Certain features require a modern browser to function.
Please use a different browser, like Firefox, Chrome, or Safari

MLA paper format


Many educational institutions and instructors have agreed to standardize the formatting of research papers to make their work simple. The below guidelines will help you format your paper; however, follow your instructor’s directions for any deviations.

Elements of a paper

The following are the key elements of a paper written in MLA format:


Leave a one-inch margin on the left and right sides of all pages.


  • Use a typeface that is easy to read. Try to follow the same typeface throughout your paper.
  • Font size can vary between 11 and 13 points.
  • Double-space your text throughout.
  • Do not justify the text. Let it remain ragged right.
  • Indent all new paragraphs 0.5 inches from the left margin.
  • Do not use more than one space after a period.

Header elements

  • Start your name one inch from the top margin. Add your name, instructor’s name, course name and number, and date each on a separate double-spaced line.
  • Then, add your title and center it to the left-right margin, after a double-spaced line.
  • The title can be in bold, all caps, or placed inside quotation marks. However, do not italicize the title.
  • Do not use a period at the end of the title.

Running head

  • Number all pages with Arabic numerals in the upper right corner. Flush it right.
  • Add your surname before the page number. Use no separator, only a space.
  • If there are many contributors, use only the page number without the author names.


  • Keep the heading as short as possible.
  • Flush the headings with the left margin.
  • Follow title case for all leadings.
  • Avoid all caps in headings.
  • Add one line space above and below the headings.
  • Do not follow any numbering system for headings.

First-level headings are given in bold. Follow plain text format for second-level headings. Third-level headings are italicized. Sample heading levels are given below:

First Level Heading

Second Level Heading

Third Level Heading

Works cited

  • It appears at the end of the paper.
  • The heading is “Works Cited.”
  • Begin the first entry after two line spaces.
  • Each entry should be flushed to the left margin with a hanging indent of 0.5 inches for subsequent lines.
  • Do not follow any numbering system for headings.


  • Tables are placed close to the text where they are mentioned.
  • Use Arabic numerals to label a table (Table 1).
  • The caption of the table is given in title case.
  • Notes to the table are designated with lowercase letters.


  • Figures are placed close to the text where they are mentioned.
  • Use Arabic numerals to label a figure.
  • Place the caption below the figure.
  • Abbreviate the label to “Fig.” (Fig. 1).
  • The title of the figure is given in sentence case.

Key takeaways

  • The text in MLA style is double-spaced throughout.
  • All pages are numbered in the upper-right corner with Arabic numerals.
  • Headings are kept as short and as concise as possible.
  • Figures and tables are numbered with Arabic numerals and placed nearer to their citations.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?