Can you use acronyms, subheadings and bullets in a summary?
Reader’s question: Should you use abbreviations and acronyms in an executive summary?
My answer: As a general rule, do not use abbreviations or acronyms in an executive summary, but use your common sense. I would use an an acronym or abbreviation if it were more common than the full term or used several times.
As always, when you use an abbreviation or acronym, spell out the term in the first instance and put the abbreviation in brackets.
special purpose vehicle (SPV)
If you use an abbreviation in the executive summary, you need to spell it out again the first time you use it in the body of a long report, but not in a short document, such as a board paper.
Question: Can you use subheadings in summaries?
Answer: Yes, subheadings are useful, especially in long summaries, to convey your messages. Keep them short and specific.
Question: Can you use bullet points in summaries?
Answer: A short summary may be entirely bullet points, especially in a short, factual summary.
Question: Can use graphs and tables in summaries?
Answer: Yes, if they are simple and quick and easy to read. No, if they are complex. They are then better suited to the body of the document.
Learn more about styles and usage with my online course: Grammar, Punctuation and Usage.
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