WikiHow provides a step-by-step guide to basic microwave use, including photos, as of 2015. The same page also provides basic information on how microwave cooking works, tips and warnings.
Each microwave oven is unique, but basic operation typically consists of reading the instruction manual, plugging in the appliance, inserting the item to be warmed, and either entering the desired time or selecting a preset cook time. To ensure safety, the microwave oven's door should always be completely closed during operation, and care should be taken when removing hot items. Metal should not be placed inside an operating microwave oven.
Microwave ovens use microwaves that penetrate food and cause the water molecules in the food to vibrate. This vibration is accompanied by heat, cooking the food, and warming the dishes or other objects in the oven. Other cooking methods apply heat to the food's surface, which is a slower process for large foods. Although the microwaves pass through foods, it is important to allow space around and between items in the oven.
Many modern microwaves include a turntable to move food throughout the course of cooking. This prevents hot spots and cold spots from affecting the meal. After cooking, food may be allowed to sit a few minutes to allow additional heat to transfer throughout the item.