How do I set up MLA formatting in Word?
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Instructions for formatting an MLA paper in Word:
- To begin, open a new document in Word and make sure the Home tab is selected. In the Font Group, select Times New Roman, size 12 pt.
- Next, while in the Home tab, look for the Paragraph group, and click on the bottom right hand arrow.
- In the Spacing section, change the Line Spacing to Double and be sure to set the before and after spacing to 0pt. Close the window.
- On the Layout tab, click Margins and select Normal (1" on all sides).
- Click on the Insert tab. In the Header & Footer group, click on Page Number. Choose Top of Page and then Plain Number 3.
- Click before the page number. Type your last name and hit the space bar once. Highlight the text, click the Home tab, and change font to Times New Roman, size 12. Then double click below dotted line to begin typing your paper.
- Type the following, each on a separate line: Your name, instructor's name, the course name/number, and the date (Day Month Year).
- Hit Enter key to move down to a new line. To center your title, click the Center icon in the Paragraph section and type the title of your paper.
- To begin your paper, hit Enter key to move down to a new line. Click the Left icon in the Paragraph section. Hit Tab key to indent and start typing. *Remember to hit the Tab key each time you begin a new paragraph.
See the MLA Citation Guide for more information on MLA format.
- MLA Paper Format (free chapter of MLA Handbook)
- MLA Margins & Text Formatting (free chapter of MLA Handbook)
- MLA Title Format (free chapter of MLA Handbook)
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- Formatting Your Word Document
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MLA Formatting for Word 2013/2016
Use the following directions or download these PDF instructions to format your Microsoft Word document in MLA format ( Using Online Word? ) . Also, check out our directions for Formatting Your Works Cited Page . Also, check out our MLA 9th ed. sample paper. You can also review Chapter 1 Introduction to Formatting Your Research Project in the online MLA Handbook .
MLA Formatting for Word - Online Version
- Note that once you finish your header and start typing in your Word document, your header will disappear from your screen . You can see your header by clicking on the "Header" tab in your Word document.
- Hit "Enter" on your keyboard to move down to a new line. Type in the title of your paper. To center your title, click the alignment icon and change your alignment to "Align Center."
Formatting a Works Cited in Word 2013/2016
Using the Online Version of Word?
Use the following directions to format your Works Cited document in MLA format. Also, check out our MLA 9th ed. sample paper. You can also review section 1.6: Placement of the List of Works Cited in the online MLA Handbook .
- Click the "Home" tab, then click the "Justify Center" icon. This will center your title.
- Type in your title, Works Cited. Your title should be in size 12 Times New Roman font.
- Hit "Enter" on your keyboard to start a new line. Then, hit the "Justify Left" icon to move the cursor back to the left.
- Type in your full MLA Citations for your sources. Remember, your Works Cited page should still be double-spaced!
- All Works Cited entries that are longer than a single line must include a Hanging Indent for second (and so forth) line(s).
- Choose the line you wish to indent. Move your cursor to the line you wish to indent.
- Hit CTRL T (or CMD T on a Mac) on your keyboard.
- Repeat (if necessary) for your third line.
Formatting a Works Cited in Word Online
- After completing your paper, add a new page to your document for your Works Cited. Hit "Enter" on your keyboard until you begin a new page.
- Click the "Home" tab, then click the "Justify Center" icon. This will center your title.
- Hit "Enter" on your keyboard to start a new line. Then, go to the "Home" tab and hit "Justify Left" to move the cursor back to the left.
- Type in your full MLA Citations for your sources. Remember, your Works Cited should still be double-spaced!
- All Works Cited entries that are longer than a single line must include a Hanging Indent for second (and so forth) line(s). Move your cursor to the end of the first line.
- Using your mouse, move the cursor to the beginning of the second line of your citation.
- Hit "Tab" on your keyboard. This should indent only the second line of your citation.
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Microsoft 365 Life Hacks > Writing > Writing an Essay in MLA Format
Writing an Essay in MLA Format
Knowing how to write a Modern Language Association—or MLA—essay is an essential part of making it through school these days. Be warned, however, that daunting little tasks await around every corner—whether it’s knowing where to set your margins, how to edit a header, the right way to format a heading, and beyond!
While we can’t write your paper for you, this guide can certainly help you understand the proper MLA format for your essay. Keep reading to learn about writing an MLA-format paper with some tips for making sure it’s done right the first time.
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What is an MLA-format essay? It’s not uncommon for associations and organizations to follow a standard format and writing style. The Associated Press (AP) and University of Chicago styles are most common in professional settings. News outlets typically prefer the AP style, while businesses and creative agencies will choose the Chicago style. Academia, on the other hand, traditionally follows APA and MLA styles. APA (not the same as AP style) comes from the American Psychological Association and is used in scholarly articles. An MLA-format essay fits the established style for citing references and formatting essays established by the Modern Language Association.
Required elements of an MLA-format paper. MLA is the preferred style when writing an essay in high school and most college settings. As with other writing styles, there are specific characteristics and items an MLA-format paper needs to include to fit the bill of the style. Every MLA-format essay must include the following:
- One-inch margins
- Double-spaced text
- Easy-to-read font (typically Times New Roman) in size 12
- New paragraphs indented 0.5 inches
- Italicized media titles (books, magazines, etc.), no underlining
- Page numbers in the header 0.5 inches from the top of the page
- Oxford comma
- Center-justified title
- Headings and subheadings
- Clearly labeled and titled tables and figures
- Parenthetical citations
In addition to the listed elements above, every MLA essay must include a Works Cited. MLA format doesn’t require a title page, but it also doesn’t deem them unnecessary, so it’s up to your professor whether you’ll need one or not. One way to take the edge off the process of writing this type of essay is to use a free template or a handy built-in tool that helps you build bibliographies and more.
Tips for meeting MLA formatting guidelines. It’s said that the devil is in the details, and it’s never truer than when it comes to MLA-format essays. The following tips are areas to pay attention to when writing your essay:
- Set your margins. Your software might be set to one-inch margins, double-spaced text, and 0.5-inch indentations by default—but you can save yourself the trouble (and a headache) later in the writing process by adjusting them before you get started. Of course, one of the best parts about using a computer to write your essay is that you can always make adjustments later.
- Straighten out your headings . One area students might miss with MLA formatting is with the title, headings, and subheadings. It’s normal to want to use bold or italicized typeface on your titles and headings to make them stand out from the rest of the text. MLA style specifically calls for them to match the rest of the text without any alterations aside from title case. A centered or left-justified heading will stand out enough from the rest of your text that it needn’t any additional adjustments.
- Understand subheadings. While primary headings aren’t to receive any special formatting, subheadings will be changed to set them apart from their headings. For example, if your heading is about mammals, you might have subheadings about land and water mammals. You can further organize your water mammals subheading into types of whales and dolphins. Using subheadings helps to organize your writing and makes it easier to consume as a reader.
- Know how to cite your work. The information you’re presenting in your essay didn’t mysteriously appear from out of the ether. You need to give credit where it’s due when writing an MLA-format paper, so you’re giving credit to the original author of your sources. You can also improve your writing credibility and avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is one of the biggest academic offenses a student can commit and could lead to expulsion in some cases. Properly citing your work with parenthetical citations and quoting authors when necessary will help to keep you covered.
When it comes down to it, practice makes perfect. The more essays you write, the better you’ll become at writing and meeting the expectations of MLA style. Before you know it, MLA format will be second nature, and everything will fall into place.
Still having a hard time visualizing what an MLA essay looks like? Check out a sample paper so you can see first-hand how they’re formatted!
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