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How to Write an Essay Outline with Easy Steps

Do you need to learn how to write an essay outline and why? Well, writing an outline is a very important step in writing a good essay.

The outline of an essay helps to set up the structure and pace of your essay. It gives your writer an overview of what he is going to read. For these reasons, learning how to write an essay outline is crucial if you want to crack your essay assignments and tests.

What is an Essay Outline?

An Essay Outline is, basically, a plan of any academic paper that is used to structure and organize your ideas. Besides, it gives the reader an overview of what you are going to talk about throughout your essay.

Learn How to Write an Essay Outline

For the above reasons, an essay outline or outline for any sort of writing is a great way to research and plan out your ideas. Thus, in the following guide, you will learn how to write an essay outline.

Step 1: Preparing to Create an Outline

The first step in writing an outline is to start preparing to write one. Basically, read the instructions given by your instructor carefully to develop a topic. You can underline or highlight important points, phrase or words in the given instruction. And make sure you thoroughly understand the instructions.

Next, take a piece of paper and start brainstorming your ideas. Write down the topic of your essay in the middle and keep adding branches to the main topic and add supporting ideas. Then, add further branches to for examples and illustrations. Besides, try to answer “who, why, where, how and when” to further illustrate your ideas.

Identify Your Purpose and Audience

Then, you can ask yourself questions such as what you want to accomplish by writing this paper. Or whether you writing to entertain, persuade or something else and who?

Once you are done with the questions and probably one of the most important steps, you are good to move on. Next, you should identify your audience. So, determine who you are writing to. This will help you in identifying the needs and expectations of your audience.

Develop Your Thesis

Now that you have identified your purpose and audience, you should be ready to develop your thesis. A good thesis has one main idea, and it is focused and specific. Besides, a good thesis is always open to a different interpretation.

Therefore, while composing the thesis of your essay, check whether there is a way someone could disagree with your thesis. If yes, you have built a strong thesis. If you can not find any way someone could disagree with your thesis, then you need to rethink it.

Step 2: Choosing an Outline Structure

Deciding on which outline structure you want to adopt can be hard. Because the style you choose has a great impact on how you want your readers to view your essay outline.

You can choose from an alphanumeric or decimal outline to showcase how your ideas are connected to each other. Besides, you can also decide whether you want to write sentences or you prefer phrases.

But whatever you choose, you should stick to the same style till the end of your outline.

Step 3. Organize Your Information

You can not just put your ideas and expect it to explain to your reader your intentions about your essay. Instead, you should spend some time in organizing the information.

Basically, the outline of your essay should have three main parts. The first part of your essay should give general and attention-grabbing information about your topic. And it should start to become more specific as you progress. You can start with an anecdote, a shocking fact or a quotation. it should start to become more specific as you progress.

In contrast, the last part of your essay should be specific. It should be the thesis of your essay.

All in all, the outline of your essay should summarize all your ideas and basically your entire essay in bullet points.


While you have introduced the first part of your essay with general information, in the body of your outline, you should include more ideas and discussions. It is generally the largest part of your essay. Therefore, you would want to give more sections to this part of your essay outline

  • Also, do not label anything like an important point even if it is. Instead, let the idea be explored by your reader.
  • Under each idea, give more examples and illustrations to support.


The last section of your essay should be the conclusion of your essay outline. So, this section should bring your reader back to the point you discussed in the introduction.

  • It should restate the thesis of your essay. However, avoid copying the original statement word-to-word. Instead, you should restate the idea.
  • Compose a strong concluding statement. A strong concluding statement is the one that can explain the importance of the thesis, examine the implications of the thesis, or suggest a solution to the discussed problems.

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