Difference Between Executive Summary and Introduction

Main Difference – Executive Summary vs Introduction

An executive summary is a brief, concise summary of a content of a long report or document. An introduction is one of the essential elements of a text that is found at the beginning of a text. The main difference between executive summary and introduction is their purpose. An executive summary provides a condensed version of the main text, enabling the readers to understand the full content of the main text by reading the summary. An introduction explains what the text is about and why it is written. 

1. What is an Executive Summary
     – Definition, Purpose, Features, Content

2. What is an Introduction
     – Definition, Purpose, Features, Content

3. What is the difference between Executive Summary and IntroductionDifference Between Executive Summary and Introduction - Comparison Summary

What is an Executive Summary

An executive summary is a condensed form of a content of a long report. Executive summaries are mainly used in the business world and are not very different from other types of summaries. They include the problem/proposal of the document, background information, brief analysis and the conclusions. A person who doesn’t have time to read the main document will be able to read and understand the content of it by reading the executive summary. Although executive summary is shorter than the main document, it can be as long as 10 pages depending on the length of the main document. 

Given below are some major characteristics of an executive summary.

  • Executive summaries should be no more than 10% of the main document.
  • They should only include information that is already in the main document.
  • They can be read separately from the main document.
  • They should be written in brief, concise paragraphs.
  • They should be written in a language that is appropriate for the target audience.
  • They should include recommendations, justification, and conclusions.

Difference Between Executive Summary and Introduction

What is an Introduction

The introduction is found at the beginning of books, documents, reports, essays or other texts. It is a very common and one of the essential elements of a text. This is the part that explains what the document is going to be about. In simple words, it introduces the text to the readers. An introduction may contain some background information about the document, thesis statement, aims or purpose, and an outline of the central issues. Some introductions may also define terms and technical concepts and outline the structure of the paper.

The introduction may also vary according to the type of document you are preparing. For example, the introduction in a book and the introduction in an essay are very different from each other.

Difference Between Executive Summary and Introduction


Executive Summary: An executive summary provides a condensed version of the main document. 

Introduction: An introduction introduces the document and explains what the document is about.


Executive Summary: One can understand the gist of a text by reading the executive summary.

Introduction: One cannot understand the content of a text by merely reading the introduction.


Executive Summary: Executive summaries contain all important elements of the main text including recommendations and conclusions.

Introduction: Introductions may contain a background information, thesis statement, aims, outline of central points, definition of terms and structure of the text.

Separate Document

Executive Summary: Executive summaries can be read as separate documents.

Introduction: Introductions cannot be read as separate documents.

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About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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