MLA style refers to specific formatting guidelines for academic papers. It requires 1-inch margins, double spacing, 12-point font, a title block, in-line citations and a works cited list. Microsoft Word has features that automate MLA formatting, making the process simple.
- Set up the page
Go to the Page Layout tab, and change the font to 12-point Arial or Times New Roman. Use 1-inch margins on all sides. Select portrait orientation and double line spacing, with no extra spaces between paragraphs. Indent new paragraphs half an inch from the left side.
- Format page numbers
Select the Insert tab, click on Page Number, and then select Top of Page. Choose Plain Number 3. Type in your last name before the number. Click on the red X to close the header and footer.
- Enter the title block
On the first page of your document enter the title block in the upper right hand corner as follows: Your first and last name Your professor's title and last name The course number and section The date the paper is due
- Write citations and the works cited page
Click the References tab. From the style drop down box, choose MLA Seventh Edition. Click Manage Sources, which brings up the Source Manager box. Click New, and enter in the details of your first source, including type of source, author, title, year, city, publisher and medium. Repeat this step for each of your sources. Your works cited page automatically generates and is placed on the last page of your document.
- Insert citations
As you type your paper, go back to the References tab any time you need to insert a citation. Type in your quote or paraphrase, then click Insert Citation. This brings up a list of the sources you have entered so you can choose the appropriate reference for that information. Word inserts the citation for you in correct MLA format.