Functional texts range from a restaurant menu to the user's manual for a computer. Other examples include bus schedules, directories, forms to fill out, reference manuals, recipes, how-to instructions on a do-it-yourself website, and signs containing instructions, rules or information helpful for taking the next step toward a goal.
A functional text typically is provided to the reader for the purpose of performing a task. For example, to-do lists, step-by-step instructions and turn-by-turn navigational directions are excellent examples of functional text.
While not generally offering the most captivating or engaging reading experiences, functional texts provide the information to get things done. Functional texts may be the instructions as in a recipe or may provide information the reader needs to carry out the instructions. Street signs, for example, don't tell the reader what action to take next when read, but knowing the streets makes navigation possible.
In more complex environments with rigid rules regarding behavior, a list of rules or "do's and dont's" help guide the reader to behaving according to certain guidelines. Dictionaries, encyclopedias, style guides and other reference texts are also examples of functional texts, defining and elucidating the terms necessary to perform tasks encompassing particular areas of knowledge.