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MLA 9th Edition Style Guide: Microsoft Word Setup


This page covers how to set up Microsoft Word for an MLA Style paper.

Format Your Paper

The MLA Handbook provides formatting guidelines, but allows for professors to set their own guidelines as well.  Always follow your instructor's directions before applying any MLA guidelines. (Source: MLA Handbook, 1)


Margins should be one inch on the top, bottom, and both sides. (Source: MLA Handbook, 1.1)

To set margins to one inch in Microsoft Word:

  1. Go to the "Page Layout" or "Layout" tab
  2. Click "Margins"
  3. Select the "Normal" option

The Font

MLA9  does not specify a specific font, just that it must be readable and that the regular type should be distinguishable from the italic type. Times New Roman is one suggested font. Font size must be set between 11 and 13, unless your professor requires something else. Use the same font throughout your paper. Double-space throughout your paper. (Source: MLA Handbook 1.2)


On the first page, type your name one inch from the top of the paper, flush with the margin. Type your professor's name on the second line. Course number goes on the third line. The date appears on the fourth line. Title of the paper appears centered on the fifth line. The body of the paper begins on the sixth line and is indented 1/2 inch. (Source: MLA Handbook 1.3)

Beth King

Professor Ramsingh

ENC 1101

26 October 2021

                                                                             Saving the World From Climate Change

             My plan to save the world from climate change involves

Running Head and Page Numbers

Page numbers should be placed in the upper right hand corner of the page 1/2 inch from the top of the page at the right margin. Type your last name followed by a space and then the page number. (Source: MLA Handbook, 1.4)

To insert page numbers in Microsoft Word:

  1. Click the "Insert" tab on the top menu. 
  2. Under "Header", select "Edit Header" (at the bottom).
  3. Place your cursor to the right of the page by pressing press the Tab button on your keyboard twice. 
  4. Click "Page Number", then "Current Position," and choose "Plain Number" from the options. 
  5. Remember to change the font size and style of headers to 12 pt. Times New Roman font.

Works Cited

The works-cited-list should be on a new page, which should be the last page of the paper.

Center the words Works Cited at the top of the page (unless only one source is cited in which case the title should be Work Cited).

Double-space throughout.

Entries begin at the left margin. If the entry contains more than one line indent subsequent lines 1/2 inch. This is called a hanging indent.

To create a hanging indent in Word:

  1. Click on the "Home" tab
  2. Select all of your citations by holding down the left button the mouse and drawing the mouse over all of the text
  3. Hold down the CTRL button and the T button

‚ÄčThe works-cited-list should be in alphabetical order by the part of the author's name that appears first in the entry, usually the last name. If the work has no author, use the title. Use the first significant word in the title to replace the author. Ignore a, an, and the.

Source: MLA Handbook, 1.6, 5.123-5.130)

Cover Pages

MLA does not use cover pages, but if your instructor directs you to include one, do so, following your instructor's guidelines.

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