Free Essay Outline Template

Essay Outline

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A free essay outline template developed for writing a well-structured, coherent, explicit essay that will display the topic to its fullest.


Essay Outline

Outline Essay Template

What is your style of writing? Do you like organizing your thoughts and ideas before you start? Or do you prefer writing down everything that comes to your mind and postponing organizing the stuff later or not at all? The second approach is way more suitable for many people's romanticized concept of writing. However, it's much harder to control and get a great result. It might work out with big texts, where you have enough space to explain your ideas. While small texts, like essays, limit you. 

Outlining your essay or any other writing piece is the best way to complete the assignment, create a cohesive text, and develop and deliver your idea to whoever will read your essay. You think about its structure and main points, so the moment you start writing, you have a plan and know where to move.

While essay outlining is supposed to ease your work, templates for essay outlines go even further and turn writing into an easy and enjoyable process. You may try the xTiles Outline Essay Template to prepare everything you need to write a great essay.

What is the outline format, and when is it beneficial?

Generally speaking, an outline is your guide for getting an assignment done, but at the same time, it's something much greater. It's a plan to help you stick to your main topic without going astray. It's your instruction to write a text that will be cohesive. Additionally, a good outline is also your helper in coming up with new ideas and developing them.

If you have written something at least once in your life, you know that that's not an easy business. Words don't magically pour from your brain, turning into sophisticated, polished, and amusing sentences. Writing requires a lot of effort, a lot of preparation, a lot of thinking, sometimes struggling with finding the right words, collocations, comparisons, metaphors, etc., and a lot of rewriting. 

If you're new to writing, an outline template for essay writing will help you visualize and organize your ideas. However, even if you're a tough writer, an outline will come in handy too. It will allow you to relax while writing. You won't have to control every detail and check whether they are not contradicting each other because you have already worked that out. A ready-to-go template for an argumentative essay outline makes the writing process effortless and helps to prove you're a diligent student.

Kinds of essay outlines

There are numerous kinds of essay types. Knowing them and their purpose will help you better understand how to accomplish yours.

Thesis statement

The thesis statement is the base of any good essay. It clearly expresses the main argument or the central idea that you will be developing. It will have to be short, clear, and located within the last sentence of the introduction.

Descriptive essay outline

This is specifically for essays that elaborately describe a person, place, object, or event through vivid details of the five senses. The typical structure usually goes from the introduction through the body paragraphs on different aspects to the conclusion.

Literary analysis essay outline

This is the structure applied to analyze works of literature; usually, the introduction with a thesis, body sections speaking about concrete elements (characters, symbol, themes, etc.), and conclusion that summarizes everything said.

Expository essay

The expository essay is written with the purpose of informing or explaining a topic in a clear way. It typically consists of an introduction, including a thesis, development of evidence and examples through body paragraphs, and a reiteration of the thesis in the conclusion.

Personal narrative essay

An outline meant for the essays that narrate personal stories or describe an event usually contains an introduction that sets the scene, body paragraphs that are a chronological description of the event, and a conclusion that reflects upon the meaning or describes what happened.

Contrast essay

Designed to outline essays that analyze two subjects that are unliked based on their similarities and differences, it includes an introduction, thesis, body paragraphs that support the comparison or contrast, and a conclusion that summarizes the key points.

Research papers

In the case of these long and more intensive types of academic papers, the outline contains the introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion.

History essay

This kind of outline works great for essays that are based on the analysis of historical events, figures, or periods. It will generally include an introduction that features a thesis statement, the body of the text that includes supporting details and analysis, and a conclusion that helps to pull it all together while driving the work's point home.

How to write an outline that will help you to accomplish your assignment?

When you start your outline, your ideas might be pretty raw and far from being clearly formed. If everything goes smoothly, you will have a developed idea that is easy to express and explain after you finish your outline. And then your essay is almost half done.

There are different outline approaches to writing different types of essays. However, the main point is that there's no 100% pure argumentative essay, as there won't be any 100% pure reflective essay. A good essay plays for all teams – it delivers ideas, explains new information, shows your opinion, etc. That's why we created a flexible outline essay template. It doesn't matter what you have to work on. It will suit your needs just perfectly. Besides, you won't need to search for different templates each time you get a task from your teachers. You already have it.

When working on your outline, remember that it's mostly for you. Even though someone might see or even check it, don't worry about what they will think. After all, it's not the finished essay yet. If whoever sees it finds something wrong or incorrect, it will help you.

Let's start.

1. Topic

It may sound silly, but your topic is your starting point. How you formulate it will affect the whole process and the whole piece. Sometimes, even one article is crucial. That's why you need to be especially careful and attentive when coming up with your topic.

