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Answered By: Kate Anderson, Business Librarian
Last Updated: Dec 29, 2016     Views: 8507

An executive summary is a concise version of a larger/longer document. They are commonly used in business plans, marketing plans, proposals, and other longer documents in order summarize and highlight main points. Executive summaries should be precise, concise, and convincing. Some believe that the reader of an executive summary should be able to make decisions based on it and it alone.

Read this brief overview (scroll down slightly once opened!) of executive summaries.

Review the articles below for information about writing executive summaries:

Executive Summaries: Where Less Really is More

Begin Your Writing Process with a Summary

Building a Business Plan - Executive Summary

Sample Executive Summary from a Business Plan (See pg 4 of the document)

How to Write an Executive Summary (from

Note: There is no specific format designated for executive summaries. Sometimes you will see them as bulleted lists, sometimes as short paragraphs. In regards to APA formatting, remember to do the Times New Roman 12pt font, double spacing, one inch margins, etc. that APA requires. There is no official APA format for executive summaries beyond that. Check with your instructor or review your assignment instructions if you have questions about page length or other expectations.

Lastly, checkout the Business Writing page of the School of Business Guide.