Release notes are a marketing tool that many teams underutilize – not only do they show how the product has progressed, but they also give customers an idea of how dedicated the development team is. From detailed versions to neatly designed/humorous ones, release notes come in many shapes and sizes, and here are 50 of them, analyzed in detail so that you can write the best release notes ever written (and top it again the next time, of course).
What are Release Notes? | Amoeboids
Why Are Release Notes Required? | Amoeboids
Who writes release notes? | Amoeboids
Release notes for different stakeholders- Customers, Marketers, Support executives | Amoeboids
What information to include in your release notes? | Amoeboids
How to make release notes more engaging? | Amoeboids
Are release notes and changelogs the same? | Amoeboids
What are the advantages of keeping release notes at a central place? | Amoeboids
How frequently should you publish release notes? | Amoeboids
Release notes examples are divided into five categories –
- Release notes examples of Software development & collaboration tools
- Release notes examples of Customer support tools
- Release notes examples of Sales & marketing tools
- Release notes examples of Project management tools
- Release notes examples of Renowned daily usage tools
The idea is to cover different aspects of what customers need and highlight how some of the best software products handle them. Release note samples here show multiple variations of release notes and point out what works for them and what can be made better.
Release notes examples of Software Development & collaboration tools
GitHub excels in segmenting its release notes and adopting different approaches. While their latest update is short and includes screenshots, previous updates have featured many clearly defined explanations of the issue and what was affected. The frequency of release notes is very short, – with multiple updates happening in one day at times.
The update on the change revert is noteworthy, as the release note explains how the team understood and solved the issue. It also details the extent of the problems caused, if any – and lets customers know what to do if they suspect being affected.
What to emulate: The segmentation is right on the homepage. The release notes are presented beautifully too. Tags help group notes under specific buckets, and GitHub makes good use of the feature.
What to avoid: Extra-long screenshots, one-line bug fixes that run into pages – a collapsible accordion structure can speed up navigation to the relevant update.
Zoom’s release notes are up-to-date and include new and enhanced features, updates to existing features, and bug fixes. In addition, information about upcoming changes is provided whenever available, and a history of software updates over the last two years is known by release date and version number. The page is neatly formatted but provides no individual release note links (pro tip: if you encounter such pages, ctrl/cmd +F and search for the version number – you might have to scroll down a few times to ensure the page is loaded, though).
What to emulate: The ‘Related articles’ sidebar lets users check help topics on common issues related to the release and features newly introduced. Users can directly jump to the blog from there.
What to avoid: All release notes are listed on a page, with no way of reaching a specific release note (except scroll/search).
3. Google Cloud
This Google cloud release notes sample is up-to-date and detailed, and the team goes a step ahead and types in important updates that happened on the day. There might be days (or weeks) of lull and a flurry of activity, showing how the team strives to keep the product up to date.
What to emulate: The consistent everyday updates are only some teams’ cup of tea, but they can add a lot of credit to the brand value. The updates are all technical, are written for admins, and it shows – the color-coded sorting of issues is a great idea.
What to avoid: Providing a little context or a summary paragraph on what customers can expect because of these changes can make the notes understandable for a more comprehensive section of the target audience.
Microsoft Teams takes an end-user perspective in its release notes and simplifies it to the bare bones – but there are articles and details linked if more details are necessary. The notes don’t even have release numbers but have dates mentioned instead– considering how it blew up in educational and other institutions, the move seems to have worked.
What to emulate: The TL; DR (too long; didn’t read) idea where user benefit is summed up in a few words can make the release notes page see more views from non-tech backgrounds.
What to avoid: No release numbers on the note dampen things, as searching for a particular release becomes tiresome.
Despite the lazy-sounding name, Slack is very active in releasing product notes which explain the improvements done since the last update, how it can help users perform their jobs better, a note for admins if the patch requires extra permissions, and more. All of this is presented in conversational language.
What to emulate: The tone of voice is casual yet friendly. While this is something that depends on the organization’s communication style, adopting such language can be beneficial for all stakeholders involved.
What to avoid: The way security notifications are highlighted can be improved; providing a few words of explanation on why the update is recommended can increase open rates and tackle low engagement rates.
