How to Outline Technical Writing Documents

by Contributor; Updated September 26, 2017
Outline Technical Writing Documents

How to Outline Technical Writing Documents. A well-written document isn't created by chance. The material covered in a report, manual or other technical document is planned, organized and then written. The outlining stage of a document is a key step and chances are the information won't be presented logically if an outline isn't created. Outlining gives the author a chance to think about the information that should and shouldn't be included.

Step 1

Brainstorm your ideas. Write down any ideas in your outline that you think should be included in the technical document. Don't be concerned with the order of the information. It just matters that all of the information is included in the brainstorming process.

Step 2

Determine the purpose of the technical document. Ask yourself questions such as who will be reading the document, why will it be read and how will it be used.

Step 3

Decide what type of outline you would like to create: historical, chronological, specific to general, small to large, simple to complex or any other form appropriate to the content. Think about the audience and about the information that you want to present. Make sure that the way the information is arranged makes the most sense to the type of information being presented and to the audience that will be reading the technical document.

Step 4

Arrange the information in the appropriate order. An outline involves grouping the information into logical sections and levels. You can create main topics and sub-topics and sub-sub-topics.

Step 5

Finish the outline by reviewing the information to verify that the subjects are organized appropriately and logically. Make sure that you aren't missing any key facts. Delete any information that isn't relevant to the technical document.