microsoft 365, so Copilot Pro sits in the middle, between Microsoft’s free consumer Copilot and its more expensive Copilot for Microsoft 365 product.

Like Copilot itself, Copilot Pro isn’t yet available worldwide. As of now, Microsoft says it’s “available in Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, France, United Kingdom, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and the United States.” Microsoft plans to launch Copilot Pro in more countries soon.

Copilot Pro: Features

Microsoft advertises the following features as part of Copilot Pro:

  • Copilot in Microsoft 365 apps : You’ll get access to Copilot integration in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote. This isn’t just a chat sidebar — you can ask Copilot to create a document for you, or you can request it make changes to the current document.
  • Priority access : Microsoft says you’ll get priority access to the GPT-4 and GPT-4 Turbo large language models (LLMs) during peak times. If you already use Copilot, this priority access will ensure you spend less time waiting for a response and more time getting things done.
  • AI image creation boosts : Microsoft Designer lets you generate AI images with OpenAI’s DALL-E 3 image generation model. You can create and edit images even faster with 100 “boosts” per day for Designer.

Microsoft also announced Copilot Pro will include a “ Copilot GPT Builder ” that will let you “build your own Copilot GPT — a customized Copilot tailored to a specific topic.” It sounds similar to ChatGPT’s upcoming memory feature . However, this feature isn’t available at launch.

These features are all cross-platform: You also get priority access to Copilot in the Copilot mobile apps and on the Copilot website, for example — not just in Copilot in Windows. Copilot features are also available in Microsoft 365 apps for Windows, Mac, and iPad.

The value proposition here is straightforward. Faster access to Copilot’s normal chat experience and speedier AI image creation are nice, and you’ll know whether you want them based on how much you use the features — and how often you find yourself waiting.

So, how well does the Copilot integration work in Office apps? That’s the trillion-dollar question .

I asked Copilot write from the perspective of an AI assistant proud of its Word skills. Here’s the document it created from that short prompt.

How Copilot Pro works in Microsoft 365 (a.k.a. Office) apps

Copilot is well integrated into Office — it’s much better than the Copilot integration in Windows! For example, here’s how it works in Word:

  • When you start a new document, you’ll see a “Draft with Copilot” box asking you what you want to create.
  • On each new line of text, you’ll see a Copilot icon you can click to have Copilot start writing for you.
  • The ribbon bar has a “Copilot” button right next to the “Editor” button, letting you open a Copilot sidebar that lets you work with the current document. You can ask it to write for you, summarize the current document, or change things — perhaps you want to quickly change the formatting or style of the document.
  • You can right-click some text and select Copilot > Rewrite with Copilot in the context menu to rewrite text.

While the Copilot sidebar built into Windows 11 is limited in how much it can integrate with Windows — it can’t do much beyond change a few settings — Copilot is much better at working with Office documents. It can put together PowerPoint presentations and even generate AI images for them via Microsoft Designer. It can write and format documents. It can reach into an existing document and change the style or formatting however you like.

Copilot Pro will jump in ready to help whenever you create a new document.

How useful is Copilot Pro in Office?

Copilot Pro is the same fundamentally strange chatbot you might be familiar with: It’s gone by the name Bing Chat, and it’s the same underlying model as ChatGPT. It’s the Copilot you already know — but integrated into Office. And the Office integration is well done!

But how useful will that be? As a journalist, I write as a human for humans — I’m not going to hand over my writing to Copilot anytime soon. Believe me, if Copilot were writing this review, you’d notice it not being up to the same quality!

Still, I've found Copilot Pro useful at times. I had to go through a fairly long, dense Word document recently, for instance. I was able to ask Copilot questions in the sidebar about what the document said, and it was faster than using Ctrl+F to search and try to guess where things were buried in it. Likewise, I’ve used Copilot to change formatting quickly, eliminating some tedium.

The Copilot sidebar gives you a convenient way to find information and gather insights from the current document.

In the past, I’ve had a great experience using AI tools like this for more standard formal writing. Do you need to write a standard complaint letter, inquiry, or something similar with all the formal boilerplate? Copilot would be great for that.

