A manuscript (abbreviated MS for singular and MSS for plural) was, traditionally, any document written by hand – or, once practical typewriters became available, typewritten – as opposed to mechanically printed or reproduced in some indirect or automated way.[1] More recently, the term has come to be understood to further include any written, typed, or word-processed copy of an author's work, as distinguished from its rendition as a printed version of the same.[2] Before the arrival of printing, all documents and books were manuscripts. Manuscripts are not defined by their contents, which may combine writing with mathematical calculations, maps, music notation, explanatory figures or illustrations.

Christ Pantocrator seated in a capital "U" in an illuminated manuscript from the Badische Landesbibliothek, Germany (from c.1220).
Image of two facing pages of the illuminated manuscript of "Isagoge", fols. 42b and 43a. On the top of the left hand page is an illuminated letter "D" - initial of "De urinarum differencia negocium" (The matter of the differences of urines). Inside the letter is a picture of a master on bench pointing at a raised flask while lecturing on the "Book on urines" of Theophilus. The right hand page is only shown in part. On its very bottom is an illuminated letter "U" - initial of "Urina ergo est colamentum sanguinis" (Urine is the filtrate of the blood). Inside the letter is a picture of a master holding up a flask while explaining the diagnostic significance of urine to a student or a patient. HMD Collection, MS E 78.
Inside the letter is a picture of a master in cathedra expounding on the Aphorisms of Hippocrates. Initial "V" rendered as "U" of "Vita brevis, ars vero longa", or "Life is short, but the art is long". "Isagoge", fol. 15b. HMD Collection, MS E 78.