First, any and all of the pages for the Maxwell Render documentation can be downloaded as *.pdf's. Sharing your desire for a set of *.pdf's that I could keep on my computer for reference purposes, I simply downloaded all of them and keep them in a directory on my computer. To download any of the pages, navigate to the page you want, and then look for the three dots making up an ellipsis on the upper right hand corner of the page. Click on those dots to open a little menu of options. You'll find that one of the options is "Export to PDF." When the page is exporting, it opens onto another page showing the progress of the export. After it is complete, you have a download option. Then when your download is complete, arrow back to the original page and the document index. Go to the next page and repeat.
To make yourself a complete written doc, just start with the first page of the topic you want, and export each of the pages, downloading and saving them into some directory called "MR User Guide" or whatever title you fancy. The exported *.pdf's are good quality, complete with all the pictures and formatted appropriately.
Second, there is an old course here (https://www.lynda.com/Maxwell-Renderer- ... 780-2.html
) on what is now Linkedin, but what was lynda.com. Costs some money to access. I think this is the "simple basics" you're looking for.
This old course covers Maxwell Version 2, I believe and it covers all of the program. But the worthwhile thing about this course is that it presents a very systematic and comprehensive explanation of Maxwell Materials. And, while it relies on a set of videos and downloadable supplementary materials, it includes a full written transcript for every video in text file form. The individual videos in the set also are downloadable, so you can keep them on your machine for reference.
This old course does an excellent job of covering the parameters and settings for the Materials Editor (was called the "Materials Assistant" in those days). The part dealing with Maxwell materials gives a lot of examples, and shows what the basic of the materials look like with different settings. This is pretty old, but good foundation material. Once worked through, it would have to be supplemented with the User Guide *.pdf's now available for the current versions of MR - to bring your knowledge up to date with changes and improvements in the materials. Plus many of the current docs are well-written and provide better explanations than some of the older docs.
In the time since this old course, the program has improved, becoming both simpler to use and more powerful. So, if you can obtain and work through this old course, you'll find you have no trouble understanding the most current versions. The only thing I think the old course failed to cover well was the camera. But, the docs for Version 5 now provide both a simple introduction to how any camera works, and then things you need to know for the MR cameras in particular. Again, you can just go to the Maxwell Render documentation, select the section on the camera, and then start exporting each page for this topic as a downloadable *.pdf. Make yourself a nice little printable user guide on the subject.