An outline, also called a hierarchical outline, is a list arranged to show hierarchical relationships and is a type of tree structure. Each item in an outline business communication process and product by mary ellen guffey pdf be divided into additional sub-items. If an organizational level in an outline is to be sub-divided, it shall have at least two subcategories, as advised by major style manuals in current use.
An outline may be used as a drafting tool of a document, or as a summary of the content of a document or of the knowledge in an entire field. The outlines described in this article are lists, and come in several varieties. A sentence outline is a compositional tool for writing a document, such as an essay, a paper, a book, or even an encyclopedia.
It is a list used to organize the facts or points to be covered, and their order of presentation, by section. Topic outlines list the subtopics of a subject, arranged in levels, and while they can be used to plan a composition, they are most often used as a summary, such as in the form of a table of contents or the topic list in a college course’s syllabus. Outlines are further differentiated by the index prefixing used, or lack thereof. Many outlines include a numerical or alphanumerical prefix preceding each entry in the outline, to provide a specific path for each item, to aid in referring to and discussing the entries listed.
An alphanumerical outline uses alternating letters and numbers to identify entries. A decimal outline uses only numbers as prefixes.
An outline without prefixes is called a “bare outline”. Specialized applications of outlines also exist.
An integrated outline is a composition tool for writing scholastic works, in which the sources, and the writer’s notes from the sources, are integrated into the outline for ease of reference during the writing process. A software program designed for processing outlines is called an outliner.
Outlines are differentiated by style, the inclusion of prefixes, and specialized purpose. There are two main styles of outline: sentence outlines and topic outlines. A sentence outline is a hierarchical outline composed of sentences.
Its primary use is as a compositional tool for writing a document, such as an essay, a paper, a book, or even an encyclopedia. It is a list used to organize the facts or points to be covered, and their order of presentation, by section. It can also be used as a publishing format, in which the outline itself is the end product.
A topic outline is a hierarchical outline in which each entry is a subtopic of the subject of the outline. Items are arranged in levels, and may objects, names, values, categories, and so on. While topic outlines can be used to plan contents or draft a composition, they are typically intended for publishing and distribution. One application of topic outlines is the college course overview, provided by professors to their students, to describe the scope of the course.