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Professional report writing: how to create a good outline

Once you find out the topic of your essay, your brain is sure to flood with ideas both good and bad. An outline is a way to keep all those ideas in one easy to follow location. That way you can weed through the good and bad ideas, and put something together that will make sense in the long run. An outline will contain everything you want to include in your essay in chronological order in which you want to list it. Make sure to include plenty of transitional words and phrases so your readers know there the essay is headed.

What is an outline?

The main objective of an outline is to remind the writer what they want to include in their paper, and make sure nothing is left out that they wanted to mention. Usually while the author is putting together the essay, they will see the important information on the outline, and develop their paper around that rather than including many unimportant points or rambling on and on. Several drafts of the essay are generally written before the project is finalized.

Formatting an Outline

The process of writing a report lies in the fact that you as a writer are recording all your own thoughts and ideas and presenting them to the reader. So, how you present what it is you want them to know is largely based on how your outline is constructed. Your outline needs to be formatted in a clear, coherent manner so you will be able to easily refer to it as you are writing your essay. That way you can verify that there is nothing you have missed, or forgotten to include. You professor may be able to give you a better understanding of what kind of outline will help you with your writing. They are in a better position to tell you exactly what it is you need, and what a proper outline can do for you.


When creating your outline, don’t obsess over the tiny details. You will have plenty of chances to go over all the details when you are finally writing your essay. It’s more important to capture the larger ideas and main points that will lead you in the overall direction you want to go. Be flexible in your writing. An outline is a great tool to help you focus your ideas, but don’t lose your creativity along the way.