How to Write a Report: A Guide
A report is a nonfiction account that presents and/or summarizes the facts about a particular event, topic, or issue. The idea is that people who are unfamiliar with the subject can find everything they need to know from a good report.
Reports make it easy to catch someone up to speed on a subject, but actually writing a report is anything but easy. So to help you understand what to do, below we present a little report of our own, all about report writing.
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What is a report?
In technical terms, the definition of a report is pretty vague: any account, spoken or written, of the matters concerning a particular topic. This could refer to anything from a courtroom testimony to a grade schooler’s book report.
Really, when people talk about “reports,” they’re usually referring to official documents outlining the facts of a topic, typically written by an expert on the subject or someone assigned to investigate it. There are different types of reports, explained in the next section, but they mostly fit this description.
What kind of information is shared in reports? Although all facts are welcome, reports, in particular, tend to feature these types of content:
- Details of an event or situation
- The consequences or ongoing effect of an event or situation
- Evaluation of statistical data or analytics
- Interpretations from the information in the report
- Predictions or recommendations based on the information in the report
- How the information relates to other events or reports
Reports are closely related to essay writing , although there are some clear distinctions. While both rely on facts, essays add the personal opinions and arguments of the authors. Reports typically stick only to the facts, although they may include some of the author’s interpretation of these facts, most likely in the conclusion.
Moreover, reports are heavily organized, commonly with tables of contents and copious headings and subheadings. This makes it easier for readers to scan reports for the information they’re looking for. Essays, on the other hand, are meant to be read start to finish, not browsed for specific insights.
Types of reports
There are a few different types of reports, depending on the purpose and to whom you present your report. Here’s a quick list of the common types of reports:
- Academic report: Tests a student’s comprehension of the subject matter, such as book reports, reports on historical events, and biographies
- Business reports: Identifies information useful in business strategy, such as marketing reports, internal memos, SWOT analysis, and feasibility reports
- Scientific reports: Shares research findings, such as research papers and case studies, typically in science journals
Reports can be further divided into categories based on how they are written. For example, a report could be formal or informal, short or long, and internal or external. In business, a vertical report shares information with people on different levels of the hierarchy (i.e., people who work above you and below you), while a lateral report is for people on the author’s same level, but in different departments.
There are as many types of reports as there are writing styles, but in this guide, we focus on academic reports, which tend to be formal and informational.
>>Read More: What Is Academic Writing?
What is the structure of a report?
The structure of a report depends on the type of report and the requirements of the assignment. While reports can use their own unique structure, most follow this basic template:
- Executive summary: Just like an abstract in an academic paper, an executive summary is a standalone section that summarizes the findings in your report so readers know what to expect. These are mostly for official reports and less so for school reports.
- Introduction: Setting up the body of the report, your introduction explains the overall topic that you’re about to discuss, with your thesis statement and any need-to-know background information before you get into your own findings.
- Body: The body of the report explains all your major discoveries, broken up into headings and subheadings. The body makes up the majority of the entire report; whereas the introduction and conclusion are just a few paragraphs each, the body can go on for pages.
- Conclusion: The conclusion is where you bring together all the information in your report and come to a definitive interpretation or judgment. This is usually where the author inputs their own personal opinions or inferences.
If you’re familiar with how to write a research paper , you’ll notice that report writing follows the same introduction-body-conclusion structure, sometimes adding an executive summary. Reports usually have their own additional requirements as well, such as title pages and tables of content, which we explain in the next section.
What should be included in a report?
There are no firm requirements for what’s included in a report. Every school, company, laboratory, task manager, and teacher can make their own format, depending on their unique needs. In general, though, be on the lookout for these particular requirements—they tend to crop up a lot:
- Title page: Official reports often use a title page to keep things organized; if a person has to read multiple reports, title pages make them easier to keep track of.
- Table of contents: Just like in books, the table of contents helps readers go directly to the section they’re interested in, allowing for faster browsing.
- Page numbering: A common courtesy if you’re writing a longer report, page numbering makes sure the pages are in order in the case of mix-ups or misprints.
- Headings and subheadings: Reports are typically broken up into sections, divided by headings and subheadings, to facilitate browsing and scanning.
- Citations: If you’re citing information from another source, the citations guidelines tell you the recommended format.
- Works cited page: A bibliography at the end of the report lists credits and the legal information for the other sources you got information from.
As always, refer to the assignment for the specific guidelines on each of these. The people who read the report should tell you which style guides or formatting they require.
How to write a report in 7 steps
Now let’s get into the specifics of how to write a report. Follow the seven steps on report writing below to take you from an idea to a completed paper.
1 Choose a topic based on the assignment
Before you start writing, you need to pick the topic of your report. Often, the topic is assigned for you, as with most business reports, or predetermined by the nature of your work, as with scientific reports. If that’s the case, you can ignore this step and move on.
If you’re in charge of choosing your own topic, as with a lot of academic reports, then this is one of the most important steps in the whole writing process. Try to pick a topic that fits these two criteria:
- There’s adequate information: Choose a topic that’s not too general but not too specific, with enough information to fill your report without padding, but not too much that you can’t cover everything.
- It’s something you’re interested in: Although this isn’t a strict requirement, it does help the quality of a report if you’re engaged by the subject matter.
Of course, don’t forget the instructions of the assignment, including length, so keep those in the back of your head when deciding.
2 Conduct research
With business and scientific reports, the research is usually your own or provided by the company—although there’s still plenty of digging for external sources in both.
For academic papers, you’re largely on your own for research, unless you’re required to use class materials. That’s one of the reasons why choosing the right topic is so crucial; you won’t go far if the topic you picked doesn’t have enough available research.
The key is to search only for reputable sources: official documents, other reports, research papers, case studies, books from respected authors, etc. Feel free to use research cited in other similar reports. You can often find a lot of information online through search engines, but a quick trip to the library can also help in a pinch.
3 Write a thesis statement
Before you go any further, write a thesis statement to help you conceptualize the main theme of your report. Just like the topic sentence of a paragraph, the thesis statement summarizes the main point of your writing, in this case, the report.
Once you’ve collected enough research, you should notice some trends and patterns in the information. If these patterns all infer or lead up to a bigger, overarching point, that’s your thesis statement.
For example, if you were writing a report on the wages of fast-food employees, your thesis might be something like, “Although wages used to be commensurate with living expenses, after years of stagnation they are no longer adequate.” From there, the rest of your report will elaborate on that thesis, with ample evidence and supporting arguments.
It’s good to include your thesis statement in both the executive summary and introduction of your report, but you still want to figure it out early so you know which direction to go when you work on your outline next.
4 Prepare an outline
Writing an outline is recommended for all kinds of writing, but it’s especially useful for reports given their emphasis on organization. Because reports are often separated by headings and subheadings, a solid outline makes sure you stay on track while writing without missing anything.
Really, you should start thinking about your outline during the research phase, when you start to notice patterns and trends. If you’re stuck, try making a list of all the key points, details, and evidence you want to mention. See if you can fit them into general and specific categories, which you can turn into headings and subheadings respectively.
5 Write a rough draft
Actually writing the rough draft , or first draft, is usually the most time-consuming step. Here’s where you take all the information from your research and put it into words. To avoid getting overwhelmed, simply follow your outline step by step to make sure you don’t accidentally leave out anything.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; that’s the number one rule for writing a rough draft. Expecting your first draft to be perfect adds a lot of pressure. Instead, write in a natural and relaxed way, and worry about the specific details like word choice and correcting mistakes later. That’s what the last two steps are for, anyway.
6 Revise and edit your report
Once your rough draft is finished, it’s time to go back and start fixing the mistakes you ignored the first time around. (Before you dive right back in, though, it helps to sleep on it to start editing fresh, or at least take a small break to unwind from writing the rough draft.)
We recommend first rereading your report for any major issues, such as cutting or moving around entire sentences and paragraphs. Sometimes you’ll find your data doesn’t line up, or that you misinterpreted a key piece of evidence. This is the right time to fix the “big picture” mistakes and rewrite any longer sections as needed.
If you’re unfamiliar with what to look for when editing, you can read our previous guide with some more advanced self-editing tips .
7 Proofread and check for mistakes
Last, it pays to go over your report one final time, just to optimize your wording and check for grammatical or spelling mistakes. In the previous step you checked for “big picture” mistakes, but here you’re looking for specific, even nitpicky problems.
A writing assistant like Grammarly flags those issues for you. Grammarly’s free version points out any spelling and grammatical mistakes while you write, with suggestions to improve your writing that you can apply with just one click. The Premium version offers even more advanced features, such as tone adjustments and word choice recommendations for taking your writing to the next level.
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How to Write a Report
Last Updated: January 8, 2023 References Approved
This article was co-authored by Emily Listmann, MA and by wikiHow staff writer, Amy Bobinger . Emily Listmann is a private tutor in San Carlos, California. She has worked as a Social Studies Teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, and an SAT Prep Teacher. She received her MA in Education from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in 2014. There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 42 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 8,530,235 times.
When you’re assigned to write a report, it can seem like an intimidating process. Fortunately, if you pay close attention to the report prompt, choose a subject you like, and give yourself plenty of time to research your topic, you might actually find that it’s not so bad. After you gather your research and organize it into an outline, all that’s left is to write out your paragraphs and proofread your paper before you hand it in!
Selecting Your Topic
- The guidelines will also typically tell you the requirements for the structure and format of your report.
- If you have any questions about the assignment, speak up as soon as possible. That way, you don’t start working on the report, only to find out you have to start over because you misunderstood the report prompt.
- For instance, if your report is supposed to be on a historical figure, you might choose someone you find really interesting, like the first woman to be governor of a state in the U.S., or the man who invented Silly Putty.
- If your report is about information technology , you could gather information about the use of computers to store, retrieve, transmit, and manipulate data or information.
- Even if you don’t have the option to choose your topic, you can often find something in your research that you find interesting. If your assignment is to give a report on the historical events of the 1960s in America, for example, you could focus your report on the way popular music reflected the events that occurred during that time.
Tip: Always get approval from your teacher or boss on the topic you choose before you start working on the report!
- If you’re not sure what to write about at first, pick a larger topic, then narrow it down as you start researching.
- For instance, if you wanted to do your report on World Fairs, then you realize that there are way too many of them to talk about, you might choose one specific world fair, such as the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, to focus on.
- However, you wouldn’t necessarily want to narrow it down to something too specific, like “Food at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition,” since it could be hard to find sources on the subject without just listing a lot of recipes.
Researching the Report
- If you don’t have guidelines on how many sources to use, try to find 1-2 reputable sources for each page of the report.
- Sources can be divided into primary sources, like original written works, court records, and interviews, and secondary sources, like reference books and reviews.
- Databases, abstracts, and indexes are considered tertiary sources, and can be used to help you find primary and secondary sources for your report.  X Research source
- If you’re writing a business report , you may be given some supplementary materials, such as market research or sales reports, or you may need to compile this information yourself.  X Research source
- Librarians are an excellent resource when you're working on a report. They can help you find books, articles, and other credible sources.
- Often, a teacher will limit how many online sources you can use. If you find most of the information you need in the library, you can then use your online sources for details that you couldn’t find anywhere else.
Tip: Writing a report can take longer than you think! Don't put off your research until the last minute , or it will be obvious that you didn't put much effort into the assignment.
- Examples of authoritative online sources include government websites, articles written by known experts, and publications in peer-reviewed journals that have been published online.
- If you’re using a book as one of your sources, check the very back few pages. That’s often where an author will list the sources they used for their book.
- Remember to number each page of your notes, so you don’t get confused later about what information came from which source!
- Remember, you’ll need to cite any information that you use in your report; however, exactly how you do this will depend on the format that was assigned to you.
- For most reports, your thesis statement should not contain your own opinions. However, if you're writing a persuasive report, the thesis should contain an argument that you will have to prove in the body of the essay.
- An example of a straightforward report thesis (Thesis 1) would be: “The three main halls of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition were filled with modern creations of the day and were an excellent representation of the innovative spirit of the Progressive era.”
- A thesis for a persuasive report (Thesis 2) might say: “The Panama-Pacific International Exposition was intended as a celebration of the Progressive spirit, but actually harbored a deep racism and principle of white supremacy that most visitors chose to ignore or celebrate.”
- The purpose of an outline is to help you to visualize how your essay will look. You can create a straightforward list or make a concept map , depending on what makes the most sense to you.
