Document Format

The Modern Language Association (MLA) sets the following standards for properly formatting a document.

Paper & Ink

  • Use standard, white, 8½-by-11-inch paper.
  • Print all text in black ink.


  • Use a single, readable typeface throughout your paper.
    (for example: Times New Roman or Georgia)
  • Set the font size for the entire document at 12 points.


  • Set document margins to 1 inch all around (top, bottom, left, and right).
  • Left-align all text. Do NOT justify text or hyphenate overflowing words.
  • Indent the first line of each new paragraph ½ an inch from the left margin.
  • Indent set-off quotations one full inch from the left margin.


  • Double-space the ENTIRE document, including headings, quotations, and the list of works cited.
  • Leave one space after a period or other concluding punctuation mark.

Heading & Title

  • MLA style does NOT require a cover sheet or a title page—instead, at the top of the first page, list each of the following items on a separate line, flush with the left margin:

    Your name
    Instructor’s name
    Course title and number
    Date of submission

  • Center and capitalize your title. Do NOT underline, bold-face, italicize, ALL-CAP, or otherwise specially format your title in any way.

Page Numbers

  • Insert your last name followed by the page number ½ an inch from the top of every page, flush with the right margin.


  • Staple you paper together with a single staple in the upper left-hand corner.
  • Do NOT submit papers in a plastic folder or binder.

If you use MS Word, you can download the Sample MLA Paper .doc and use it as a template for your own paper.

If you use another word processor, study the Sample MLA Paper .pdf and carefully replicate its format in your own document.

MLA Format in Microsoft Word