How to Use MLA Format on Microsoft Word 2007

By Ethel Symolon

The MLA, (Modern Language Association) format is a documentation convention used primarily by students and scholars in the fields of literature, history, philosophy, and language, throughout the world. The style consists of a set of guidelines for formatting manuscripts and referencing in-text citations linked to an alphabetical record of sources and publications listed at the end of the manuscript. Before entering any text in your document, prepare your report for the MLA style by setting the correct Word 2007 formatting.

Formatting the manuscript

Step 1

Choose Times New Roman or some similar, legible style and set it to 12 pt. by clicking the “Home” tab on the horizontal ribbon at the top of Word and going to the Font group. In the Font group, click the arrow to the right of the font box and scroll down the list until you come to your desired font. In the number box to the right of the font, set the number to 12.

Step 2

Click the arrow in the lower right corner of the Paragraph group (to the right of the Font group of the "Home" tab), and in the Spacing section, under Line Spacing, select “Double.” In this same section, set spacing to “0” in the Spacing Before and After boxes. Click “OK” to save the settings.

Step 3

Click the “Page Layout” tab. Click the “Margins” icon and choose “Normal” to set all margins to 1 in.

Step 4

Create a Header by clicking the “Insert” tab and then clicking the Page Number icon (in the Header and Footer group). Hold your mouse cursor over the Top of Page option and then click “Plain Number 3.” With the Header box still open, click immediately to the left of the page number, type your last name and press the space bar once to create a blank space between your name and the page number. In the Close section, click the “Close Header and Footer” button.

Step 5

Enter your personal information on the first page (do not include a title page unless it is specified). One inch from the top of the page, type the following, pressing the "Enter" key once after each entry: your name, your instructor’s name, the course name, and the date.

Step 6

Click the “Center Text” icon in the Paragraph group of the "Home" section. Type the title of your paper, standard capitalization (not all upper case)—do not italicize, bold face, or underline. Press the "Enter" key.

Step 7

Click the “Align Text Left” button in the Paragraph group of the "Home" section to return your cursor to the left margin. Press the “Tab” key to indent, and start writing the first paragraph of your document.

Works cited

Step 1

Click the “Insert” tab of your top menu and then click the “Page Break” icon to begin a new page where you will start typing your citations.

Step 2

Click the “Center Text” icon in the Paragraph group of the "Home" section and type: Works Cited. Press the "Enter" key once.

Step 3

Click the “Align Text Left” button in the Paragraph group of the "Home" section to return your cursor to the left margin.

Step 4

Click the arrow in the lower right corner of the Paragraph section of the "Home" section. In the Indentation group, under Special, select “Hanging” and type your first citation (this sets the formatting so that the first line of each entry begins at the left margin and every additional line hangs (indents) a ½ in. from the left margin.

Step 5

Press “Enter” once after each citation to double-space between separate entries.