As if writing a paper wasn’t difficult enough, you often have to deal with precise formatting standards. Have you been instructed that your paper must be formatted in MLA? Do you know what it implies or how to use it? Don’t worry, we’re here to assist you.
We’ll go through what the MLA format is and how to apply it to your Google Docs papers using a template and manually.
What Is the MLA Format?
MLA is an abbreviation for the Modern Language Association. According to the MLA website, it was founded in 1883 with the goal of “strengthening the study and teaching of language and literature.” As part of its efforts, the organisation releases a style guide that many educational institutions and companies use.
If you are required to utilize the MLA format, be sure you understand what is expected of you. Although the MLA sells a guidebook, your school or organization’s standards may be somewhat different.
The following are the essential formatting factors to consider when setting up a Google Docs document to utilize the MLA format, as extracted from the MLA Handbook:
- All sides of the text should have a one-inch margin.
- A legible font with a size range of 11 to 13 points, where the regular style contrasts sharply with the italic. Times New Roman is an excellent option, but it is not required.
- The whole document should be double-spaced.
- The first line of each paragraph should be indented half an inch from the left margin.
- Enter your surname, followed by a space, and then consecutive page numbers on the right side of the header. This should be flush with the right margin and half an inch from the top.
- Place your name, your instructor’s name, the course information, and the date one inch from the top and flush with the left margin on the first page. This should be double-spaced as well.
- Place and center your title on the first page, behind the information above. It does not need any formatting, such as bold or underline.
- Cite your sources on a new page at the conclusion of the document. “Works Cited” should be centered and one inch from the top of the page. Each entry should be flush with the left margin, with any extra lines indented half an inch.
How to Apply the MLA Format in Google Docs With a Template
Google Docs provides a variety of templates to eliminate the need to manually set up standard formatting guidelines. One such template is for the MLA format, which is convenient. Here’s how to put it to use:
- With a Google Doc open, choose File > New > From template.
- This will launch the template gallery. Scroll down to the Education section.
- Select MLA Report. This opens an MLA-formatted document with fake text for you to replace.
- The EasyBib add-on, an automated bibliographical citation generator compatible with the template, is described in the right-hand sidebar. If you wish to utilize it, click Add to Docs; otherwise, click the X in the top-right corner to dismiss the sidebar.
Remember that you may need to follow somewhat different MLA guidelines than those provided by the template, so double-check everything before submitting your paper.
How to Apply the MLA Format in Google Docs Manually
You may also do the MLA formatting by yourself. This is a useful alternative if your needs change significantly from what the template provides, or if you want to be absolutely confident that you’ve followed all formatting guidelines.
1. One-Inch Page Margin
By default, Google Docs utilizes a one-inch margin on all sides of the page. You may, however, double-check this:
- Click File from the top menu.
- Select Page setup.
- Make sure that everything in Margins is set to 1. If Google Docs uses centimeters, the answer should be 2.54.
- Click OK.
2. Readable Typeface
Google Docs’ default font is Arial at size 11. Remember that MLA demands a legible typeface, not necessarily Times New Roman at size 12, though this is what many people prefer. As a result, here’s how to alter the font in Google Docs:
- Select Times New Roman from the Font dropdown in the top toolbar.
- Select 12 from the Font size option in the top toolbar.
To apply double-spacing to all your text:
- In the top toolbar, click the Line & paragraph spacing button. It’s to the left of the list buttons and to the right of the alignment buttons.
- Select Double.
4. Page Numbers
Your surname and page numbers must appear to the right of the header:
- To modify the header, double-click at the top of the document.
- Because your header is distinct from the remainder of your page, you must reapply your font face and size.
- Click Right align on the top toolbar, or press Ctrl + Shift + R.
- Follow your surname with a space.
- Go to Insert > Page numbers from the top menu and choose the diagram in the upper-right that displays the page numbers.
5. Course Information and Title
On page one, provide the following information about yourself, your course, and the title of your document:
- Select Left align from the top toolbar in the document’s body, or press Ctrl + Shift + L.
- Enter the relevant course information, then press Enter to enter a new line.
- After the last information (typically the date), hit Enter to create a line break, then choose Center align from the top toolbar (or press Ctrl + Shift + E).
- Titles should be written in title case, with no additional formatting.
6. Indent Paragraphs
Every paragraph’s initial line must be indented by half an inch:
- If you haven’t previously, insert a line break after your title and return to Left align (Ctrl + Shift + L).
- Select Format > Align and indent > Indentation settings from the top toolbar.
- Select First line from the Special indent dropdown.
- Input 0.5 inches or 1.27cm.
7. Works Cited
Finally, your list of works referenced must start on a new page, with a half-inch indent for overflow lines:
- Insert > Break > Page break from the top toolbar, or click Ctrl + Enter.
- Select Center align from the top toolbar (or press Ctrl + Shift + E) and input the Works Cited heading.
- Return to the Left align mode (Ctrl + Shift + L) and type in all of your citations.
- Select Format > Align and indent > Indentation choices from the top toolbar after selecting all of the citations.
- Select Hanging from the Special indent dropdown.
- Input 0.5 inches or 1.27cm.
Turn In Your MLA Formatted Paper With Confidence
The only thing left to do now that you’ve completed all of the essential formatting is to write. Google Docs automatically saves your work, so you don’t have to worry about losing anything. Just keep note of everything you want to mention in the conclusion. Best wishes on your paper!
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