You can have Copilot Pro make a PowerPoint presentation for you, too — but should you? Copilot Pro will do better when you give it more detailed instructions, going back and forth, asking for changes, and having it work on small tedious things that would take time. Its work probably won’t be up to snuff if you give it a one-sentence prompt and expect it to create a business-ready document or email.

Microsoft Copilot created this presentation to show off its PowerPoint skills, complete with AI-generated art. Once again, this was created from a single short prompt.

Copilot Pro is, however, very “disconnected” compared to the way Microsoft has shown off Copilot for Microsoft 365 in the past. You’re working with your current Office document. You can’t have it gather information from multiple documents and emails, as you can with the business-focused Copilot for Microsoft 365.

Free alternatives to Copilot Pro

It’s worth noting that you can do a lot of what Copilot offers for free, if you like:

  • The Copilot chat experience is free for everyone. You  access Copilot in the built-in Copilot sidebar in Windows, online and via mobile apps, as noted earlier.
  • Microsoft Designer offers free AI image generation for everyone with a Microsoft account.
  • You can ask questions about a PDF by opening it in Microsoft Edge. Use the Copilot sidebar in Edge to ask questions about the open PDF document — or the current web page you have open.
  • Microsoft Edge’s Copilot sidebar also has a convenient “Compose” pane that will help you draft emails, paragraphs, idea lists, and entire blog posts. You can use this tool for free and paste the content into an Outlook email or Office document.

You can do a lot with the free version of Copilot. The benefit of Copilot Pro is in speeding everything up, with priority access to the chatbot and faster image generation, along with integration into the Office apps you use.

The Copilot sidebar in Microsoft Edge has some convenient text-writing tools anyone can access for free.

Is Copilot Pro worth it?

At $20 per month, Copilot Pro is the same price as ChatGPT Plus. It uses the same underlying technology. You get AI image generation tools with the DALL-E 3 model in both. The Microsoft Office integration will be a killer feature for many people, who should seriously consider switching from ChatGPT Plus to Copilot Pro.

Whether it’s worth it for you is for you to decide. How much do you use AI chatbots? Would you benefit from an AI chatbot integrated into Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote? If you’re not sure, you can find out for $20 for the first month.

If you spend a lot of time performing repetitive tasks, digging for data in Office documents, or putting together boilerplate documents, Copilot Pro could be a huge productivity boost and time-saver.

But Copilot Pro isn’t going to write the next great American novel — or my next Windows Intelligence newsletter. Still, it shines when integrated with Office — this is the most useful I’ve ever seen it. If the Windows team at Microsoft takes pointers from the Office team, the AI integration in a future version of Windows will be impressive.

Get even more Windows insights, tips, and tricks with my Windows Intelligence newsletter — three things to try every Friday. Plus, get free copies of Paul Thurrott’s Windows 11 and Windows 10 Field Guides (a $10 value) for signing up.

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Copyright © 2024 IDG Communications, Inc.

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'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

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ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form .

How to use Copilot Pro to write, edit, and analyze your Word documents


Microsoft's Copilot Pro AI offers a few benefits for $20 per month. But the most helpful one is the AI-powered integration with the different Microsoft 365 apps. For those of you who use Microsoft Word, for instance, Copilot Pro can help you write and revise your text, provide summaries of your documents, and answer questions about any document.

First, you'll need a subscription to either Microsoft 365 Personal or Family . Priced at $70 per year, the Personal edition is geared for one individual signed into as many as five devices. At $100 per year, the Family edition is aimed at up to six people on as many as five devices. The core apps in the suite include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote.

Also: Microsoft Copilot vs. Copilot Pro: Is the subscription fee worth it?

Second, you'll need the subscription to Copilot Pro if you don't already have one. To sign up, head to the Copilot Pro website . Click the Get Copilot Pro button. Confirm the subscription and the payment. The next time you use Copilot on the website, in Windows, or with the mobile apps, the Pro version will be in effect.

How to use Copilot Pro in Word

1. open word.

Launch Microsoft Word and open a blank document. Let's say you need help writing a particular type of document and want Copilot to create a draft. 

Also: Microsoft Copilot Pro vs. OpenAI's ChatGPT Plus: Which is worth your $20 a month?

