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There are many types of reports – sales reports, marketing reports, book reports, school reports, social media reports and more.
No matter which type of report you have to write, it must follow the correct report writing format. With the right format, your report will be easy to read and understand.
First of all, a report is unlike an essay, blog post or journalistic article. The main idea of a report is to present facts about a specific topic, situation, or event.
Writing a report isn't about making arguments and supporting ideas or hypotheses. The information must be presented in a clear, concise and objective way. That’s why a report writing format is essential.
Just as there are different types of reports, there are also different ways to deliver them. Reports can be printed documents, interactive slide decks or even a visual infographic.
Follow the format in this article independently of your report’s visual composition. The content should be set up the same way for any format you choose.
Once you’ve written your report, log into your Visme dashboard and find the perfect report format template for your needs. Input your written content, create data visualizations and create a report that won’t bore your audience.
If you’re in a rush, skip ahead to access a professionally designed Visme template with the preferred standard report writing format. It’s fully ready to customize with your content.
Every good report needs to start with an outline. Use the outline below to set yourself up for success when putting all your information together for the final report.
At each point of the outline, use one or two sentences to describe what will go in there. It doesn’t need to say much, just an idea for you to follow later. Input some design ideas for the overall design as well.
For example, in the Table of Contents section, simply add that you want it to only cover one page or slide, make a note if you’d like to add the pages for only the main sections or maybe also the subsections.
In the Appendices section, list all the links to the sources you used and add on as you do more research. Every source you reference in your report must be listed here.
The most important part of your outline is the Body section. In there, create an internal outline of sections and subsections that you can follow later when writing.
Copy this outline into your document as a template.
After you’ve drafted the outline, it’s time to put together all of the content into the report. The outline we provided above is the only report writing format you’ll ever need. You can add sections if needed but don’t take any away.
Let’s take a look at every section in detail.
The title of your report should be clear in its wording. It must say exactly what the report is about. Remember that this isn’t a novel. Include a subtitle if necessary, making sure the font size of each subtitle is smaller than the title.
Always leave the Table of Contents page until the end. You can’t write a table of contents if you don’t know all of your page numbers yet.
However, if your Body outline already has each of your section and subsection titles defined, you can add those to the contents and leave the numbering for later.
Likewise, the summary of the report is best done after you’ve finished writing the report. You can draft a summary at the beginning to help you continue with the work, but you’ll definitely want to revisit it at the end.
A summary is a blurb of the entire report. It must include the purpose, the process and a snippet of the resolution.
In the introduction, state what the report is about and why it has been created. Depending on the length of your report, the introduction is a paragraph to an entire page long.
For example, one paragraph is enough for a social media report introduction while an entire page would be more suitable for an annual report.
The body of your report is where all the information is put together. Follow your initial outline to maintain consistent flow in the content creation. Write the body content as sections and subsections.
Furthermore, use bullet points and data visualization as visual cues. These will help your audience to better understand the content of your report.
Check out this video from Visme for some tips on visualizing all that data!
Close your report with a well-crafted conclusion. Formulate it as a brief summary of what was covered within the report, and be sure to include a mention to the recommendations section and the resources in the appendix.
Craft the recommendations section as a set of actionable steps with smart goals associated along with possible solutions. This section is irrelevant for school reports or book reports, but is essential in a business setting.
This is the section where you list all your sources if it’s a research report. You should also add any links that are relevant to the report – or previous reports about the same topic.
You could even link an interactive version of the report you just created with Visme. Visme allows you to create interactive and animated documents that can be published to the web with a single click, offering a new dimension to your report.
A good rule of thumb when creating your appendices is to only add information that is relevant to the report or that you referenced when writing your report. Use reference annotations inside the report to link to the content in the appendix.
The report content used in this sample report design can be found here.
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Following a report writing format is only one part of the process. You also need to be conscious of how you put the written content and the visuals together.
Here are some tips from the Visme team to help you make amazing reports.
Click through the image below to use this customizable template to create your report. It follows the standard report writing format so you won’t get confused or miss a section.
Hopefully, this post has helped you to better understand the best way to put together a report. Following a standard report writing format is just what you need to create engaging, memorable reports. Follow the tips above and you’ll never make a boring report again.
Just how following a report writing format will help you create a better report, a Visme subscription will help you create a full suite of visual content.
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