MLA Paper Format Information

Basic Paper Format

The preparation of manuscripts in MLA style is covered in chapter four of the MLA Style Manual , as well as in chapter three of the Handbook for Writing Research Papers . Here are some basic guidelines for formatting a paper in MLA style.

General Guidelines:

  • Type your paper or write it on a computer and print it out on standard-sized paper (8.5 X 11 inches).
  • Double-space your paper.
  • Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor or whoever is reading the manuscript may ask that you omit the number on your first page. Always follow their guidelines.)
  • Use either underlining or italics throughout your essay for highlighting the titles of longer works and providing emphasis.
  • If you have any notes, include them on a page before your works cited page and format them the same way as your works cited list.

Formatting the first page of your paper:

  • Do not make a title page for your paper unless specifically requested.
  • Provide a double-spaced entry in the top left corner of the first page that lists your name, your instructor’s name, the course, and the date.
  • Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor or whoever is reading the manuscript may ask that you omit the number on your first page. Always follow their guidelines.)
  • Center your title on the line below the header with your name, and begin your paper immediately below the title.

Sample MLA formatted paper

Frequently Asked Questions