Fact Sheet

A fact sheet is a one page document that provides basic information and important facts on a specific topic or issue. The fact sheet is simple and easy to understand. If the subject is complex, and/or there is a lot of information or data, consider creating multiple fact sheets that are self-contained. Fact sheets are particularly useful when disseminating information to an audience with very little time and outside of the discipline.

General Rules

  • Focus on a single topic; limit fact sheet to a particular and specific area of concern.
  • Contain to one page (can be front and back).
  • Keep font simple and between size 10-14.
  • The fact sheet must be self-contained – do not refer to previous documents or assume readers have preexisting knowledge.
  • Make sure to include the most up-to-date information; revise fact sheets if they are used from year to year.

Recommendations for Format

Format will vary, but typically follows the structure of journalism's inverted pyramid; begin with the most important information.

  • In the first paragraph, identify the issue, why it matters, and what action is needed.
  • Use several headers to separate points/issues labeling the main message(s).
  • Keep text brief and leave plenty of white space.
  • Do not include details of study methods or statistical significance.
  • Make comparisons when possible and measure against other things the audience will be more familiar with (similar problems or topics).
  • Provide clear explanations for statistics and facts that do not speak for themselves.
  • Readers are interested in the facts, not where they came from; sources/citations are a footnote or endnote.
  • Provide references for more information and include links in electronic fact sheets.


  • Write in active voice, present tense, and in lay terms.
  • Avoid the use of percentages within the text.
  • Avoid being repetitive.

Graphic Design and Layout

  • Employ bulleted lists but follow guidelines: Each bullet expresses complete thought, more than one or two words per bullet, and groupings of 5-7 bullets is ideal.
  • Use bolding, text boxes, and graphics to emphasize important points.
  • Use tables sparingly and consider if information could be presented as a graph.
  • Use graphs and charts that provide information at a glance and do not require further explanation in the narrative.