MLA Tutorial #1: Basic Paper Formatting

the Modern Language Association helps students write papers that are simple for other students to read and for teachers to grade the MLA developed this format with a concern for easy reading and easy grading following it will produce a paper that allows readers to consider what you have written rather than worrying about how you have presented it the basic format calls for some fairly simple rules let’s go over them in this tutorial this is a standard MLA formatted paper let’s talk about its qualities first of all make sure to double-spaced all writing in the entire paper this includes the heading the title and all other sections even when you construct your works cited page you’ll find that that entire page is double-spaced as well make sure to double space everything next left justify the entire paper you’ll see a flush edge here on the left and a jagged one here on the right third include no extra spaces between paragraphs Microsoft Word 2007 and later versions include a default 10-point space after every enter stroke eliminate this extra space I’ll explain how in just a moment on the first page include a heading with four pieces of information on separate lines first the author’s name second the teacher’s name third the course title and fourth the date formatted with a spelled out month as with the rest of the paper left justify and double-spaced this heading next use one-inch margins all around top bottom left and right on multi-page papers include header in the top right hand corner with author’s last name and page number most word processing programs can include a header with progressive page numbers so you don’t have to change it for every page check with your software for details on how to accomplish this next Center the title on the line below the heading do not add extra spaces before or after it and do not bold underline or italicize the title and use the same 12-point font as for everything else and that brings us to the last point 12 point Times New Roman font the entire MLA paper should be formatted according to a recognizable and standard font like Times New Roman New York Helvetica use something standard Times New Roman is a great default and 12-point size for everything including the title the format is simple to follow with standard word processing software like Microsoft Word you can even set defaults for certain format commands like margins so if you want to make sure that your margins are one inch all around every time in a program like word you can set the default for that check with your software for more details but every time you format an MLA paper make sure it looks as the example looks on the screen right now let’s talk a little bit about that pesky little Microsoft Word 2007 space setting in Microsoft Word 2007 every time you press the Enter key an extra 10 point space appears after the line that you just typed creating extra spaces beyond the double spacing between paragraphs removing the setting is fairly simple but remember it does come installed as a default setting once you install the software when you access the paragraph menu and I’ll show you how to access that at the moment you can see right here the after spacing the after spacing is set for ten point font so once you see that you can reduce it down to zero such as you can see here simply reduce that to zero and you can also make that your default by pressing this button down at the bottom of the window it will ask you if you want to make that your default you say yes and you’re good to go here’s how you can access that menu take a look here on Microsoft Word you can right-click anywhere on an empty page and go to the paragraph menu very quickly right here if you don’t want to access it that way in 2007 you can access the paragraph menu here next to the paragraph command and easily you can change those settings and set them to your default and never have to worry about it again following MLA format is simple if you follow these instructions set your defaults and understand your software

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