Directions for Making the MLA Format
There are basically 4 things you have to do in order to
format for MLA and then reuse your paper so you do not have to reformat each
time you write a paper. Download File
They are: making 1 inch margins, doing last name and page number with the header, making the line spacing within the paper all double space, and saving the first document as a "Web Template" for reuse. I will give instructions for both PC and Macintosh computers on all four below.
MLA format requires that you have 1 inch margins on the top, bottom and both right and left sides. To do this you do not want to start dragging the indent markers at the top of the page because this is not exact. What you should do is go to the File menu at the top of the page and scroll down the drop down menu to Page Set Up and select it. A dialogue box opens that is set by default for 1 inch at the top and bottom and 1.25 inches on the sides. All you need to do is press the little down arrow until the 1.25 on both sides reads 1 inch. It is as simple as that. You could actually set up the computer to have those margins for all documents by clicking on the Default button.
MLA format requires that you have 1 inch margins on the top, bottom and both right and left sides. To do this you do not want to start dragging the indent markers at the top of the page because this is not exact. What you should do is go to the Format menu at the top of the page and select Document. A dialogue window opens that is set by default for 1 inch at the top and bottom and 1.25 inches on the sides. All you need to do is press the little down arrow until both sides read 1 inch. It is as simple as that. You could actually set up the computer to have those margins for all documents by clicking on the Default button.
2. Page Number Header
Each page in MLA format has to have a page number in the upper right corner with your last name to the left of it separated by a space. The reason for this (they say) is so that if the paper somehow gets separated, the reader will know which pages belong to whom. So to do this go to the View drop down menu at the top of the page, scroll down and select Header and Footer. A dotted line box called Header appears at the top of the page with the insertion point at the left. We need to get it to the right so press tab twice and it will position itself where we want it. Do not type in a 1. I repeat, do not type in a 1, or you will have all page ones. On the floating pallet with the icons on it the farthest small icon on the left with the bent over corner is called Insert Page Number. If you place your pointer on it, that name will pop out. Click on that and a 1 will appear on the page. Now you need to put your last name to the left of the page number. You can either press the left arrow to glide over the top of the 1 or you can use the mouse to click the insertion point to the left. Now press the space bar once and either use the left arrow or the mouse to put the insertion point to the left of the space. Then type your last name only and press the close window. You are done. Be sure not to put the rest of the heading in the header spot. You only want your last name and the page number.
The procedure for the Mac is exactly the same as for the PC.
3. Consistent Double Space
MLA format calls for consistent double spacing throughout the essay from your name in the left side heading all the way to the end of the Works Cited page (if there is one). This means no extra spaces in between paragraphs or above or below the title. The best way to make sure you are doing this is to turn on the formatting paragraph markings that show all format changes on the page. That way all tabs, spaces, and paragraphs will show up on the computer but will not be printed. Most programs have a paragraph icon in the tool bar that if you click it, it will toggle on and off these markings. To set the page for double space throughout first make sure that all the text (or paragraph marks) are selected, then go to the Format menu at the top of the page and select Paragraph from the drop down menu. The third option on the dialogue box is Spacing, and you want to click the little triangle next to Line Spacing to select Double from the drop down menu. Then click OK and you will now have set up double spacing. Be sure to use all the lines in the document since that is the only way to have consistent double spacing throughout. With word processors you do not have to press the return key when you get to the end of a line. The processor does it for you . If you do, you will have all kinds of formatting problems.
The Mac procedure is exactly the same as the PC. One difference is that you can actually have line spacing icons in your toolbar (or you can put them there). This will save you the trouble of going to the dialogue box every time you want to change the spacing. You can simple select the text and click on the double space icon.
4. Saving as Web Template
Once you go to all the trouble to set this up just right, you want to hold on to all that work. Besides it is very easy to forget a detail or make a mistake with future assignments. So a good method of making use of your careful formatting is to save a document that is set up perfectly and title it "MLA Template." Every time you want to do a new assignment open up this document, go to the File drop down menu and select Save As. Then give the document the name of the new assignment you are working on so you can find it and click on Save. You will now have two documents where there used to be only one; MLA Template will still be there for future use, and the new assignment will be there too.
Mac is the same as PC.
To see how the page would actually look, go to MLA Format Example on this page and take a look. You might want to print it so that you can use it as a model.