- Try to organize the information from your notes so it flows together logically. For instance, it can be helpful to try to group together related items, like important events from a person’s childhood, education, and career, if you’re writing a biographical report.
- Example main ideas for Thesis 1: Exhibits at the Court of the Universe, Exhibits at the Court of the Four Seasons, Exhibits at the Court of Abundance.
Tip: It can help to create your outline on a computer in case you change your mind as you’re moving information around.
Writing the First Draft
- Try to follow any formatting instructions to the letter. If there aren't any, opt for something classic, like 12-point Times New Roman or Arial font, double-spaced lines, and 1 in (2.5 cm) margins all around.  X Research source
- You'll usually need to include a bibliography at the end of the report that lists any sources you used. You may also need a title page , which should include the title of the report, your name, the date, and the person who requested the report.
- For some types of reports, you may also need to include a table of contents and an abstract or summary that briefly sums up what you’ve written. It’s typically easier to write these after you’ve finished your first draft.  X Research source
- Example Intro for Thesis 1: “The Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) of 1915 was intended to celebrate both the creation of the Panama Canal, and the technological advancements achieved at the turn of the century. The three main halls of the PPIE were filled with modern creations of the day and were an excellent representation of the innovative spirit of the Progressive era.”
- Typically, you should present the most important or compelling information first.
- Example topic sentence for Thesis 1: At the PPIE, the Court of the Universe was the heart of the exposition and represented the greatest achievements of man, as well as the meeting of the East and the West.
Tip: Assume that your reader knows little to nothing about the subject. Support your facts with plenty of details and include definitions if you use technical terms or jargon in the paper.
- Paraphrasing means restating the original author's ideas in your own words. On the other hand, a direct quote means using the exact words from the original source in quotation marks, with the author cited.
- For the topic sentence listed above about the Court of the Universe, the body paragraph should go on to list the different exhibits found at the exhibit, as well as proving how the Court represented the meeting of the East and West.
- Use your sources to support your topic, but don't plagiarize . Always restate the information in your own words. In most cases, you'll get in serious trouble if you just copy from your sources word-for-word. Also, be sure to cite each source as you use it, according to the formatting guidelines you were given.  X Research source
- Your commentary needs to be at least 1-2 sentences long. For a longer report, you may write more sentences for each piece of commentary.
- Avoid presenting any new information in the conclusion. You don’t want this to be a “Gotcha!” moment. Instead, it should be a strong summary of everything you’ve already told the reader.
Revising Your Report
- A good question to ask yourself is, “If I were someone reading this report for the first time, would I feel like I understood the topic after I finished reading?
Tip: If you have time before the deadline, set the report aside for a few days . Then, come back and read it again. This can help you catch errors you might otherwise have missed.
- Try reading the report to yourself out loud. Hearing the words can help you catch awkward language or run-on sentences you might not catch by reading it silently.
- This is a great trick to find spelling errors or grammatical mistakes that your eye would otherwise just scan over.
- Ask your helper questions like, “Do you understand what I am saying in my report?” “Is there anything you think I should take out or add?” And “Is there anything you would change?”
- If you have any questions about the assignment requirements, ask your instructor. It's important to know how they'll be grading your assignment.
You Might Also Like
- ↑ https://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/ld/resources/writing/writing-resources/reports
- ↑ http://emory.libanswers.com/faq/44525
- ↑ https://libguides.merrimack.edu/research_help/Sources
- ↑ https://www.victoria.ac.nz/vbs/teaching/resources/VBS-Report-Writing-Guide-2017.pdf
- ↑ https://www.library.illinois.edu/hpnl/tutorials/primary-sources/
- ↑ https://libguides.scu.edu.au/harvard/secondary-sources
- ↑ https://wts.indiana.edu/writing-guides/how-to-write-a-thesis-statement.html
- ↑ http://www.lc.unsw.edu.au/sites/default/files/uploads/PDF/ReportGuide_Mining_WEB.pdf
- ↑ https://grammar.yourdictionary.com/style-and-usage/report-writing-format.html#
- ↑ https://www.monash.edu/rlo/assignment-samples/assignment-types/writing-an-essay/writing-body-paragraphs
- ↑ https://student.unsw.edu.au/writing-report
- ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/Proofreading.html
About This Article
It can seem really hard to write a report, but it will be easier if you choose an original topic that you're passionate about. Once you've got your topic, do some research on it at the library and online, using reputable sources like encyclopedias, scholarly journals, and government websites. Use your research write a thesis statement that sums up the focus of your paper, then organize your notes into an outline that supports that thesis statement. Finally, expand that outline into paragraph form. Read on for tips from our Education co-author on how to format your report! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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How to Write a Report (2023 Guide & Free Templates)
You have a report due in a few days, but you’re still procrastinating like a pro.
If you’ve been staring at a blank page, wondering how to write a report the best way possible, you’re not alone. For many, writing a report, especially for the first time, can feel like rolling a giant boulder uphill.
The good news is that from a first draft to creating reports that people love to read is a skill you can develop and polish over time.
Whether you’re a student, a professional, or someone who wants to up their report-writing game, keep reading for a 2023 guide and step-by-step instructions on how to write a report. Plus, learn about the basic report format.
You’ll also get access to report templates that you can edit and customize immediately and learn about a tool to make reports online (no need to download software!).
What is report writing?
Report writing is a way of communicating information, data, insight, or analysis. It’s an essential skill that will come in handy in various settings, from academic research or diving into historical events to business meetings.
But creating a report can be a bit intimidating at first.
In its simplest form, report writing starts with researching and gathering all the information, analyzing your findings, and presenting it in a way that’s easy for your audience to understand.
Sounds easy enough, right?
Well, there’s a bit more to it than that. We’ll guide you through every step of the process to write an entire report from a rough draft and data in the next section.
But first, let’s get to know the different types of reports.
Types of reports
Reports come in all shapes and sizes, and the type of report you write will depend on your specific goals and audience. Each type of report has its unique purpose, format, and style.
The most common types of reports are:
- Academic report – These include school reports, book reports, thesis reports, or analytical reports between two opposing ideas.
- Business report – Business reports range from annual reports to SWOT analyses . The goal of business reports is to communicate ideas, information, or insights in a business setting.
- Research report – Research reports are often more scientific or methodological in nature. They can take the form of case studies or research papers.
Learn more : 20 Types of Reports and When to Use Them (Plus Templates)
How to write a report without feeling overwhelmed
Breaking down the report writing process into three stages can make it much more manageable for you, especially if it’s your first time to create one.
These three stages are:
- Pre-writing stage
- Writing stage
- Post-writing stage
Let’s take a look at the steps for each stage and how to write a good report in 2023 that you can be proud of.
Stage 1: Pre-writing
The pre-writing stage is all about preparation. Take some time to gather your thoughts and organize your main idea. Write a summary first.
Here are important steps to help you deal with the overwhelm of creating an insightful report.
Understand the purpose of your report
Knowing your purpose will help you focus and stay on track throughout the process. Dig into the why of your report through these questions:
- Who is your intended reader? Are you familiar with your audience’s language and how they think?
- What are you trying to achieve with your report? Are you trying to inform, persuade, or recommend a course of action to the reader?
Research your topic
It’s time to gather as much information as you can about your topic. This might involve reading books, articles, and other reports. You might also need to conduct interviews with subject matter experts.
Pro tip on how to write a report : Pick reputable sources like research papers, recently-published books, and case studies by trustworthy authors.
Make a report outline
An outline is a roadmap for your report. It covers your title, introduction, thesis statement, main points, and conclusion. Organizing your thoughts this way will help you keep focus and ensure you cover all the necessary information.
While you can create a report without creating an outline, you could write a better report with an outline. An outline helps you organize your facts and important points on paper.
Stage 2: Writing
Once you have completed the pre-writing stage, it’s time to write your report.
Follow the proper report writing format
You will feel a lot of resistance at this point because this is where most of the tedious work of report writing happens. However, the process can be a breeze if you follow a proper structure and report writing format.
The structure of your report can vary depending on the type of report you’re creating, but the report writing format below can serve as a guide for anyone.
- Title page. This is the first page of your report and should include the report’s title, the author’s name, the date of presentation or submission, and any other relevant information, such as your name or the organization’s name.
- Table of Contents (TOC ). This section contains subsections of your report and their corresponding page numbering. A well-written TOC will help readers navigate your report easily and find the information they need.
- Brief summary . This part provides an overview of the report’s particular purpose, subject, methodology, key findings, and recommendations. This section is often called the executive summary in corporate reports.
- Introduction . The introduction should provide background information about the topic and explain why the report was written. It should also state the aims and objectives of your report and give an overview of the methodology used to gather and analyze the data. Make sure you include a powerful topic sentence.
- Main body. The main body of the report should be divided into subsections, each dealing with a specific aspect of the topic. These sections should be clearly labeled and organized in a logical order. In most reports, this is also the part where you explain and present your findings, analysis, and recommendations.
- Conclusion. Summarize the main points of your report and provide a final summary, thought, or suggestions. Review your thesis statement. The conclusion also includes any limitations of the study and areas for further research or future action.
- References . This section should include a list of all the sources cited in the report, like books, journal articles, websites, and any other sources used to gather information on your subject.
- Appendices . In the appendices section, you should include any additional information relevant to the report but not in the article’s main body. This might consist of raw data, event details, graphs, charts, or tables.
With all these key report elements, your readers can look forward to an informative, well-organized, and easy-to-read report.
Pro tips: Remember to use clear and concise language in your essay. It is also required to follow a specific type of formatting set by your organization or instructor.
Plus, use the active voice when you can because it helps improve clarity. To write a report essay in a passive voice makes it sound less concise.
Reports should usually be written in the third person.
Edit and proofread the article
Once you have completed your first essay draft, take some time to edit and proofread your work. Look for spelling mistakes and grammar errors, as well as any areas where the flow of your article could be improved. Review your topic sentence.
If hiring a professional editor isn’t possible, have a colleague or someone else read your rough draft and provide feedback. You can also use tools like Grammarly and the Hemingway App .
Stage 3: Post-writing
You’re almost there! This stage is about finalizing your report and ensuring it is ready to be shared.
Format your report
Ensure your report is formatted correctly, with clear and easy-to-read fonts, headings, and subheadings.
Adding visuals to your report article is another great way to help your audience understand complex information more easily.
From charts to illustrations, the right visual can help highlight and explain key points, events, trends, and patterns in your data, making it easier for the reader to interpret the information.
However, it’s important to use visuals sparingly and ensure they are relevant and effectively support the texts. You will learn more about effectively incorporating visuals into your report as you scroll down below to the next sections.
Share your report
Once your report is complete, share it with your audience. This might involve submitting it to your boss, presenting it to a group, or sharing it online.
A final note for this section: Remember to take your time, stay organized, and most importantly, have fun! Writing a report can be a rewarding experience, especially if you get positive feedback when you present.
How to add visuals to your report
Adding visuals to your report is more than just putting a graph or chart for every piece of information.
There are no hard and fast rules but use the pointers below as guidelines:
- Each visual in your report should have a purpose. Don’t just add a pie chart or bar graph for the sake of adding one. Your visual of choice should offer clarity to readers that’s impossible to achieve with words alone. Piktochart’s report maker lets you search for free stock images and illustrations to add to any page with drag and drop.
- Add captions, legends, or arrows to your visuals when possible. For more technical reports, graphics are either Tables or Figures. Number them in order of appearance (Figure 1, Figure 2, Table 1, etc.) and give each a descriptive title.
- Place the visual close to the relevant text on the page.
- Document the source of the visual, citing it in both the caption and references section if necessary.
- Make the graphic stand out with colors, borders, boxes, spacing, and frames.
Learn more : How to Improve Your Data Visualization Design in 6 Steps
Write reports like a pro with Piktochart’s easy-to-edit report templates
Creating reports from scratch can be time-consuming. The great news is you don’t have to make reports from scratch like how it used to be in the 90s and early 2000s. Organizations of all shapes and sizes now understand that you can also create the perfect report with the help of templates.
For example, Piktochart offers a variety of fully customizable templates, allowing you to easily add your branding, colors, and text within the online editor. You can visualize your thesis statement and first draft in less than an hour. It’s also possible to start writing directly in the tool, adding graphics page by page.
These templates range from reports for school presentations to sales reports. By editing them, you can create professional-looking reports without the hassle of formatting and design.
