5+ Outline Templates & Examples in Google Docs


In simple terms, an outline is a list of writing points in a business document or any type of academic paper. An outline can be used in different fields, and not just limited to academics or business. Creating an outline helps the writer organize better his or her thoughts, thus helping him create a better structured and readable paper.

In this article, we will be helping you create an outline in Google Docs. We have provided you with examples you can download for free as well as tips on how to create an effective outline.

Elements of an Effective Outline

Listed below are the elements of an effective outline. Make sure to include all the elements when you will be creating your own outline.

1. Parallelism: One of the first methods to writing an effective outline is to observe parallelism. By definition, parallelism refers to arranging identical or equivalent construction of words in corresponding clauses, phrases, or lists. Here is an example of parallelism you can apply in your outline: (a) Write the theoretical background and (b) select which sources you will use in your review of related literature. The example uses parallelism in terms of using verbs to start each point in the outline.

2. Coordination: Coordination refers to the balance of elements in a sentence. In an outline, coordination helps you write headings that focus on the main topics or tasks you will be writing in your paper. For example, if you are writing a business plan, a coordinated business plan outline would be: (a) Focus on locating the niche market and (b) focus on how the company can profit from the niche market.

3. Subordination: Subordination pertains to the creation of subheadings in the outline. Headings alone are too general, and you might miss writing a few information if you simply rely on headings. Subheadings help you categorize and segregate information in the outline so that it will be easier for you to write your paper. Here is an example of subordination in an outline:

A. Choose a data gathering procedure

  • Personal interview
  •  Survey questionnaire

4. Division: Division is basically how you enumerate the points in your outline. For example, if your main heading starts with the number 1, you cannot skip to 3 or 5 without using the number 2 in the subsequent heading. Additionally, if you started using 1A for the subheading, you simply cannot use any letter or number combinations in the subsequent subheadings. You may also see script outline examples.     

5+ Outline Templates

Free Personal Biography Outline

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Character Biography Outline Sample

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Sample Biography Outline Design

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Professional Biography Outline Template

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Short Biography Outline Design

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Free Artist Biography Outline

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Simple Tips Writing an Effective Outline

Don’t forget to follow these simple when writing an outline:

1. Take note of your ideas: Before you begin writing your outline, brainstorm on the ideas you want to eventually write down in the outline. Although brainstorming is similar to writing an outline, it is not the final product. When an idea pops in your mind, don’t keep it in your head but write it down immediately on a piece of paper in the desktop or laptop. Additionally, you may have other ideas you want to incorporate so you need to document everything first.

2. Keep it flexible: The great thing about brainstorming or documenting your ideas at the beginning is that you can write about different ideas or topics. When you already have a topic in mind, you don’t need to be very specific at first as you incorporate a number of subtopics or topics that are similar to the main topic you are creating. New points and sections are very common when creating an outline, so don’t be afraid to keep it flexible. You may also see biography outline examples.

3. Base your facts from reliable and legitimate sources: When creating any kind of document, it is always highly recommended to base it all on facts and never on assumptions. Research will define the validity of your outline and will help you create a more efficient and facts-based outline. There are numerous resources you can use, such as books, journals, periodicals, and online sources, and they are all accessible in your nearest library and even the Internet.

4. Include sub-points for every category: Every heading or category should have sub-points or subcategories, at least two. You simply cannot discuss everything by just listing down the main category. At the end, you will be writing a subpar paper since you did not properly categorize the main categories into sub-points or subcategories from the main categories. Also, make sure that the sub-points should be specific. You may also see leadership outline examples.

5. Do away with useless information: When writing any form of document, there is always a high chance of writing topics or subtopics that are not related to the actual topic of your paper. These type of content or information are basically useless to your paper, so avoid this at all costs. This will ruin the integrity of your paper and your integrity as well as a writer, especially if you will be presenting the paper to a panel.

Steps in Writing an Outline

Listed below are the steps in creating an outline. Use these steps so that you can create an effective outline that will eventually aid you in creating a better research paper.

1. Choose a topic: Like when writing an essay, for instance, you won’t always be given a specific topic to work on. If you are given a topic in which you are knowledgeable about, then it will be easier for you to write the outline. But when the topic is new and you are required to write about that certain topic, all you have to do is do some extended time on research and data-gathering. When choosing a topic, always have a goal on what you want to achieve for the outline as well as identifying the scope and limitations of the said topic.

2. Establish your purpose or goals: After you have chosen a topic for the outline, it’s now time to set goals or establish the purpose on why you want to create the outline. This will allow you to focus on what main or subtopics to include in the outline. Similar to starting a business, setting goals will help you create a more effective and efficient outline.

3. List down primary ideas: This is related to the tip that pertains to listing down the ideas before you start creating the actual outline. The primary ideas will comprise the main topics of your outline. Basically, the outline will center around your main idea or ideas. That is the reason why you should focus on the primary ideas when creating an outline.You may also see training outline examples.

4. List down supporting ideas: The supporting ideas are basically the subheadings of your outline. These ideas support your primary ideas and are essential in creating a outline. Without supporting ideas, the outline becomes too general and you will have a difficult time writing what details to incorporate in the outline as the main ideas or topics may be too general. Take note that you can include quotes, facts, theories, anecdotes, or examples in your supporting details, but it will take time as you will do more research.

5. Review and revise: Always do revisions before you call it the final version of your outline. You may have missed out on a few information or details. If you are creating the outline with a partner or with a team, make sure each member does a few editing and do some checking before the final version of the outline will be printed and submitted.

Types of Outlines

There are two major types of outlines: the topic outline and the sentence outline. Learn more about each type below:

  • Topic Outline: A topic outline is the first of the two major outlines. A topic outline offers you an overview of the topics which are included in the write-up or research paper. Topic outlines are written as words or phrases.
  • Sentence Outline: In an sentence outline, it is very much more detailed than the topic outline as it is written with more detail (e.g. sentences or paragraphs compared to phrases that are used in a topic outline).

Outline FAQs

What is an outline?

An outline is one of the best methods of listing down a summary of ideas or topics before they are written in the research paper or report.

Why is an outline important?

An outline is very important as it helps the writer focus on the main and subtopics of his or her paper, thus avoiding confusion and helps him create a better outline.

We hope you found this article to be informative as well as helpful when you will be creating your own outline in Google Docs.

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