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.
Reverse outlining is like reverse engineering a document.
The points or topics are extracted from the work, and are arranged in their order of presentation, by section, in the outline.
There are two main styles of outline: sentence outlines and topic outlines.
Propædia is the historical attempt of the Encyclopædia Britannica to present a hierarchical "Outline of Knowledge" in a separate volume in the 15th edition of 1974. Similar to section numbers, an outline prefix is a label (usually alphanumeric or numeric) placed at the beginning of an outline entry to assist in referring to it. An alphanumeric outline includes a prefix at the beginning of each topic as a reference aid.
If more levels of outline are needed, lower-case Roman numerals and numbers and lower-case letters, sometimes with single and double parenthesis can be used, although the exact order is not well defined, and usage varies widely. MLA style is sometimes incorrectly referred to as APA style, based on the practice of the United States Congress in drafting legislation, suggests the following sequence, from the top to the seventh level (the only ones specified): I. Because of its use in the US Code and other US law books, many American lawyers consequently use this outline format.
The scheme recommended by the MLA Handbook, among others, uses the usual five levels, as described above, then repeats the Arabic numerals and lower-case letter surrounded by parentheses (round brackets) – I. Another alternative scheme repeats all five levels with a single parenthesis for the second five – I) A) 1) a) i) – and then again with a double parenthesis for the third five – (I) (A) (1) (a) (i).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.An integrated outline can be a helpful tool for people with writer's block because the content of the paper is organized and identified prior to writing.The structure and content is combined and the author can write a small section at a time.Each numeral or letter is followed by a period, and each item is capitalized, as in the following sample: Some call the Roman numerals "A-heads" (for "A-level headings"), the upper-case letters, "B-heads", and so on. (1) (a) – and does not specify any lower levels, though "(i)" is usually next.Some writers also prefer to insert a blank line between the A-heads and B-heads, while often keeping the B-heads and C-heads together. In common practice, lower levels yet are usually Arabic numerals and lowercase letters again, and sometimes lower-case Roman again, with single parentheses – 1) a) i) – but usage varies. a) (1) (a) i) – capital Roman numerals with a period, capital letters with a period, Arabic numerals with a period, italic lowercase letters with a single parenthesis, Arabic numerals with a double parenthesis, italic lowercase letters with a double parenthesis, and italic lowercase Roman numerals with a single parentheses, though the italics are not required).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. An outline without prefixes is called a "bare outline". A reverse outline is a list of sentences or topics that is created from an existing work, as a revision tool; it may show the gaps in the document's coverage so that they may be filled, and may help in rearranging sentences or topics to improve the structure and flow of the work.It is not to be confused with the general context of the term "outline", which a summary or overview of a subject, presented verbally or written in prose (for example, The Outline of History is not an outline of the type presented below).The outlines described in this article are lists, and come in several varieties.