A small "Draft with Copilot" window appears on the screen. If you don't see it, click the tiny "Draft with Copilot icon in the left margin."


2. Submit your request

At the text field in the window, type a description of the text you need and click the "Generate" button.


Submit your request.

3. Review the response and your options

Copilot generates and displays its response. After reading the response, you're presented with a few different options.


Review the response and your options.

4. Keep, regenerate, or remove the draft

If you like the draft, click "Keep it." The draft is then inserted into your document where you can work with it. If you don't like the draft, click the "Regenerate" button, and a new draft is created. 

Also: What is Copilot (formerly Bing Chat)? Here's everything you need to know

If you'd prefer to throw out the entire draft and start from scratch, click the trash can icon.


Keep, regenerate, or remove the draft.

5. Alter the draft

Alternatively, you can try to modify the draft by typing a specific request in the text field, such as "Make it more formal," "Make it shorter," or "Make it more casual."


Alter the draft.

6. Review the different versions

If you opt to regenerate the draft, you can switch between the different versions by clicking the left or right arrow next to the number. You can then choose to keep the draft you prefer.


7. Revise existing text

Copilot will also help you fine-tune existing text. Select the text you want to revise. Click the Copilot icon in the left margin and select "Rewrite with Copilot."


Revise existing text.

8. Review the different versions

Copilot creates a few different versions of the text. Click the arrow keys to view each version.


Review the different versions.

9. Replace or Insert

If you find one you like, click "Replace" to replace the text you selected. 

Also: ChatGPT vs. Microsoft Copilot vs. Gemini: Which is the best AI chatbot?

Click "Insert below" to insert the new draft below the existing words so you can compare the two.


Replace or Insert.

10. Adjust the tone

Click "Regenerate" to ask Copilot to try again. Click the "Adjust Tone" button and select a different tone to generate another draft.


Adjust the tone.

11. Turn text into a table

Sometimes you have text that would look and work better as a table. Copilot can help. Select the text you wish to turn into a table. Click the Copilot icon and select "Visualize as a Table."


Turn text into a table.

12. Respond to the table

In response, click "Keep it" to retain the table. Click "Regenerate" to try again. Click the trash can icon to delete it. Otherwise, type a request in the text field, such as "remove the second row" or "make the last column wider."


Respond to the table.

13. Summarize a document

Copilot Pro can provide a summary of a document with its key points. To try this, open the document you want to summarize and then click the Copilot icon on the Ribbon. 

Also: The best AI chatbots

The right sidebar displays several prompts you can use to start your question. Click the one for "Summarize this doc."


Summarize a document.

14. Review the summary

View the generated summary in the sidebar. If you like it as is, click the "Copy" button to copy the summary and paste it elsewhere.


Review the summary.

15. Revise the summary

Otherwise, choose one of the suggested questions or ask your own question to revise the summary. For example, you could tell Copilot to make the summary longer, shorter, more formal, or less formal. 

Also: The best AI image generators

You could also ask it to expand on one of the points in the summary or provide more details on a certain point. A specific response is then generated based on your request.


Revise the summary.

16. Ask questions about a document

Next, you can ask specific questions about any of the content in a document. Again, click the Copilot icon to display the sidebar. In the prompt area, type and submit your question. Copilot displays the response in the sidebar. You can then ask follow-up questions as needed.


Ask questions about a document.

More how-tos


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The best AI image generators to try right now


The best TVs of 2024: Expert tested

Four full and one empty heparin tubes and a butterfly needle arrayed on a checklist of blood test measurements

What do your blood test results mean? A toxicologist explains the basics of how to interpret them

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Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Public Health, Colorado State University

Disclosure statement

Brad Reisfeld does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Colorado State University provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.

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Your blood serves numerous roles to maintain your health. To carry out these functions, blood contains a multitude of components, including red blood cells that transport oxygen, nutrients and hormones; white blood cells that remove waste products and support the immune system; plasma that regulates temperature; and platelets that help with clotting.

Within the blood are also numerous molecules formed as byproducts of normal biochemical functions. When these molecules indicate how your cells are responding to disease, injury or stress, scientists often refer to them as biological markers, or biomarkers . Thus, biomarkers in a blood sample can represent a snapshot of the current biochemical state of your body, and analyzing them can provide information about various aspects of your health.