Asana includes a video snippet of its major releases, helping users understand the changes and detailing what they can accomplish with them. The details of bug fixes and updates are followed by helpful links to related topics and guide users through multiple steps involved in changes.
What to emulate: The help navigation on the left sidebar is neatly arranged in the most relevant sections, making troubleshooting easier. What to avoid: While the monthly grouping is excellent, the lack of individual update links leaves taking screenshots the only recourse for future reference.
Basecamp has one of the best release notes from an end customer point of view, where only the highlights and changes that pertain to the user are mentioned. The team takes great pains to make matters interesting for people. The headings detail what to expect and, in some cases, reveal the entire story.
What to emulate: The screenshot’s way of handling relevant information. They also use teasers in their release notes when the updates introduce new features.
What to avoid: Absence of technical details. Admins who need to update patches can’t access the public repository for quick references.
Docker is one of the few websites that reflect system dark themes by default, which was a good surprise. The notes are detailed and are linked to further information, allowing people to consume data as per need. Since late 2021, the summary added at the beginning provides details on what changes have been carried out and how users are impacted in plain language.
What to emulate: The organization is top-notch, and the help sections allow users to understand challenging terms. They provide a varying level of detail without overwhelming users. The use of alerts is wisely done too.
What to avoid: The notes are clearly labeled and organized, leaving little room for shortcomings. The structure of the notes can get a bit monotonous – as if the team is trying to tick all boxes of a checklist.
Twilio notes are written with end users in mind. Considering the number of features being introduced lately – there are plenty of screenshots used to illustrate the process. The release notes for major updates are detailed and can function as a standalone troubleshooting page.
What to emulate: The friendly narrative that understands what its users know and what they are expected to do with the new features, as detailed in this brief update on voice enhancements.
What to avoid: Lack of technical details, like dependencies in the public versions, can make the repository unusable for a few, leaving them with the arduous task of sifting through emails.
Confluence release notes have the typical bullet-oriented methodology, highlighting main points and linking to relevant information whenever possible. Whenever it appears, the ‘more details’ section is a delight to read: they usually explain the thought process and what intriguingly went behind the scenes.
What to emulate: The short method of conveying information shows that release managers know what they are doing. Relevant links to help article sections speed up understanding the changes.
What to avoid: Hiding gems of updates under ‘more details. Leading with the story, especially when the story merges so seamlessly with the technical aspects of the update.
Segment treats its release notes as a blog, which reflects in its structuring – topics are aligned on the page, and individual notes referring to specific releases provide details like what user benefit is or what they can/have to do. The topics are linked to relevant help pages for almost all user-unfriendly terms.
What to emulate: The attention to detail that went into cross-linking the help pages ably supports the release notes. The color-coordinated sections simplify finding other posts in similar categories.
What to avoid: While informative, the posts provide little detail on the changes or what is expected. The help pages also do the heavy lifting, but it could be better.
Release notes examples of Customer Support Tools
12. Help Scout
Highlight: Providing tips that help users achieve more
Help Scout has a unique take on release notes, where the updates are posted monthly and quarterly – and there is much fanfare around each one. The videos are crisp and well-paced, and the detailed text is well-supported by screenshots. The ‘coming soon’ section teases upcoming features and keeps users in the loop.
What to emulate: Videos that detail out release notes are not everyone’s cup of tea – but considering the needs of end users and adopting something like this is commendable. The cool tips’ section, where customers share their unique ways of using the product, can be helpful to many.
What to avoid: The hard-to-emulate act leaves little to argument, but some blogs get too lengthy and lack content.
Zendesk release notes are arranged by date, with little to indicate what to expect – a nightmare for anyone looking for specific release information. The sections are clearly marked, provide details on the changes made and even list the areas where no update is available in the current release.
What to emulate: The structure might be too detailed for some, but the comments section is quite active and has developers/other team members responding to specific queries.
What not to: The plain landing page that hides high-quality release notes. At least the most recent update can be displayed on the landing page, while previous updates can be links.
ServiceNow produces an astounding amount of documentation for various specialties, and each report highlights what’s new in the release. Other relevant release notes are linked, and customers can choose the level of depth they want to get into.
What to emulate: The structure of the release notes section of the website is efficient and interlinked, with important points highlighted – and linked to relevant help topics.
