How To Do MLA Format [Complete Step By Step Guidelines]

August 10, 2023 1.7K views

Achieving impeccable MLA format is essential for academic and professional writing with its comprehensive style. However, navigating the intricacies of MLA can be difficult, often leaving you confused over what to do. This article provides a step-by-step guide to address the question of “How to do MLA format?” From proper in-text citations to creating and formatting the entire document, we offer clear instructions and examples.

What is the MLA format?

The MLA format, an abbreviation for Modern Language Association format, is a widely recognized style guide for academic writing.

If you’re looking for a formatting style that helps you cite sources, fix up the structure and style of your paper, and organize the content, this is the style for you.

The format includes specific rules for in-text citations, works cited pages, and various elements such as fonts, margins, and headings. To understand and implement MLA format effectively, one must familiarize oneself with its standard formats and conventions.

Online resources like Indeed’s career advice article on how to do MLA format on Word and Nira’s guide on how to do MLA format in Google Docs offer valuable insights and instructions. By following these guidelines and utilizing appropriate tools, such as learning how to do a MLA format template, writers can ensure their documents adhere to the established MLA standards.

How to do MLA format on Word?

how to do mla format on word - a template presented to you

To use MLA format in Microsoft Word, follow these step-by-step instructions:

Step 1: Enter the details and title on the home page

Begin by opening your document in Microsoft Word and start typing out the cover page information, which includes your name, instructor’s name, course title, and assignment details. Include a descriptive title for your paper.

Step 2: Change font and size

Select the “Home” tab and navigate to the font settings. By default, Word uses the Calibri font.

Change it to the required MLA font style, which can depend on the instructor or the class for which you’re using this format, but tends to limit itself to Times New Roman. Next is the size of the font, which you’ll need to set to 12 as the standard.

Step 3: Set the required margins

Click on “Margins” on the page layout tab and choose the option for one-inch margins on all sides, which is the standard requirement for MLA format.

Step 4: Insert header

As a simple answer to “How to do MLA Format Header?” you must locate the “Header” section in the “Insert” tab and choose the option to insert a header.

Add your family name and the number of the page in the header area, aligning it to the right margin. Word will automatically make it appear on every page, but you can check again to be sure.

Step 5: Change line spacing

Adjust the line spacing to double-spacing from the paragraph settings This formatting style adheres to the guidelines specified in the MLA format, which is commonly used for academic writing.

Step 6: Add indentation

Indent the first line of the paper and thereby every subsequent paragraph's first lines by 0.5 inches. To apply this indentation, select the paragraphs, and choose the “Increase Indentation” button on the home tab until the desired indent is achieved. Alternatively, you can also automate this by choosing the “First Line” special indent option.

Step 7: Add a ‘Works Cited’ page

To learn how to do mla format works cited, you must create a separate page titled “Works Cited.” Here, you must list the sources you have referenced and place everything at the end of the document. Follow the MLA guidelines for formatting the entries, including author names, titles, publication dates, and other relevant details.

You must use alphabetical order, leaving this page only on the ‘Hanging’ indent, which you can choose as seen in step 6. Furthermore, in answer to how to do MLA format citation, you must follow the rules set, which are different for each source, like Books, Journals, Newspapers, etc. Find the details from the official MLA style handbook.

how to do mla format works cited

How to do MLA Format on Google Docs?

To format your document in MLA style using Google Docs, follow these step-by-step instructions:

Step 1: Pull up a new document

Begin by creating a new document in Google Docs and entering your content.

Step 2: Set the page size and margins

Click on “Page setup” in the file menu and set the page size to “Letter” or “A4” based on your requirements. Adjust the margins to one inch on all sides, which is the standard for MLA format.

how to do mla format on google docs - page setup

Step 3: Change the font and size

Navigate to the “Format” menu, select “Font,” and choose a suitable MLA-compliant font like Times New Roman. Set the font size to 12 points.

how to do mla format on docs - font and size

Step 4: Adjust line spacing and indentation

Choose “Line spacing” on the “Format” menu and pick “Double” to ensure your text is properly formatted. Additionally, use the “Format” menu to set a 0.5 indent for every paragraph’s first line.

how to do mla format on google docs - indentation

Step 5: Add a header with page numbers

Click on the “Insert” menu, go to “Header & page number,” and choose the option to insert a header. As mentioned previously, include your last name and page number, aligning it to the right margin.

how to do mla format header

Step 6: Create a work cited page

When it’s time to work toward learning how to do a work cited page in MLA format, you must start by creating a new page titled “Works Cited.” List the sources you referenced and use the citation rules from the MLA handbook, depending on the source type you’ve used.

