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How to Format an MLA Paper in Word 2010 & 2013 & 2016

How to Format an MLA Paper in Word 2010 & 2013


How to format a paper with MLA style guidelines


  • Margins should be 1” on all sides
  • Font: Times New Roman 12 Pt
  • Line Spacing: Double
  • Paragraph Format: No space before or after, first line indent of 0.5” for body paragraphs, 1” left indent for long quotes.
  • Header with last name and page number
  • Heading, with your name, instructor name, course title, and date
  • Works Cited page, with works alphabetized, hanging indent on paragraphs

Page margins

On the Page Layout tab, in the Page Setup group, click Margins.

Page Setup menu options


In the drop down list that appears, click Normal.

Normal margins

Your entire document will now have 1” margins.

Font Type and Size

On the Home tab, Click the Font Type box. This will select the name of the current font.

font menu options

Start typing "Times." By the time you have typed the first word, you will see the rest of the font name appear as the font type.

Font type

 Press the tab button to accept the font and move to the Font Size box. Type 12 and press the Enter key.

Times New Roman font

Your font is now set to Times New Roman, 12 pt.

Drop-down menu to change size of font

Size 12 font

Line Spacing

Line spacing should be double, with no extra space before or after paragraphs

On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click the bottom right corner to open the page dialog box.

Paragraph menu options

Make sure your settings match those shown on the right to type the heading and header. 

Paragraph tab

Header: Last Name and Page Number

From the Insert tab, click Page Number. A drop-down menu will appear.

Select Top of Page. A drop-down menu will appear.

Insert page numbers

Select Plain Number 3.

The menu will close, you will then see your insertion point before the page number 1.

Page number in upper-right corner

Type in your Last Name, followed by 1 space.

 Last name in upper-right corner

Select the text and on the Home tab, format the font to Times New Roman 12 pt.

Formatting the header

To close the header, you can click the close button, or simply double click in the body of the document.

Close Header and Footer bar

NOTE: when you are in the body of the paper, the header will look gray. When you are in the header, the body of the paper will appear gray. This is so you will know which is “active.” When you print the paper, both the header and the body will appear equally black.


Your heading goes at the top left of the first page. It is double spaced and has no indent. It should look like the image below:

Heading in MLA

 After typing the heading, press the Enter key one time, then type the title of the paper.

Center Your Title

Either before or after typing the title, make sure you insertion point is on the same line as the title. 

On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click the Center Alignment button to center the title.

Alignment options

Paragraph Alignment

Body paragraphs, must be left aligned.

Paragraph Format: Body Paragraphs

On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click the bottom right corner to open the Paragraph dialog box.

For Body paragraphs, under Special, click the drop down list arrow, and select First Line, by 0.5”. 

Customize the indentationIndentation to the left one inch

Format Quotes

For shorter quotations, you can put them in quotation marks, and  include them directly in the text.

For Long Quotations (more than 4 lines) , indent the quote one inch from the left margin and do not use quotation marks.

On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click the bottom right corner to open the Paragraph dialog box.

Under Indentations set the Left indent to 1” 

Customize indentations

Works Cited Page

Works Cited is centered at the top of the page. It is not bold.

Citation Format: Hanging Indent

The citation paragraphs must have a hanging indent of 0.5 inch.

Select the paragraphs of your works you have cited.

Paragraph group of menu options

On the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click the bottom right corner to open the Paragraph dialog box.

Under Special, click the drop down list arrow, and select Hanging, by 0.5”.

Paragraph tab menu options

Click OK to apply the format and close the dialog box.

** NOTE: While you have your paragraphs selected, you need to alphabetize the list of works cited, shown below.

Alphabetize the List of Works Cited

With the paragraphs selected, on the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click the Sort button.

The Sort Text dialog box will appear, as seen below. 

You want to sort by paragraphstextascending (A to Z).

Click OK, the dialog box will close and your paragraphs will be in alphabetical order.

 Sort by A to Z


The Sort Text dialog box will appear, as seen below:

 Sort Text dialog box

Your works cited page should look like this:

Works Cited sample


Key Words: MLA format, MLA, English paper

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