What not to do: The extensive nature of the data makes the search even more important – and sadly, the site offers only word-match searches that might make finding the right note difficult.
Intercom’s release notes page resembles a social media feed more than a release notes page – full of vibrant screenshots, short descriptions, and links detailing the release note – the interface is the easiest to surf on mobiles.
What to emulate: Clear headlines and mobile-first outlook (if the audience veers that way).
What not to do: The GIFs are helpful but take longer to load and might sometimes fail to load. The explanations are only as beneficial with the funky arrows and clever names.
Freshdesk takes a minimalistic approach to release notes. It starts with bite-sized chunks of information and relevant tags so that customers can focus on the section they’re most impacted by/interested in. The ‘Learn more’ buttons take them to appropriate help pages, which are routinely updated.
What to emulate: The hierarchical structure, along with years, gives a clear picture of the work being put in to meet customer needs. What not to do: Finding the correct information in the help articles or support query answers is difficult every time.
The front has an uncluttered and short approach to the notes – every update talks about one change, and there are multiple updates on some days. The ease of directly slipping to the feature in question and communicating the advantage in the headline is beneficial.
What to emulate: Simple, 1 feature per post approach to release notes gives customers enough details on what they’re looking for, and the brevity of headlines ensures they get the gist of other updates that happened on the same day.
What not to: The features and tags are not clickable – it could be helpful to have a button to see all features tagged ‘new’ on a launch day.
Aircall’s release notes exhibit the tool’s simplicity – there are three sections under which updates are posted, which is about it. The idea of keeping things simple works because of the nature of the product, and the language used is easy for any layman to understand.
What to emulate: the simplicity of updates helps users understand the need for changes and even get a start on new features introduced.
What not to: Missing details while trying to emulate this simplicity. This can happen if a software release notes sample must explain multiple updates, features, or fixes. Even Aircall’s release notes suffer from this occasionally, where simplified explanations are provided to enable certain features, but the ‘why’ is left out.
Salesforce Service Cloud release notes offer brief descriptions of enhancements and new features at a high level. They include setup information, tips to get started, best practices, and other release-related information. The document is exhaustive, comprehensive, and prompt – with notes released every season (bar autumn).
What to emulate: The filter mechanism on the left sidebar makes navigating the maze easy.
What not to: The sheer size of updates, since it is released a year thrice, can become intimidating.
The changelog here is a list of bullet points that talk about fixes with error codes that only those looking for it can understand. The brief sentences are informative unless they contain codes and nothing else.
What to emulate: The customer-first approach resulting in one-line fix updates. The points listed highlight what users want to know – if it is a fix, the corresponding section/end in the release notes sample starts with variations of ‘You can now ___’ or ‘the ___ now allows X, Y, and Z.’ This approach to fixes (and putting them at the top of the notes if the issues fixed were crucial for customers’ operations) can pacify customers who use those features regularly.
What not to: Losing a larger audience because of brevity – while people want to know what is fixed in as few words as possible, they like to read more about what they can do with new features. Providing details can lead to feature requests, suggestions, and improved collaboration.
Release notes examples of Sales & marketing tools
HubSpot releases updates almost monthly, with the main release note providing details of new features added, variables and attributes changed, and other information. The release note sample also updates upcoming features and highlights specific features that might interest end customers.
What to emulate: The end of the report asks customers to join the chat at the community forum. The clear headlines indicate that product managers/release teams know the product well. They indicate what to expect, and the release notes expand. The writing is concise and helps users understand the changes with minimal effort. Providing a separate ‘upcoming’ tab gives users a hint of what is coming next so they can plan their operations accordingly. If the organization has a public or private forum, guiding users there from release notes can result in a better and quicker understanding of the product.
What not to: Teasing upcoming features regularly can build up anticipation, which even the most compelling features can find difficult to surmount.
Mailchimp clearly understands what needs to be done to inform users, with an ‘action required’ checkbox that cuts to the chase and tells what users should do. Left unchecked, regular updates are presented in a friendly manner.
What to emulate: The ‘What’ and ‘Why’ structure of regular notes is beneficial and acknowledging contributors who brought the issue to notice/helped in any way is a nice touch.
