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MLA Citation & Formatting: MLA Paper Format

Useful information to help you create a well-formatted document in MLA 9th edition style

MLA Formatting

Formatting guidelines help writers focus on research and ideas rather than structure. MLA formatting guidelines apply to content structure, style techniques, cited references, and preparation of the manuscript. Remember to follow your instructor's guidelines if they are different from those contained in the MLA Handbook.


Document Format

Running Head
  • page numbers appear in the header of the document, flush with the right margin
  • author's last name appears in the header on each page, to the left of the page number
  • use one-inch margins on all sides of the document
  • the header containing author's last name and page number will appear within the top margin

  • use an easily readable (accessible) typeface sized between 11 and 13 points
  • use the same font throughout the document
  • justify (align) the text with the left margin and leave the right margin uneven
  • double-space the entire document, with no extra line spacing between paragraphs
  • indent each paragraph and each block quotation one-half inch
  • leave one space after a period or other concluding punctuation

  • on the first page of your document, flush with the left margin type the following information:
    • your name (line 1)
    • your instructor's name (line 2)
    • course number and name (line 3)
    • date the assignment is due or is being submitted (line 4)
  • on the next line center the title of the paper with all important words capitalized
  • do not put the entire title in italics, boldface, underlining, or quotation marks
  • only italicize words in the title that you would italicize in the document (such as titles of other works)

  • use headings and subheadings only if they will help organize your content
  • concepts with the same level of importance should be assigned the same level heading
  • in general, larger font and boldface are used for more important ideas, and smaller font and italics for less important ideas

Works Cited List
  • place the Works Cited list at the end of the paper
  • center the heading Works Cited at the top of the page
  • place references in alphabetical order beginning one double-spaced line down from the heading
  • format each entry in hanging indentation style, with the first line flush with the left margin and subsequent lines indented one-half inch

Sample MLA Paper

First Page

MLA Paper Page One


Use of Heading

MLA Heading Level One


Block Quotation

MLA Block Quotation


Works Cited

MLA Works Cited


Matthias, Meg. “Prescriptions of (Living) Historical Happiness: Gendered Performance and Racial Comfort in Reenactment.” MLA Style Center, 2021,
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