Importance and use of attachments in reports
Date of submission:
21 April 2004
This report was commissioned in March 2004 by the Manager of the Australian Book Store Practice Firm. It is to be presented in hard copy for publication as an eBook. The findings and recommendations will also be delivered to a full staff meeting in an oral presentation.
The purpose of this report is to outline the role and importance of using attachments in reports.
In the hectic world of business, managers and supervisors do not have time to read pages and pages of text. However, additional information is often needed to support content in a report. This is when attachments become very useful.
This report covers the following areas:
• definition of an attachment
• uses of attachments
• rules for using attachments
4. Sources of information
Information for this report was obtained from communication textbooks and university Internet sites. The author has also had many years experience in writing and teaching reports in the Faculty of Business and in the workplace.
1. Definition of an attachment
The Macquarie Concise Dictionary provides this definition: ‘a document which accompanies a primary document, especially one providing additional information’ (2000: 62).
An attachment can also be called an appendix.
Attachments are placed at the end of a report before the bibliography and/or references. In some reports, attachments contain more information than the body of the report itself. Attachments can be:
• other workplace documents (eg. letters, minutes of meetings, questionnaires, extracts from other reports) • graphics (eg. tables or graphs, maps or plans)
• texts from other sources (eg. newspapers, journals, legislation)
Uses of attachments
Attachments ‘contain…explanatory and illustrative material’ (University of New England, December 2003). They are used to:
• support points in the body of the report
• add information (extra details) to information in the body of the report • provide additional information of interest not directly related to main points in the body of the report • include information that could clutter the text in the main body of the report (eg. graphics).
Rules for using attachments
With scanners and the cut and paste facility in word processing software, attachments can be easily blended into the text of the report. This allows for page numbering, headers and footers to be added to the attachments if necessary.
These rules will ensure a professional use of attachments.
• Give each attachment a heading or a title.
• Two or more attachments ‘should be identified by numbers or letters’ (Dwyer, 2003: 410) eg. Attachment 1 or Attachment A. • Cross-reference each attachment in the correct place in the text of the report. They should not be placed at the back in the hope the reader finds them and knows why they are there. • Treat each attachment as a separate document and number the pages for each. Start numbering again on the next attachment. • Place and number the attachment in the same sequence that they are referred to in the text of the report. • If the attachments are essential reading in a long report, list them at the front on the Contents page. Include number, title and page number/s. • If more than three attachments are used, list them on a contents page before the first attachment. Include number, title and page number/s for each.
Attachments can be very important, particularly in large formal reports. They allow the reader to choose to read any additional or backup information. They can help make the body of...
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