How to Set Up a MLA Format in Microsoft Word

By Juniper Russo

The Modern Language Association, or MLA, provides formatting guidelines for use in professional and academic circles. Because the MLA format is uniform and easy to use, many employers and educators require that manuscripts follow the MLA's guidelines. If you are at all familiar with Microsoft Word or similar word processing software, you are unlikely to experience any significant challenges formatting a document to meet MLA's standards.

Step 1

Set the page margins. From the main menu, select "File," then click "Page Setup" from the drop-down menu. Click the "Margins" tab, then set the top, bottom, left, and right margins each to 1.0 inch. Click the "OK" button to save these settings.

Step 2

Set the font. The MLA requires that all manuscripts be written in the Times New Roman font at a 12-point pitch. Choose "Format" from the main menu, then "Font" from the drop-down menu. Set the font to Times New Roman and the font size to 12. Do not use bold, italics or underline for the main text of the manuscript. Click "OK" to save these settings.

Step 3

Set double spacing. All MLA documents are double-spaced; that is, they contain one blank line between each line of text. Select "Format" from the main menu, then "Paragraph" from the drop-down list. Click the "Indents and spacing" tab. Set "Line spacing" to "Double," then click "OK."

Step 4

Set your header. In an MLA format, the header gives your last name and a page number on each page. Click "View" on the main menu, then "Header and Footer" from the menu that drops down. The header section will appear on your document inside a dotted-line gray square. Type your last name and a single space. On the floating menu, click the image of a pound sign (also called the number sign) on a page. This will insert the page number.

Tips & Warnings

  • On your computer screen, the header will appear as faded gray text. However, it will print with normal color and intensity.

References & Resources