What not to: The ‘scheduled’ tab has been inactive for a while, but the updates have been regular – which isn’t a big deal. Mailchimp ticks all boxes of a hypothetical ‘good release notes’ chart.
Zoho follows a timeline-style release note structure, and the process suddenly seems visually appealing. The release notes are just snippets of what user benefits can be achieved, along with a link to the updated help page of the feature.
What to emulate: The user-centric nature of update snippets, and the unique roadmap-centric design, make the release note ideal for quick references.
What not to do: The lack of details on changes can make some customers look for the detailed release note version.
The changelog lists product and company updates, providing a unique blend of insights on the changes carried out. Sections of release notes link to relevant articles that highlight the advantages afforded to the user. The unique combination of company and product info shows how the product vision and goal fall in line. Some updates, like optimizing video buffering, are not provided any explanation – as the steps taken don’t clash with regular user interactions.
What to emulate: The tabs at the top help in sifting through different types of updates, and the executive summary of a few lines on each update is more than sufficient for even the least technical user to understand what is expected of the tool after the update.
What not to: The ‘New feature’ section is comparatively less detailed, and a better summary can help users understand the implications intricately.
Hotjar provides single-issue detailing release notes that are tagged based on the categories they belong to. The detailed version of the release note, i.e., blog post, explains how customers can use the new feature/enhancement to their advantage. The call to action on the detailed release note/posts directs users to the feature, urging them to try it immediately.
What to emulate: The personalized call-to-action buttons on the release pages add an extra layer of understanding by guiding users through a simple example. The idea can reduce service calls during significant updates, as users are trying out the feature almost immediately.
What not to do: Hide the personalized button at the end of a detailed review. Putting that button on the main page, along with ‘read more, can see more trials.
Release notes are grouped monthly on SproutSocial, and each release tries to explain what users can do using various mechanisms – videos, Gifs, static images, program snippets, etc. Customers who want to know more are guided to relevant help pages that are updated regularly.
What to emulate: The language of the note is simple yet explains what customers can expect, how the feature helps them, and what they must do. Even without the helpful gifs and images, the text gives enough information for the user to immediately act.
What not to: References to generic topics when the release note is more granular. For example, the July 9th release note that allows the creation of LinkedIn reshares posts links to a ‘how to guide’ that mentions reshare feature in much lesser detail than the release note snippet.
Release notes at Moz have a “home” in the what’s new section of the website. The updates for ‘pro’ features are marked and distinctive from the regular ones. Almost all release notes talk about increasing the reach of their customer’s businesses and how the enhancements (like Alexa integrations) add to the existing space without extra spending.
What to emulate: Every release note asks for customer feedback on the issue that is being addressed in the release note, which leads to engaging conversations with active customers.
What not to do: Making release notes a part of the help blog renders them difficult to find.
Convertkit promises to help business owners simplify their worries, and the release notes give an idea of how. The updates are straightforward and talk to the customer, who can either read more about the topic in the relevant help article – or try out the feature based on the information provided.
What to emulate: The headlines are straightforward and convey what the user needs to know – in many cases, there is no need to read the snippet, or even forget the help article. Headings like ‘Commerce: Direct link to checkout page’ tell users what they can provide to their customers – and a screenshot shows how.
What not to do: the extensive use of screenshots can be reduced in multiple areas by animated gifs/short videos that might take much less space.
Hootsuite release notes focus on existing customers and provide information to them in a few words. Tool and industry-specific terms are used all over and help keep the word count to a minimum.
What to emulate: The release note updates contain details on even the most minor changes, like renaming features or third-party tool integrations to take advantage of their features separately, even when high-priority updates are displayed higher up.
What not to do: Providing fewer details on necessary CRM integrations can make admins pause that update button.
Highlight: Tips related to newly introduced features
As with any other marketing tool, Postmark tries to make the updates simpler for its core users. Important release notes come with an ‘additional details’ section with step-by-step instructions, and tips and tricks involving new features are highlighted.
What to emulate: The related tips and tricks section can benefit many users, and the release notes team can encourage discussion.
What not to: ‘Good to know’ section is hidden under the expanded release notes – bringing it upfront can show what users need to do/know before updating to the latest release.
Vimeo changelogs start with a simple explanation of what the change does, demonstrating immediate end-user benefit. The notes are concise, and link to relevant help topics, which are up to date, albeit a bit challenging to sift through, due to their thorough nature.
