Important Note: Unless your instructor gives you a template, don't use an MLA template or tool since there are commonly errors.   


  1. 1” margins
  2. Times New Roman 12 black font
  3. Align left
  4. Header in upper right with name and page number: Jones 1
  5. Line Spacing – double throughout
  6. Tab in the first line of a paragraph ½” or .5
  7. Heading in upper left
  8. Title centered after heading
  9. Works Cited, if any, on a new page


  1. 1” margins – top, bottom, left, right.  Some defaults are 1.25″ left and right.
  2. Margins are not set in the Paragraph box. In Word or Works, margins are set in Page Layout or in File/Page Setup/Margins.


  1. Times New Roman 12 black font.
  2. Do not use bold or underlining.
  3. Do not use all caps except for an abbreviations such as NATO, AIDS.
  4. Do not use italics unless there is a rule that says to use italics.
  5. Check default and reset default if necessary.  Your instructor may accept a different font style: however, Times New Roman 12 Black is a standard setting in school and business.


  1. Left align – this is the usual default setting.
  2. Do not block or justify where the right margin is even.
  3. Alignment can be set in the Paragraph box if the icon is not visible.

See Related Documents on right sidebar for an image of alignment settings.

Line Spacing

  1. Double space – and only double space throughout, even after the heading and around the title, if any.
  2. Check default settings in the Paragraph box and reset per instructions under Paragraph Settings below.

Paragraph Settings

Some programs such have defaults in the Paragraph box which interfere with proper double spacing.

The settings in the Paragraph dialogue box should be as follows to have proper double spacing.

  1. Indentation (on top) should be set at 0 left and 0 right.
  2. Spacing (on the lower left) should be set to 0 Before and 0 After.
  3. Line Spacing (on the lower right) should be set to double.
  4. Check the box that says “Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style.”
  5. Click Default (at the bottom) and select Yes to change defaults.

     In Google docs, you can change Paragraph settings under Spacing to 0 next to Before and 0 next to After by going into the double spacing tool and clicking Custom Settings.  You will have to select (highlight) the entire paper including the heading in the upper left before making the change once the paper is typed.

     In Pages, you can change the Paragraph settings by clicking on Format on the top navigation bar and then Paragraph. Remember that you have to highlight (select) the entire paper including the heading in the upper left before making change in Paragraph once the paper is typed.

First Line of a Paragraph

  1. Tab in the first line of a paragraph 1/2″ or .5 from the left margin.
  2. The Tab default is usually at this setting.  If not, reset defaults.

Spacing after a period or other end punctuation

Unless your instructor advises otherwise, you may use one or two spaces after a period as long as the use is consistent.

Title Page

  1. If the instructor asks for a title page, prepare the title page as per the assignment instructions.
  2. Do not use a heading on the first page if a title page is required.

Create a header in the upper right corner using the Header tool with your last name and page number.

  1. In Word 2007 or higher, click Insert/Header/Blank. Do not choose any option with lines, boxes, or other font or color.
  2. Delete Type text
  3. Click Home and align right. Your cursor should be on the right side.
  4. Type in your last name only. Then hit the space bar once. This will put a space between your last name and page number.
  5. After you hit the space bar, hit Insert/Page # to insert pages. Do not manually type in the page number.
  6. Do not use the word page or any abbreviation of the word such a pg. or p. between your last name and the actual page number: Jones 2.
  7. While MLA format calls for the header to appear on the first page, some instructors may ask that there be no header on the first page since your name is already there. To remove the header from the first page, check Different first page in the Header tool.
  8. These instructions may work for higher versions of Works.
  9. For lower versions of Word or Works, click View/Header and Footer to get into the Header tool.
  10. If you are unable to follow on your computer, your program should have a Help button to give directions on how to insert a header.

Instructions for Creating Header in Office 365:

  1. Click Insert/Header.
  2. Tab over to the third box on the right.
  3. Under Home, click the align right button so that your cursor is all the way on the right side.
  4. Hit the space bar and then click Insert Page # and click the box with the number in the upper right.
  5. Click on the body of the paper to get out of the Header box.
  6. You will not see your header in the default view which is the edit view.
  7. You can click View and then Reading View on the left.


  1. Type a heading in the upper left corner of the first page unless your instructor asks for a title page. Do not use the Header tool to create a heading.
  2. Type the heading as follows: your name, your instructor’s name, the course, and the date (in military style – day month year – no commas) double spaced on separate lines.
  3. Do not use commas in the date.  Months should be abbreviated if longer than four letters: Sept., Oct., and so on. Here is an example: 14 Oct. 2009
  4. Do not indent the heading.
  5. Your instructor may request different information to be typed into the heading.


  1. After the heading, center the title of the paper or name of assignment.

  2. Do not use bold, underlining, or a different font style or size for the title.
  3. Do not use quotation marks or italics unless the title of the paper includes the title of a published work since short, published works must be in quotation marks, and long, published works must be in italics.
  4. Remember that in MLA format, the requirement is to double space and only double space throughout.
  5. There should not be any more than a double space before or after the title or name of assignment.

Works Cited

If a Works Cited page is required for your assignment, at the end of the body of the paper, click Insert/Page Break or Insert/Break/Page Break – however your computer gives options – to get to the top of a new page to do the Works Cited.

  1. Do not use the Enter key to get to the next page.
  2. Use the same settings including double spacing throughout except that the first line of each source must start at the left margin and the second and any subsequent lines must be indented ½”.
  3. This is called a hanging indent.
  4. To create a hanging indent, make sure to type your sources one under the other hitting Enter at the end of each source.
  5. Then, highlight the Works Cited list and go into the Paragraph dialogue box.
  6. Under Special, select Hanging from the drop-down menu. Once selected, the default under By should be .5″.
  7. Remember that your list has to be alphabetized and the page must have the words Works Cited centered on top.

Troubleshooting Common Page Setup Problems

  1. The whole page is tabbed in.  There is an error in settings in the Indentation Box in Paragraph. Highlight paper and change to 0 in both Left and Right under Indentation in the Paragraph dialogue box.
  2. There is no top margin even though you set top margin for 1”. You’ve accidentally hidden your white space.  Position your cursor at the top of the page until you see a double line.  Then, double click.
  3. The same page number is appearing on every page in the header in the upper right.You have typed in a page number instead of using Insert Page #.
  4. I can’t get my header over to the right without using the tab key. Click to Home, position your cursor at the beginning of your last name, then click the align right button.
  5. The spacing between lines seems larger than double space. You have not reset the setting in Paragraph under Spacing on lower left to 0 before Before and 0 before After.  You have to highlight the whole page before changing settings for them to take place on the page.
  6. There’s an extra line between paragraphs or every time I hit the Enter key. You have not checked the box which says “Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style. You have to highlight the whole page before changing settings for them to take place on the page.

Other Resources for Your Setup Problems

  • Help tool in your program.  Generally, there’s a tool or a link to a tool.  Just Search your problem.
  • Online at website of your program.  Word and other programs have help pages on their site.
  • The PHSC Technical Support link: See Resource Links on the right side page for Technical Support or call 727 816-3732.
  • Just Google?  Maybe.  However, just searching around on the Internet open files and here and there is one way to pick up a virus, and you don’t know how reliable the source is.  You are better of getting help with the first listed methods. Never download a help program.
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