Here are some examples of Piktochart’s professionally-designed templates. If you can’t pick one that matches your report writing format and needs, create a free Piktochart account to get access to more templates.
Survey report template
This survey report template includes clear visualizations, making your report findings easier to understand. From customer surveys to employee satisfaction reports, this template is quite versatile.
Research report template
This research report template is perfect for anyone looking to create a thorough and professional research report. The template includes all the necessary sections to help you easily organize your research and present your findings in a concise document.
Corporate report template
Looking for a corporate report template example with an editable table of contents and foreword? This template is the perfect fit!
Whether you’re presenting to investors or sharing information with your team, this corporate report template will help you create a polished and informative executive summary for any corporate organization.
Case study report template
Whether you’re conducting a business case study or an academic case study, this case study report template can help you earn your readers’ trust. This template is specifically designed with fashion as its main theme, but you can edit the photos and details to make it more on-brand with your niche.
Marketing report template
Use this template to create comprehensive marketing reports. The template includes editable sections for social media, data from search engines, email marketing, and paid ads.
Financial report template
With this customizable finance report template, you don’t need to make a financial report from scratch. Once you’ve written your content, save your report in PDF or PNG formats.
Annual report template
This annual report template is the right template for creating a professional and informative executive summary of your organization’s performance over the past year. This template was designed for HR annual reports, but you can also repurpose it for other types of yearly reports.
See more report templates by creating a free Piktochart account .
Quick checklist for better report writing
Before you submit or present your report, use the quick checklist below to help ensure that your report is well-structured, accurate, clear, and properly cited. Most of all, you must ensure that your report meets your audience’s expectations and has all the information and details they need.
Purpose and audience
- Does the report address its purpose and meet the needs of the intended audience?
Structure and organization
- Is the material appropriately arranged in sections?
- Have irrelevant details been removed?
Accuracy and analysis
- Has all the material been checked for accuracy?
- Are graphs and tables clearly labeled? Check the page numbers too.
- Is the data in graphs or tables analyzed and explained in words?
- Does the discussion or conclusion show how the results relate to the objectives mentioned in the introduction?
- Have the results been compared with existing research from the literature survey?
Writing style and clarity
- Is the report written in a tone that’s indicated in the brand style guide (for corporate reports)? Does it avoid colloquialisms or contractions?
- Does it follow the organization’s specific guidelines for writing style?
- Is it jargon-free and clearly written? Have you translated technical terms into simpler words?
- Use the active voice when you can because it helps improve clarity. A written report in a passive voice may make it sound less concise.
Acknowledgment and citation
- Have all ideas and event data taken from or inspired by someone else’s work been acknowledged with a reference?
- Have all illustrations and figures taken from someone else’s work been cited correctly?
- Has the report been carefully proofread for typos, spelling errors, and grammatical mistakes?
Make engaging and effective reports quickly with Piktochart
Writing a report is a must-have skill for anyone looking to communicate more effectively in their personal and professional lives.
With the steps we’ve provided in this guide, anyone can learn how to write a report that is informative, engaging, and comprehensive.
Plus, the free templates we highlighted are valuable for individuals looking to create reports quickly and efficiently. They can also be used to transform a longer report filled with texts into something more engaging and easy to digest.
Sign up for a free Piktochart account today, and look forward to writing reports with its library of modern, customizable report templates.
Kyjean Tomboc is an experienced content marketer for healthcare, design, and SaaS brands. She also manages content (like a digital librarian of sorts). She lives for mountain trips, lap swimming, books, and cats.
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The term “report” refers to a nonfiction work that presents and/or paraphrases the facts on a specific occasion, subject, or problem. The notion is that a good report will contain all the information that someone who is not familiar with the subject needs to know. Reports make it simple to bring someone up to speed on a subject, but actually writing a report is far from simple. This blog will walk you through the fundamentals of report writing, including the structure and practice themes.
This Blog Includes:
What is a report, reporting formats, newspaper or magazine reports, business reports, technical reports, what is report writing, report writing: things to keep in mind, structure of report writing, magazine vs newspaper report writing format, report writing format for class 10th to 12th, report writing example, report writing for school students: practice questions, report writing slideshare.
- Report Writing in 7 steps
Also Read: Message Writing
A report is a short document written for a particular purpose or audience. It usually sets out and analyses a problem often recommended for future purposes. Requirements for the precise form of the report depend on the department and organization. Technically, a report is defined as “any account, verbal or written, of the matters pertaining to a given topic.” This could be used to describe anything, from a witness’s evidence in court to a student’s book report.
Actually, when people use the word “report,” they usually mean official documents that lay out the details of a subject. These documents are typically written by an authority on the subject or someone who has been tasked with conducting research on it. Although there are other forms of reports, which are discussed in the following section, they primarily fulfil this definition.
What information does reporting contain? All facts are appreciated, but reports, in particular, frequently contain the following kinds of information:
- Information about a circumstance or event
- The aftereffects or ongoing impact of an incident or occurrence
- Analytical or statistical data evaluation
- Interpretations based on the report’s data
- Based on the report’s information, make predictions or suggestions
- Relationships between the information and other reports or events
Although there are some fundamental differences, producing reports and essays share many similarities. Both rely on facts, but essays also include the authors’ personal viewpoints and justifications. Reports normally stick to the facts only, however they could include some of the author’s interpretation in the conclusion.
Reports are also quite well ordered, frequently with tables of contents of headers and subheadings. This makes it simpler for readers to quickly scan reports for the data they need. Essays, on the other hand, should be read from beginning to end rather than being perused for particular information.
Depending on the objective and audience for your report, there are a few distinct types of reports. The most typical report types are listed briefly below:
- Academic report: Examines a student’s knowledge of the subject; examples include book reports, historical event reports, and biographies.
- Identifies data from company reports, such as marketing reports, internal memoranda, SWOT analyses, and feasibility reports, that is useful in corporate planning.
- Shares research findings in the form of case studies and research articles, usually in scientific publications.
Depending on how they are written, reports can be further categorised. A report, for instance, could be professional or casual, brief or lengthy, and internal or external. A lateral report is for persons on the author’s level but in separate departments, whereas a vertical report is for those on the author’s level but with different levels of the hierarchy (i.e., people who work above you and below you).
Report formats can be as varied as writing styles, but in this manual, we’ll concentrate on academic reports, which are often formal and informational.
Major Types of Reports
While the most common type of reports corresponds to the ones we read in newspapers and magazines, there are other kinds of reports that are curated for business or research purposes. Here are the major forms of report writing which you must know about:
The main purpose of newspaper or magazine reports is to cover a particular event or happening. They generally elaborate upon the 4Ws and 1H, i.e. What, Where, When, Why, and How. The key elements of newspaper or magazine report writing are as follows:
- Headline (Title)
- Report’s Name, Place, and Date
- Conclusion (Citation of sources)
Here is an example of a news report:
Business reports aim to analyze a situation or case study by implementing business theories and suggest improvements accordingly. In business report writing, you must adhere to a formal style of writing and these reports are usually lengthier than news reports since they aim to assess a particular issue in detail and provide solutions. The basic structure of business reports include:
- Table of Contents
- Executive summary
The main purpose of the technical report is to provide an empirical explanation of research-based material. Technical report writing is generally carried out by a researcher for scientific journals or product development and presentation, etc. A technical report mainly contains
- Experimental details
- Results and discussions
- Body (elaborating upon the findings)
Must Read: IELTS Writing Tips
A report is a written record of what you’ve seen, heard, done, or looked into. It is a well-organized and methodical presentation of facts and results from an event that has already occurred. Reports are a sort of written assessment that is used to determine what you have learned through your reading, study, or experience, as well as to provide you hands-on experience with a crucial skill that is often used in the business.
Before writing a report, there are certain things you must know to ensure that you draft a precise and structured report, and these points to remember are listed below:
- Write a concise and clear title of the report.
- Always use the past tense.
- Don’t explain the issue in the first person, i.e. ‘I’ or ‘Me’. Always write in the third person.
- Put the date, name of the place as well as the reporter’s name after the heading.
- Structure the report by dividing it into paragraphs.
- Stick to the facts and keep it descriptive.
Must Read: IELTS Sample Letters
The format of a report is determined by the kind of report it is and the assignment’s requirements. While reports can have their own particular format, the majority use the following general framework:
- Executive summary: A stand-alone section that highlights the findings in your report so that readers will know what to expect, much like an abstract in an academic paper. These are more frequently used for official reports than for academic ones.
- Introduction: Your introduction introduces the main subject you’re going to explore in the report, along with your thesis statement and any previous knowledge that is necessary before you get into your own results.
- Body: Using headings and subheadings, the report’s body discusses all of your significant findings. The majority of the report is made up of the body; in contrast to the introduction and conclusion, which are each only a few paragraphs long, the body can span many pages.
- In the conclusion, you should summarize all the data in your report and offer a clear interpretation or conclusion. Usually, the author inserts their own personal judgments or inferences here.
Report Writing Formats
It is quintessential to follow a proper format in report writing to provide it with a compact structure. Business reports and technical reports don’t have a uniform structure and are generally based on the topic or content they are elaborating on. Let’s have a look at the proper format of report writing generally for news and magazines and the key elements you must add in a news report:
To Read: How to Learn Spoken English?
The report writing structure for students in grades 10 and 12 is as follows.
- Heading : A title that expresses the contents of the report in a descriptive manner.
- Byline : The name of the person who is responsible for drafting the report. It’s usually included in the query. Remember that you are not allowed to include any personal information in your response.
- (introduction) : It The ‘5 Ws,’ or WHAT, WHY, WHEN, and WHERE, as well as WHO was invited as the main guest, might be included.
- The account of the event in detail : The order in which events occurred, as well as their descriptions. It is the primary paragraph, and if necessary, it can be divided into two smaller paragraphs.
- Conclusion : This will give a summary of the event’s conclusion. It might include quotes from the Chief Guest’s address or a summary of the event’s outcome.
Now that you are familiar with all the formats of report writing, here are some questions that you can practice to understand the structure and style of writing a report.
- You are a student of Delhi Public School Srinagar handling a campus magazine in an editorial role. On the increasing level of global warming, write a report on the event for your school magazine.
- On the Jammu-Srinagar highway, a mishap took place, where a driver lost his control and skidded off in a deep gorge. Write a report on it and include all the necessary details and eyewitness accounts.
- As a reporter of Delhi times, you are assigned to report on the influx of migrants coming from other states of the country. Take an official statement to justify your report.
- There is a cultural program in Central park Rajiv Chowk New Delhi. The home minister of India is supposed to attend the event apart from other delegates. Report the event within the 150-200 word limit.
- Write today’s trend of Covid 19 cases in India. As per the official statement. include all the necessary details and factual information. Mention the state with a higher number of cases so far.
- In Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium New Delhi, a table tennis tournament was held between Delhi public school New Delhi and DPS Punjab. Report the event in 250-300 words.
Also Read: Formal Letter Format, Types & Samples
Report Writ ing in 7 steps
- Choose a topic based on the assignment
- Conduct research
- Write a thesis statement
- Prepare an outline
- Write a rough draft
- Revise and edit your report
- Proofread and check for mistakes
Make sure that every piece of information you have supplied is pertinent. Remember to double-check your grammar, spelling, tenses, and the person you are writing in. A final inspection against any structural criteria is also important. You have appropriately and completely referenced for an academic work. Check to make sure you haven’t unintentionally, purposefully, or both duplicated something without giving credit.
Any business professional’s toolkit must include business reports. Therefore, how can you create a thorough business report? You must first confirm that you are familiar with the responses to the following three questions.
Every company report starts with an issue that needs to be fixed. This could be something straightforward, like figuring out a better way to organise procuring office supplies, or it could be a more challenging issue, like putting in place a brand-new, multimillion-dollar computer system.
You must therefore compile the data you intend to include in your report. How do you do this? If you’ve never conducted in-depth research before, it can be quite a daunting task, so discovering the most efficient techniques is a real plus.
Hopefully, this blog has helped you with a comprehensive understanding of report writing and its essential components. Aiming to pursue a degree in Writing? Sign up for an e-meeting with our experts at Leverage Edu and we will help you in selecting the best course and university as well as sorting the admission process to ensure that you get successfully shortlisted.
A writer with more than 10 years of experience, including 5 years in a newsroom, Ankita takes great pleasure in helping students via study abroad news updates about universities and visa policies. When not busy working you can find her creating memes and discussing social issues with her colleagues.
