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MLA Style


Formatting Basics

This guide introduces students to MLA Style. It outlines basic formatting rules, provides some basic examples and links to more detailed examples, and introduces RefWorks, a cloud-based citation management system.

MLA & Microsoft Word

This 10-minute University of Maryland video provides detailed, step-by-step instructions for using Microsoft Word to format a paper in MLA style--everything from the heading on the first page to the last entry on the works cited page.

General Formatting Guidelines

The following guidelines are from MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2009. Print.

  • If your course instructions conflict with these guidelines, follow your course instructions.
  • MLA does not require a title page; instead, include your name and course information flush with the left margin at the top of the first manuscript page, and the title below that, centered on the page.
  • Leave one-inch margins on 8 1/2 x 11 paper.
  • Number all pages with your last name following the number (e.g.: Smith 2) in the upper right corner, 1/2" from the top and flush with the right margin.
  • Use an easily readable and common typeface (e.g., Times New Roman) in 12 point font.
  • Label tables "Table" (numbered, if there is more than one) and label any other visual material (photos, charts, etc. ) "Figure" (also numbered if there is more than one). Tables and figures should be placed in the body of the text (not in appendices), as close as possible to the text that refers to them.
  • Secure the paper with a simple paper clip, staple or (if the paper is lengthy) a binder clip.
  • There are no standards currently for electronic submission. If you are asked to submit your paper electronically, get guidelines from the instructor.