How to Summarize a Document

This article is full of tips that will help you create an excellent summary. From finding the critical points to organizing your thoughts to writing a cohesive conclusion, this blog post highlights some of the best practices for summarizing documents quickly and effectively. With these 10 tips in hand, you’ll have the tools to get through any document with ease!

10 Tips on How to Summarize a Document


1. Find the Main Points

The first step in summarizing any document is to find out what it’s really about. When working with documents that have more than one message, it’s essential to move beyond the surface details and dig deeper.

The first step in doing so is to determine where the main ideas come from. Forcing yourself to look beyond the surface details can be a good strategy when the writing prompts you with a lot of questions, as it’s easier this way to get beyond them.

2. Document with multiple authors

With multiple points of view, you can make sure that you’re not missing anything before moving on to your own summary. For example, when summarizing a document that discusses new technology, the ideas often come from the people who work with or around the technology.

If you only read the document once, you’ll have to go through all of it and find each idea. So it’s a good idea to look at what other people thought about it as well.

3. Keep an Outline

Once you’ve determined where the main points in your document come from, it’s time to organize them into an outline. This will help you to review all the key points and keep them straight.
For example, if you’re summarizing a longer article, create an outline that can help you to find and focus on the most critical details. The outline itself is also a great way to keep all of your thoughts straight.

4. Look for Interesting Words

It can be helpful to look at the words in a document and decide where they come from. For example, if someone is writing about their experiences in a particular job, it might be helpful for them to use words such as “great” or “amazing.” It’s also a good idea to look at words that you might never have thought of before.
For example, if you’re working with a document about parenting, it can be helpful to look for words like “spoiled” or “neglectful.” These kinds of details can help you to reflect on a person’s experiences and reactions to certain situations.

5. Look for Coherence

Take a close look at the order of ideas in a document looking for consistency. This might be especially helpful if you’re summarizing an article or presentation. If the document has too much information and no order, it can be hard to know where to start or what material belongs together.

6. Look for Keywords

When writing your summary, it’s essential to identify the main points. The way that you group them will depend on the kind of document that you’re working with. For example, if the document is long, it might be easier to focus on keywords and ideas.
If you’re summarizing a shorter article, you might be able to find the details in a sentence or two. It would help if you also looked for other phrases and words that can help to summarize your main points. Each word or phrase can help you to organize your thoughts as you work through your summary.

7. Take Notes

Taking notes is an excellent way to help you clarify each key point. For example, if you’re summarizing a document about mathematics, it can be challenging to keep track of all of the numbers, formulas, and other details.
With the right approach, you can use the notes that you take while working through your summary. For example, if there are points that you’re unsure about, you can use the notes that you take to help you clarify your final ideas.

8. Paraphrase

A practical summary should repeat the main points of a document on your own words. You can start with a statement, such as “this article explains…” and then restate your understanding of the document in your own terms. The goal is to make sure that everything makes sense and flows smoothly together.

9. Use Quotes

A great way to summarize a document is to break it up into quotes. When used in the proper context, quotes can help your summary to sound more interesting. For example, one of the best ways to summarize an article about a business is by using direct quotes from the people involved.

10. Avoid Judgmental Language

The goal of a summary isn’t to tell the reader what to think. Instead, it’s to summarize the information for them. So don’t use language like “you should read this,” “this is a good article,” or “this is a bad idea.”


If you write up a summary in several different file formats, make sure that your document has clear transitions between paragraphs or sections. The idea is to create a feeling of flow and rhythm that makes your document work well.
While summarizing a document, don’t write anything that suggests what the book is about or reveals the ending. The point is to get an overview of a single idea or concept. If you describe what happens at the end, it can make the summary sound like a novel instead of an article.


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