Extensive Overview to Write an Essay Outline

essay outline

The outline is an integral part of any successful paper. It not only helps you organize your ideas while writing an essay but also gives the essay structure and direction. It will make it much easier for readers to comprehend what's being said without getting lost or confused in all those details!

Also, for an A+ grade paper, you need to create a clear and concise outline first. The purpose of creating an outline is that the reader can easily comprehend your main idea while reading through all its points in order from start to finish!

Lucky for you, we've compiled all the information and resources that will help. Learn what an essay outline is; how to write one in three different ways using downloadable templates or other helpful guides!

What is an Essay Outline?

Outlines are a great way to plan your thoughts before you start writing. They allow for quick summary sentences or phrases that summarize each point in order. Give an outline of how the argument will unfold and make those ideas easier than ever before!

Academics are supposed to make effective outlines, but you can still write an essay without one. It will be hard for your ideas not to make their way through the research paper because there is no strict outline telling readers where every point begins or ends. This means that readers may miss something important, and it will not flow logically.

An outline helps a writer to:

  • Organize ideas
  • Understand workflow
  • Structure information in a specific way
  • Not miss any important point
  • Finish work faster

(back to top)

Elements of Essay Outline

Following are the elements that must are a must if you are going to write an essay, no matter what the essay is:

  • Introduction
  • The introduction is the first paragraph of an essay. It provides background information for your work and also contains a thesis statement that defines what you will be arguing about in this section. In other words: it frames or questions everything from here on out!

  • Body
  • A good essay needs 3 paragraphs. The topics in each paragraph are carefully chosen so that the reader will be interested and engaged without being too hard for someone who has never read an essay.

    The first sentence of a paragraph should capture the attention of the reader and then smoothly move to the next topic sentence without big gaps between paragraphs that might interrupt their reading flow.

  • Conclusion
  • At this point in the process, summarize your essay for a reader. A conclusion is a time to say things about what you have said. You should talk about the things that you just wrote and how they relate to what else you have written. You can also give some solutions or ideas for problems with writing skills.

Standard Essay Outline Structure

The general essay outline has an order. It is like a list. The important parts are at the top, less important parts are at the bottom. For most papers, it is better to choose an alphanumeric outline instead of a linear one.

An alphanumeric structure uses roman numbers, capital letters, numbers, and lowercase letters depending on how important each part is.

Here have a look at a general essay outline template:


  • Topic- Define
  • Background
  • Thesis statement

Body Paragraph 1

  • Define Idea-1
  • Supporting evidence
  • Relevance to the main topic

Body Paragraph 2

  • Define Idea-2
  • Supporting evidence
  • Relevance to the main topic

Body Paragraph 3

  • Define Idea-3
  • Supporting evidence
  • Relevance to the main topic


  • Reaffirming the thesis
  • Concluding statement

(back to top)

Pre-Writing Process of Essay Outline

Before you start writing, it is important to know about the pre-writing process. There are some steps that must be kept in mind of every student before writing an essay outline.

Have a look at the following points:

  • Read Assignment Guideline Carefully
  • Before starting work on your essay, read the guidelines and details carefully. Understand what kind of paper you are writing so that it can be tailored specifically for this assignment.

    All essays have their own structure. They might need more arguments or fewer words. You should think about this before you start writing.

  • Understand the Purpose of Essay
  • Before you start an essay, make sure you know what it is about. It could be for entertainment or information. One way to do this is by writing down three reasons why people should read your essay.

    Make sure that the information in the essay is clear and correct so that there are no mistakes!

  • Know your Audience
  • When you're preparing for an academic essay, it's important to identify the intended audience. This way, you can ensure that your arguments are appealing and relevant with strong content tailored specifically towards their level of knowledge on this topic or any other topics they might be interested in reading about!

  • Gather Important Detail
  • Dig up any data you can find on the topic, whether it's in scholarly resources or databases. Then, make notes of all relevant information so that when writing your paper, there will be no more guessing about where certain details should go!

