MLA paper format (8th edition)

The MLA Handbook provides guidelines for creating MLA citations and formatting academic papers. This quick guide will help you set up your MLA format paper in no time.

MLA paper format
Start by applying these MLA format guidelines to your document:

  • Times New Roman 12
  • 1″ page margins
  • Double line spacing
  • ½” indent for new paragraphs
  • Title case capitalization for headings

Download Word templateOpen Google Docs template

How to set up MLA format in Google Docs

Title page and heading

The heading in MLA format is left-aligned on the first page of your paper. It includes:

  • Your full name
  • Your instructor’s or supervisor’s name
  • The course name or number
  • The due date of the assignment

After the MLA heading, press ENTER once and type your paper title. Center the title and don’t forget to apply title case capitalization. Read our article on writing strong titles that are informative, striking and appropriate.

MLA Heading

At the top of every page, including the first page, you need to include your last name and the page number. Follow these steps to set up the MLA header in your Word or Google Docs document:

  1. Double-click at the top of a page
  2. Type your last name
  3. Insert automatic page numbering
  4. Align the content to the right

The MLA header should look like this:

MLA Page Header

Works Cited page

The list of works cited is included on a separate page at the end of your paper. You list all sources you referenced in your paper in alphabetical order. Don’t include sources that were only consulted.

Place the title “Works Cited” in the center at the top of the page. After the title, press ENTER once and insert your MLA references.

If a reference entry is longer than one line, each line after the first should be indented ½ inch (called a hanging indent). All entries are double spaced, just like the rest of the text.

MLA Works Cited

Creating MLA Style citations

Scribbr’s free MLA Citation Generator can help you cite your sources in MLA Style. All you need is the website URL, book ISBN, or journal article DOI, and the citation generator does the rest.

Scribbr MLA Citation Generator

Prefer to cite your sources manually? Use the interactive example below to see what the Works Cited entry and in-text citation look like for different source types.

Headings and subheadings

Headings and subheadings can help organize and provide structure to your paper, especially in longer assignments. There are no set formatting requirements for headings in MLA – the only rules are that you must be consistent and not add a period after the heading.

We recommend keeping the font and size the same as the body text and applying title case capitalization. In general, boldface indicates greater prominence, while italics is appropriate for subordinate headings. For example:

  • Chapter Title
  • Section Heading
  • Subheading

Tip: Both Google Docs and Microsoft Word allow you to create heading levels which help you to keep your headings consistent.

Tables and illustrations

Tables, illustrations, and other visuals should be placed as close to the relevant part of text as possible. MLA also provides formatting guidelines.

MLA format for tables

Tables are usually labelled and numbered, along with a descriptive title. The label and title are placed above the table on separate lines. Source references or explanatory notes are placed below the table and are assigned a lowercase letter instead of a numeral.

Just like in the rest of the paper, the text is double spaced and you should use title case capitalization for the title.

MLA Table Format

MLA format for illustrations and other visuals

Like tables, illustrations and other visuals are labelled and numbered. The label “Figure” is usually abbreviated to “Fig.” and is followed by a number and caption. The information is placed directly below the image.

MLA Illustration Format

Frequently Asked Questions

What font and size is used in MLA format?

MLA recommends using 12 point Times New Roman since it’s easy to read and installed on every computer. Other standard fonts such as Arial or Georgia are also acceptable. If in doubt, check with your supervisor which font you should be using.

What is the easiest way to create MLA citations?

The fastest and most accurate way to create MLA citations is by using Scribbr’s MLA Citation Generator.

Search by book title, page URL or journal DOI to automatically generate flawless citations, or cite manually using the simple citation forms.

What is the most recent edition of the MLA Handbook?

The MLA Handbook is currently in its 8th edition, published in 2016.

This quick guide to MLA style explains the latest guidelines for citing sources and formatting papers according to MLA.

Is this article helpful?
Raimo Streefkerk

Raimo is an expert in explaining plagiarism and citing sources. He has been writing helpful articles since 2017 and is continuously improving Scribbr's Citation Generators.

3 comments

Ambedkar Bodigadla
April 22, 2019 at 10:32 PM

Useful content

Reply

sr. maria tran
October 31, 2018 at 3:55 AM

How do I capitalize my title: My feeling "A Little like God"?

Reply

Leon Smits
Leon Smits (Scribbr-team)
November 4, 2018 at 10:41 PM

Hi Maria!

I would suggest: My Feeling: "A Little Like God"

Cheers,
Leon

Reply

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