What Are the Different Types of Essay Outline Formats?

The format of an essay outline can vary depending on the writer’s preferences, but each outline will have many of the same features. In the outline, there should be a topic and a thesis statement, as well as general topics for supporting paragraphs. The length and details included in essay outline formats can vary, and while more detail may be beneficial to some writers, too much information may bog them down or confuse them. A thesis statement, supporting paragraph points, and any sources from which the writer intends to pull information are all included in a very simple format.

One of the most basic essay outline formats allows the writer to begin writing the first paragraph while outlining. The general topic of the essay, which could be as broad as “Common Medical Devices,” is the first item in the outline. A brainstorming cloud or web can be created from that topic; this is a separate piece of paper on which the writer can write the topic in the center of the page and write related ideas and concepts around that idea. This will assist the writer in narrowing the focus of the paper. The thesis statement, or main argument, of the paper will be written in the outline once the writer has a specific idea. After that, the writer will create a numbered list of main points to support the thesis.

Other essay outline formats go into greater detail. The essay can be broken down into paragraphs, and the outline will include the specific details or examples that will be included in each paragraph. This extremely detailed document will assist the writer in forming specific paragraphs with little room for deviation from the pre-determined plan. This is what the outline might look like:


A) Make a hook

B) Background information

C) Thesis assertion


A) The first point

Example 1 (B)

Example No. 2


A) Second point

B) First counter-argument

C) Rebuttal to the first counter-argument


A) Conclusion

B) The most important point

C) The most important point

Individual bullet points, numbered or lettered items may vary depending on the essay being written, but regardless of how long or short the essay is, these essay outline formats will allow the writer to keep track of specific points and arguments. This essay format may be appropriate for a writer who needs to write a very detailed essay with a specific focus.