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Tutorial vs. Guide: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 7, 2023
A tutorial is a detailed, instructional lesson, while a guide is a reference that provides direction or information.

Key Differences

A "tutorial" typically refers to an educational session where a tutor gives detailed information on a topic, often involving hands-on practice. A "guide," on the other hand, provides instructions, directions, or expert advice on how to do something, often in a less structured format.
Tutorials are usually designed to teach specific skills or knowledge through direct instruction and are often interactive, allowing for questions and answers. Guides tend to be more general and can serve as a manual or handbook, offering step-by-step assistance or tips for navigation.
In academia, a tutorial might be a small class or lecture on a particular subject, especially one given by a tutor to an individual or very small group. Guides can be found in various formats, like books, pamphlets, or online articles, and are used for a wide range of topics, from travel to software use.
The purpose of a tutorial is to provide in-depth understanding and personalized guidance, focusing on student engagement. A guide aims to direct or influence general practice, often providing the necessary information to complete tasks independently.
While a tutorial is often interactive and designed to teach through practice and instruction, a guide is usually a written or digital resource offering information that can be consulted as needed without the requirement for an instructor.

Comparison Chart


To teach and instruct
To provide information and direction


Typically high, with hands-on elements
Usually low, used for reference


Can be a class, video, or online course
Often a manual, handbook, or article

Instruction Level

In-depth and structured
General and step-by-step

Usage Scenario

Educational settings, skill development
Diverse situations, from travel to technology

Tutorial and Guide Definitions


A period of study with a tutor involving one student or a small group.
The university students attended a weekly tutorial on European history.


A person who advises or shows the way to others.
The tour guide led us through the ancient ruins, explaining their history.


An instructional lesson that teaches a particular skill or knowledge.
She watched a makeup tutorial online to learn the latest techniques.


Something that helps to direct a person's actions or decisions.
His mentor's advice served as a guide throughout his career.


A supplementary class in which a small group discusses a subject.
Her calculus tutorials are incredibly helpful before exams.


A book, document, or display providing information or instructions.
She followed the guide to set up her new smartphone.


A detailed guide, especially one that teaches how to use a piece of software.
The software came with a built-in tutorial for new users.


To direct the behavior or opinion of someone.
Her principles guided her response to the ethical dilemma.


An online or video lesson that explains how to do or make something.
His YouTube channel is popular for its woodworking tutorials.


A device for steadying or directing the motion of something.
The carpenter used a guide to make a straight cut.


Of or relating to tutors or a tutor.


One who shows the way by leading, directing, or advising.


A book or class that provides instruction in a particular area.


One who serves as a model for others, as in a course of conduct.


Is a tutorial interactive?

It often is, especially in educational or hands-on settings.

What is a tutorial?

An instructional lesson or session focusing on a particular topic.

Do tutorials require a tutor?

Not always, self-guided tutorials exist.

What is a guide?

A reference that provides directions, instructions, or advice.

Can a guide be a person?

Yes, like a tour guide who gives information on places.

What's the main goal of a guide?

To provide information or directions for a task or subject.

Can a tutorial be written?

Yes, tutorials can be in written form, like a booklet or online content.

Is a guide always a physical object?

No, it can also be digital or even a person.

Are tutorials only for academic subjects?

No, they can be for any subject, including hobbies and technology.

How are tutorials delivered?

Via classes, videos, or step-by-step instructions.

What's the main goal of a tutorial?

To teach or explain a subject in detail.

How are guides delivered?

As books, pamphlets, online articles, or verbally.

Are tutorials used in professional training?

Yes, they're common in professional and skills training.

Are guides used in professional contexts?

Yes, especially for procedures and company policies.

Can a guide include tutorials?

Yes, a guide can contain tutorials within it.

Can a guide be for entertainment purposes?

Yes, such as travel guides or leisure activity guides.

Can tutorials be used for DIY projects?

Absolutely, many DIY projects have tutorials.

Can a guide be used for self-teaching?

Yes, guides can be very helpful for self-teaching.

Do guides require an author?

Yes, someone must compile the information or directions.

Can a tutorial be part of a guide?

Yes, guides can include tutorial sections.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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