Formatting in MLA Style

Formatting in MLA style is the most widely used style of formatting for writing papers and citing sources in the liberal arts and humanities. This all-inclusive guideline will make you familiar with the composition of an MLA paper and its general formatting style. Formatting in MLA style can be very useful when most of the sources in the manuscript are from published journals and other regularly published works.

The basic rules provided in the ‘Formatting in MLA Style’ article will guide you for appropriately formatting various research papers and academic publications. Initially, it might seem a bit difficult in understanding the technique of formatting in MLA style. However, with gradual use, you will become more familiar with this style and its techniques. Some basic guidelines of formatting in MLA style are discussed below.

Rules for Formatting in MLA Style

General Rules

  • MLA style of formatting suggests using such type of fonts, in which the regular and italics type styles should contrast adequately so that they are easily identifiable from each other.
  • Use a clear and readable font, namely Times New Roman, Arial, etc. Font size should be 12 point.
  • The whole document should be double-spaced.
  • Use only one space after periods or other punctuation marks.
  • Margins of the document should be set to one inch on all sides.
  • First line of paragraphs should be indented one and a half-inch from the left margin. MLA suggests using the Tab key rather than using the Space Bar five times.
  • Create a header one and a half inch from the top of the page and flush with the right margin. This header should include the page numbers provided in the upper right-hand corner. In some cases, page number on the first page is omitted.
  • Endnotes should be included on a separate page before the Works Cited page. This section should be titled as ‘Notes’ and be centre aligned.

First Page Formatting

  • Title page for the document should be included if only particularly requested.
  • In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, provide your full name, your instructor’s full name, the course, and the date.
  • Ensure that the whole document is double-spaced.
  • The title should be centred. It should not be underlined, italicised, or placed in quotation marks. The title should be written in the Title Case using standard capitalisation and not in all capital letters.
  • Double space should be used between the title and the first line of the text.
  • Create a header in the upper right-hand corner. This header should include your last name, followed by a space and the page number.
  • All pages should be numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.). In some cases, the last name and page number on the first page is avoided.

Headings

  • 1st level heading should be in bold and left aligned.
  • 2nd level heading should be in italics and left aligned.
  • 3rd level heading should be in bold and centre aligned.
  • 4th level heading should be in italics and centre aligned.
  • 5th level heading should be underlined and flushed left.

The basic guidelines offered in this article will provide you with an outline for formatting in MLA style the research papers and other academic publications. Every characteristic of MLA style guide has much more thorough specifications, which will be discussed elaborately in our subsequent posts.