7 Free Release Notes Templates

A release note template is a technical document made and shared when a new software product or an update to an existing software product is released. It usually contains information about recent updates, new features, and bug fixes. It quickly summarizes the exact changes made in a product update or introduces a new product briefly.

It is intended for both external and internal users. Users, developers, QA testers, and other parties involved in the software release process all receive a release note. To create a great user experience, you need to create a well-written release log for each update you release. This also makes it easier to create new products and use the right tools for the product roadmap.

Technical writers typically create release notes and communication materials to distribute to clients. Most companies post a scrum release note on their official website or blog after they release an update or service pack. It lets users know when updates will be ready so they can get ready before they update the app. Software users should watch because updates could occur at any time.

Release notes are also a source of information when creating documentation for end users, user guides, and training materials. If they are written well, release notes can foster engagement and boost customer loyalty.

Importance of Release Notes

Release notes are essential to the whole product experience because they allow you to connect with customers and improve support, marketing, and feature engagement, among other things. When done correctly, they can foster engagement and build customer loyalty. The following are some factors we believe are crucial for release notes.

Inform users of new features: Release notes are a great way to engage users with your product. If you just released a new feature, why not tell your customers by putting that information in your release notes? By updating your users on new features (and fixes), you can demonstrate that you value their opinions and are trying to improve the product. Users feel appreciated as a result. You can also tell your users how to use a new feature by linking your release notes to more detailed documentation.

Improve team and customer communication: Release notes are an excellent “source of truth” regarding the significant changes. Release notes can be helpful in sales and marketing teams as they plan new content and speak with customers. Writing release notes collectively as a team can enhance teamwork and bring more members to the same point of view. When support teams get questions or feedback about the product, they can refer to the release notes or direct customers to them.

Tells Product Story: Keeping a historical record of the changes, enhancements, and fixes makes it easier to tell your product’s story as it develops. Release notes are a way to show how far your team has come and how far your product has come. 

What Does a Good Release Note Look Like?

There is no prescribed format for the release note. The release note template can serve as a starting point, but some developers may want to add their flair, which is acceptable.

The date and the name of the product or piece of software will appear at the top. After that, more information about the release, such as new features, bug fixes, and changes to the documentation, will be available.

The document’s main body will detail every release-related topic. At this point, a legal disclaimer should be included. Once each of these has been addressed, it’s time for the wrap-up. The note should list any known problems that could happen when people use the software or read the document. 

It must also list future releases and development plans and thank those who have helped with the projects. 

What Should Be Included in the Release Note Template?

Even though there is no standard way to write release notes, they should follow the rules of your business or company. The release notes for a brand-new product may be a little more detailed than those for bug fixes and feature upgrades.

They typically include some variation of the following:

  • Header: The document’s title, product name, release note version, release note number, and release note information are all listed in the header.
  • Overview: A concise description of the product, new features, or bug fixes.
  • Purpose:  What’s new about a release?
  • Issue Summary:  A summary of the problem and proposed improvements.
  • Steps to Reproduce: What procedures were followed after the bug was found?
  • Resolution: An outline of the changes made to address the bug.
  • End-User Impact: A list of the actions or features users will need to take because of the changes.
  • Support Impacts: A list of the specific adjustments needed to manage the software.
  • Notes: Notes regarding upgrades, product documentation, and other installation-related issues with software or hardware.
  • Disclaimers: Product disclaimers
  • Contact: Contact details for support inquiries.

Release Notes Templates in Word format

How to Create a Release Note Template

Following these steps will help you create a practical release note.

  1. Add a title: Add a title to the release document that summarizes the contents.
  1. Include product/company details: Include the product and company names here. 
  1. Mention the release version: Here, you can put the release date, the version number, or the full name of the operating system, as well as the country where it was made.
  1. New feature details: All the new functions can be explained in this phase.
  1. Details of the problem that has been fixed: List each bug that has been fixed in the updated version of the program.
  1. Mention improvements: In this section, you should detail all how the software has been enhanced.
  1. Additional resources: Here, you’ll find a comprehensive compilation of troubleshooting tools.
  1. Bibliography: These are links to extra materials, like documents or programs, where you can find out more information.
  1. Contact: At the end of the document, provide contact details.

Release Notes Template Online Tools

Release Notes Best Practices

Bear in mind the following best practices:

  • Use Plain Language: Your release notes shouldn’t contain any technical speak. Keep in mind that users are the intended audience of the release notes. Additionally, most users won’t be computer scientists, so use language they can understand.
  • Keep It Simple: Keep your descriptions brief and easy to understand. If you only made a minor modification or an update, state what you did without going into great detail. Only significant updates and brand-new products ought to have more thorough release notes.
  • Be customer-centric: Make it clear and simple for users to focus on the fixes, enhancements, and new features that are of interest to them.
  • Add Relevant Links: Release notes should only include summaries of information. They should also include links to user guides, video tutorials, and other sources of more detailed information.
  • Formatting: Use headings, bold text, and other visual cues to make it easier for the user to skim through your release notes.

Release Notes Email Template

Release Note Distribution Methods

The release documents can be distributed to users in several ways. The distribution method might involve the following:

  • Email Distribution: This distribution method is ideal for those who don’t have the time to read extensive documentation for each key component of your product or service.
  • Social Media & Community Distribution: The release notes can also be sent through the business’s social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
  • Distribution as a Website Banner: You could include a small banner to highlight essential releases. They might rank among the website’s most popular pages.
  • In-app Distribution: Applications like Click Up, Jira, and Slack have pre-made formats. You can easily send the necessary information to the user by simply filling out release note templates.

Release Notes Templates in Powerpoint PPT Format

Release Notes Template FAQs

Why do you need a release note?

Release Notes are written to inform customers about product changes, specifically modifications likely to have a major or minor impact on their experience.

What is a release note template?

It is a template for writing notes. The typical structure of this document includes sections like introduction, why and how, what has changed since the last release, the changes and their effects, etc. Even though there are no hard and fast rules for release note templates, most of them follow a certain format.

Who prepares the release notes?

The lead developer at one- and two-person startups will be in charge of creating release notes. A product manager may fill this role at medium-sized businesses. While multiple product managers and the head of product or chief product officer may collaborate to manage release notes at large businesses.

Are release notes necessary?

Release notes are important because they tell customers where they can find information about updates to a product.

Release Note vs Release Plan

The main difference between a release note and a release plan is that a plan anticipates what is expected, while a note describes what has actually been released. We use a release plan template to make these plans.

Shane Drumm

Shane Drumm

Shane Drumm, holding certifications in PMP®, PMI-ACP®, CSM, and LPM, is the author behind numerous articles featured here. Hailing from County Cork, Ireland, his expertise lies in implementing Agile methodologies with geographically dispersed teams for software development projects. In his leisure, he dedicates time to web development and Ironman triathlon training. Find out more about Shane on shanedrumm.com and please reach out and connect with Shane on LinkedIn.

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