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How to Create Professional Reports and Documents in Microsoft Word
This guide examines the elements of a professional report and reviews the structuring, styling, and finalizing of your document in Microsoft Word.
If Microsoft Office had been a country, it would have been the third most populous country in the world. 1.2 billion people using a single suite of apps is mind-boggling. And, they "speak" 107 languages!
But right now, you and I are speaking in English and we are going to talk about the most popular tool in the Microsoft Office arsenal -- Microsoft Word 2016 .
This document editor is used for writing a variety of documents. From a simple application to the necessary resume. From a plain bucket list to an office memo. We think we can work with Word. But it is when we sit down to write a serious professional report, we discover an important fact.
Professional report writing needs a different set of skills.
So, ask yourself this -- can you make the leap from a single document to a lengthy report? Do you know all the Microsoft Word features that will help manage this large scale document project? Can you collaborate on the work with other team members?
You may be a student, a small business owner, or an office worker...you will need to create a report or a professionally formatted document of some kind. This MakeUseOf guide will help you update your techniques and sharpen your design approach.
In this guide:
Writing a Report -- Introduction | The Report Checklist
Useful Microsoft Word Tools -- Paste Special | Researcher | Freeze Parts of Your Document
Work on the Layout & Design -- Intro | Cover Page | Table of Contents | Header and Footer | Page Numbers | Font Styling | Paragraph Styling | Page Breaks | Styles and Themes | Captions | Quick Parts | Page Borders
References and Collaboration -- Index | Bibliographies | Cross-Referencing | Comments
Finalize Your report -- Signatures | Watermarks | Read Only | Print to PDF
The Next Step -- Conclusion
Writing a Report
Report writing involves research and then publishing the outcome of that analysis. In the professional world, the "look" or appearance of what you publish is paramount. The eye-pleasing final result could burnish your reputation and enhance your personal brand.
The steps below will handhold you through the expert features in Microsoft Word 2016. Spend a lot of time on a plan. Start with these guidelines…
Step 1: Decide the Purpose
Before you begin the report, you must first know why you are writing it in the first place. Reports are of many kinds but they are either meant to inform or persuade. It can be meant for describing a technical process, sharing background information, or demonstrate progress on a project.
Ask yourself – What and Why . This will help you distill the purpose to the one main point and stick to it instead of rambling on with unnecessary details.
Step 2: Identify Your Audience
The second important consideration is to evaluate your audience. Will they be able to understand what you are talking about? Are there different levels of readers who will read the report? The reader's knowledge of the subject will greatly influence the information that you need to include.
Decide on the primary audience and then script the report at the adequate technical level. The secondary audience can be supported with supplemental information at the end of the report.
Step 3: Know Your Topic
You must know what you are talking about. So, research the topic, and include all the relevant information to prove your point. Make sure that you come to a conclusion based on facts and not personal opinion. The information must be correct, current, and well-referenced.
Also use a variety of resources such as journals, newspaper articles, books, websites, brochures, raw data, annual reports, and speeches to help support your point. Just don't stick to Wikipedia.
Step 4: Outline the Report
You have done the research. There's a ton of information that is waiting to be typed and printed. But wait! Don't drown before you enter the water. Prepare the final outline of the report which will be the chart of waypoints to help you navigate from start to finish. The outline is the blueprint. It will give you a bird's eye view of the land and also show you where you need to fill in the details.
The structure of an idea report can include the following elements:
- Executive Summary
- Table of Contents
- The Body of the Report
- Bibliography and References
Microsoft Word's Document Outline is a powerful feature that can help you organize a document even before you start filling it with research. Take advantage of brainstorming and mind-mapping templates too.
Step 5: Write, Edit, Proofread, and Finish
Once you have structured your report, it is time to fill out the headers with content. I personally find it best to tackle a little bit of each section, and then bulk it up with information. You can do that if you want, or finish each section as you go down the report structure. Make sure you focus on presenting your ideas and using supportive evidence rather than spelling and grammar first. Outline your argument and write a few sentences that cast your main ideas. If you find something worth quoting, quote it.
Once the majority of your text is written, it is now time to read through it and make sure it flows well. Make sure you guide the reader's understanding with transition words such as "This information shows…", "In other words…", "Similarly…" and do highlight relevant and key points.
Finally, spend time to proofread, check for grammar and spelling , and double-check all relevant information and its logical flow. It is best to leave at least one day to check and proofread your work. Don't try to edit it straight after you think you have finished, as you will tend to miss read what you have written. Get some sleep, and proofread it the next day.
The Report Checklist
Before you go and submit or hand in your report that you have worked so hard on, make sure you have done the following:
- Completed the title page with the Title, Your Name, Date, Who the report is for, and a possible description of what the report is about.
- The contents page has appropriate headings and pages numbers are correct.
- Make sure the introduction covers key points, the scope of the report, and the objective it wants to meet.
- You have added captions above tables and below images/graphs.
- Does the content of the report present the information in a clear way, logical, factual, stay on topic, is to the point?
- Does the conclusion state the results, restate main idea's, and does not include any new information?
- Are the headings and sub headings clearly labeled?
- Are quotes relevant, up-to-date, and correctly referenced?
- Have you used page breaks where appropriate?
Now, let's launch Microsoft Word and take you through the features that will help piece together the draft of your report and present it as a professional document.
Useful Microsoft Word Features for Report Writing
Take these as bite-sized tips and master them one by one.
Microsoft Word is a big howitzer with many nuts and bolts. Let's focus on the key skill sets and the tools you will need to plan, prepare, and present the professional report. The Microsoft Word features we will cover below are also productivity shortcuts that will make your job easier.
Tip: Use Microsoft Word 2016's "Tell Me" assistant to learn more about new features in the Office suite.
Let's start with three preliminary tools...
Use Paste Special
For most of us, when we need to copy text or an image into Word, the CTRL+V shortcut does just fine. But sometimes we might want to paste the copied data into another format, such as Excel data as an image. With the Paste Special command you can discard or specify the format when you paste a picture, presentation data, table, or object from any other program into Word.
You will work a lot with Excel tables and charts in a professional document.
If you just copy what you want and click paste, you will notice that it will insert the data as tables. But, if it is a large area of cells you want to paste, and you do not want to edit it, you may want to paste it as an image, with the extra option to edit it.
In Microsoft Excel: Select and highlight the cells that you want to copy > Press CTRL+C.
In Microsoft Word: Go to Home > Paste > Paste Special . Select Paste Special and from the dialog select Microsoft Office Excel Worksheet Object .
You can resize the data as it was an image, and if you double click, you will be able to edit the values. You can change the table or chart and redesign it. And, if you update the data in the chart or table in Excel, you can automatically refresh the chart in Word.
Try the right-click context menu too. The Paste Special menu pops up:
There are more options to import data from Excel into Word . The Microsoft Office Support page also describes them in detail.
Use the Researcher
Yes, there is Google and Wikipedia. But constantly switching from Word to your browser can hamper your productivity. Office 2016 brings in powerful research integration to this grunt work. The Researcher can not only help you find content from within Microsoft Word but also help you quickly add citations. It uses the Bing Knowledge Graph to find the right content to support your document.
Go to Ribbon > References tab and c Choose Researcher . A pane will open on the right with the search options.
Type a keyword for the topic want to search for and press Enter.
The Results pane shows a list of sources you can use in your document. Choose a topic to explore in detail.
Add the topic to your Microsoft Word document with a click on the plus sign on the top-right. You can also click the plus sign on any result to cite the source in your research document. The cite source helps you support your research with web sources and books.
As we will see later, an annotated bibliography is one of the toughest parts of a document. The Researcher is an intelligent assistant who steps in.
Freeze Part of Your Word Document
Let's take for granted that your professional report will be a long and complex work. You can split the Word window into two panes so that you can view two different parts of a document at the same time. It is a valuable time saver when you want to copy and paste parts from one place to another or refer to one part of the document while working in another.
Go to Ribbon > View tab > Split .
To remove the split, click on Remove Split in the same tab.
The Windows group gives you several options to change the way you work with two or more documents. The features are self-explanatory.
To scroll both documents at the same time, click Synchronous Scrolling in the Window group on the View tab. You can also click on View Side by Side to put two parts of the document next to each other.
Tip: Use Split View to display two different layouts – for instance, Print and Outline. Set the split. Then, click in the pane that you want to change, and then select a different layout on the View tab.
Work on the Layout & Design
The presentation of a report is what gets someone to read a report in the first place, and that is why it is crucial that your report is well presented. If you had the choice of four reports to read, what will you choose?
- A hand written report.
- A document printed in black and white.
- A report printed on normal A4 paper in color.
- A report printed in color, with a catchy title page, neatly bounded, and slick?
You will pick up the fourth report because it will pull you towards it by the visual appearance alone.
The front cover is not the only reason. A well-designed report is easier to read. It is also easier to scan when you don't have time to read. That is why you need to spend some time on your headers and footers, and the different styles and themes. In short – the formatting of every element in the report.
Formatting may seem like a difficult chore, but it is a fun exercise that will exercise all your creative muscles. The key takeaways will be the skills you can apply to anything in Microsoft Office going forward. And the time you will save with all the productivity tips learned here.
Microsoft Word 2016 has a wealthy set of features. These are only some of the ways that your report design can stand out from the rest and be professional. So, let's break down the layout and design skills.
This section will cover these features step-by-step:
- Start with a Cover Page
- Make a Table of Contents
- Create Your Header and Footer
- Add Page Numbers
(Format the Content)
- Pick the Right Fonts
- Style the Paragraphs
- Control Page Breaks
- Use Styles and Themes
- Use Quick Parts
- Decorate with Page Borders
1. Start With a Cover Page
The first page is the first point of contact with your reader. It is also your opportunity to make a favorable impression. Don't let your lack of artistic skills be an excuse because Word takes up the job with its in-built gallery of title pages. All you have to do is marry one to the theme of the report.
Microsoft Word 2016 offers you 16 pre-formatted templates and three more on Office.com.
Go to Insert > Pages Group > Cover Page .
The cover page appears at the beginning of the document by default.
As there are only 16 "official" templates on offer, you may find that all your other peers have the same cover page. So, why not customize it, and make it a bit more unique.
You can design a title page (or cover page) in Microsoft Word that can be an original in the stack. Save it as a template or easily change the design on the fly.
2. Make a Table of Contents
Casual readers scan. Good readers scan first and then dive deep. A table of contents provides the waypoints that help both. When it is a long and complicated document, wouldn't you rather check the lay of the land before you head to the section that interests you?
Consider a Table of Contents (TOC) if your document is more than 10 pages long. You should first make sure you don't need to rearrange any pages in your document before creating the TOC.
In Microsoft Word, you don't have to write the entire TOC by hand. There's a Table of Contents automatic tool under the References tab which takes your outline and designs it for you. Also, you can easily keep it updated when you want to change something.
There are also templates you can download and fit it around the nature of the content. For instance, a TOC for a thesis will look different from that of a company's annual report.
We have a complete tutorial on how to create a table of contents page in Word .
The gist of it is this:
Create the outline and use heading styles to organize the hierarchy. Apply the automatic TOC tool to the heading styles. Word 2016 searches for those headings and then inserts the table of contents into your document. Then you can automatically update your TOC if you make changes in your document.
For more hands-on control, you can also use the Manual Table of Contents style. Word inserts placeholder text and you have to insert and format each content in the list.
3. Create Your Header and Footer
Headers and Footers are important in reports as the main purpose is to provide information about the report on every page. They are the common display areas for page numbers. The header of the document should contain the title of the report, and possibly the name of who created it. The title of the current section is helpful.
The footer, on the other hand, should include the page numbers, date of publication, and other administrative information that is required. Do note that some style guides have special guidelines for headers and footers .
Let's start with the header in your document and give it a unique look.
Select Insert , then select either Header or Footer from the group. The built-in gallery shows you several options you can choose from.
The header and footer space is inserted in your document with placeholder text or table. The Header & Footer Tools opens on the Ribbon for other formatting work like the date, time, or picture.
Enter your text and then select Close Header and Footer .
You can start with a blank header and footer. If you have the design skills, use the Header & Footer Tools to design your own. Master the header and footer space if you want to create custom letterheads for your organization. You can use brand elements like company or organization logos at the top and neatly formatted footnotes at the bottom
Let's try with and modify one of the inbuilt headers. I selected Facet from the gallery.
