How to MLA Format on Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

MLA format is a style of writing and citing sources commonly used in the humanities. To use MLA format on Word, you’ll need to set the correct font and margins, create a header with your last name and page number, and use proper in-text citations and a Works Cited page. Let’s get started!

Step by Step Tutorial: MLA Format on Word

Before jumping into the steps, it’s important to know that following these instructions will help you set up your document according to the MLA guidelines. This includes setting up page layout, font, spacing, header, and citations.

Step 1: Set the Font and Size

Select Times New Roman and a 12-point font size for your document.

The MLA format requires the use of a legible font. Times New Roman, in 12-point size, is the most commonly accepted.

Step 2: Set the Margins

Set one-inch margins on all sides of your document.

In the "Layout" or "Page Layout" section of Word, you can adjust the margins to meet MLA standards. This ensures your document looks professional and is easy to read.

Step 3: Set the Header

Create a header that includes your last name and page number, flush with the right margin.

Go to the "Insert" tab, click on "Header," and select a simple format. Then type your last name followed by a space, and insert the page number using the "Page Number" feature.

Step 4: Double Space the Text

Ensure your entire document is double-spaced.

In the "Home" tab, click on the "Line and Paragraph Spacing" icon and select "2.0." This guarantees that your document adheres to MLA spacing guidelines.

Step 5: Indent the First Line of Paragraphs

Indent the first line of each paragraph by half an inch.

You can set the first line indent by using the ruler on the top of the document or by pressing the "Tab" key once before you start typing a paragraph.

Step 6: Add In-Text Citations

Include in-text citations for any quotes, summaries, or paraphrases within your text.

For MLA in-text citations, include the author’s last name and the page number without a comma between them. You can add this detail in parentheses at the end of the quoted or paraphrased section.

Step 7: Create a Works Cited Page

Start a new page at the end of your document for the Works Cited list.

This page should list all the sources you’ve cited in your paper. Make sure to use the correct MLA format for each type of source.

After completing these steps, your document will be properly formatted according to MLA style. You’ll have a professional-looking paper that follows the specific guidelines required for humanities essays and research papers.

Tips for MLA Format on Word

  • Always check the latest MLA guidelines, as they can change over time.
  • Use the "Styles" feature in Word to quickly format headings and subheadings.
  • Set up your document before you start writing to save time on formatting later.
  • Keep a copy of the MLA Handbook or an online guide handy for reference.
  • Proofread your Works Cited page carefully to ensure all entries are correctly formatted.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the correct way to format a title in MLA?

The title should be centered and not bolded, italicized, or underlined.

Can I use bullet points in MLA format?

Bullet points are not typically used in MLA format. It’s best to write in paragraph form.

How do I cite a source with no author in MLA format?

Use the title of the work in place of the author’s name in the in-text citation.

Do I need a title page for MLA format?

MLA generally does not require a separate title page. Your name, instructor’s name, course, and date should be included on the first page.

How do I make a hanging indent for my Works Cited page on Word?

You can create a hanging indent by going to the "Paragraph" settings and selecting "Hanging" under the "Special" dropdown in the "Indentation" section.


  1. Set the Font and Size to Times New Roman, 12-point.
  2. Set one-inch Margins on all sides.
  3. Create a Header with your last name and page number.
  4. Double Space the text.
  5. Indent the first line of each paragraph by half an inch.
  6. Add In-Text Citations when referencing sources.
  7. Create a Works Cited Page at the end.


Knowing how to MLA format on Word is a critical skill for anyone in the humanities. It’s not just about making your paper look good; it’s about ensuring that your ideas and sources are presented clearly and consistently. By following the above steps, you can format your Word document to meet MLA standards. Remember to always refer back to the MLA Handbook or trusted online sources for specific citation rules and examples. Happy writing, and may your essays always be perfectly formatted!

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