13 Synonyms for “Think Outside the Box”

You’re trying to describe a person who thinks outside the box, right? Well, there are some other phrases you can use for thinking outside the box that might help.

This article will look at some alternative phrases you can use to present someone as a creative thinker.

Think Outside the Box Synonyms

  • See the larger picture
  • Think bigger
  • Be creative
  • Think laterally
  • Apply yourself
  • Think for yourself
  • Figure it out
  • Don’t take things at surface value
  • Explore your ideas
  • Break new ground
  • Go against conventions
  • Try it from another angle
  • What else do you think?


  • “Think outside the box” is great in many formal and informal situations to encourage creative thinking.
  • You could try “see the larger picture” in formal contexts as a good synonym.
  • “Think bigger” is a great informal alternative that works in many contexts.

Keep reading to learn more about the contexts you can use these synonyms in. Most of it will relate to resumes, but we’ve also explored how to use them more conversationally.

Also, you can skip to the last section to find out whether “think outside the box” is correct. If you’ve come to learn about that, then you can skip ahead straight away.

See The Larger Picture (Formal)

“See the larger picture” is a great formal metaphor demonstrating another way to say “think outside the box.” It’s a professional synonym that shows someone needs to spend more time thinking creatively.

The phrase mainly works on a resume. It lets potential employers know that you’re a keen thinker and able to push yourself to a more creative solution with most tasks. This will set you apart from most standard candidates.

You can also use “see the larger picture” when addressing employees. It is a form of encouragement, showing that they need to think more openly to find a solution.

“See the larger picture” is a great formal alternative, allowing you to use it instead of “think outside the box.” Both are effective formally, so you can switch between them when you want to keep your language engaging.

Here is a resume example to help you understand it:

I see the larger picture before completing my projects. That way, I deliver them to the best of my ability.

And here is a conversational example:

It helps to see the larger picture. So, you need to work on that. It’s time that you gave us more.

Think Bigger (Informal)

“Think bigger” is a great informal synonym for “think outside the box.” It’s much more conversational, allowing you to use it in less strict contexts.

The casual tone works well when demonstrating that you think creatively to friends. It shows you like to solve problems and come up with interesting solutions.

You could also use it to encourage colleagues to be more open-minded or creative. It shows that they aren’t seeing the “bigger” idea behind their projects or tasks.

“Think bigger” doesn’t work very well formally, though. You should stick with “think outside the box” in formal contexts (like your resume) if you want to be professional.

Here are a few examples that should give you more information:

I like to think bigger before I do anything that I might regret. I always cover different outcomes first.

You need to think bigger, Matt. I’ve got a few ideas, and I’d love to run them by you.

Is It Correct to Say “Think Outside the Box”?

“Think outside the box” is correct and useful in many situations. It’s good for both formal and informal situations.

Also, you can use it for yourself or someone else. It’s a good way to describe your creative thinking abilities. Or, you can use it to encourage someone to think differently than they’re used to.

Here is another variation you can use:

  • Think out of the box

You might find a hyphen between the words “think outside the box,” but only in rare circumstances. Generally, you would only hyphenate the phrase when it’s acting as a compound adjective.

For instance:

  • I’m a think-outside-the-box guy.

Here, all the words in the phrase modify “guy.” Therefore, a hyphen is necessary between each word.

Don’t forget to bookmark this page if you want to come back to our synonyms. That way, you’ll always have something different to say instead of “think outside the box.”