Share quotes from famous books or tips for budding writers.

The Perfect Manual on How to Write the Best Ever Formal Report

How to Write a Formal Report
A formal report is a well-written document that presents any detail/result/information in a formal way. The article below will tell you how to write a formal report.
Batul Nafisa Baxamusa
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
A formal report is written to present a new result, introduce a procedure, marketing ideas, or an issue. It provides the reader with information, facts, and knowledge in a proper format. Formal report writing is very common in academics, business, government or federal investigations, medicine, engineering, etc. Therefore, it is very important to know how to write a formal report. The following paragraphs will discuss this topic in detail.

Outline of a Formal Report


The title page needs to contain the subject of the report, who is it written for, name of the person submitting the report, and the submission date.


The abstract should be about 100 to 200 words long and should state the reason for writing the report. It needs to elaborate on how was the study conducted, the important findings, and their significance. The abstract should be written in short and be able to explain the entire report in a few words. You should use a single paragraph with no indentation to write an abstract. It should be written in a separate page with a heading in the center 'ABSTRACT', in capitals.

Table of Contents

This is written on a separate page and should indicate how specific topics are covered in the report. It should contain the list of figures and list of tables, if any, mentioned in the report.


The introduction of the report is divided into three main parts as follows:
  • Background

    This helps describe what is the report about, the need for the report and what are the theories, or concepts used to explain the report.
  • Purpose

    Here, you define the need for the project or study, who authorized the study and specific reference terms.
  • Scope

    The scope is where one explains the limitations, if any, cost, time, etc.

The body is where one answers the questions - who, why, where, when, what, and how. This is the place where you convince the reader how your conclusions and recommendations are reliable. You need to represent the information in a systematic way. You need to use tables, graphs, pictures, etc., to support your conclusions.


This conclusion needs to be a brief paragraph where important results should be placed first. Do not give suggestions in your conclusion and present only those ideas that have relevant matter to support. Do not introduce new references or thoughts in the conclusion.


The recommendation should be a follow-up of the conclusion. You can make suggestions and give new ideas for improvement, if any.


List the references used in alphabetical order.


This page contains important data, illustrative matter, etc. that you have not included in the data.

This is the report outline that one should follow to document data, experiments, surveys, marketing ideas, etc. You need to use decent, formal fonts, say 'Times New Roman'. The font size should be about 12 points. Use 1.5 line spacing. The titles and headings should be written in bold fonts like 'Ariel'. Between paragraphs, you need to leave a blank line.

The tables, photos, figures, and graphs should be placed under the text that explains them. You can even use a number to refer to the paragraphs to the figure. Number the photos, tables and graphs in a proper sequence. Do not forget to include the source of your table.

If you search the internet, you will come across many formal report templates. You can use these templates and business report template for your report writing. Also, you can refer to online examples for some guidance regarding the use of words. I hope this article on how to write a formal report has helped you understand the basics of report writing.