Use Free Tools - Learn How To Do A MLA Format

When it comes to MLA formatting, utilizing available tools can greatly streamline the process and boost efficiency, making it easier to adhere to the guidelines and enhance productivity.

One highly recommended tool is WPS Office, which offers convenient features and templates for MLA formatting.

You can access a comprehensive suite to edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other document types by downloading and installing WPS Office for free. Additionally, WPS Office offers functionalities like PDF document conversion, making it a versatile solution for formatting needs.

WPS Office offers a user-friendly interface along with a diverse selection of pre-designed MLA templates, making it effortless to create documents that adhere to the necessary formatting guidelines. This convenient solution helps ensure your work is properly formatted and meets the requirements without hassle.

WPS office - offering everything, especially to help you learn how to do mla format

Whether you’re creating an essay, research paper, or any other document in MLA style, WPS Office provides the necessary tools to streamline the process and achieve professional-looking results.

By utilizing WPS Office for MLA formatting, you can streamline the process, saving valuable time and effort while simultaneously guaranteeing precision and uniformity in the structure of your document.

In fact, the extensive editing capabilities and maximum file format compatibility make WPS Office a valuable resource for students, researchers, and professionals. Explore the advantages of WPS Office and leverage its features to simplify your MLA formatting tasks and, most importantly, polish the content and quality of your work.

Learn more about the WPS Office at their official website and explore the detailed tutorials. And if you’re interested in details of what this tool provides for your requirements and academic needs, don’t hesitate to learn about its advantages here!

Note: You can also check out a detailed WPS office review at CompareCamp, with its elaborate descriptions and definitions.

Take advantage of this free and comprehensive tool to enhance your MLA formatting experience and elevate the quality of your academic or professional documents.

How to use Google Docs’ MLA format template?

After the answer to “How to do MLA format on Docs” is clear, it’s time for you to consider the existence of convenient MLA format templates that can save you time and effort in formatting your essays or research papers.

Manual formatting is still possible, but utilizing the template offered by Google Docs automatically applies most of the necessary formatting requirements, simplifying the process for you.

To access the MLA format template in Google Docs, follow these steps:

Step 1: Create a new docs document.

Step 2: Click the “Template Gallery” option in the upper right corner.

Step 3: Search “MLA format” in the navigation menu.

Step 4: Look for the MLA template provided by Google and select it.

Step 5: The template will open, and you can start editing your document within the MLA formatting guidelines.

screenshot of google docs template

Using Google Docs’ MLA format template ensures that your document adheres to the required formatting standards, including proper margins, line spacing, font style, and citation formatting. Simplify the process for yourself and eradicate the necessity for manual adjustments, allowing you to focus more on your content than on formatting details.

Use this convenient feature in Google Docs to streamline your MLA formatting process and easily create well-formatted academic papers or essays.

FAQs About How To Do MLA Format

Q1: How to do MLA format on Word 2023?

To learn how to do MLA format on Word, you can follow these steps:

Step 1: Open Word and go to ‘References’.

Step 2: Click “Citations & Bibliography” and select the desired citation style, such as MLA.

Step 3: Enter the required citation information, including author name, title, publication details, etc.

Step 4: Word will automatically generate in-text citations and create a works cited page based on your provided information.

Q2: How should MLA titles be formatted?

In MLA format, titles of longer works, such as books, movies, or journals, should be italicized. Shorter works, like articles or poems, should be enclosed in quotation marks.

Q3: How to do MLA format Works Cited page?

  • Alphabetical Order: Arrange the entries alphabetically - either based on last names or titles of the source if no author is available.

  • Hanging Indentation: Each entry should have a hanging indentation. This means the foremost line of every citation must start at the leftmost margin, and the rest should be 0.5 inches indented.

  • Author’s Name: For every entry, commence with the author's family name/allocation, followed by a comma and then their given name.

  • Title of Source: Include the title of the source in italics or quotation marks, depending on the type of source (e.g., book titles are italicized, while article titles are in quotation marks).

  • Publication Information: Provide the publication information, typically including the publisher, publication date, and location (e.g., city or page numbers).

  • Medium of Publication: Indicate the format or medium of publication, which can be print, web, DVD, or any other relevant format.


Mastering MLA format is essential for academic and professional writing. With our detailed manual on how to do MLA format in both Microsoft Word and Google Docs, you can easily navigate the formatting requirements, especially if you follow the step-by-step instructions and utilize the recommended reference links.

Additionally, it is worth highlighting the convenience of using WPS Office as a powerful tool for MLA formatting. WPS Office offers user-friendly features, similar templates, and the ability to edit various document formats.

By incorporating the recommended guidelines, utilizing the available resources, and leveraging the efficiency of tools like WPS Office, you can confidently create MLA-formatted documents that meet the highest academic standards!


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