The final look took two minutes to put together with simple text effects and an icon sourced from the Microsoft Office icon gallery.
The header and footer are in place. But, how do you know where you are in the document? Insert page numbers as the next important signpost.
4. Add Page Numbers
Page numbers look best in the footer (unlike in the header as in the image above). You can add a basic page number from the Insert > Page Number button on the Ribbon. You can also add it from the Design tab that appears when you add the header and the footer.
You have a lot of control over page numbers. Choose from a wide range of number formats and customize them to your needs. In this case, we are adding the number to the footer, but you can put them at the top or even at the margins. In this example, I have placed the page number at the bottom left. But, I would like to change the default look and the format.
For example: Using a "Page X of XXX" makes for a better indicator on a long document.
Select the page number. Go to Insert > Quick Parts . From the drop-down menu, select Field . You can also reach the Field dialog from the Header and Footer Design tab.
Choose NumPages from the long list of field names. From the box on the right, you can pick a specific format. I selected the usual 1, 2, 3. Click OK , and the number of the number of pages will appear. Now all you have to do is add your text such as Page X of XXX, and change the look of the numbers with the usual text formatting tools available from the Home tab.
It now looks like this:
Design the look on any page number in your document and Word updates all the remaining automatically. Page numbers are the most common elements in a footer, but it can also hold any other information like the header. From the options in the Insert group, you can add the date and time, document info, pictures, and more to your header or footer.
Next, we're heading into formatting the content.
The visual draw of your professional report comes together with the "beautification" you apply to the content. Formatting is also an essential step for a document that flows well. So, you must focus a lot of energy on picking the right font, paragraph space, and the colors.
Don't worry. Even, the artistically challenged will find this part easy because Microsoft Word comes packaged with default themes and visual styles. Let's start with the most basic element of a document.
5. Pick and Style the Right Font
Your choice of font in a professional Word report not only determines how the text stands out but also how it is printed. You want both for maximum impact.
You can apply a typeface (i.e. the visual look of the font) to either an entire document or to specific parts of a document. All font choices are available from the Home tab. Go to Home > Font .
The default font in Microsoft Word 2016 is Calibri. Look beyond that as you have lots of others to choose from. If you choose Times New Roman, you may be considered lazy, if you choose Windings, well… I don't think I need to explain that. So make sure you choose a font that is easy to read and suits the report. To play it safe, pick from one of these professional-looking Google fonts ; they're available for free.
Tip: Baskerville and Georgia are good alternatives to the over-used Times New Roman
Try different font pairing for the body text and Headings (and Subheadings). Several websites like FontJoy and TypeWolf will help you experiment with font pairings. You can download and use custom fonts too. But remember the thumb-rule -- never use more than three different typefaces in a document.
For that extra bit of pizazz, try a drop cap to enhance your text .
6. Style the Paragraphs
If you want to have your lines double spaced, or single spaced, you need to change the format of the paragraphs. By changing the spacing, you can make a document easier to read or give the impression that it is longer and that you have put more work into it.
To change the paragraph for the whole document, it is best that you select each block of text; otherwise, if you are using headers in your report, they will change too. Another better option is if you customize the particular style you are using to format the paragraph.
To do this, go to Home > Styles . Right click on the style you want to change and select Modify . Click on Format > Paragraph which is at the bottom of the dialog box. Now, change the spacing, indentation, and alignment for the paragraph. Click OK to close the dialogs.
When you want to change a smaller portion of the document , select what you want to change. Right click on the highlighted text and select Paragraph . The same dialog box as above will appear.
7. Control Page Breaks
A page break -- by its very name -- splits a continuous block of text across two pages. Page breaks are important structural elements for long documents. Word automatically inserts a page break at the end of the page. But in a long document, you can place page breaks where you want them.
To insert a manual page break, click Insert > Page Break. (Keyboard shortcut: CTRL + Enter)
A page break looks like this when you click on the Show/Hide command in the Paragraph group .
But what if you want to keep a bunch of lines together on a page or column and not have them separate because of a page break? The layout is in your control. Click the tiny arrow you see in the bottom right of the Paragraph group.
In the Paragraph box, click Line and Page Breaks. Select from these four pagination options:
- Widow/Orphan control places at least two lines of a paragraph at the top or bottom of a page.
- Keep with next prevents breaks between paragraphs you want to stay together.
- Keep lines together prevents page breaks in the middle of paragraphs.
- Page break before adds a page break before a specific paragraph.
We've also shown how to remove page breaks when necessary.
8. Use Styles and Themes
Styles and themes are perhaps two of the more underused features in Microsoft Word . But I think you should use them at every opportunity to save a lot of time.
But what is the difference between a theme and a style? Microsoft says:
Themes provide a quick way to change the overall color and fonts. If you want to change text formatting quickly, Word Styles are the most effective tools.
So, as themes control the general look with color, effects, and fonts – start with a good theme for your document first. Then , use Styles to dig into the specific portions you want to change the appearance for.
For Themes: Go to the Design tab. Pick a theme from the gallery. You can see previews of what the color combination is like.
For Styles: Select the part of the text you want to change. Go to the Styles group on the Home tab. You can see previews of what they look like. Choose the Style that is suitable for your content. For instance, choose a heading style for the headings in your document. Or, a particular style for any quotes. You can also modify an existing style and create new styles from scratch.
Every picture, chart, or illustration needs a caption to clearly describe it. It is a single line of text, usually located below a graphic. Captions are also an important reference when you need to mention them in another place. Many documents omit this small detail.
It is easy to add a caption. Right-click the illustration you want to add a caption to. Select Add Caption .
In the dialog box, add your caption text and configure the remaining options. Captions can be automatically referenced in Word.
10. Use Quick Parts
Professional documents can get repetitive. This is why you should start using Quick Parts for boilerplate content you reuse all the time. For instance, let's say there is a contract clause you include with every document. Or, some introductory information. Instead of repeated copy-paste, save them as Quick Parts and re-use them again and again.
Quick Parts is also a type of building block . You can see the gallery of all reusable blocks of content in the Building Block Organizer .
Save and reuse your own Quick Parts in two steps:
- Select the phrase, sentence, or other portion of your document that you want to save to the gallery.
- Go to Insert > Text group > Quick Parts > Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery . Change the name and add a description if you like. Click OK .
Just as easily, you can re-use the saved snippet of content.
Place your cursor where you want to insert a selection from the Quick Parts Gallery. Go to Insert > Text group > Quick Parts . Then click the sentence, phrase, or other saved selection you want to reuse.
You will notice three other categories in the Quick Parts menu.
AutoText: Word 2016 has retained the old AutoText feature. It works like Quick Parts for any block of text that you use a great deal. Example: A note you want to use with every document.
Document Property: A set of constant properties that you can include with every document. Example: Company name or author.
Fields: These are predefined elements that update automatically. Example: Date, time, page numbers etc.
Remember, entries for document property can sometimes include information you wouldn't want to share with everyone. So, keep a close eye on these fields and remove the hidden personal data whenever required.
11. Decorate With Page Borders
Page borders look good not only on flyers and invitations. If done right, they can add a touch of class to a document. A variety of line styles and widths and art borders are available from the Design menu on the Ribbon.
Go to Design > Page Borders.
In the Borders and Shading box, use the Page Border tab to design your border.
The settings are self-explanatory. Try Shadow or 3-D with the right colors to add a subtle but elegant border. The Art styles with their clip-art borders might be too garish for professional documents.
Use the four corner buttons in the Preview window to select the sides of the page to draw borders. Click these buttons to remove or add borders, as you wish.
Place the cursor on the first page of a document if you want to put a border around only the first page. You can also put borders around certain pages in a section. Place the cursor in the section — either in the first page of that section or in a subsequent page.
References and Collaboration
A Word report can seem like an unmanageable chore. It's like organizing a million piles of hay into neat little stacks. The idea is to know precisely which stack has the pin you are looking for. These features are meant to make it easier.
1. Create an Index
When writing large documents such as a report that contains a lot of information, a contents page may not be enough. An Index should appear at the end of the document, with page numbers to keywords and information in the report. Create an index to help the reader reference the right information with just the page number.
Make an index if your document has more than 20 pages. Microsoft Word 2016 doesn't let the process overwhelm you. It basically has two parts:
- Select the words or information you want to include in the index.
- Place the index at the right place in your document.
You can scroll through the finished document and mark the words or phrases you want to include in the index or mark them as you go along. Either way, select the text you'd like to use as an index entry or click where you want to insert the entry.
1. Click References > Mark Entry .
2. Edit the text in the Mark Index Entry dialog box. You can also add a sub-entry which further defines the main word you used in the index. You can add multiple levels and each appears indented under the main entry.
3. Under Options , you can also create a cross-reference to another main entry. A reader can use this to refer related information elsewhere in the same document.
4. Use the Page number format to decide on the appearance of the page numbers in the index.
5. Click Mark to mark the index entry. To mark this text everywhere it shows up in the document, click Mark All .
6. Repeat the process for all the words and phrases you want to include in the index.
You have now built your index. Insert it at the right place towards the end of the document.
1. Click on the page where you want to insert the index.
2. Click References > Insert Index .
3. The Index dialog box is displayed. Here you can choose to format the text entries, page numbers, tabs, and leader characters.
4. Choose the appearance from the different formats in the list and check the Preview window on the right. Remember, the Preview window doesn't show you actual index. It is just a "simulation" of how it will look like.
5. Click OK . Your Index is now ready.
Sometimes, you may need to add more entries to the index after you have inserted it on the page. Mark the entry and go to References > Update index to include the new mentions.
Also, add a heading for the index because Word doesn't do it automatically.
2. Creating Bibliographies
Your document is almost done. Now, you need to credit all the other research work and ideas which you have referenced in your document. It's time for a bibliography.
A company report might not need a bibliography but an academic paper isn't finished without one. The bibliography is one of the most painstaking jobs in an academic report. You need to have all your citations in order before you sit down to frame the bibliography. Also, decide on the citation style (typically MLA, APA , or Chicago-style ) as per the guidelines of your subject.
Don't hesitate to take advantage of third-party citation and bibliography generators for constructing this section.
But, Microsoft Word 2016 has a complete toolset to make this process as painless as possible. So, go to the point in the document where you would like to place the bibliography. It's good if you have at least one citation to include, but even if you don't, Word 2016 lets you use a placeholder citation and fill in the sources later.
Click References > Bibliography .
Word offers a few bibliography styles that differ only in their heading names. Choose the appropriate style and then insert citations from the button in the Citations & Bibliography group .
The bibliography tool has a few steps to it. For the sake of brevity, I will direct you to the excellent Microsoft Office help page which is a step-by-step guide.
Some academic papers will ask you to create an annotated bibliography . It is a more fleshed out version of a bibliography with a list of citations to journals, books, articles, and other documents followed by a brief paragraph. The paragraph is a description of the source and how it supports your paper.
You can use a cross-reference to help the reader navigate through a long document. At any point in a document, you can tell the reader to refer back to a heading, page number, image, chart, footnote, endnote, and paragraph. A cross-reference link is a neat way to connect related information together. The reader just has to click on the link to go that snippet of information.
Here's how you begin:
1. Select the place for the cross-reference and type the text that tells the reader about it. For instance: "Refer to Chart 3 for future trends."
2. Go to Insert > Cross-reference .
3. In the Reference type box, click the drop-down list to select what you want to link to.
4. The options in the Insert Reference to drop-down will change according to your choice above.
5. In the For Which field, go through the choices and tell Word the exact information to link to.
6. Check the Insert as hyperlink box to create the hyperlink for the referenced information.
7. Click on Insert to include the cross-reference in the document.
Remember, our mention of captions? You can make cross-references to equations, figures, graphs, and tables if you used captions below them.
Word cannot create a cross-reference for something that does not exist. Word will let you know about these errors and also update the cross-references automatically when you change the page number or text of the referenced item.
4. Using Comments
A professional report can be a solitary job or you can take the help of a team to prepare the first draft. The humble Comment is one of the most underused tools of a Word document. It is displayed as a rectangular colored balloon in the margin or in the Reviewing Pane.
You can use comments as small "stickies" or self-notes. Leave little notes to yourself in the margins as you write, edit, and revise your way through a report or a manuscript. Be creative – add extra links to other resources, use them for tips and pointers, link to different parts of a document, or set up a feedback link for your readers. And when you finalize, you can easily remove all comments in Word .
