Difference Between Appendix and Attachment

Main Difference – Appendix vs Attachment

Appendix and Attachment are two terms that refer to the supplementary material that is attached to the end of a document. Terms like addendum, exhibit, and annex also refer to supplementary materials that are attached to the main document. While the two terms, appendix, and attachment, are often used interchangeably, particularly in a business setting, there is a slight difference between appendix and attachment. The main difference between appendix and attachment is that appendix is a specific term that refers to a section that provides extra information that are useful to the readers whereas attachment is a general term that refers to something that is attached to the main document. The meaning of attachment can differ in various contexts.

What is an Appendix

An appendix contains information that further explains the facts mentioned in the main document. The term appendix comes to English from the Latin, appendere meaning to ‘hang upon’. The plural of appendix is appendices.

It provides related but supplementary material to the main document. For example, an appendix can contain a geographical map that helps the reader understand the locations discussed in the main document. Such information is provided in the appendix because they are not central to the text and thus does not fit into the main text.  Adding this information to the main document can make the document more complex, and sometimes uninteresting. An appendix can be thus called a section with detailed information not everyone will want to read.  

An appendix can include various types of information. It can include tables, charts, graphs of results, statistics, questionnaires, lengthy derivations of equations, transcripts of interviews, maps, pictures, etc. However, it should be lettered in alphabetical order. (Appendix A, Appendix B, Appendix B1, etc.) It is also important to refer to these appendices in the main document.

Difference Between Appendix and Attachment

What is an Attachment

Attachment refers to items or documents that are appended to the main document. An attachment is a separate document with unique information that is attached to another document.  Attachment is not considered to be a part of the main document since it is a stand-alone document by itself.

The term attachment, however, can take different meanings in different contexts. When referring to emails, an attachment is a file sent with the mail. In this case, an attachment can be a picture, music, presentation, a document, or any other file that requires another program to open it.

Main Difference - Appendix vs Attachment

Difference Between Appendix and Attachment


Appendix refers to a section of subsidiary matter at the end of a book or document.

Attachment refers to items or documents that are appended to the main document.


Appendix is a specific term that refers to a document that provides extra information that are useful to the readers.

The meaning of attachment can differ according to different situations.


Appendix may not be a stand-alone document.

Attachment is a stand-alone document by itself.

Difference Between Appendix and Attachment - infographic

Image Courtesy:

 By Augustus John Cuthbert Hare (Epitaphs for Country Churchyards) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 By William Hoiles from Basking Ridge, NJ, USA (Old books  Uploaded by guillom) [], via Wikimedia Commons

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