A handbook contains information, instruction, or a fact about a certain subject. A handbook is what students will grab to understand certain school rules or know about a certain subject, a handbook is also what employees use to learn and understand company guidelines, and a handbook is what people utilize to check on a certain fact.

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Handbook Definition & Meaning

A handbook is a type of book that contains facts and information about something.

This means that a handbook is used in almost every industry and field as a reference tool or guidebook.

What Is a Handbook?

A handbook is a concise and comprehensive collection of information, facts, instructions, and processes about something. This is reference material used by students, employees, departments, and people from different walks of life. A handbook is often interchangeably called a guidebook or manual.

10 Types of Handbook

Business Handbook

A business handbook contains all the necessary information about the business. This will come in handy for employees and third-party contractors in understanding the basic information of the business. A business handbook is among the most common types of handbooks.


Company Handbook

Companies compile their policies and procedures in one book called a company handbook. This type of handbook is essential for employers to stay on the ground, and for employees to understand their company’s guidelines. A company handbook is a go-to tool for employees if they are unsure of certain facts in the company.


Employee Handbook

Employees are the greatest assets of a business. With this, employees need to be protected and reminded of their rights and responsibilities. This is where an employee handbook comes in.


Office Handbook

An office handbook is a collection of all the processes, manuals, instructions, and information that an office needs to function. This type of handbook comes in handy for employees act it can be their guide for their daily routines. The office handbook must be made known to all office users to ensure efficiency.


Department Handbook

With every department comes different policies and procedures, this is where a department handbook comes in. This acts as a guidebook or manual for every department to operate. Department handbooks contain specific rules and distinct guidelines that are useful only for that specific department.


Student Handbook

In school, students are taught to become good individuals, hence why laws and policies are made for students to follow. A student handbook bears all policies, guidelines, and necessary information that students need to know. A student handbook is a tool that guides students in their whole stay in an educational institution. 


Manager Handbook

manager handbook guides managers and other leadership positions on their responsibilities. A manager handbook details all their duties and obligations, policies, and significant information that they need to know. This is also a compilation of all leadership and service knowledge.


Research Policy Handbook

research policy handbook contains all the rules and regulations of research. This usually includes technicalities, legal regulations, and other significant research information. The research policy handbook helps researchers make the most of the process.


Financial Employee Handbook

financial employee handbook is a guide for employees in the financial field. This handbook contains all the information needed for all kinds of financial transactions. Financial employee handbooks come in handy for entry-level financial professionals up to the experienced ones.


Independent Contractor Handbook

An independent contractor handbook is created to inform contractors of the policies and guidelines. This type of handbook creates harmony in the working relationship. The independent contractor handbook ensures that both parties are performing their responsibilities.


Handbook Uses, Purpose, and Importance

Handbook serves in many different industries and fields. This material come in handy during referencing, learning, and fact-checking. Below are some of the uses, purposes, and importance of a handbook.

Reference Tool

The main purpose of a handbook is to act as a reference tool. This document contains facts and information for guidance, instructions about how to do something, and fill in a knowledge gap. This is a handy point of reference every time someone is unsure of something.


A handbook is particularly used during training and onboarding. Handbook acts as a process maker and guides for people to learn and understand a certain something. Most handbooks contain information about organizations, their mission and vision, values, and rules.


Although a handbook and guidebook are often used interchangeably, a guidebook is part of the uses of a handbook. This material contains guides for work, school, etc. This is where people go to refresh their knowledge and ask for guidance.


A handbook aids communication in the workplace or an organization. This tool is a common ground between two parties, such as employers and employees, school admin and students, owners and users, etc. Handbook makes people’s communication valuable, consistent, and efficient.


Handbook houses various information,  guides, processes, instructions, and compilations of different resources. This tool serves as a handy and single tool for everything that one needs to know about a certain topic. Handbook compiles almost every answer to every question.

What’s in a Handbook? Parts?

General Provision

The first part of the handbook is the general provision. This includes the introduction to the organization, history, organizational information, organizational structure, mission and vision, core values, and other basic details that one needs to know.


This part lines up all the goals, expectations, aims, and objectives of the organization. This part often includes the call to action and expected outcome for all parties involved.


Policies are the meat of the handbook. This part lists the different policies, rules, codes of conduct, and various guidelines that parties need to follow.

How to Design a Handbook

1. Choose your preferred Handbook Size

2. Determine the purpose of the handbook

3. Select a ready-made Handbook Template

4. Gather details and fact-check them

5. Plot all contents accordingly

6. Secure both soft and hard copies of your handbook

7. Distribute to different handbook recipients

Handbook vs. Manual

A handbook is a collection of facts, information, instructions, and significant details about a certain topic.