Microsoft Word 2016 is also an enhanced collaborative writing tool. Comments play a huge role in communicating feedback across a team. Here's how the comment system works...
1. Highlight the text you want to add a comment to or click at the end of a text block.
2. Go to Insert > Comment . Type your comment in the box. The comments appear in the markup area on the right. The Print Layout view is usually the best way to see the comments alongside the text.
3. Go to the Review tab and see more options for comments. This tab also shows all the controls for tracking changes and comments in a collaborative document. Use the Markup options to display or hide the comments. For instance: No Markup will hide the comments and the markup area on the right.
Finalize Your Report
Once the bulk of your report is completed and saved, it is time to finalize your report. When I say finalize, I don't mean proofread it. That should be done too. Now, you have to take the security measures to protect the report from unauthorized changes and plagiarism.
These security measures will give an extra level of authenticity to your electronic file before you share it.
This section will cover:
- Insert watermarks
- Make the document 'read only'
- Password protect your document
- Print your document to PDF
You can add text signature for a personal touch to the report. But a simple text signature does not need any authentication. A digital signature is the better way to protect your document from unauthorized access. A digital signature confirms that the document came from the signer and hasn't been tampered in any way.
Let's create a signature line in Microsoft Word 2016.
In the document, place your cursor where you want to create a signature line.
1. Go to Insert > Text group > Signature Line and click Microsoft Office Signature Line .
2. The Signature Setup dialog box is displayed. Fill the fields as indicated. If you are sending the document to someone else for signing, add instructions for the signer in the field reserved for it ( Instructions to the signer ). The signer can also add give the purpose for the signing if the Allow the signer to add comments in the Sign dialog box is checked.
3. Click on OK and the document will now display a placeholder for the signature.
Enter a signature:
When you need to sign a document with a digital signature, go to the signature line and right-click on it.
You will be prompted to sign with a digital ID. If you don't have one, Microsoft will tell you to get one from a signature service partner.
If you don't have a digital ID, you can just insert a textual representation of a signature line . You can use a written signature or an image that doesn't require authentication.
2. Insert Watermarks
A Microsoft Word watermark is a "fake" but still useful visual indicator for the status of the document. For instance, you can use a watermark that says "Drafts" to differentiate it from the final version of the document. Or, use the watermark to suggest the document is "Copyrighted" or "Confidential".
The "Draft" mark is the most common. But, Microsoft Word gives you several other watermarks to choose from.
1. Go to Design > Page Background and choose Watermark . The Watermark button will be enabled in the Print view only.
2. You can choose a picture or a text watermark from the gallery. Both horizontal and diagonal versions are available. The dialog box gives you all the customization options for the final look of the watermark. Try different fonts, layouts, sizes, and colors.
3. You can type your own text in the Text field to create your custom watermark.
4. Choose OK to apply the watermark to your document. Word automatically applies the watermark to every page except the title page.
3. Make Documents "Read Only"
A professional report by its nature should not need to be edited by its readers. Converting the document to a PDF is one way. But, you can also apply a few more restrictions in Microsoft Word and prevent accidental modification or omission of any kind.
There are three ways to protect a document.
First -- Make your document "read only".
This ensures that your document can only be read or copied. It won't prevent anyone from copying the file and making changes to the copy.
1. Go to the File tab > Info > Protect Document > Mark as Final.
2. When readers open a document, a bar on top will prompt readers to treat this document as read only. But, they can click on "Edit Anyway" to open the document in Edit mode.
Second -- Password Protect Your Document.
Protect your document from unwanted edits with a password barrier.
1. Under Protect Document , choose Encrypt with Password . Type a password and click OK .
2. In the Confirm Password box, type the password again, and then click OK . The document will open with the reader prompted for a password.
Microsoft uses the AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), 128-bit key length, SHA1 (a cryptographic hashing algorithm which generates an almost unique 160-bit key to replace the plaintext), and CBC (cipher block chaining) to give a hacker a well-deserved headache.
Third -- Restrict Editing.
This control feature helps you as the author decide which parts of the document others can edit and which will be locked out. Think of it as the bouncer who lets the VIPs in but otherwise bars the door for the common folk.
1. Go to Review > Restrict Editing .
2. Under Editing restrictions , check Allow only this type of editing in the document , and make sure the list says No changes (Read only) .
No changes (Read only) is the default restriction type. For a different restriction level for the document, click the menu and select from Tracked changes, Comments, or Filling in forms.
3. To free some sections from the editing blockade, select the sections for editing without restrictions. To select more than one area, click CTRL while selecting the area using the mouse.
4. You can check Everyone under Exceptions (optional) in the Restrict Editing panel. Or, click More users … and allow only specific users to modify the sections. The allowable areas will be marked with square brackets.
5. Click Yes, Start Enforcing Protection .
Now, type a unique password in the box that opens. You have to type it again to confirm it.
The password is optional. But it ensures that no one can just click Stop Protection and edit the document. If you are still paranoid, go ahead and encrypt your Microsoft Word document as we did in the second process above.
4. Print Your Report to PDF
The Portable Document Format comes with many advantages. Not least is its cross-platform compatibility across all computers. Your document is ready and now you need to share it or send it across to be printed. Many professional reports -- for instance, a legal document -- need to retain the format as intended.
Save or convert a copy to PDF. Microsoft Word 2016 does not need any third-party add-ins.
Go to File > Export > Create PDF/XPS .
Remember, your Word document may contain sensitive information that you do not want to be included in the PDF. Remove it before you publish to PDF. In the Publish as PDF or XPS window, choose Options . Then select Document and clear Document properties . Set any other options you want and choose OK .
Browse to where you want to save the file and click on Publish .
The Next Step...
You are close to the finishing line. The report is ready to be handed over to your readers. But there's one last job left.
Turn the pages and make sure (again) that your report is reader-friendly. Approach it with the eye of the reader. Have you organized your thoughts and written persuasively? Does the information flow well with the charts and illustrations? Can they skim through and find the information quickly? Is the text readable? Use the readability score to gauge the readability level of your documents as a final step.
You also might have noticed we didn't cover some aspects of Microsoft Word. For instance, Microsoft Word Tables are an important tool for data display. Or, the power of lists in information management.
Microsoft Word is more than a quarter of a century old, and packed with little features. At MakeUseOf, we have covered every nook and cranny of this beast. So, do use our resources to learn more about this software for free. Each new feature of Microsoft Word learned will make your life easier.
Make Your Report Shine
As author Nathaniel Hawthorne said,
Easy reading is damn hard writing
Isn't this true for professional report writing too? After all, if given a choice, no one may want to read it. Writing a business report and using it to communicate are two different things. Microsoft Word is just a tool -- it's your job to engage.
For some alternatives, check out the best online word processors . And for more help with professional writing, take a look at how to apologize in an email and mean it .
What are the best practices for writing professional business reports? Tell us in the comments.
Report Writing Format: Lab & Business Report [Examples + Tips]
All students go through this, sooner or later. Report writing is like an initiation into college. You are not a real student until you squeeze out at least one report.
That’s why we recommend you learn the main report-building rules to save time in the future.
These are general principles to know when you have the assignment to write a report. From the aspects mentioned above, you can already feel the character and style of a report.
It is straightforward, clearly structured, and prosperous for facts. Therefore, reports are mostly suitable for business, natural sciences, medicine, and other scientific areas.
Ready to learn more?
Here you can find a detailed explanation of report writing rules, purposes, and structure . Special attention is paid to different types of reports; also, don’t miss excellent tips on report presentation .
Let’s go! 👉 👉
🧱 What Is a Report?
- 📑 Report Outline
🧪 Lab Report Writing Format
- 🧲 Physics Report Writing Format
- ⚗ ️ Chemistry Report Writing Format
💼 Business Report Writing Format
👩🏫 report presentation.
Simply put, a report is a statement . It is a proposition/analysis that informs the audience about a particular subject.
One detail that we would add to the Cambridge definition – a report can also describe an issue or an object.
Depending on a research area and subject, the content of a report varies, and so does its nature. However, regardless of your topic, a report should represent some information based on collected and analyzed data. That is, while working on a report, pay very distinct attention to the evidence that supports your words.
Here are the crucial features of any report:
- A report is structured and easy to follow
- A report analyzes the issue
- A report presents facts and findings
- A report has a particular purpose and audience
- A report suggests recommendations on an issue
This list is only the beginning of what we are going to tell you further.
Let’s see what the essential requirements of report writing format are.
Challenges of Building a Report
Before you start writing your report assignment, it is constructive to figure out what its challenges are.
These are the aspects that a good report should meet—all of them.
- A clear framework . With the help of a framework, you refer to the question and stay within a defined scope. Having a rigorous pattern is crucial since you’ll be addressing many related terms and issues in the course of the report. However, your task is not to deepen into those questions and stick to your plan.
- Focus. Coming from the previous point, here, the discussion is about having a distinct central thought/idea. No high-quality report has a vague research focus. Remember that you are expected to discuss and solve an exact question within an exact framework.
- Development. This aspect requires you to make your work fluent and smooth. Control the logical connections between paragraphs and make sure that the topic is not just dryly retold. Rather, disclose the issue like you tell a story.
- Organization and style. A good report requires a lucid organization with subsections and logically structured content. Besides that, make sure to follow one style, both writing and formatting. It says about good manners and respect for your reader.
- Facts. Although a report can contain personal points of view, its core should be based on relevant, checked information. Seek the evidence and examples from authoritative sources and build up your logic on it.
Types of Report Writing
All reports have standard features like rigorous structurization, the importance of valid data, and intense language formality.
Now let’s figure out the classification of types of reports. This section will review some main types of report writing, their peculiarities, and aspects requiring special attention.
A lab report is a description of an experiment or any other kind of laboratory work that you have conducted. Therefore, the purpose of a lab report is to tell what, how, and why you have done it. Also, a lab report requires describing findings and their significance thoroughly.
Be able to explain all the terms you use in work, all the procedures, and results. An excellent understanding of the topic is necessary for a successful report.
A business report serves as a company tool to help in decision-making processes. There are various types of business reports used for different purposes. For example:
- Recommendation report
- Investigative report
- Research studies report
- Periodic report
- Situational report
A research report can be written on any subject. Many classes will require you to write a report on a research project you’ve conducted. Your main goal is to make it clear and comprehensive so that a reader understands each step.
Unlike a book review, a book report centers on the overall summary: the plot, characters, main thoughts of a book, etc. That is to say, a book report is a brief retelling that refers to the key points and characters. Accordingly, a book report structure differs a lot from a research or business report structure, but about that later.
📑 The Content Outline of a Report
As we already mentioned, it is hard to create one universal outline for all types of reports. They all vary according to their logic and individual requirements. However, it is still possible to draw a list of points vital for a good report.
One thing that is 100% universal – rich, fruitful academic language. Lucky you! We have a fantastic compilation of analytical words & phrases for any purpose. Don’t hesitate to borrow some cool writing ideas from our article.
let’s see what a common content outline of a report is.
Title Page of a Report
Main parts: header with the short title of the report or your last name, depending on the citation style; the full title of the report, your name.
Tips and tricks:
- Follow the rules of the appropriate citation style;
- Consult your instructor or follow these title page examples .
Main parts: a research question and main research findings; research methods used; conclusions and recommendations.
- Keep it brief – up to 150-200 words.
- Don’t make references to the text of the actual report.
- Write it after completing the rest of the report writing.
Table of Contents in a Report
Main parts: headings and subheadings with their corresponding pages.
- Include appendices and references in your table of contents;
- Don’t mention the abstract and title page.
Main parts: background information, research question (or hypothesis), and significance of the chosen problem.
- Avoid including too much background information – get to the point right from the start;
- Do your best to explain why your topic is important and why readers should care about it.
Main Body of a Report
Main parts: literature review, methodology, research findings, discussion, and limitations.
- In a literature review, explore the different opinions on the question and point out a gap in the existing literature;
- When writing a report, choose a good research paper topic that genuinely interests you;
- In the research findings section, avoid analysis – simply write what you have found out;
- In the discussion paragraph, include a detailed analysis of your findings: make it the most prominent part of your paper;
- Remember that quality report writing is impossible without the review of limitations. Be sure to acknowledge that your research may have some drawbacks.