As a toxicologist , I study the effects of drugs and environmental contaminants on human health. As part of my work, I rely on various health-related biomarkers, many of which are measured using conventional blood tests.

Understanding what common blood tests are intended to measure can help you better interpret the results. If you have results from a recent blood test handy, please follow along.

Normal blood test ranges

Depending on the lab that analyzed your sample, the results from your blood test may be broken down into individual tests or collections of related tests called panels . Results from these panels can allow a health care professional to recommend preventive care, detect potential diseases and monitor ongoing health conditions.

For each of the tests listed in your report, there will typically be a number corresponding to your test result and a reference range or interval . This range is essentially the upper and lower limits within which most healthy people’s test results are expected to fall.

Sometimes called a normal range, a reference interval is based on statistical analyses of tests from a large number of patients in a reference population . Normal levels of some biomarkers are expected to vary across a group of people, depending on their age, sex, ethnicity and other attributes.

So, separate reference populations are often created from people with a particular attribute. For example, a reference population could comprise all women or all children. A patient’s test value can then be appropriately compared with results from the reference population that fits them best.

Reference intervals vary from lab to lab because each may use different testing methods or reference populations. This means you might not be able to compare your results with reference intervals from other labs. To determine how your test results compare with the normal range, you need to check the reference interval listed on your lab report.

If you have results for a given test from different labs, your clinician will likely focus on test trends relative to their reference intervals and not the numerical results themselves.

Interpreting your blood test results

There are numerous blood panels intended to test specific aspects of your health. These include panels that look at the cellular components of your blood, biomarkers of kidney and liver function, and many more.

Rather than describe each panel, let’s look at a hypothetical case study that requires using several panels to diagnose a disease.

In this situation, a patient visits their health care provider for fatigue that has lasted several months. Numerous factors and disorders can result in prolonged or chronic fatigue.

Based on a physical examination, other symptoms and medical history, the health practitioner suspects that the patient could be suffering from any of the following: anemia, an underactive thyroid or diabetes.

Close-up of a person holding gauze against the crook of their arm while another person holds up two heparin tubes of blood

Blood tests would help further narrow down the cause of fatigue.

Anemia is a condition involving reduced blood capacity to transport oxygen. This results from either lower than normal levels of red blood cells or a decrease in the quantity or quality of hemoglobin , the protein that allows these cells to transport oxygen.

A complete blood count panel measures various components of the blood to provide a comprehensive overview of the cells that make it up. Low values of red blood cell count, or RBC, hemoglobin, or Hb, and hematocrit, or HCT, would indicate that the patient is suffering from anemia.

Hypothyroidism is a disorder in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. These include thyroid-stimulating hormone, or TSH, which stimulates the thyroid gland to release two other hormones: triiodothyronine, or T3, and thyroxine, or T4. The thyroid function panel measures the levels of these hormones to assess thyroid-related health.

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when blood sugar levels are too high. Excessive glucose molecules in the bloodstream can bind to hemoglobin and form what’s called glycated hemoglobin, or HbA1c. A hemoglobin A1c test measures the percentage of HbA1c present relative to the total amount of hemoglobin. This provides a history of glucose levels in the bloodstream over a period of about three months prior to the test.

Providing additional information is the basic metabolic panel, or BMP , which measures the amount various substances in your blood. These include:

  • Glucose, a type of sugar that provides energy for your body and brain. Relevant to diabetes, the BMP measures the blood glucose levels at the time of the test.
  • Calcium, a mineral essential for proper functioning of your nerves, muscles and heart.
  • Creatinine, a byproduct of muscle activity.
  • Blood urea nitrogen, or BUN, the amount of the waste product urea your kidneys help remove from your blood. These indicate the status of a person’s metabolism, kidney health and electrolyte balance.

With results from each of these panels, the health professional would assess the patient’s values relative to their reference intervals and determine which condition they most likely have.

Understanding the purpose of blood tests and how to interpret them can help patients partner with their health care providers and become more informed about their health.

  • Blood cells
  • Diagnostic tools
  • Diagnostics
  • Laboratory tests
  • Medical test
  • Lab testing
  • Clinical pathology

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