When you get your essay topic from your academic advisor, you still need to be attentive. Scrutinize what you have. How well does it suit your previous academic assignments? Maybe there's something you can add or delete to be more specific?

Important to remember that long topics often don't help. They might confuse you and especially people who will read them. Conciseness is your best helper.

Aside from coming up with the topic, you also need to decide who you're writing to. Your target audience defines many aspects of your future essay. What lexicon, analogies, comparisons, etc., can you use, what questions need to be asked, etc.? It defines how deep you will dive into your topic and what aspects you will explain.

2. Introduction

Your essay introduction is where you convince the reader to continue reading. At this part, you need to show how interesting and innovative your text is, that this single piece of writing will divide their lives into before and after. So, for the introduction, you need to gather the most important and intriguing information on your topic. 

You may ask questions, whether rhetorical or not, and promise them the answer somewhere below. However, the introduction isn't the most important part of your essay, so don't put all the information and ideas in this part. Also, don't start to explain your point. It will be too late and will make your essay body useless.

3. Thesis

Many people experience trouble distinguishing between an essay thesis and the essay topic. These two are indeed pretty similar and closely related. However, your thesis statement is more about your relationship with the topic than the topic itself.

When filling this part of your essay outline template, add what you think and your experience, don't be scared to add judgments and opinions. Your essay can be critical too. 

You may add something while researching the topic. You may change your mind completely after you've conducted your research. That evolution of your opinion might also be a good point to add to your essay thesis.

4. Body

Imagine your essay is a sandwich. The beginning and conclusion are pieces of bread, and the body is the stuffing – the point you're making a sandwich in the first place.

To make your sandwich easier to digest, you may divide this part into three or as many parts as you want. Each is devoted to a new point of view or argument. 

When working on this part of your essay template outline, the main rule is to be specific and not let them mix with each other. It might look like if everything is united into one big piece, the text will be more cohesive and explain the subject fully. Yes, it might be so, but it will also be more chaotic and hard to understand.

The order of your points is important too. You may go from general to more specific facts, which is probably the most workable approach because you prepare your reader, giving them the information they need to understand the next idea.

5. Conclusion

The final part is as important as all the previous ones. It will be a misfortune to give up in the end and, after an intriguing introduction and well-reasoned and explained body, deliver a weak conclusion. That's why we recommend you keep something interesting for the last part, too.

Your conclusions should be based on what you delivered/explained in the body. Put the main ideas and concepts you grasp. Maybe, while writing the essay, you will change your initial conclusion or extend it with new opinions or judgments. You may even write a few sentences about popular misconceptions regarding the topic, given your experience and new knowledge.


How to write an essay outline template?

An essay outline template should include the key components of your essay, including the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Within each section, you should include bullet points or subheadings that summarize the main points you want to make. Your outline should also include a thesis statement, which is the central idea that your essay will explore. Additionally, you may want to include notes on sources or research you plan to use.

How do you write a 5 paragraph essay outline?

To write a 5 paragraph essay outline, start with an introduction that includes a thesis statement. Then, create three main points that will be the focus of your body paragraphs. Under each main point, include supporting evidence or examples. Finally, write a conclusion that summarizes your main points and restates your thesis.

How do I write an outline for an essay?

To write an outline for an essay, start with an introduction that includes a thesis statement. Then, identify the key points you want to make in your body paragraphs. Under each main point, include supporting evidence or examples. Finally, write a conclusion that summarizes your main points and restates your thesis.

What is the basic outline format?

The basic outline format includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Within each section, include bullet points or subheadings that summarize the main points you want to make. Your outline should also include a thesis statement, which is the central idea that your essay will explore.

How do I write an outline?

To write an outline, start with an introduction that includes a thesis statement. Then, identify the key points you want to make in your body paragraphs. Under each main point, include supporting evidence or examples. Finally, write a conclusion that summarizes your main points and restates your thesis.

How long should an essay outline be?

The length of an essay outline will depend on the length and complexity of your essay. However, as a general rule of thumb, an outline should be a few pages or less.

What is the difference between outline and summary?

An outline is a plan for organizing your ideas and arguments in an essay, while a summary is a brief overview of the main points of a text or document. An outline is more detailed and includes specific points and examples, while a summary is shorter and more general.

Essay Outline
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How to write an essay outline template?

How do you write a 5 paragraph essay outline?

How do I write an outline for an essay?

What is the basic outline format?

How do I write an outline?

How long should an essay outline be?

What is the difference between outline and summary?

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