Creating an MLA Header | What to Include & How to Format It

The first page of your MLA format paper starts with a four-line left-aligned header containing:

  • Your full name
  • Your instructor’s name
  • The course name and number
  • The date of submission

After the header, the title of the paper is centred on a new line, in title case. The header and title do not take any special styling, and should be the same font and size as the rest of the paper.

MLA style does not require a separate title page, but one may be included if your instructor requires it or if the paper is a group project. Usually, though, the main body of your paper just starts on the same page, directly under the title.

Include your name and the page number right-aligned in the running head on every page.

MLA header template (Word) MLA header template (Google Docs)

MLA header format

The MLA header follows the same format as the rest of an MLA paper:

  • 1-inch margins
  • Double-spaced
  • Left-aligned
  • 12 point standard font (e.g. Times New Roman)

Put each piece of information on a separate line, and don’t use periods or other punctuation at the end of each line. The header and title should be in plain text, without any styling.

Format of an MLA header

MLA running head

On each page of your paper, include a right-aligned running head with your last name and the page number. Don’t use any punctuation or styling.

Most word processing programs will allow you to automatically add page numbers. In Microsoft Word, you can do this by selecting the “Insert” menu and clicking on “Page Number”.

Make sure the running head is in the same font as the rest of your paper.

Creating an MLA running head in Word

Creating an MLA header in Word

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Frequently asked questions about MLA format

How do I create an MLA header for a paper with multiple authors?

If you’re working on a group project and therefore need to list multiple authors for your paper, MLA recommends against including a normal header. Instead, create a separate title page.

On the title page, list each author on a separate line, followed by the other usual information from the header: Instructor, course name and number, and submission date. Then write the title halfway down the page, centered, and start the text of the paper itself on the next page.

Do I need a title page for my MLA paper?

Usually, no title page is needed in an MLA paper. A header is generally included at the top of the first page instead. The exceptions are when:

  • Your instructor requires one, or
  • Your paper is a group project

In those cases, you should use a title page instead of a header, listing the same information but on a separate page.

How do I format a paper in MLA style?

The main guidelines for formatting a paper in MLA style are as follows:

  • Use an easily readable font like 12 pt Times New Roman
  • Set 1 inch page margins
  • Apply double line spacing
  • Include a four-line MLA heading on the first page
  • Center the paper’s title
  • Indent every new paragraph ½ inch
  • Use title case capitalization for headings
  • Cite your sources with MLA in-text citations
  • List all sources cited on a Works Cited page at the end
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.

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Shona McCombes

Shona has a bachelor's and two master's degrees, so she's an expert at writing a great thesis. She has also worked as an editor and teacher, working with students at all different levels to improve their academic writing.


Dossie Stanley
March 10, 2022 at 5:02 PM

Do you italicize titles of longer works in a personal title of an MLA style paper? For example, if a student titles his/her paper Sight Versus Blindness in Oedipus Rex, would Oedipus Rex be italicized? (The MLA Handbook says that there is no special font in a title of a paper.)


Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
March 11, 2022 at 11:49 AM

Hi Dossie,

Good question! Yes, MLA does recommend italicizing titles as you normally would when they appear within the title of your paper. They give the example "Romeo and Juliet and Renaissance Politics."


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