What to emulate: The ‘Added/changed/removed’ structure works for Vimeo and should also help many other organizations in this category.
What not to do: Sometimes, when the updates contain too many technical details (removal of fields, adding attributes, etc.), more than a single-line explanation is needed.
Google search groups its updates by month and highlights what features have been added in chronological order. The notes are more like informative and helpful blog posts or tweets (depending on the size) and take users to relevant documentation wherever necessary, not just the help pages.
What to emulate: Linking to product documentation and discussions in forums is a perfect way of engaging with customers.
What not to: The short updates tend to become too fast; the September 20th update could have been more helpful if it elaborated a line or two about the change to the site verifier agent.
Release notes examples of Project Management Tools
While Jira is developer-oriented, Trello is more user-friendly and uses in-built release note templates. The release notes show this crucial difference in audience compared to marketing or support ops. Even the abridged version talks about attributes, and the detailed version explains if the changes in the code impact existing features.
What to emulate: The focus on the core audience – and giving what is needed for them. Atlassian offers many methods to generate automated release notes, which can be enhanced with specialized tools.
What not to: adding features without considering customer impact. The update on December 16th, 2021, shows how the default behavior of a UI element was changed and then reverted after customer displeasure.
Jira, like all Atlassian products, is eminently customizable – hence, very developer oriented.
The notes are created and defined in an index-like fashion with relevant screenshots, code snippets, and explanatory blurbs that bring clarity to novice users.
What to emulate: The Index shows how vast the release note is, and the naming of individual sections is simplified for quicker access. References from one area to another add more details to the product /feature update story.
What not to do: Forgetting to include sub-sections on tweaks or improvements in the index can lead to people skipping the release note altogether, Prompting the customers to think the topic needs to be handled in the current release.
The changelog at Monday.com provides a constantly growing list of added features, measures their impact, and provides enhancements based on observations. These can be reviewed monthly.
What to emulate: The bullet point structure of the release notes allows customers to browse important help/information topics as the updates to be incorporated are mentioned.
What not to do: keep all content looking the same. The current style of release notes can make customers miss some points. Some updates matter more to customers and distinguishing them in a bullet-point structure can be as simple as boldfacing them.
‘ClickUpdates,’ as they are called, are arranged in a yearly/monthly manner, where the updates in a month are highlighted in a card-based fashion. The individual release notes are elaborate and cover all aspects of development.
What to emulate: While the ClickUpdates form a part of help pages, they act as standalone notes that also link to some help articles.
What not to: Having only release names, and not the critical change as the heading, brings down the reason for users to interact with the content.
Airtable uses a barebones release notes generator/editor, which provides details like the month of release, platforms impacted, notifications, if any, usage guidance on the update or feature, and some information on the change that helps users understand the need.
What to emulate: The ‘hide fields’ option at the top allows users to select only the attributes they want to see or read.
What not to: While the release notes are adequate, nothing particularly striking would make them wrong. They are arranged or presented to address for minimum effort, which considering Airtable’s automation pedigree and clientele, tend to be on the technology side.
ProofHub aims to streamline the planning, collaboration, and organizing process so that projects are delivered on time. Their release notes try to embrace this simplicity and explain what is relevant to the readers. Routine bug fixes don’t provide any information, but the ones that impact customer experience get detailed release notes.
What to emulate: The ‘smart’ work of release notes developers, where everything that impacts customer experience is plainly explained, and other sections get mere mentions.
What not to: There are no navigation items – users can scroll back to 2014 – which makes pin-pointing specific releases difficult.
Release notes at Liquidplanner are easy to read, detailed, and consistent. The release notes are published every month, some with much more fanfare than others. The critical updates act as information repositories – for example, the API launch post explains how to create a token and other essential actions.
What to emulate: Explaining essential information as Liquidplanner leads to lower support tickets – and a better user experience.
What not to do: going radio silent on issues is not helpful in the long run.
Kissflow goes by an asynchronous release note structure, and these notes are classified into processes, platforms, chats, and analytics. Since these are the four main aspects of the tool, the minimal approach works.
