How do I set up a paper with MLA formatting?

CWI Writing Center: MLA Quick Formatting Guide

Paper and First Page Set-up:

  • Use one-inch margins and double-spacing for the whole document.
  • Use Times New Roman (or a font that does not appear italicized), 12 point font.
  • Indent the first line of each paragraph half an inch with the body of the text flush left.
  • Place your last name and page number flush right in the header on each page.
  • Type your name, instructor’s name, course title, and date flush left on the first page.
  • Center the title on the first line below the date with title case capitalization and NO underline, bolding, or "quotation marks."

Image depicting the first page of a MLA Paper

Works Cited Page Set-up:

  • Create a separate page for the works cited after the final paragraph of the paper by inserting a page break (ctrl + enter).
  • Use the same general formatting as the rest of the paper.
  • Center “Works Cited” on the first line of the page.
  • Format the entries with hanging indents. Hanging indents are when the first line of each entry is flush left with subsequent lines indented half an inch from the left margin.
  • List each entry alphabetically by the entry’s first word. When an article (a, an, and the) is first, the second word is used. When there is no author, the title of the work is listed first.

Example of an MLA Works Cited Page

Note: Please visit the Tutoring Lab or The Writing Center for help with using Microsoft Word.

For more information, contact the Writing Center.