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The Basics of a Good Outline
Figure 13-1 The new Outlining tab includes all of the tools you need for working with outlines
in Word 2010.
The Basics of a Good Outline
Although many of us learned about outlines for the first time in elementary school, the
outlines you use in the business world might not conform exactly to the rigid rules you
remember from the classroom. Generally a good outline does strive to meet the following
goals:
Be logical in sequence
Next subordinate headings within higher level heads
Include two subheads within each subsection
Try to be parallel in language and tone
Deal with topics of comparable depth (for example, all level-1 headings have the
same relative importance; level-2 Headings less so, and so on)
The way in which you create your outline, however, should really have more to do with the
needs of your document and the desires of your audience than it should be forced to
conform to rules that don’t it your project.
When it comes to the creative process, the idea of using an outline is simply to get your
ideas down in a way that provides you with a structure for your document and helps ensure
that you’re covering the major points necessary to include. If you find yourself stuck in the
planning stage, try some of the following techniques to get the ideas lowing:
The process outline. Does your document lend itself to a series of steps? For
example, if you’re writing an article about managing an international project, plan
out what you want to say as a series of steps. Perhaps the first thing you do in
managing a global initiative is to determine the scope of the project. That’s step 1. Next,
you take a look at the resources you have available. There’s your second heading.
Third, who are the members of your team? Continue until you have completed the
process and then review your major steps. Your outline headings can evolve directly
from those steps that you’ve identified.
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