MLA Formatting Guidelines in General The font size for your document should be 12 point. All text should be justified to the left. The first line of each paragraph should be indented by 0.5 inch. All pages should be completely filled with text and should have a clear title page (containing author's name, date, abstract). An index may also be included on the back cover for easier navigation.
In addition to the general formatting requirements, specific requirements for student essays follow: Papers must be double-spaced upon submission. They may not include any blank lines or tabs. Only the body of the paper itself is allowed to be typed. Any reference materials that might be cited within the text need to be included in the bibliography section at the end of the essay.
Essays are usually between 6500 and 9700 words long (depending on the assignment instructions) and must be written in standard English without using any forms of jargon. They should be self-contained and not require citation from other sources. Students should avoid plagiarizing material from other people's work; instead, they should state their own views on the topic provided. Essays should also contain a personal touch by showing how the author feels about the subject matter.
Finally, students should try to be as accurate as possible when writing essays in order to improve their writing skills.
MLA Paper Formatting Fundamentals
Each paragraph's first line should be indented. This indentation should be 1/2 inch or five spaces, according to the MLA, however hitting [Tab] once should give you the right indentation. Align Left: Your essay's text should be aligned equally at the left margin but not at the right margin. Overly large type or color contrasts between sentences and words can be distracting.
Each paragraph should be separated from the next by a blank line. The goal here is to make reading the essay easier by not having to constantly skip over blank lines to find out where one paragraph ends and the next begins.
Use these guidelines to format your essays. You should follow them regardless of what kind of document you are writing (research paper, term paper, etc.).
Set your document's margins to 1 inch on both sides. In each paragraph, indent the first line by one-half inch from the left margin. MLA suggests that you use the "Tab" key instead of pressing the space bar five times.
Use your best judgment to determine how much space to leave before typing the first word on a new line.
Extra spaces between paragraphs are not permitted. Therefore, if your essay contains 20 lines of text, you should leave 10 spaces at the right margin for footnotes or end notes.
In APA, your paragraph indents should be half as deep as those of MLA. Also, instead of leaving a margin note, you should use a high-quality printer to print out your work so the margins are clear. Finally, in Chicago style, there is no need for any space between paragraphs because each sentence ends with a full stop (period).
To create a space between paragraphs in Chicago style, you can use several methods: press [Enter] twice after each paragraph or split one paragraph into two using a semi-colon; alternatively, you can also use an empty line. For more information on this topic, please refer to our guide on Chicago style manuscripts.
When include a long quotation in an MLA document, it must be formatted as a block quote. In MLA, format a block quotation as follows:
Your essay should be double spaced throughout, with no single spacing or excess spacing. Margins: The MLA recommends that your essay have one-inch margins on the top, bottom, left, and right. You should also include a header, which is included with the title page. The header contains the author's name, the title of the essay, its publication information (such as the name of the magazine or journal), and its physical location within the publication. Examples of essay headers include "To the Reader" and "The Author." Typeface: Ensure that the body of your essay is in a typeface that is easy to read for many reasons including but not limited to: visibility of words on the page, ease of spelling, and length of sentence. For example, if you were writing about Shakespeare, the word count per page for him is relatively low, so a font like Times New Roman or Garamond would be appropriate. However, if you were writing about Leonardo da Vinci, the word count per page would be high, so a font like Arial or Calibri would be better suited.
Illustration: Include a figure to help readers understand your point. These figures can be placed anywhere in your essay; however, it's best practice to include them near where their information is most needed.