This article will show you how to format a document in MLA format using Microsoft Word 2016. Now the first thing you need to know is that actually the current MLA format, MLA8, does not have specific guidelines for how to format your paper. That’s basically up to your instructor. Many professors are going to prefer the settings from MLA 7, so that all the students can have kind of a standardized look. So let’s go over that. Um, the first thing I want to do is I want to check the uh margins of my paper.
Your margins should be set to one inch all the way around. That’s the default setting in Microsoft Word, so let’s take a look at that. Right here we can look at the margins under Page Layout, and it says Normal, 1 inch all the way around. So we’re good for that. The next thing I want to do, is I’ve got some text here, and I notice that it’s not in Times New Roman 12 point. So I’m going to highlight all of that text, and we’re going to go back to the Home ribbon to change the font here. So we just scroll down to Times New Roman, or we could start typing that, that’s easier.
Times New Roman, and 12 point, which is what most instructors prefer. Um, then we notice that this is single spaced; we want to make it double spaced. There’s a few different ways you can do that. Let’s go into the Paragraph settings here. And down here where it says Line spacing, we’ll change that to double. And we’ll also see where it says Spacing Before and After Paragraphs?
We’re going to set that to zero. That keeps it from setting a little extra space between paragraphs, which you don’t really want. Okay. Now our text looks pretty good. We want to put our name and course information on this. And that’s got me center aligned.
Let’s go up here and left align this. So I’m going to type my name, my instructor’s name, I’m going to type the name of the course that I’m in–you may want to type your section number or something like that that your instructor prefers, and I’m going to type the date. Now MLA format for the 7th edition tells you to type it this way–you want to type the day, then the month, then the year. Smallest to biggest. And when you type it in this order, no comma is used.
Let’s go ahead and do the header. So I’ve double clicked on the top of my document to open up the header. Then I can tab twice to bring it over to the right of the page. I want to add a page number, so I can go over here right on this ribbon to do a page number. If you lose it, you can get to it from the Header and Footer Tools or from Insert.
I like to use Current Position because it’s less likely to mess up anything else I’ve already typed. Now I’ve moved my cursor to go in front of the time–in front of the page number–and I’ll type my name with a space. If you look here, you might notice that this Whitson looks different than this Whitson. They’re in different fonts. Even though we changed everything to Times New Roman, it doesn’t affect the headers, so you have to highlight that again and come back and change it to Times New Roman 12 point again.
And then you just double click in the middle of your document to um open that up. So that looks really great. Let’s take a look at what we need to do for a works cited page. So what I’ve got here is I’ve got a works cited and a couple sources. So the first thing I want to do is I want to get that works cited on a separate page. Now I could hit enter a lot of times, but that could create some problems, so let’s do it a different way.
We’re going to insert a page break, so we’ll go to the Insert ribbon, and just click Page break here. And that’s really good because what happens is if you do it this way instead of hitting enter a lot of times, you can come up here and you can add however many things you want to add to the text. When you scroll down to the works cited page, it’s still right where it needs to be. It didn’t get moved down by adding stuff. We’ll also want to get this back to center aligned, so I’ll just go back to the Home ribbon to do that. Now with these two sources, I want a hanging indent. And a lot of students try to get it to work by typing Tab here.
Actually, Word hates you if you try to do that. And if you start hitting Enter and Spaces and stuff, it’s just a big pain. It’s actually really easy to do a hanging indent once you know how. I’m going to highlight what I want. And I come up here to the ruler.
If I hover on this bottom triangle, it says Hanging Indent. That’s what I want. And I drag that right over to one half inch. Very pretty! I can also um alphabetize my sources by coming up here to where it says A to Z, all of these settings are correct, and hit Okay. And now these are alphabetized.
You do have to worry if your alphabetizing, make sure that you haven’t hit enter in the middle of any of your sources and that you don’t have quotation marks, cause those’ll mess up the alphabetizing. If you have those situations, you may just want to do it by eye. Okay? So that shows you how to set up your paper in MLA format based on the 7th edition. Thank you very much!