A manual is a user guide containing a step-by-step process on how to use, operate, or work something.

What’s the Difference Between Handbook, Policy, and SOP?

A handbook is reference material containing facts, information, and a guide about a topic.

A policy is a set of rules and guidelines for a course of action.

An SOP or standard operating procedure is a process of routine actions and is also a set of guidelines that are expected to be made regardless of anything.

Handbook Size

Handbook sizes vary according to their use and purpose, but they are mostly printed on standard US Letter, A4, and A5 paper.

  • Letter (8.5 x 11)
  • A4 (8.3 × 11.7)
  • A5 (5.8 x 8.3)

Handbook Ideas and Examples

It is clear that handbooks are used in almost everything everywhere, so it’s best to refer to some handbook ideas and examples to save time.

  • Pharmacy Employee Handbook Ideas and Examples
  • Training Handbook Ideas and Examples
  • Parent Handbook Ideas and Examples
  • Internship Handbook Ideas and Examples
  • Project Handbook Ideas and Examples
  • Tenant Handbook Ideas and Examples
  • Workplace Handbook Ideas and Examples
  • Policy and Procedure Handbook Ideas and Examples
  • Volunteer Handbook Ideas and Examples
  • Staff Handbook Ideas and Examples


What should be included in a handbook?

The handbook must include basic information about the organization, goals, policies, legal connotations if applicable, and other significant information.

How can I improve my employee handbook?

Employee handbooks must be both fair for the employer and employees, hence getting the side of the employees will surely improve the overall quality of your handbook.

What makes a good handbook?

A good handbook includes all the necessary elements of a handbook and is complete with all the information that users need.

How often should a handbook be updated?

A handbook should be updated at least once a year, others go over their handbooks every six months to keep it updated and effective.

What is found in a company’s handbook?

A company handbook contains a welcome message from the CEO, basic information about the company including the logo, the mission vision, the history, policies including pay, attendance, etc., and guidelines for the work.

What is a policy and procedures handbook?

A policy and procedures handbook is a guidebook containing all guidelines and rules about something.

What policies are required in an employee handbook?

The required policies of an employee handbook are policies on pay, attendance, privacy and nondisclosure, code of conduct, industry-based policies, pay and benefits policies, and communication policy.

Why do small businesses need an employee handbook?

Even small businesses need an employee handbook because this guides the employees on what to do, imparts them with processes and knowledge needed for their job, and puts all information into writing.

What are the key components of an employee handbook?

The key components of an employee handbook include basic organization information, compensation policies, benefits, code of conduct, attendance, privacy, non-discrimination policies, and other significant rules.

Why is it important to have a company handbook?

A company handbook is important because it acts as a reference tool and guidebook that helps employees understand their duties and improve their knowledge about the company.

Where are handbooks commonly used?

A handbook is commonly used in schools and businesses, specifically in companies and offices.

Who should receive handbooks in a company?

There are different handbooks in every department, but a general handbook must be given to all employees regardless of position and department.

Why use handbooks?

Handbooks are efficient and effective reference tools used to guide, refresh, and improve our knowledge on a certain topic.

Where to create a handbook

Handbooks can be created using word-processing software, design software, online document maker, and the traditional way of manual pen and paper.

What are the other names of the handbook?

A handbook is often called a manual, guidebook, and rule book.

What are handbooks and manuals?

Handbooks and manuals are referencing tools or guides.

How to create a handbook

To create a handbook, you need to choose a document size, decide on an idea or the purpose of your handbook, look for a premade template, gather all the necessary details, categorize and organize each piece of information, layout accordingly, and then secure a copy of your handbook for distribution.

Where to get handbook templates

There are many different online applications and software that offer readymade handbook templates, among the many is template.net.

How do you define handbooks in simple terms?

A handbook is a portable guide containing information about a certain topic.

What are examples of handbooks?

Among the many examples of a handbook are company handbooks, student handbooks, office handbooks, restaurant handbooks, and employee handbooks.

What is the difference between textbooks and handbooks?

Textbooks are comprehensive learning materials with answering exercises, lessons, and educational information, while a handbook is a portable guidebook for a certain topic.

What is in a staff handbook?

A staff handbook is the same as an employee handbook which contains information about the company, policies, guidelines, duties and responsibilities, and other relevant information.

Why is handbook essential?

Handbook creates order in the organization, this material also puts all the policies and guidelines into writing to avoid challenges and misunderstandings.

Can a handbook be stored digitally?

Yes, handbooks can be stored digitally using online drives and file storage.

What is a teacher handbook?

The teacher handbook is a guidebook for teachers, educators, and other teaching professionals.