Barbara P
Barbara P

How to Create a Perfect Essay Outline Like a Pro

7 min read

Published on: Nov 8, 2020

Last updated on: Mar 9, 2023

Essay Outline

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Ever thought of the importance of the outline in an essay? Well, probably this can be the reason for your bad academic grades.

In order to craft a perfect essay, along with the impressive content, an outline is essential. You can write anything in an essay but if it is not written in the right outline, there is no purpose in the essay.

The essay aims to make your audience clear of your point of view, but if there is no outline followed, your readers will be in great confusion, and you will lose your readership for sure.

Learn how to write an essay outline effectively and correctly through this guide.

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What is an Essay Outline?

An essay outline is a precise plan and order of your essay or paper writing. Here, you write the key idea and give it a structure that makes your argument presentable. In other words, an outline organizes all your thoughts in paragraphs and assures that you did not miss anything.

The reasons why an outline is important are:

  • It organizes your thoughts and ideas. Usually, the information collected is huge, and it is impossible to remember every single detail.
  • An outline helps to know the flow of information.
  • Also, an outline will make you not miss anything to add to the content.

Essay Outline Structure

There are two basic structures that you can use in your essay to give it an appealing and neat look.

  • Alphanumeric Format - The alphanumeric structure is the most common type of outline in essay and research writing. It involves presenting your general ideas in a specific order by assigning each piece of information a number.
  • Decimal Format - This format is similar to the alphanumeric outline format. The only extra benefit of this format is that it uses decimal notation that makes it easier for the readers to see clarity on every level.

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How to Create an Essay Outline?

There are several academic essay writing types. But they all generally follow a common writing format of ‘5 paragraph format’. The basic format of writing an essay include:

  1. Introduction
  2. Body Paragraph 1
  3. Body Paragraph 2
  4. Body Paragraph 3
  5. Conclusion

Each section of the outline holds equal importance in the essay’s effectiveness. So it should be drafted professionally and clearly.

  1. Introduction

    An Introduction is the opening paragraph of an essay used for the audience to make them familiar with the topic.

    The first two paragraphs where the topic and basic information is provided are called introductory paragraphs. A strong introduction would make your audience stick to your essay.

    Therefore, a catchy and interesting introduction is essential to make the audience go through your work.

    A good introduction consists of the following elements:

    ‘Hook’ Statement - A hook is the very first line of an essay used as an opener. This opening line is the secret thing that helps to grab your reader’s attention.

    There are some basic hooks that you can use in your introduction to make it interesting:

    • Quotations
    • Questions
    • Famous Phrases
    • Funny Statements
    • Facts
    • Sarcasm, etc.

    The most important thing to be careful of is to use the right hook for your topic. If you are addressing an issue that is serious and sensitive, you can’t begin your essay with a casual statement.

    • Thesis Statement - a thesis statement is the main argument that you build in your essay. Your entire essay is based on this argument. All the information you gather works as evidence to support this statement.
    • Background Information - After stating your thesis statement, provide a little background information about it. Keep in mind that this is just an introduction and you just need to touch the background and not go into the details.

    The purpose of an introduction is to give a hint of what your essay is going to point at. Your introduction works as navigation for your essay. Make sure that your introduction is perfect.

  2. Body Paragraph

    The main body of the essay is all the information and data presented in paragraphs to support the thesis statement.

    In the body paragraphs of your essay, you provide all the reasons and evidence that collectively prove the point you made in the introductory paragraphs.

    Each paragraph in the body section is based on the following elements:

    • A Topic Sentence - It is the first sentence that includes the basic idea or argument of that specific paragraph. Drafting a topic sentence is important as the reader gets an idea of what the paragraph is about.
    • Supporting Information - Following the topic sentence comes its supporting information. Use strong and logical evidence to persuade the audience.
    • Transition Words - The transition words should be used in all the body paragraphs to give a logical flow leading to the conclusion.
  3. Conclusion

    It is the last paragraph or a concluding statement of an essay that sums up your whole argument. The conclusion basically acts as a result that decides a course of action for the readers in some cases.

All's well that ends well. To give your essay a logical ending, restate the thesis statement and the main idea in different words and connect the ending with the hook you used in your introduction.

Outline for Different Types of Essay

In order to give you a better understanding of the essay outline, we have gathered outline formats For some common essay types.

  • Argumentative Essay Outline

    An argumentative essay is a writing type that is based on the writer’s claim and factual supporting evidence. The writer uses logic to present his side of the argument.{{375}

  • Persuasive Essay Outline 

    A persuasive essay is an essay type that uses logic to support the argument to convince and persuade the readers. In this piece of writing, information is provided as evidence to support the writer’s viewpoint.

  • Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

    A compare and contrast is an essay that presents the similarities and differences among the chosen objects or subjects. Check our detailed compare and contrast essay outline for more information.

  • Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline

    A rhetorical analysis essay is a form of essay that studies a piece of work in greater detail and analyzes the effectiveness of the message. Read a detailed rhetorical analysis essay outline guide to create your essay's structure and outline.

  • Narrative Essay Outline

    Narrative writing is a type of essay writing in which a writer provides his personal experiences and stories and act as an inspiration in his life. These essays are written to make significance in other people’s lives through your experiences.

  • Expository Essay Outline

    These are the types of essays that are written to clarify the readers about a subject by explaining, analyzing, and illustrating it.

  • Research Essay Outline

    A research essay is a form of academic writing in which you analyze another person’s work on a related topic and synthesize it according to your ideas and points

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Essay Outline Tips

Almost every student knows the worth of making an outline for their essays. But they find it challenging to make.

In some cases, your instructor asks you to present an outline of your work beforehand. Now, this is a difficult step. However, you should know the trick of following the pre outlining steps to write an effective outline.

Here are the steps to take before the writing process of your essay begins:

  1. Identify what your topic is. This is to understand the topic and analyze what information does it actually requires.
  2. Look what the purpose of your essay is? Here you need to closely look at what essay type your topic is demanding from you to write. Is your topic asking to persuade or just entertain the readers? Answer the question and move on to the next step.
  3. Know who your audience is. In the case of academic writing, your audience will be your instructor, but if you are writing it generally as a hobby or activity, identify who you are writing this essay for.
  4. Keep taking notes of everything that comes into your mind. All the related key points of the topic should be roughly written to know how to start writing.

Writing your outlines for essays is undoubtedly complex. Follow this guide to understand the concept and use of outlining. If you feel that you can do better with some extra assistance, always go for that option.

Feel free to take an expert’s guide in your academic problems. is a licensed writing company that provides high-quality services for all your academic essays and papers.

You can get assistance for any type of college essay and research paper from the expert essay writers of Hire an experienced and qualified writer at the most affordable price and get professional help.

Barbara P


Barbara P (Literature, Marketing)

Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.

Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.

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