MLA Outline Format

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Why create an outline

  • So as to have a clear arrangement of ideas
  • Have a clear presentation of ideas
  • To be relevant in writing
  • To have a clear flow of thoughts
  • To have an idea of what the boundaries and groups should be.

How to create an outline

  • Looking at what the purpose of writing is
  • Deciding on who the readers are
  • Developing and organising the thesis for the topic


• Creatively think: List all the ideologies and thoughts that you want to include in your paper.

• Arrange: all the ideas that go together and can fit into one particular group.

• Align: this is achieved by arranging the ideas and materials from the most generalised ones to the most specific ones

• Brand: identify and make the headings as well as the subheadings.


Using the MLA outline of writing, the writer is able to organize their ideas and present them chronologically in a way that the reader is able to follow clearly. The writer is then able to show the relationship between various ideas while at the same time is able to construct a very clear overview of writing that has specific boundaries. The outline is then a foundation aid that the writer uses to as their basis for writing any particular kind of writing. Using then the MLA is the optimal way of looking at the context that a writer has to write upon and be able to deliver in almost every aspect an attractive essay

It is majorly about organising one's thoughts when it comes to delivering in the various forms of writings. It is not just a requirement but a necessity that the writer is able to take the reader through a series of well outlined and flowing thoughts that make sense from the beginning to the end. Without so doing the reader is lost and the suspense is substituted with boredom. With the aid of the outline, the writer is able to pursue the various thoughts that are in line with the preceding ones and keep the reader flowing.


Making the coordination

The information should have a clear flow of events and thoughts. They should line up in such a way that from the first heading the information contained should have the same information as contained in second heading. The same also applies to the subheadings which should not carry more information than the headings themselves.

For instance:

I. Religion

II. The forms of religions

A. Christianity

B. Islam

Creating the subordination

This is how the information is classified into various forms in the headings and subheadings. Note that the information contained in the headings is not as detailed as the information contained in the subheadings. Example:

II. The forms of religion

A. Christianity

B. Islam

Christianity and Islam are forms of religions.

Division - How do I accomplish this?

Each heading is then divided into a smaller group. There should be at least two groups in each Example:

1. Christianity

A. Protestants

B. Catholics

Helpful Hints – try and follow these guidelines to complete the outline:

1. Title the outline – make sure that the title of the writing is well  displayed and highlighted

2.  Make sure that the numbering and branding are properly highlighted.

3. The subtopics are also well labelled and follow each other systematically as shown above

4. The subtopics are then properly labelled and follow below the main topics

5. Sub details then should follow after and are well-labelled al