  • Define the Structure
  • The two most popular ways to format your outline are in the alphanumeric style and decimal outline structure system. The first one is better if you prefer simple text, while numbers make more sense when dealing with finances, math problems, or technical writing.

    So choose according to what will work best for each type of document!

(back to top)

How to Write an Essay Outline?

Following are the steps to write an outline of an essay:

  1. 1. Select a Topic
  2. Before you start writing an essay, you need to choose an essay topic. This is the first thing that you do. You want your essay to be interesting. The reader will pay attention more if it is interesting!

    You should make sure that the topic will interest the person reading it.

  3. 2. Research
  4. The topics for your essays will dictate how much research you do on that topic. If you have more knowledge about a topic, then you can plan the essay with gaps in it and fill them in with information from other sources like books and websites.

  5. 3. Audience
  6. To make your writing more interesting and engaging, it's important to keep in mind the intended audience. For instance, if you are drafting an outline for blogs or newspapers then using slang language while crafting higher-level academic papers may require a subjective tone of voice.

  7. 4. Select the Type of Essay
  8. Different types of essays have different structures. The narrative outline may be different from what you are used to for a comparative essay, so it is important to know the type before you start writing.

  9. 5. Assemble your Ideas
  10. Topping your paper off with a flourish, you compile all the important points and discuss them in-depth. Your outline determines how many different perspectives there are to make about each point- so think wisely!

  11. 6. Develop a Broader View
  12. In order to make your article more interesting and meaningful, it is important that you connect the details of each point with its corresponding theme.

    In this way, people will understand what they are reading in an instant because there's no confusion about which part belongs where or why certain things were included instead of others weren't!

(back to top)

Essay Outline Examples

Now to have a better idea we have come up with some of the famous essays outline examples. Have a look:

Descriptive Essay Outline (PDF)

Descriptive Essay Outline

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline (PDF)

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Rhetorical Essay Outline (PDF)

Rhetorical Essay Outline

Expository Essay Outline (PDF)

Expository Essay Outline

Informative Essay Outline (PDF)

Informative Essay Outline

Narrative Essay Outline (PDF)

Narrative Essay Outline

Problem Solution Essay Outline (PDF)

Problem Solution Essay Outline

Evaluation Essay Outline (PDF)

Evaluation Essay Outline

Definition Essay Outline (PDF)

Definition Essay Outline

Argumentative Essay Outline (PDF)

Argumentative Essay Outline

Persuasive Essay Outline (PDF)

Persuasive Essay Outline

Analytical Essay Outline (PDF)

Analytical Essay Outline

Synthesis Essay Outline (PDF)

Synthesis Essay Outline

Literary Analysis Essay Outline (PDF)

Literary Analysis Essay Outline

Reflective Essay Outline (PDF)

Reflective Essay Outline

Cause and Effect Essay Outline (PDF)

Cause and Effect Essay Outline

Scholarship Essay Outline (PDF)

Scholarship Essay Outline

If you're looking for the best essay writing service, look no further than EssayWriterNow.com. You can rest assured that your custom paper will be written by experts in their field with knowledge about what makes an effective essay and how it applies specifically to colleges' needs.

Your worries are over! Our writers will make you look good—no more stressing about what to write. Just sit back and watch! Our top-notch team writes a masterpiece that not only impresses your professor but also nets an A in the class for even hard-to-please teachers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a topic outline?

A topic outline is helpful for organizing your thoughts and structuring your paper. It helps you organize the main ideas as well as supporting arguments.

In addition, you can make connections between sections or parts of an assignment by thinking about what's happening here in the introduction.

What is a full sentence outline?

The full sentence outline is when you use complete sentences at each level of the structure. This type of format can be used for any formal writing assignment where you need to provide detail about your thoughts.

When using this format, it is important to support your argument or idea with evidence that comes from outside sources.

What are the 3 types of outline?

Following are the three types of outlines:

  • Working outline
  • Full-sentence outline
  • Speaking outline