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Whenever you buy something electrical, you always get the huge user manual that goes with it. If it’s software or perhaps a removable hard-drive, most of these companies have moved with the times and provided a PDF copy of the manual instead. But more likely than not, you’re holding a paper copy of the manual, adding to the huge paper clutter already in your home.

But wait! I can tell you that in all likelihood, the paper manual you’re holding is already online in PDF or HTML form. So you can probably safely chuck the paper manual and download the digital version from one of these 5 sources.

Central Manuals

Central Manuals has a huge selection of manuals covering virtually every piece of hardware you can think of, and a lot of software too. Despite the terrible colour scheme above, just click on your desired category, then the name of the manufacturer, then the make and model.

All manuals are in PDF format, and all are free to download.

Scribd Instruction Manuals

Scribd is an ebook subscription service Go On A Reading Buffet: 4 Top eBook Subscription Services Compared Go On A Reading Buffet: 4 Top eBook Subscription Services Compared Ebook subscription sites are here. With a monthly fee, you can unlock an entire world of literature just waiting to be read at your convenience. Should you subscribe? If so, which site is best? Read More . It also has an expansive documents section built up with user contributions. The Gadgets section has more than 8000 user manuals to choose from, and you can download them either in PDF or TXT format. You can also read them in full on Scribd itself.

If you make a free account and sign in, you can save titles to your account for future reference, zoom in and out, and share the manuals on social networks.

Archive.org Manual Library

The Internet Archive’s mission is to preserve webpages, books, music, movie & TV footage, classic games Internet Archive Brings 900 Classic Arcade Games To Your Browser. Here Are 7 Of The Best Internet Archive Brings 900 Classic Arcade Games To Your Browser. Here Are 7 Of The Best Your town's arcade may have shut down in the mid-90s, but that shouldn't stop you from getting your classic games fix. Read More , and more.

Another category on the site is manuals, and some which are available include computer game manuals, hardware manuals, electronics, and much more.

You can read them on the site in an embedded widget or download them in various formats — PDF, ePUB, Kindle, Daisy, TXT, and DjVu.

Apple Manuals

Apple has a huge customer support section on their website. Apart from the user forums, Apple also has help pages on every conceivable problem. What they also have are user manuals for various Apple devices.

You can download a manual in PDF, iBooks, and Web.

Manuals Online

Manuals Online cover over 700,000 products, including Sony, Apple, Panasonic, and Dell. As with the others, choose the manufacturer, and then the make and model. You can then either download the manual in PDF form, or print it out.

These days, keeping paper copies of anything is becoming needless, as you can easily find the digital version online if you know where to look. These sites also come to the rescue if you have lost your old manual and are hunting for a copy. We have shown you a few good specialised user manual sites Can't Find a User Manual For Your Gear? Search These Specialist Websites Can't Find a User Manual For Your Gear? Search These Specialist Websites The meticulous guy with foresight will either scan a user manual and keep a softcopy in his computer, or look for a softcopy that’s usually available as PDF on the manufacturer’s site. There’s a third... Read More before? Probably, there are more. Where do you get your user manuals from?

Do you keep the user manuals that come with the product, or do you prefer to stay paperless The Future Is Here - Your Guide to Having a Paperless Life Today The Future Is Here - Your Guide to Having a Paperless Life Today Paperless – a term that is used quite often now days. But what does it mean? And to what extent does it apply? Certainly we all still use paper to some degree despite the advancements... Read More ? Where do you get your user manuals from?

Image Credits: Folders on bookshelf Via Shutterstock

  1. Armando
    January 27, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    Usually the manufacturer's web page.
    It's rare to find a company nowadays that doesn't have a solid database of downloadable material for their products, esp. electronics & gadgets.

  2. dan
    January 23, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    These 3 are all geared towards electronics, software, computers, etc. but still good:

    http://flossmanuals.net/
    http://www.usersmanualguide.com/
    http://www.retrevo.com/samples/index.html

    • DonGateley
      January 26, 2015 at 8:32 pm

      Thanks for the Response, James. Perhaps it would be a good idea to switch to a pre-built comment system whose evolution you can ride such as what WordPress has. A particularly good one is what ArsTechnica uses. I don't know, however, if they rolled that themselves or if it uses some other system that might be more generally available.

  3. DonGateley
    January 22, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Yet another amazingly useful article from Mark and from MakeUseOf. This place is a gold mine.

    Just wish it would support comment notification.

    • Testy tester
      January 24, 2015 at 12:40 pm

      I've re-enabled reply notifications, so in theory you should be notified of this.

    • DonGateley
      January 24, 2015 at 5:40 pm

      Thank you Testy! Indeed I did. How about the ability to get notification when any comment is added to an article so that one can follow the whole discussion?

    • A41202813GMAIL
      January 25, 2015 at 3:18 pm

      A - Posters Replied,

      B - Posters That Replied To ( A ),

      C - All Other Posters That Commented In The Article.

      Only ( A ) Are Notified When ( B ) Reply To Them.

      ( B ) And ( C ) Are Never Notified ( Unless They Are An ( A ) Somewhere In The Same Article ).

      Cheers.

    • James Bruce
      January 26, 2015 at 8:09 am

      It's something I've wanted to add, but unfortunately I don't have development control over the front end at the moment, and that feature isn't on the list of the person who does. I'll add it to my list though for future.

  4. dragonmouth
    January 22, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    Various manuals can also be downloaded from the following sites:
    http://www.manualslib.com
    safemanuals.com
    http://www.the-manuals.com
    http://www.espares.co.uk/usermanuals.aspx
    http://www.eserviceinfo.com
    en.all-manuals.net
    http://www.datasheetlib.com
    flossmanuals.net

  5. Eileen Souza
    January 22, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    I keep electronic manuals in a library called Manuals, so I download them whenever I can, usually from the vendor site. Thank you for providing me with some additional sources.

  6. Gavin
    January 22, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    This is a great resource. Many tech devices don't come with manuals in the same way as they used to, as the manufacturers don't want people tinkering with the tech and then claiming it is broken. It's great to be able to get involved with the hardware you actually own, understand what it is and what is wrong with it and actually stand a chance of fixing, minus a costly trip to the phone or computer shop etc.

  7. CoolHappyGuy
    January 22, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Evernote is the ideal place to store these digital user manuals. Advantages include:
    - Easy to organize and retrieve
    - Searchable
    - Your note can -- and should! -- include purchase info (amount, date, retailer) that is good for uses beyond operation of the device (warranty, insurance, comparison, etc.)
    - It naturally becomes a part of your home inventory
    - Sooo easy to retrieve.
    - Portable

  8. suzybel58
    January 22, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    I get a lot of second hand stuff that doesn't come with a manual. I search online, a lot of times with no success, probably because of the age of the gadget. I have used Retrevo with some success, and the company manual when I can get it. Thanks for these.

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