Main parts: a brief summary of all previous elements.
- When writing reports, never include any new information in the conclusion part – repeat only what you have already said;
- Make it up to 10% of the total word count.
References in a Report
Main parts : all the sources used in your research (for text references, images, or tables).
- Double-check that each of your in-text citations has a corresponding entry in the references section;
- Vice versa – make sure that every entry from the reference list has at least one in-text citation.
- When writing reports, don’t forget the alphabetical order and special rules for the works of the same author.
Main parts : tables, graphs, pictures, questionnaires, etc.
- Always write where you have borrowed something from (unless you have created it yourself).
- Filed experts will probably read appendices as they seek all technical details.
- Order appendices as they appear in the text.
As already mentioned before, in a lab report, you need to describe every detail step-by-step. A good lab report consists of a thorough description of research goals, methods, procedures, findings, and results.
A lab report is mostly used in natural sciences, for example, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, etc.
Below are parts of a lab report you should consider.
- Title Page. Use a title that comprehensively characterizes your lab work focus.
- Abstract. Sketch your goals, questions, and findings in a brief paragraph at the beginning.
- Introduction . Refer to the background and key theories, including your hypothesis and objectives.
- Methods . Depict equipment, procedures, and materials, including all calculations and obstacles.
- Results . Introduce your findings visually. Discuss results based on these visualizations.
- Discussion. Sum up the results, refer to the hypothesis, and theorize your findings.
- Conclusion. Revise key points, relate to the problem, and note the significance of the research.
- References Section. Make a one-style list of all sources used.
- Appendices. Include all the materials that were too detailed to include in the main body.
These were the parts most likely to be required for your lab report.
Remember that if you follow thorough guidelines and do everything step-by-step, chances for success are way higher.
Now let’s quickly see lab reports on different subjects. What are their specificities?
🧲 Physics Lab Report Writing Format
The above-described structure is suitable for a physics lab report format . Your main goal in this piece of paper is to demonstrate how well you understand every step of work and its results.
To make your job easier, here is a great checklist. Go through these questions several times while writing a physics lab report.
- Will your friend or any random person be able to read your report and understand everything precisely? In other words, is it graspable for the masses?
- Will a person from your field be able to understand what you have done by just reading an abstract?
- Will you understand your lab report in a couple of months and repeat or thoroughly explain all the steps?
These questions will help you a lot in deciding what to include or exclude in your work.
We have only left to show you excellent examples of a physics lab report format, and we wish you luck!
Check out these:
⚗ ️ Chemistry Lab Report Writing Format
Frankly speaking, there’s no significant difference in chemistry and physics lab report formats. The outline is the same, goal and logic as well.
For a fantastic guide to a chemistry lab report format, check the following sources:
- Writing a Lab Report (Chemistry); Lewis University
- Guide for Writing a Lab Report – for chemistry and biochemistry students; Concordia University
- How to Write a Chemistry Lab Report: 14 Steps
A business report is a flexible format that varies according to the purpose. With the help of business reports, people exchange information and make decisions. Thus, it is essential to be very careful with everything you include in your business report.
A significant difference from other types of reports is that in a business report, you can deviate from formal academic language. It means that the primary factor in business report writing is the audience—your language and style change by who your listeners are. However, don’t take it as a total freestyle, a report is a report, and you must follow the rules.
For wholesome guidelines on a business report outline, here are some good sources:
- How to Write a Formal Business Report (With Examples)
- How to Write a Business Report
- Business Reports Helpsheet; The University of Melbourne
- Structuring a Business Report
Another distinctive feature of a business report is its intention to persuade. Unlike the chemistry lab report format, the business paper provides active recommendations. Suggesting a new method or alternative strategy, a business report states why its solutions deserve attention.
We recommend you read this business report prepared by Southwest Texas State University students. Inside, you can find an effective structurization, relevant data, and sufficient interpretation of the findings.
Business Report Examples
We have compiled a list of business report examples to help you get an idea of how such papers might look:
- Strategy report on product launch in the Australian market .
- Internationalization of business: Management report .
- UK electricity companies: Industry report .
- Samsung company: Contemporary marketing report .
- Sunoco, Inc.: Financial analysis report .
- Report on e-business between China and the USA .
- A Report on the Victorian Fine Furnishings company .
- Coca-Cola: Financial research report .
- Entrepreneurial organisation report .
- Technical communication: Ethical codes report .
- Business proposal report for a child day care .
- Kmart Australia: Business report .
- Report on Microsoft Canada: Xbox marketing .
- Electronic marketing report for Horizon Travel Company .
- Netflix: Strategy report .
- Project Execution Through Risk Addressing (PETRA) analysis report .
- Riverside Electronics Plc: Financial report .
- Strategic service vision report: Paws n’ Tails .
- Strategic HR report: Work plan of a modern company .
- Premier Restaurants Latvia: Internship report .
- A business report on Buddy’s Floor Barn .
- Management report: Tesco Personal Finance .
- Johnson-Venter report on recruitment and selection procedures .
- Amazon strategic audit report .
- Lego Group: Comprehensive report .
- CD Projekt S.A.: Business report .
- Advanced marketing strategy of Nokorola: Report .
- Report on George at ASDA .
- Samsung strategic marketing report .
- Landshark Co.: Cost report for individual loans section .
- The report of Hubbard Computers using Dell Computers as pure play company .
- Industry innovation report: Amazon .
- CFO report on Colgate-Palmolive Company .
- Management accounting report of Nissan company .
- Apple Inc.’s company analysis and financial report .
- Accounting summary report: The case of Competition Bikes .
- Colgate-Palmolive Company: Financial research report .
- Report for Domino’s Pizza Enterprises .
- Halfords Group Plc.: Financial reporting .
- Business and economics report: Barr .
- ASOC plc: Report for a potential investor .
- Accounting report on Queen Limited .
- Financial report of Lockheed Martin Corporation .
- Financial analysis report for ANZ Banking Group, Virgin Blue Holdings, and Wesfarmers Ltd .
- Organization systems evaluation report .
- Financial research report: Apple, Inc .
- Procurement and supply report .
- Quanta Airline business report .
- Fosters Australia firm’s security valuation report .
- A business analysis report on David Jones Limited and Premier Investments Limited .
Once your report is written, you might be asked to present it. Let’s quickly go through the primary rules of how to make an excellent report presentation.
- First and foremost, make a very detailed and accurate plan . Remember a simple rule: the more you talk, the more mistakes you make. That is why having a thorough outline of what you are going to say is so essential. It will help you to always keep to the main ideas and messages. No need to deepen into calculation details and other technical components.
- Like any other presentation, a report presentation needs a clear structure. Luckily, you have already worked on it while writing. Your task is to present this structure to the audience and, more importantly, don’t switch between parts without smooth links. In other words, make sure that every element has a natural transition from the previous one. This will make your speech stable, fluent, and professional.
- Denote your goals from the very beginning . There is no need to explain that being clear about what you want is one of the critical factors in perceiving your speech. Once you know your aims for this presentation and broadcast them to the audience, the whole speech takes a different form and tone: confident, straightforward, and efficient.
- The way you open your report presentation is decisive for the whole performance. We won’t stop repeating that the right hook is the best solution for a strong opening. With the help of a hook, you will be able to catch the audience’s attention. Don’t lose any second; read our excellent guide on writing successful hooks, with samples and explanations: Catchy Hooks: Guidelines, Ideas, Samples .
If you manage to make a really good hook, your listeners will think about it throughout the speech and maybe after.
Here are some additional materials that will help you to deal with report presentation preparations:
- How to Write a Research Report and Give a Presentation
- 18 Tips for Presenting a Report Effectively
Done! You are now ready to build a report presentation.
It’s ok if now you feel that report writing is almost as easy as snapping your fingers
Use the tips above, complete your report as soon as possible, and finally, relax.
Good luck with your report writing 🍀
If you have any questions, post them below in the comments section 👇
Writing an Effective Research Proposal Sample in 3 Steps
How to write a thesis statement: tips & examples.
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Report Writing Format Examples
- Examples of Writing a School Report
- 50+ Report Examples – PDF
Main Elements of the Standard Report Writing Format
1. Title Section
3. introduction, 5. conclusion, 6. recommendations, 7. appendices, guidelines for writing a report.
- Make it clear and specific. There are some words that can sound a bit too vague, opening doors to other ideas that aren’t relevant to your report. This is why it’s always important to strive for clarity in communication. You can do this by limiting yourself to one idea per sentence in order to carry out a specific message to readers.
- Use simple language. Instead of trying to impress your readers with a series of complex terminologies and what not, it would be better to focus on communicating properly with your audience. Avoid technical words that are difficult to understand by the majority, unless completely necessary. If so, you must explain these terms in a well-detailed manner. Expound ideas that need to be understood, and make sure all the words written in your report have a significant purpose.
- Stick to facts. Guesses and hunches have no place in a report. Refrain from using statements that are drawn from mere assumptions. It’s important to stick to facts to avoid conflicting thoughts or possible misinterpretations.
- Write in paragraphs. There’s a good reason why paragraphs play a vital role in communication. For starters, it allows us to organize ideas accordingly for better delivery. This will help make your report appear more logical for an audience to read and comprehend. The proper use of transitional phrases and sentences is also essential in report writing.
- Use a bullet style for lists. Sometimes, writing in paragraphs can be challenging, especially when dealing with similar or conflicting points that need to be enumerated one by one. For cases like this, using a bullet style to create a list is highly recommended. Not only can it keep things organized, but it can also highlight thoughts that need to be emphasized in the report.
- Observe proper grammar and punctuation. Even professional writers can commit errors with their narratives. Knowing this, it’s important to proofread your report for any spelling or grammar mistakes. You may even try reading the report aloud to see if the flow of words and sentence construction make sense. The correct use of punctuation marks must also be observed.
Presentation and Style
- Font – The standard font style for any formal report is Arial or Times New Roman, due to its easy-to-read nature, but your font choice may also depend on the instructions given. Make sure to use only a single font style throughout the document for consistency and formality.
- Lists – If the circumstance calls for it, use a list to break down information into several points that may easily be understood. While you may have the option to use a numbered list style, a bulleted list style would be more appropriate.
- Headings and subheadings – Headings and subheadings are a principal part of a formal document. Similar to a thesis proposal , a report must be sectioned into manageable chunks of information. This will help both the author and the reader identify definite topics discussed in the paper. Each section should then be listed in the table of contents to serve as a guide for readers.
50+ report examples - pdf, what is writing used for, 6+ script writing examples, samples, 25+ email examples & samples - pdf, 6+ argumentative writing examples, samples, 5+ abstract writing examples, samples, tips for writing an effective essay, 4+ summary writing examples, samples, 5+ narrative writing examples, samples, related articles.
- 10+ Report Writing Examples - PDF
- What Do You Mean by Writing Skills?
- Study and research support
- Academic skills
What is a report and how does it differ from writing an essay? Reports are concise and have a formal structure. They are often used to communicate the results or findings of a project.
Essays by contrast are often used to show a tutor what you think about a topic. They are discursive and the structure can be left to the discretion of the writer.
Who and what is the report for?
Before you write a report, you need to be clear about who you are writing the report for and why the report has been commissioned.
Keep the audience in mind as you write your report, think about what they need to know. For example, the report could be for:
- the general public
- academic staff
- senior management
- a customer/client.
Reports are usually assessed on content, structure, layout, language, and referencing. You should consider the focus of your report, for example:
- Are you reporting on an experiment?
- Is the purpose to provide background information?
- Should you be making recommendations for action?
Language of report writing
Reports use clear and concise language, which can differ considerably from essay writing.
They are often broken down in to sections, which each have their own headings and sub-headings. These sections may include bullet points or numbering as well as more structured sentences. Paragraphs are usually shorter in a report than in an essay.
Both essays and reports are examples of academic writing. You are expected to use grammatically correct sentence structure, vocabulary and punctuation.
Academic writing is formal so you should avoid using apostrophes and contractions such as “it’s” and "couldn't". Instead, use “it is” and “could not”.
Structure and organisation
Reports are much more structured than essays. They are divided in to sections and sub-sections that are formatted using bullet points or numbering.
Report structures do vary among disciplines, but the most common structures include the following:
The title page needs to be informative and descriptive, concisely stating the topic of the report.
Abstract (or Executive Summary in business reports)
The abstract is a brief summary of the context, methods, findings and conclusions of the report. It is intended to give the reader an overview of the report before they continue reading, so it is a good idea to write this section last.
