This article is about task accomplishment descriptions. For how-to guides on Wikipedia processes and practices, see Category:Wikipedia how-to. A how-to is an informal, often short, description of how to accomplish a specific task. A how-to is usually meant bartending for dummies pdf help non-experts, may leave out details that are only important to experts, and may also be greatly simplified from an overall discussion of the topic.
One of the earliest how-to books was published in 1569 and entitled, A booke of the arte and maner, how to plant and graffe all sortes of trees: With divers other new practise, by one of the Abbey of Saint Vincent in Fraunce by Leonard Mascall. Perhaps the best known full-length book in the genre is How to Win Friends and Influence People, written by Dale Carnegie in 1936. It is common practice to write the phrase as “HOWTO” in the open-source community.
This is consistent with the traditional naming scheme for technical documentation, such as FAQ and README. Another possible reason is that this makes it easier to find a how-to in search engines like Google as searching with the words “to” and “how” does not necessarily deliver relevant search results. How-tos have a long history as a way of sharing knowledge on the Internet, but are less successful than FAQs, manuals, recipes and guides.
In the beginning, most how-tos on the Internet were the result of a complex process in which an author wrote a how-to for potential readers. After 2001, user added content played a more and more important role on the internet in a trend that is widely referred to as Web 2.