MLA Format Basics
MLA format requires a heading that starts on the top line. And I'm going to show you how to write the date correctly, because it's gotta be in a special format. In some countries it's correct to use this right here, which is called justify text, and that makes all of the lines equal.
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I’m going to show you how to format this paper using MLA format. The first thing we wanna do is to set our line spacing. We can see that these lines are single-spaced. We wanna make this whole paper double-spaced. To do that, I’m going to select all of the text. And then I’m just going to right-click on the text and go to Paragraph. And right here’s where I want to adjust my settings. I can change from single-spaced to double-spaced by clicking that, and I wanna make sure that both of these are 0s. For many of you, when you’re using Microsoft Word in your country, the defaults here are not 0. They’ll be something like Auto, or it might be 6 pt. This is about the spacing after the paragraphs, and in MLA format these should be 0. So make sure you have two 0s there and this says Double. And there we go. Now we have double-space. There should not be any extra space between the title and the text, so I’m going to take out that extra space there. Now, that looks right. The other thing, you wanna make sure you have about one inch margins on each side. You can look there. That’s about one inch, and on the other side it’s about one inch. And from the top and bottom, it’s about one inch as well. So now we need to go and put our heading on the paper. MLA format requires a heading that starts on the top line. Well, my title’s on the top line right now so I need to move that down. And then I can go to the top line, and you want to be left adjusted, so come over to the left. And you’re going to have the student’s name followed by the teacher’s name. Then you’ll have the class name, and then you’ll have the date. And I’m going to show you how to write the date correctly, because it’s gotta be in a special format. You’ll have the day of the month, then you’ll have month and then you have the year. That’s the correct format for writing the date in MLA format. And this is the same for some of your countries. It’s different from how Americans usually write the date. And then there’s no extra space before the title. This is all double-space right here. I do want to point out, that over on the right margin here, you see the lines are not even. That is correctly formatted for MLA format. In some countries it’s correct to use this right here, which is called justify text, and that makes all of the lines equal. Of course in some countries they even write from right to left. But, in the US, we use left to right and it’s called aligning text left. It’s not justified on the right side. This is the correct way to format your paper. Okay, now I see I just messed up my title so let me select that again, and I will center the title. The next thing we need to do is to put in our page numbers. And there’s several different ways you can do this. I like to go up here to Insert and click on Page Numbers. And then you get this little box that opens up here. For MLA format you want your page numbers on the right. And we want them at the top of the page not the bottom, so make sure this says Top of page, Right. That’s for MLA format. If this box is not checked, go ahead and check it. This puts the page number on the first page. In MLA, it’s optional, but it’s good just to go ahead and put it on the first page so you can set it up for the rest of the pages. Then click OK. And then you’ll see the page number up here, right here. And it’s already on all of the other pages as well. So one more thing about MLA formatting. Right here before the page number, we need the author’s last name. The student’s last name. So, what I need to do is open up that heading, I just double-clicked there. Let me show you again. So just put my cursor there and double-click. And that opens this part up, this header. My cursor is flashing over here, but I want it to flash over here. So I’m going to click, right-align. Now my cursor is flashing here, and I can type my last name. I’m just going to use Name. And I want it to be just one space away from here, so I’m going to scoot this, drag that and it makes it just now one space between the name and the page number. But I can close this. Notice that name matches name over here. That should be the student’s last name in both places. And I’m going to just check to make sure that it showed up on the other pages. Well, yes, it did. My page looks nice now. One other thing is about the font. Font is what the letters look like. Notice mine is set to Cambria 12 pt. This is okay, it’s a standard font. But another standard font that you could use, and if I select everything I can come up here and choose Times New Roman. This is also a common font. Since I changed my font for the body, I need to go back and change it for the page number as well. So I go back up there and I select that. You see it still says Cambria. So I wanna change that to Times New Roman as well, so that they match. All right, so now my paper is correctly formatted.
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