Difference Between Appendix and Attachment

Main Difference

The main difference between the terms appendix and attachment is that appendix refers to a section which provides extra information that is helpful to the readers whereas attachment is a general term which refers to something that is attached to the main document.

Appendix vs. Attachment

An appendix is a group of documents attached at the end of a document, a book, a report, a legal contract, etc. Attachment is a single document that is joined in an email. Appendices (plural of the appendix) are attached at the end of the main work to be printed or published. Attachments are sent with emails. The appendix is helpful for further reference of the main work but is not necessarily essential for the understanding of it. Attachment is not essential for further reference or the understanding of main work. The term appendix is used for a document that provides extra information useful to the readers. The term attachment is used for a separate document with unique and new information that is attached to the main document. The appendix is connected to the main document and can not be a stand-alone document. Attachment is a stand-alone document by itself. The term appendix originates from the Latin “appendere” meaning to ‘hang upon.’ The term attachment refers to the items or documents that are appended to the main document. The purpose of making another section for additional information with the name ‘appendix’ is that the information provided in appendix is not central to the text and usually does not fit into the main text. The purpose of adding another file to a document known as “attachment” is for extended reasons mainly to give additional and extra details that may or may not relate to the main document.

Comparison Chart

AppendixAttachment
A section in documents which provides extra information about it which is useful to the readersA general term which refers to something that is attached to the main document and may or may not related to it
Kind of Document
Not a stand-alone documentIs a stand-alone document
Used In
Written documentsEmails
Information
Helpful for further referenceNot helpful for further reference
Connection with the Main Document
MoreLess

What is the Appendix?

The term appendix originates from the Latin “appendere” meaning to ‘hang upon.’ The plural of the appendix is appendices. The appendix contains additional information about the facts and terms mentioned in the main document. It provides useful but supplementary material to the main document. The purpose of making another section for additional information with the name “appendix’ is that the information provided in appendix is not central to the text and usually does not fit into the main text. If the additional information of appendix is added into the main document, then it will make it more complex and uninteresting. Thus, the appendix can be called a section with detailed information not everyone will want to read. The appendix is also a subcategory of the addendum. The addendum is known as some documents added at the end of a book that may be helpful to explain unclear information and questions a potential reader might encounter in the main work. The appendix is a generally wide term that refers to a series of documents added at the end of a book, legal contract, document, etc. for further reference and to supplement the main work. However, the main text can be understood without reading the appendix, but more keen readers wish for further reference, so they can always look up the appendix. The appendix is typically lettered in alphabetical order. It is also important to refer to these appendices in the main document.

Information that the Appendix includes

  • Tables
  • Charts
  • Graphs
  • Questionnaires
  • Lengthy derivations of equations
  • Transcripts of interviews
  • Maps
  • Pictures
  • Definitions

What is Attachment?

The term attachment refers to the items or documents that are appended to the main document. Attachment is a separate document with unique and new information attached to the main document as another document. Attachment is particularly not considered to be a part of the main document as it is a stand-alone document by itself. The term attachment has different meanings in different contexts. In emails, an attachment is a file sent with the mail. It can be a picture, music, presentation, document, etc. An attachment is something attached at the end of a document or a file that is sent with an email. It is anything attached which may or may not have a connection to the main document. The purpose of attachment for a document is for extended reasons. It is usually not something that contributes to the understanding of the main work. It follows the introduction of some sort and has information that may be related to the main document but is independent of the document to which it is attached.

Key Differences

  1. An appendix is a group of documents attached at the end of a document, a book, a report, a legal contract, etc. whereas attachment is a single document that is joined in an email.
  2. The appendix is attached at the end of the main work to be printed or published on the other hand attachments are mostly attached with emails.
  3. The appendix is helpful for further reference of the main work but is not necessarily essential for its understanding while attachment is not helpful for further reference or the understanding of main work.
  4. The term appendix refers to a section of subsidiary matter at the end of a book or document on the flip side the term attachment refers to items or documents that are appended to the main document.
  5. The appendix cannot be a stand-alone document conversely attachment is a stand-alone document by itself.

Conclusion

The terms appendix and attachment are two interchangeable terms that are different in many ways. Both the terms refer to the supplementary material attached to the end of a document.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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