An executive summary should outline the key problem and objectives, and then cover the main findings and key recommendations.
Table of contents
Readers will use this table of contents to identify which sections are most relevant to them. You must make sure your contents page correctly represents the structure of your report.
Take a look at this sample contents page.
In your introduction you should include information about the background to your research, and what its aims and objectives are. You can also refer to the literature in this section; reporting what is already known about your question/topic, and if there are any gaps. Some reports are also expected to include a section called ‘Terms of references’, where you identify who asked for the report, what is covers, and what its limitations are.
If your report involved research activity, you should state what that was, for example you may have interviewed clients, organised some focus groups, or done a literature review. The methodology section should provide an accurate description of the material and procedures used so that others could replicate the experiment you conducted.
The results/findings section should be an objective summary of your findings, which can use tables, graphs, or figures to describe the most important results and trends. You do not need to attempt to provide reasons for your results (this will happen in the discussion section).
In the discussion you are expected to critically evaluate your findings. You may need to re-state what your report was aiming to prove and whether this has been achieved. You should also assess the accuracy and significance of your findings, and show how it fits in the context of previous research.
Your conclusion should summarise the outcomes of your report and make suggestions for further research or action to be taken. You may also need to include a list of specific recommendations as a result of your study.
The references are a list of any sources you have used in your report. Your report should use the standard referencing style preferred by your school or department eg Harvard, Numeric, OSCOLA etc.
You should use appendices to expand on points referred to in the main body of the report. If you only have one item it is an appendix, if you have more than one they are called appendices. You can use appendices to provide backup information, usually data or statistics, but it is important that the information contained is directly relevant to the content of the report.
Appendices can be given alphabetical or numerical headings, for example Appendix A, or Appendix 1. The order they appear at the back of your report is determined by the order that they are mentioned in the body of your report. You should refer to your appendices within the text of your report, for example ‘see Appendix B for a breakdown of the questionnaire results’. Don’t forget to list the appendices in your contents page.
Presentation and layout
Reports are written in several sections and may also include visual data such as figures and tables. The layout and presentation is therefore very important.
Your tutor or your module handbook will state how the report should be presented in terms of font sizes, margins, text alignment etc.
You will need good IT skills to manipulate graphical data and work with columns and tables. If you need to improve these skills, try the following online resources:
- Microsoft online training through Linkedin Learning
- Engage web resource on using tables and figures in reports
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8 Report writing tips that will make your report stand out
Report writing is a great way to present information, share research findings, analyze a problem, and recommend a solution. but there are a few rules you must follow if you want to get it right., table of contents, 1. title page , 2. acknowledgments, 3. reference (optional) , 4. abstract/summary, 5. contents page , 6. introduction , 7. methods/methodology/procedure (optional – if not covered in the introduction) , 8. discussion/main body (the longest part of your report) , 9. outcomes (can also go before the main body of the report) , 10. conclusion , 1. use names and pronouns , 2. present only one idea per sentence, 3. be clear and specific, 4. use straightforward language, 5. stick to verifiable facts. , 6. use more paragraphs, 7. have an active voice, 8. make use of bullet points, last thoughts.
You may be required to write reports at school or as part of your job. These reports can be formal or informal, as well as long or short. The style and vocabulary you use should be determined by who will be reading the report and their level of knowledge or expertise. But regardless of the style you choose, your report should be clear and succinct, with material structured logically into parts, complete with headers and (if necessary) subheadings. So before we get to what makes a good report, let’s look at the format you should use when writing a report.
Format for Report Writing
Reports address a specific situation. In it, you need to state why it is worthy of research, while also citing other studies on the subject. You will also have to describe your research methods, evaluate the findings, and finally, make conclusions or recommendations.
Not all reports follow this exact format. Some include more headers, while others omit a few titles. Listed below are the different sections of a report. You may choose to add or delete a section depending on the layout recommended to you.
But if you are unsure about what format to employ, consult your lecturer (at university) or find out what your company’s recommended layout is.
This should include the title of your report, your name, the date, and academic information (the name of your course and instructor).
Be sure to credit any person or piece of work that assisted or provided you with information. These can be colleagues, experts, academics, and even libraries and research papers.
This defines the scope and limitations of your report, as well as your writing goal and audience.
This contains the objectives (if you don’t include the reference section), main findings, conclusions, and recommendations. It basically shares the most important aspects of your report in a nutshell.
This section includes all of your steps in report writing. Such as sections and subsections, page references, as well as a list of diagrams or illustrations, and appendices.
Your introduction addresses the reason you are researching the topic, the context and goals of your research, your research methods, and a brief about the outcome.
This section should include how you conducted your research, including the techniques, equipment, and procedures you employed.
This section contains the analysis and interpretation of your findings (often linked to a current theory or previous research), which should be divided into headings and subheadings for clarity. You can also include visual information, such as diagrams, illustrations, charts, and so on, in this section.
Here, you can add your research findings (also presented in tables, etc.), but with no discussion or interpretation of them.
This section shares your discoveries from the findings – your deductions and the most important revelations from your research report writing. Ideas for improvement, which can also be part of the conclusion section, will be under a subheading called ‘Recommendations,’ in a number-format.
What makes a great a report?
When writing about yourself and others on the scene, use names and pronouns (I, he, she). Avoid clichés like “this officer,” “the above-mentioned person,” and “officials.” Certain people argue that using impersonal terminology ensures objectivity and accuracy, but this is not true. You have the same level of integrity whether you refer to yourself as “I” or as “me.”
Short, simple sentences are easier to read and understand, and they save everyone’s time. They are especially important when someone is reviewing your report writing in preparation for an important business meeting. Furthermore, the longer a sentence is, the more likely it is that you will make an error writing it.
In English, a short sentence and its structure usually begin with a noun, and the grammar is simple. Complicated sentences, on the other hand, necessitate confusing punctuation and invite sentence errors. So try to keep your sentences to a maximum of three commas. If a sentence contains more than three commas, it is likely to be too complicated to read with ease.
Strive for clarity at all times. For example, “contacted” is a broad term. Instead of using it, clarify if you paid the witness a visit, called, or sent an email. So is “residence.” Is it better to use in a house, an apartment, or a mobile home? If yes, do so!
“Since” is more understandable (and easier to write) than “as much as.” Another example is the phrase “pertaining to” which is a fancy (and time-wasting) way of saying “about.”
Educated guesses, hunches, and other thought processes have no place in report writing. So limit yourself to the facts. In court, a statement like “He was aggressive” will not be accepted. Instead, “Jackson clenched his fists and kicked a chair, which now sits broken” is acceptable.
Organizing information in groups has two significant advantages- it will make your report more logical, and easier to read and understand at a later stage.
A common misconception is that using the passive voice ensures objectivity and accuracy. However, this is not the case, especially when you’re expressing yourself with clarity. So always use an active voice – it will not only give you room for objectivity, but also make your report more readable.
Bullet style is simply the way you have probably been writing shopping lists your entire life. When recording several pieces of related information, use bullet points as your format. This will make it easier for the reader to comprehend information.
If you have come all the way here, here are a few bonus tips –
- Make sure you read your report again and again so you can edit it for flow and readability.
- Pay close attention to whether all of the information you have included is relevant.
- Remember to double-check your tenses, pay attention to the voice (active/passive) you have written in.
- Also, remember to check your grammar, spelling, and any structure requirements.
- Make sure that you have referenced everything completely and correctly for report writing.
- And lastly, check that you have not inadvertently or deliberately copied anything without acknowledging it.
Q1. How do I begin writing a report?
Answer- To start, use the thesis you created and place it at the end of your introductory paragraph. Build your first paragraph around the main purpose of your thesis, and then guide the reader through the report’s main themes. Continue through your outline, transferring the body and conclusion points into a draft.
Q2. What are the four different types of reports?
Answer- There are 4 different types: long, short, internal & external.
Q3. What characteristics distinguish a good report?
Answer- A good report should have the following characteristics: simplicity, clarity, brevity, positivity, punctuation, approach, readability, and accuracy.
Feel free to check out our blog for more such tips.
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Matt Ellis Updated on May 10, 2023 Students A report is a nonfiction account that presents and/or summarizes the facts about a particular event, topic, or issue. The idea is that people who are unfamiliar with the subject can find everything they need to know from a good report.
6 Types of Reports There are a selection of different reports you might need to create. Each of these will follow a similar reporting writing format to what we've covering in this post. 1. Annual Reports The first type of report we'll cover is an annual report.
Jobs that use written reports Many occupations involve writing reports as a primary responsibility. For example, doctors must write medical reports that present their analyses of certain patients and/or cases. Police officers write reports that outline the details of interrogations and confrontations.
1 Determine Your Objective First and foremost, why are you writing this report? What is the point or goal? Is this an academic report or is it business-related? Perhaps you need to put together an annual report, sales report or financial report. Also consider who your audience is.
Part 1 Selecting Your Topic 1 Read the report prompt or guidelines carefully. If your teacher, professor, or boss gave you guidelines for your report, make sure you read them thoroughly to make sure you understand the assignment.
A good report is easy to recognise. Its title is precise and informative, its layout and format are well organised, and the binding is easy to handle and opens flat to reveal both text and diagrams. Reading a well written report is pleasurable: the style is accurate, fluent and concise, with headings to indicate the content of each section.
Most reports should be written in a structured format to clearly demonstrate what the report is trying to convey. Related: 5 Steps for Great Business Writing (With Tips) How to write a work report Writing effective work reports takes practice and requires good communication skills.
It should also state the aims and objectives of your report and give an overview of the methodology used to gather and analyze the data. Make sure you include a powerful topic sentence. Main body. The main body of the report should be divided into subsections, each dealing with a specific aspect of the topic.
Industry analysis: http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/resources/report/design-economy-report Market research: http://academic.mintel.com/display/793761/ (Access on Campus or via VPN) Structuring your report Check with your tutor to find out what your report should include and how it should be presented.
9 minute read 23.6K views The term "report" refers to a nonfiction work that presents and/or paraphrases the facts on a specific occasion, subject, or problem. The notion is that a good report will contain all the information that someone who is not familiar with the subject needs to know.
This document editor is used for writing a variety of documents. From a simple application to the necessary resume. From a plain bucket list to an office memo. We think we can work with Word. But it is when we sit down to write a serious professional report, we discover an important fact. Professional report writing needs a different set of skills.
Main parts: a research question and main research findings; research methods used; conclusions and recommendations. Tips and tricks: Keep it brief - up to 150-200 words. Don't make references to the text of the actual report. Write it after completing the rest of the report writing.
Focus on the data rather than the structure of the report. Share critical information internally. Share information to change operational decisions quickly. Annual budget reports, monthly financial reports, scientific research and employee appraisals are some of the examples of informal reports.
You'll find a wide variety of reports in our template library which you can customize to suit your needs. Ace your English class with our book report templates for fiction books, non-fiction books, or short stories. Whether you're in college or the 4th grade, our these templates have all the key elements a good book report should have.
1. Title Section The format of the title section of your report would depend on the length of the said document. Short reports may include just the author, date prepared, and other information deemed necessary. Long reports, on the other hand, may require designated pages for its table of contents and definition of terms as well. 2. Summary
Reports use clear and concise language, which can differ considerably from essay writing. They are often broken down in to sections, which each have their own headings and sub-headings. These sections may include bullet points or numbering as well as more structured sentences. Paragraphs are usually shorter in a report than in an essay.
Introduction All your facts and information presented in the report not only have to be bias-free, but they also have to be a 100% correct. Proof-reading and fact-checking is always what you do as a thumb rule before submitting a report. One needs to write reports with much analysis.
Good visualization tools for progress reports include comparison widgets showing the goal against what was achieved. ... It's not a detailed visualization of microbes in a lab, but the report writing format is the same. Customize this report template and make it your own! Edit and Download. 10 Analysis Report Examples.
Answer- To start, use the thesis you created and place it at the end of your introductory paragraph. Build your first paragraph around the main purpose of your thesis, and then guide the reader through the report's main themes. Continue through your outline, transferring the body and conclusion points into a draft. Q2.
Tips for writing a formal report. Here are several tips to follow when writing a formal business report: Use a template. Your company may offer a template or in-house format, so check before you start writing. Using a template can help you organize your thoughts and ensure you don't omit any critical information you want to present.