What to emulate: Apart from the way notes are listed, individual notes are typical of release notes. The summary section highlights significant changes, and personal enhancements, fixes, feature retirements, etc., are detailed in their areas.
What not to: Hiding detailed and helpful release notes in plain sight.
Smartsheet starts with detailed headings of concise release notes and uses screenshots or code snippets to illustrate the behavioral change required. Links in individual release notes lead to corresponding help pages that provide more information.
What to emulate: highlighting user advantages in the detailed version is a positive aspect. What not to do: Finding the help page’s topic might yield different results.
The truly minimalistic release notes of the lot, Hive, gives its users just two options: Features and fixes. This is a welcome change, considering the different categories under which Hive listed release notes before.
What to emulate: Simplifying release notes so that customers can stay calm.
What not to do: The minimalistic approach might not work for persistent issues or feature retirements.
Release notes examples of Daily Usage Tools
43. Google Chrome
The release notes of Google Chrome feel more like a hastily scribbled note from a friend: it might not make sense to others at first glance, but those who are familiar can understand what is being communicated in as few words as possible. Apart from a few detailed security-related updates, Chrome release notes are always signed off by a real person – adding to the personalization part.
What to emulate: Personalization, if possible – including team member names on updates they are responsible for, can help them build better connections with customers and the rest.
What not to do: The lack of information in Chrome’s release notes works because the help sections and the forums are full of helpful answers.
The Dropbox release notes are work of art – from the cover to the screenshots used in the detailed notes version – everything is aimed at capturing the customer’s attention and delivering the primary message. The headlines of different sections are written to encapsulate the advantages that users get.
What to emulate: The way user benefits are highlighted makes users feel like they’re getting the better end of the bargain. The release notes for the product demo/help page transition are seamless.
What not to: There’s precious little wrong with Dropbox release notes. The only gripe would be the number of beautiful illustrations used in ‘The Drop.’
The updates from the YouTube stable tend to be loaded with information but are easy to understand. Right from announcing an essential change in the beginning, YouTube details three more features, how to use them, and what users can gain from them – in 3/4 lines each.
What to emulate: YouTube updates every month on average, and all the essential changes that happened within that month are usually presented in a single, concise paragraph.
What not to: The frequency of release notes could be more consistent, and the content varies in quality too.
Telegram uses version histories, a barebones release notes structure. Every version is accompanied by a list of features added, enhancements/features changed.
What to emulate: the consistency in putting out release notes (version histories).
What not to: Not highlighting important release-related information.
Grammarly release notes have always been brief, except for the major releases. Their guides for major releases help users shift their platform without much hassle.
What to emulate: The no-frills language
What not to: providing technical details but not elaborating on what it is expected to accomplish.
The release notes are individually named, and no matter how small or big – there is a story woven along. The narrative explains to the reader what is expected of them and how they can benefit from the release.
What to emulate: The effort to create a narrative for the user. The idea might be a hit only sometimes, but it succeeds often enough for Medium to continue in the same vein.
What not to: Not focusing on essential details as much as trying to establish a theme. In the B2B universe, customers skim through release notes for highlights while looking for information.
The release notes reveal what’s new at Notion and what can be expected in the case of user-targeted features. The examples shared to illustrate features are engaging, witty, and informative: You can be reading about Lady Ada Lovelace while the GIF demonstrates the resizing process one moment, and the mission statement of Acme corporation a few scrolls down. The GIF versions are short and to the point, appearing just below a descriptive headline providing context.
What to emulate: The ‘customer first’ mentality while writing release notes.
What not to do: Highlighting important announcements/actions at the end of the release note would lead to many users missing them.
50. Mac OS
iOS release notes list the many changes brewing – improvements and bug fixes, deprecations, feature retirements, known issues, etc., get listed, along with significant new features that might be rolling only to a specific set of users (beta).
What to emulate: The no-nonsense structure that highlights essential points upfront and leaves the details of trivial issues at the end.
What not to: Not linking to help topics – the usability of apple products and tools ensure the directions are almost always more superficial than other products.
Writing a good release note can also prove helpful to internal teams and improve collaboration in the organization. Following release notes best practices can save some time crafting helpful release notes. Managers in charge of release notes shouldn’t just focus on getting them ‘done’ but put some thought and effort into tying the product’s story to user needs through release notes.