Best Essay Outline Templates (Argumentative, Persuasive, Narrative)

free essay outline template 5

A well-designed essay outline template provides the students a good idea of how to go about the essay. An essay outline lists down your topical ideas one after another. However, essay writing has become a critical part for students. It is also compulsory for college applications.

The essay outline basically provides you a forum where you can create your own ideas and come up with your own thoughts. These outlines are in the form of bullets that assists you to structure your ideas and thoughts logically. In short, they are the main aspects of writing an effective essay.

Importance of essay outline:

Creating an outline before writing an essay has great importance. It allows you to create your own ideas and develops your thoughts. You can get worried by seeing a blank document. Hence, by the listing outline first, you can push yourself towards writing. During brainstorming, it gives you ideas that help you come up with different ideas in mind. In this way, you can clearly understand what exactly you want to write.

Moreover, clarifying your ideas, also makes you able to organize ideas still staying on the topic. With the help of an outline, you can’t miss any point you want to highlight. When you place an outline in front of you during writing an essay, you can describe your ideas in a way that they have the most impact.

Above all, it makes the writing process easier by creating a step-by-step guide for you. It will definitely save your time. After creating the essay outline template, you just have to connect the dots and ideas. You may also like the Informative Speech Outline Template.

Different types of essay outline:

Different types of essays have different types of outlines depending on the purpose they are being written for. Let us discuss them below;

Informative essay outline:

This type of essay outline just lists down the facts. It represents the balance analysis of a certain topic. As its name implies, this type of essay should be written in an informational tone. It explains the whole topic with the help of statistics, facts, and figures. Additionally, it further includes a variety of essays like cause and effect essays. It uses the ‘how to’ approach method and explains the process.

Narrative essay outline:

A narrative essay describes a story of a real-life experience. Some people think that it is written in the form of a story but it also creates a lot of narrative challenges. The writers of this type of essay usually narrate their own story because it is difficult to narrate the story of someone else. The writers should use the first-person tone during writing this type of essay. Most importantly, a narrative essay must end with a personal statement.

Compare and contrast essay outline:

Compare and contrast essay outlines include places, people, events, and objects that are closely relatable. It determines the similarities and differences as well. It is quite difficult to write such a type of essay because it requires a lot of research and effort. Moreover, in this type of essay, you argue on a point with supported facts and it is not an essay task. Some reasons to write this type of essay are;

  • To state something that is unknown,
  • To identify if one thing is better than another thing
  • To clear up misunderstandings.

Argumentative essay outline:

It is used to urge someone to think in a way you do support your argument with reliable references. It allows you to look out of different elements closely. The writer of this type of essay investigates on topic and generates and evaluates it by gathering evidence. To get factual and correct information, you have to do a lot of research. Everything that will be written in this type of essay has credible resources and references.

Persuasive essay outline:

The main purpose of writing this type of essay is to convince the readers to accept the writer’s point of view. It contains facts and figures with reliable references so that the reader is convinced. Furthermore, it also includes reasoning and expert opinions. A persuasive essay outline template helps the writer to communicate credibly.

How to write an essay outline?

Here are some steps to make an effective essay outline;

  • At first, the important words and terms that you see in the instructions, highlight or underline them. By highlighting, you can pay more attention and things become more understandable. If you don’t understand them then the first thing you have to do is to understand those phrases properly.
  • Next, you should do some pre-writing exercises to get started. Write all your ideas and thoughts on a piece of paper. When you have written all of them, have a look at them and expand the topics. This brainstorming will help you to find the true topic for your easy. Also, the most important step is to determine the purpose of the topic.
  • After determining the purpose, it’s time to identify your audience. During writing, keep your audience in mind and consider what they know and what they do not know.
  • Now, select the styles or structures either the decimal outline structure or alphanumeric structure. The alphanumeric structure consists of capitalized letters and roman numbers while the decimal outline structure uses numbers to identify each subsection.
  • Next, arrange your information in the essay outline. The first section, including an attention-grabbing introduction. The last part of the interdiction contains the thesis statement of the essay.
  • Then, in the body section, do not write the whole as it is just the essay outline. There is no need to label each and every point.
  • In the last section, you should summarize the overall discussion. For concluding the essay, take some information from the introduction section as well as the body of the essay.

Reasons for writing an essay outline:

With the help of an essay outline, you can organize your main ideas and identify the order in which you are going to write regarding them. Another very effective way to think through how you will organize and display the details in your essay is by writing an outline with an alphanumeric structure. Also, it assists you in establishing a strong argumentative essay.

Why do you make an outline for your college essay?

You should make an essay outline because it allows you to present the main idea of your essay in a structured way. Here are some more reasons for outlining your college essay;

  • With the help of an essay outline, your readers will more easily understand what your main ideas are, the arguments you will use, and how they are linked in your essay.
  • A writing process becomes much easier for you by outlining an essay. Also, it enables you not to forget anything that you have to mention in your essay and how to make transitions between arguments.

How to structure 5 paragraph essay outline?

Here is the structure of 5 paragraph essay outline;


  • State the topic
  • Thesis statement

Body Paragraph 1

  • Introduction
  • Examples
  • Explanation
  • A conclusion relevant to the thesis

Body Paragraph 2

  • Introduction
  • Examples
  • Explanation
  • A conclusion relevant to the thesis

Body Paragraph 3

  • Introduction
  • Examples
  • Explanation
  • A conclusion relevant to the thesis


  • Summary of the essay
  • Restate the thesis statement


In conclusion, an essay outline template is a helpful tool that provides the students a good idea of how to go about the essay. Essay writing is challenging for all students but by creating an outline you don’t forget any point you want to include.

Faqs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can you use full sentences in your essay outline?

It depends on your supervisor or instructor whether or not they allow you to use full sentences in your essay outline.

Should you stick to your essay outline while writing an essay?

You should try to stick to your essay outline as you write your essay. However, it is okay to depart from your essay outline in case your ideas change or you think that your structure could be better.

What are the three types of essay outline?

These are as follows;

  • Working outline
  • Speaking outline
  • Full-sentence outline

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