An outline presents a picture of the main ideas and the supporting ideas of a paragraph. The skill of outlining will help you organize and remember what you hear or read. Outlining means to write information in order, from the most important to the least important. Main topics, subtopics and details are the important parts of an outline. Outlining will help you learn how to take notes notes and remember the main ideas of what you’ve read.


I. Title    An outline always has a title that tells you what the outline is about.


II.  Main Topics (Use the heading of each chapter section for these)


Use Roman numerals for each main topic. Write each main topic in the same way. Write in sentences or phrases, but capitalize the first word. A main topic is a very important idea and is comparable to the headings in textbooks. Below are Roman numerals for your review.

  • I = 1
  • II = 2
  • III = 3
  • IV = 4
  • V = 5
  • VI = 6
  • VII = 7
  • VIII = 8
  • IX = 9
  • X =10


II.  Subtopics


Use a capital letter before each subtopic: A,B,C,etc. Indent subtopics under the main topics. Subtopics give more information about the main topic.

III. Details

Use an Arabic numeral for each detail under subtopics: 1.2.3.etc. Indent details under subtopics. A detail is an extra piece of information that helps make the subtopic clearer.

Sample Outline Format:


  I. Main topic

A. Subtopic

  1. Detail

           a. Sub-detail

              1) Additional details

            b. Second Sub-detail

      2. Second Detail

B. Next Subtopic

What your outline must have:

1. Main idea of each paragraph (UNDERLINED)

2. New vocabulary in bold print (CIRCLED)

3. Answers to all section objectives (NUMBERED & WRITTEN IN RED INK))

4. All assigned charts/tables WITHIN EACH SECTION

5. All assigned labeled drawings WITHIN THE RIGHT SECTION & NOT AT THE END!



Sample Outline