Writing an Essay Outline

What is an essay outline?

The outline to an essay is what a skeleton is to a human body. Not only it helps in structuring the whole content of the essay, it organizes it in a logical manner. One of the essential steps of pre-writing Stage includes creating an outline for an essay. The Essay outline enables the writer to categorize the headings, to organize the paragraphs in accordance that makes absolute sense and to make sure that each of headings and paragraphs is in sync and fully developed. An outline is more of a navigator that can help the writers in locating all the essential points, thus saving them from the hassle of being stuck.

The main purpose of the essay outline is to showcase the thesis of the essay in the best possible manner, wherein the crux of every paragraph, the facts, statements, upholds the soul of an essay. 

How to write an essay outline?

An essay outline provides the logistic structure to an essay, organizing it in the most coherent manner. Forming it requires a systematic approach:

  • To outline the essay: This step includes the stern reading of the guidelines, thereafter proceeding with the topic. Identification of the purpose and segmented readership can help you in determining the same. Later is the development of the Thesis which should be well backed by facts and pieces of evidence. Stating something is not the thesis but to come up with enough facts to prove the same is what constitute an effective thesis.
  • Basic outline and structuring of an essay: The following step constitutes several sub-steps which are
  1. Determining the alphanumeric structure for an elementary essay outline wherein you can choose Roman numerals, capital letters, lowercase letters, or Arabic numerals. They are essentially required to highlight three main pieces of content which are Introduction, the body of essay and conclusion. 
  2. Outlining the subheadings or subsections with decimal structures, which are one of the most preferred outline structures. It is outlined to show the correlation between heading and its subheadings and later for pointers.
  3. Determining whether to illustrate phrases or complete sentence in your outline. Most people prefer complete sentence for conscientious information. This also includes using unanimous structures for all outline sections. For example, the former structure is specified using the gerund, the rest of it should also be stated using the same.
  4.  The next is to divide each heading into several parts which is essential to substantiate every point. 
  • Organizing data in sync with essay outline: It means to organize information as per every section says for introduction, wherein commencing from something generic, you can be more specific later and so on you can do with two other sections. The body of the essay is the most crucial part and hence should be given extra attention.

Essay outline format

Following is the format to form the essay outline that can help in structuring the ideal outline for your essay. Every pointer has some inclusions which should be considered while encompassing the outline.


The introduction needs to be most enticing as it is the primary thing readers come across. It should be attractive, easy to comprehend, and states the soul of the essay. You can include the overview of the contextual body along with the Thesis statement.

  1.             Main POINT 1

Here you can state your first main point along with its pieces of evidence, facts, and figures to prove the same, and significance. You need to elaborate the point by stating its connection to thesis statement. You need a definite conclusion too.

  1.             Main Point 2

Here you can state your second argument along with its pieces of evidence, ts and figures to prove the same, and significance. You need to elaborate the point by stating its connection to thesis statement. You need a definite conclusion too.

                            iii.            Main Point 3

Here you can state your third argument along with its pieces of evidence, facts and figures to prove the same, and significance. You need to elaborate the point by stating its connection to thesis statement. You need a definite conclusion too.


It includes restating the Thesis backed by the summary of all the main points. Later conclude it with a closing sentence which can be anything, a prospect, a proposition, suggestion, solution, that can justify the soul of the essay.  


Essay outline templates

The following essay outline template can help the users with a pre-designed framework of the essay outline wherein the user can organize their information accordingly.

  2.   A brief introduction

1.1. Starting from generic

                                1.2. Be more specific

                                1.3 Stating the crux of the whole essay

  1.   BODY
  2. First main point

                            2.1. Explain the same

                            2.2. Pieces of evidence to support

                            2.3. Conclusion

  1. Second Main point

                            3.1. Explain the same

                            3.2. Pieces of evidence to support

                            3.3. Conclusion

  1. Third main Point

                            4.1. Explain the same

                            4.2. Pieces of evidence to support

                            4.3. Conclusion

  1. Conclusion

 Restating Thesis, a summary of main points, Closure

   For downloading more Essay outline template word files you can visit:


Essay outlines Examples:

Following is an essay outline example:

  1.          Introduction

1.1. What is Cyber Bullying?

1.2. Overview of cyberbullying

1.3. Thesis statement on Cyber Bullying

  1.          Types of Cyber Bullying

2.1. Different types of Cyber Bullying

2.2. Statistics showing the reported cases of cyber bullying

2.3 Para concluding point and argument

  1.          The targeted group of Cyber bullying

3.1. Reasons why the segment is targeted

3.2. Causes that lead to cyber bullying of the particular segment

3.3. Statistical data

3.4 Para concluding point and argument

  1.          Consequences of Cyber Bullying

4.1. Listed consequences on the victim

4.2. The after effects of cyber-bullying on victim and family

4.3. Laws against Cyber Bullying

4.4 Para concluding point and argument

  1.          Conclusion

5.1. Review of the Thesis Statement

5.2.   Suggestive measures against cyber bullying  

Essay outline Sample

Following are some shortlisted links wherein you can find the relevant Essay Outline Sample:




Essay outline PDFs

Saving the users from all the hassle, here are the links to download PDF files of essay outline:




Length of the Essays and their Outline:

Length of essays could vary a lot. There could be 3 pages, 5 pages, 5 Paragaphrahs, 4 Paragraphs essays but essay outline requirements do not vary a lot. Normally, essays of all lengths will have introduction and conclusion. Only variations that will come is in the main body of the essay. A 4 or 5 paragraph essay will have main body of 2-3 Paragraphs.  So, outline of a 5 paragraph essay will be Introduction one paragraph, Main body (3 paragraphs) and conclusion one paragraph.

While an essay of 3 pages or 5 pages will have numerous paragraphs in its main body according to the length of the essay. An essay that has that has more length will be covering the topic in more depth and detail while short length essays will be analyzing the main points in brief.


Essay outline reduces the struggle for organizing and formatting the essay while providing with an adequate framework to how to write an essay outline for university, thus ensuring the essay is well written with all necessary inclusions and properly formatted.