Wherefore art thou Executive Summary?

I'm writing a rather large report this week. So I'll definitely be including an executive summary. I've had some spirited debates recently about where an executive summary should be in a document. Should it be immediately after the title page, before the table of contents? Or should it be after the table of contents?

I'd like to hear your ideas.

Should an executive summary be BEFORE the table of contents or AFTER the table of contents in a document?

Leave your "vote" below as a comment.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

after table of contents :)

Ben Rowe said...

I reckon immedietely after title page - makes it easy for those executives to find it

Meghan said...

I'm going to vote for after the TOC. I see it as a preface to the document, and Prefaces mostly appear after the TOC. Also found an article on writing executive summaries that mentioned, "The executive summary is the first chapter in a business plan." which also backs my theory ;)

Mandy said...

After TOC - it is part of the document afterall

Amir said...

My rational head said after TOC as it should be treated as a chapter. YET my gut feel says the Execs won't be interested in the TOC, and for them to have to go past it to get to the exec summary defeats the goal of the summary being a quick easy accessible piece of info.

Askeskov said...

A little late - 4 years after the original post - but here goes: I've visited about 100 professional websites with guidelines on report writing. Its almost 50-50 in their guidelines on where to locate the summary; half says before the TOC, half says after.
However, the preface always (>90 %) comes before the TOC.

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