Changing the organization of your plan outline

Updated on Feb 23, 2017

Before you begin writing, it’s important to take a look at the sections included in your plan outline to make sure they’re in the order you want them to be. By adding, removing and rearranging chapters and sections, you can customize the plan to contain exactly the content you want. You might find it helpful to read What's included in the default outline to get an overview.

How the plan outline is organized #

When you click on the Plan tab, the current plan outline is displayed in the left-hand column. A glance at the outline will show you how your plan is currently organized.

Just like any detailed report, a business plan has chapters (first level), sections (second level), and items. This view makes it easy to navigate to any part of the plan so you can edit it. For more on editing sections, read Writing and editing plan content.

Click any chapter title in the left column to expand the outline and see the sections included in that chapter:

plan-tab-view-organize.gif#asset:1981

Within the sections of each chapter, you'll also find Items, which are topics within a section. To see a view of your outline with sections in place, click on the Outline section of the Plan tab:

plan-tab-outline-link.png#asset:1982

In this view, you will see the same outline with the Chapters, Sections, and Items:

update-outline-structure.png#asset:2191


Moving a chapter, section, or topic #

The plan outline is highly flexible. You can change the order of the chapters, and the order of sections within a chapter. You can even move sections and items from one chapter to another.

To move a chapter: #

  1. In the Plan tab, at the bottom of the left sidebar, click Edit Outline
    edit-outline-button.png#asset:1983
  2. Click on the chapter heading you'd like to move, and drag the chapter or section to the new location:
     outline-move-chapters.gif#asset:1934
  3. All sections and items in that chapter will move along with the heading.
  4. The change will save automatically.


To move a section or item: #

  1. In the Plan tab, at the bottom of the left sidebar, click Edit Outline:
    edit-outline-button.png#asset:1983
  2. Click on the section or item you'd like to move and drag it to the new location:

    outline-move-section-item.gif#asset:1935

  3. All items in a section will move along with the section. You can move sections or items within the same chapter, or move them into another chapter.
  4. The change will save automatically.


Adding standard topics, tables, and charts #

In addition to the basic business plan outline, LivePlan offers many extra topics, tables, and charts that may be important for certain kinds of businesses. These extra items are very also flexible; you can add any of them to any section of your plan outline.


To add a standard topic, table, or chart: #

  1. In the Plan tab, click Outline:
    plan-tab-outline-link.png#asset:1982
  2. At the top of the left sidebar select Topics, Charts, or Tables to select the type of item you want.
  3. In the left sidebar, click on the item you want to add to your outline and drag it to the new location.
  4. The change will save automatically:

moving-std-topic-table-chart.gif#asset:1


Note: LivePlan offers several financial statements with monthly detail. When you add any of these to your plan outline, that chapter will automatically change to landscape (horizontal) orientation. To prevent this change from affecting text sections of your plan, you may want to use the monthly-detail tables in the Appendix chapter at the end of your plan.

Adding custom chapters, sections and topics #

In addition to the standard chapters, sections, and items in LivePlan, the software also lets you create custom chapters, sections, and text items (also known as Topics) to place anywhere in the plan outline.

To add a custom chapter, section, or topic: #

  1. In the Plan tab, click Outline:
    plan-tab-outline-link.png#asset:1982
  2. At the top of the left sidebar, select Custom:
    custom-content-selection.png#asset:1937
  3. In the left sidebar, click on the item you want to add to your outline and drag it to the new location.
  4. Type in the title of the new item:
    add-custom-chapter-section-topic.gif#ass
  5. The change will save automatically.

 

Removing chapters, sections, or items #

If there are chapters, sections, or items in the outline that you don’t want included in your plan, it is very easy to remove them. Removed chapter or section headings will be permanently deleted from your outline. (If you want to re-instate these later, you can simply add a custom chapter or section.)

When you remove an item, it will no longer appear as part of your plan’s printed output, but any information you have already entered in the item will be saved. Other users on your account will be able to view the contents of any removed item, and you can restore it back into your plan at any time.

To remove a standard chapter or section: #

  1. In the Plan tab, click Outline:  
    plan-tab-outline-link.png#asset:1982
  2. Click on the chapter or section you want to remove.  
  3. Drag the chapter, section, or item to the left sidebar. Drop it there. A warning message will appear, as shown below:

outline-remove-chapter-section.gif#asset

Once you have deleted a chapter or section, you will see that all items within it have been saved to the left sidebar, in alphabetical order, as Available Content:

outline-removed-items-in-ac.png#asset:19


To remove a standard item: #

  1. In the Plan tab, click Outline:
      plan-tab-outline-link.png#asset:1982
  2. Click on the item you want to remove.
  3. Drag the item to the left sidebar. Drop it there:
    outline-remove-item.gif#asset:1940
  4. The change will be saved automatically, and the item will be retained in the sidebar.


To remove a custom chapter, section, or item: #

If you create a custom chapter, section, or item for your plan and decide to remove it later, any text you have entered in the item will be saved. Chapter and section headings will be deleted, but your item and its data will be placed in the Additional Content list so you can access it later if needed. 

  1. In the Plan tab, click Outline:
       plan-tab-outline-link.png#asset:1982
  2. Click on the custom chapter, section, or item you want to remove.  
  3. Drag the custom chapter, section, or item to the left sidebar. Drop it there. If you are deleting a chapter or section, a warning message will appear:

    edit-outline-remove-custom.gif#asset:210

  4. Click Confirm to save the change. Although the chapter or section heading will be deleted, any custom items you've created within it will automatically be saved in the Available Content list.


Deleting a custom topic #

If you've created a custom topic and then removed it from your plan outline, that topic and any text you've entered into it will be retained in the Available Content sidebar, in the Topics section. If you'd like to delete this topic and its text from your Available Content, follow these steps:

  1. Mouse over the custom topic in the sidebar. A small trash can icon will appear:
    delete-custom-topic.png#asset:2162
  2. Click that icon. An overlay will appear to warn you that the topic and text will be deleted permanently. Click Confirm to process the deletion:
    delete-custom-topic2.png#asset:2163

Restoring a previously-deleted chapter or section #

When you remove a chapter or section from your plan outline, all topics within that chapter or section, and all the text you've entered into them, are retained. If you've removed a chapter or section and decide later that you'd like to include it in your plan after all, this video shows you how to restore it.