Is there any semantic difference between a tutorial and a walk through?

I have the feeling a tutorial is a video to explain a certain process, be it related to IT or not, whereas a walkthrough would be a sort of video games tutorial.

Is that right?

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    Please include the research you've done, or consider if your question suits our English Language Learners site better. Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. – Hot Licks Nov 30 '16 at 21:32
  • As José and I were discussing below, there are different items used in different ways depending upon the application. Are you taking about woodworking, video games, washing machine repair, or something else entirely? – Tallima Dec 1 '16 at 0:14
  • It should be noted that "walk through" has two entirely different meanings. One is the "walk through" that is done with a theatrical production -- a very crude practice session, often used to check blocking and lighting. The other is a "walk through" done within a (usually newly-constructed) building, to perform a sort of inspection. As the term is used in, say, computer programming it could have either meaning, depending on what is actually done. – Hot Licks Dec 1 '16 at 3:12

You can use the terms tutorial and walkthrough for many different subjects, and they don't have to involve video.

Chapter 5 of this book includes a tutorial on how to restring a tennis racket.

Part of new employee training will involve a walkthrough of our loading dock procedures.

Tutorial (MW, noun definitions 1 and 2)

a class conducted by a tutor for one student or a small number of students

a paper, book, film, or computer program that provides practical information about a specific subject

Walkthrough, walk-through, or walk through (MW, verb walk with preposition through, definitions 1 and 2)

to go through (as a theatrical role or familiar activity) perfunctorily (as in an early stage of rehearsal)

to guide (as a novice) through an unfamiliar or complex procedure step-by-step

In any specific context (such as videogames), these two terms may have more specific meanings, but the general definitions above should hold pretty well.


A tutorial is something that teaches people about a fishing rod, bait, fish, a fish's hunger, a reel, and a boat. A walkthrough is a demonstration of fishing. Generally speaking, I would say that a tutorial involves someone speaking or writing, whereas a walkthrough is teaching people by doing it right in front of them. The walkthrough uses the "doing" as the primary source of the teaching. Tutorials use everything but the doing as the primary source of the teaching.

(1) tutorial adjective tu·to·ri·al \tü-ˈtȯr-ē-əl, tyü-\ : of, relating to, or involving a tutor or a tutorial

(2) tutorial noun tu·to·ri·al Definition of tutorial 1 : a class conducted by a tutor for one student or a small number of students 2 : a paper, book, film, or computer program that provides practical information about a specific subject

(1) walk–through noun \ˈwȯk-ˌthrü\

: an activity in which someone walks through an area, building, etc., in order to inspect it : the act of going slowly through the steps of a process, job, etc., in order to practice doing it or to help someone learn it : an explanation or guide that tells you how to do something by explaining each of its parts or steps

  • Could you add some formatting, like JohnFeltz's answer, and maybe lose the unrelated dictionary definitions? Definitions also need to cite where they come from. – BladorthinTheGrey Nov 30 '16 at 22:36

The major difference is that tutorials are more thorough than walkthroughs. But they could both be in any form. Video, audio, physically, etc.

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    I would think just the opposite. I see walkthroughs as something that guides you through every step of a task. Tutorials are lessons that teach fundamental elements of a task. – Tallima Nov 30 '16 at 23:56
  • If you were taken to an art gallery and you just walked through, or an instructor walked through with you, would you appreciate the art as much as you would if a tutor picked up each one and explained the design concept to you? – José Umolu Dec 1 '16 at 0:01
  • I see where you're coming from. There are certainly two types of walkthroughs. There are walking through walkthroughs and spelled out directions. I was thinking more in the terms of a written walkthrough. But at work, my boss does a quick walkthrough to gather information. But a tutorial could last hours and teach on several specific points. – Tallima Dec 1 '16 at 0:12
  • Exactly. Walkthroughs are often quick and brief, but tutorials go deeper into the explanation of whatever is being discussed, and they both could use any means. Video, print, etc. – José Umolu Dec 1 '16 at 0:18
  • The major difference between the two is that they are entirely different things. – Hot Licks Dec 1 '16 at 1:09

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