MLA Format is commonly required of middle school, high school and college students. It is a very professional way to format a paper, and, even if not required, is a nice, scholarly touch. MLA Format can easily be used in many word processing systems, but this article covers what specific labels and tabs can be used in Microsoft Works (most versions are the same as far as MLA formatting is concerned).
Open a new blank document.
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Set the margins to one inch.
- If you are in middle school, you are probably somewhat new to MLA format, but you should be able to figure this out by clicking on such tabs as “view,” “format,” “layout,” or simply the ruler at the top of the document, if you have that feature enabled.
Set the font to Times New Roman and set the size to 12-point.
- On older versions of Microsoft Word, you may not have to change the font or size, as Times New Roman 12-point is often the default for 2003 or older.
- On newer versions, the defaults are different. In 2005, the default size is 11. On 2007, the default is Calibri 11. Always check the settings.
Select the “format” tab. On 2007, click the expand button under paragraph. On 2005 or older, click on paragraph. The dialogue boxes that result from these actions are similar. Set the spacing to “double.” Most teachers prefer double spacing no matter what format you write in, because it allows them to make corrections or comments.
Add a header to the document.
- The header should be justified to the far right. Type your last name and then add page numbers to the header. You may now escape from your header.
- It is no longer necessary to put page numbers on the bottom, where they often interfere with text.
Make your heading. Your heading should consist of:
- Your full name (first and last, don’t use nicknames)
- Your teacher’s name
- Your subject and class, and possibly also grade, as needed (period 1, the name of the class with your class color if the teacher color codes their classes, etc.)
- The date.
- The date is most commonly written in the day, month, year format.
- A sample heading.
- Jane Doe
- Ms. Jones
- English, Blue
- 11 November 2011
The title of your paper should be at the top of the essay, centered in the middle, with the font set the same as the rest: Times New Roman, 12 point, that’s it. Do not bold, underline, italicize, highlight or otherwise make your title stand out.
When mentioning other works in your paper, adhere to the following:
- Novels, movies, television shows, plays or other major works should be italicized with the first letter capitalized.
- Poems, short stories, episodes of television shows, periodicals or other lesser works should be in “quotations” with the first letter capitalized.
When integrating a quote in your essay, follow three main steps:
- Introduce it. Say something like, “As the author admits. ” to literally introduce another person’s words into your writing.
- Insert and document it. It should be in quotation marks, but DO NOT put a period inside the quotation marks to end it. Just put the quotations.
- Then document it. The author’s last name and page number should be in parentheses, without punctuation between the two.
- Finally, analyze it. Why is it important to your point? How does it prove what you want to say? What information can you draw from it?
If you have written papers in MLA format before, click on the “print preview” button and look at the view it gives you here. If it is similar in general appearance to papers you’ve written before, it’s probably written correctly