Microsoft Office/MLA format


  • research paper
  • MLA
  • APA
  • Parenthetical citations
  • Works cited
  • Line spacing
  • Paragraph spacing
  • Double-space
  • Header
  • Footer
  • Alignment
  • Shortcut keys
  • First-line indent
  • Ruler
  • First line indent marker
  • Left indent marker
  • AutoCorrect
  • Note reference mark
  • Footnote
  • Endnote
  • Note text
  • Automatic Page Breaks
  • Soft page breaks
  • Background repagination
  • Manual page break
  • Hard page break
  • Bibliographical list
  • Hanging indent
  • Hanging indent marker
  • Proofreading
  • Clipboard

Describe the MLA formatting for a research paper



MLA contains:

  • Header containing the authors last name followed by the page number
  • Double spaced
  • One inch boarders on all sides
  • Indent the first word of each paragraph 1/2 inch
  • Page one has a block for the paper information at the left margin one ince from the top of the page. It includes:
    • Your Name
    • Your Instructor
    • The course name
    • The date
  • Title centered one double space below the paper information
  • Author references in parentheses with the page number in the text were the information is given is called PARENTHETICAL CITATION
  • Footnotes are for explanatory notes with superscript numbers for references
  • Double space footnote text
  • Bibliography page is called WORKS CITED and is listed alphabetically
    • On a separate page
    • Lists sources referenced directly in the paper
    • "Works Cited" is centered, one inch from top of page
    • Double space all lines
    • Sources listed with a hanging indent
    • Start each source with the authors last name, or the title if the author is not available
    • Underline or italicize the title of each source

For anther source for help writing MLA formatting see:

Describe the APA formatting for a research paper


Check out this web site for some information:

Setting Line and Paragraph Spacing


Display the formatting marks:

  • LINE SPACING - is the vertical space between lines of text within a paragraph.
  • PARAGRAPH SPACING - is the vertical space between paragraphs. (by default 1.15)

For MLA we need to DOUBLE SPACE the paper. From the HOME tab click the Line Spacing Button and change it to 2.0. (this is in the paragraph section of the ribbon)

For MLA we need to double space between paragraphs as well. We will need to remove the extra spaces by going to the Line Spacing Button and clicking on REMOVE SPACE AFTER PARAGRAPH.

Formatting the Header of the paper


HEADER - text that is printed 1/2 inch from the top of every page of a document

FOOTER - text that is printed 1/2 inch from the bottom of every page of a document

The header of an MLA formatted document contains:

  • the authors last name
  • the page number

To create the header click on the INSERT tab. Click on HEADER, scroll down the list of the gallery. Click EDIT HEADER from the gallery, Click the HOME tab, Click the ALIGN RIGHT or press CTRL+R.

Type in your last name and then press the space bar. Click the INSERT tab, Click the PAGE NUMBER button - CURRENT POSITION - PLAIN NUMBER.

Close the header by double clicking back in the text of your document

Paper Layout for MLA


Set Paper to Double Spacing

  • Go to the HOME tab
  • Go to the Paragraph group
  • Click on the Line Spacing Button
  • Change the paper to 2.0

Set Paper to have NO Spaces After Each Paragraph

  • Go to the HOME tab
  • Go to the Paragraph Group
  • Click on the Line Spacing Button

Create the heading for the paper


The heading of an MLA formatted paper is on page one of the paper. It should contain the following information:

  • First and Last Name
  • The Instructors Name
  • The course you are writing the paper for
  • The date you wrote the paper

The heading should be place flush with the left side of the paper and be one inch from the top of the paper and left side. (if you set your margins to be one inch just start typing in the first line.

What are the parts of a research paper?

Steps to writing a research paper
  • Select a topic
  • Research and take notes on your topic. Make sure to keep the reference information. I usually write the bibliographies as I go. Noodlebib is an excellent source to help you write your references.
  • Organize your ideas with an outline, map, or some other device you are comfortable with.
  • Write a first draft
  • Proof read you paper and make notes of changes
  • Write a final draft
Parts of a Research Paper
  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Conclusion
  • Works Cited - References - make sure your sources are of quality. They should be reputable (No Wikipedia!) and have a current date.

Place your Title


Press enter down one double-spaced line. Then click your mouse button twice in the center of the paper to jump to the center. You could also use CTRL+E to center.

Type in your title of the paper:

Set First Line Indent

  • Open the Ruler by clicking on the View Ruler Button above the scroll bar on the right of the window
  • Slide the top triangle (First Line Indent Marker) over to 0.5 on the ruler

Create a quick style


In MLA formatting you need to indent the first line of each paragraph by 1/2 inch. To do this move the top triangle in the ruler, called the First Line Indent Marker. To use the sticks:

  • Type in the first paragraph of your research paper. This is the introductory paragraph.
  • Triple click the paragraph to choose the whole paragraph.
  • Right click on the chosen paragraph
  • Hover your mouse of the Styles option
  • Type in the name of the quick style you are creating
  • Click on OK
  • The new quick styles appears in the Styles section of the Home Tab ribbon

Auto Correcting


When you misspell a it will show up underlined in red or will auto correct when you press the spacebar or the enter key after it. After Word auto corrects it will mark the word. If you place your mouse back over the word you will see a blue box that gives you auto correcting options. You will be able to:

  • Change the word back to its previous spelling
  • Stop auto correcting the word
  • Set other auto correcting options (you can also get here by going to the office button and clicking on the button at the bottom of the window (WORD OPTIONS).

From here you can go to the Proofing option, then on the Auto Correct tab you can set up any word and its replacement.

Creating Citations


Create a reference for all sources used. If you are using an exact quote then use quotation marks. If you are paraphrasing you should still give the author credit, as the ideas are not yours.

To cite a reference in MLA and APA you will use PARENTHETICAL CITATIONS. This means you put the authors last name, and the page number in a set of parenthesis at the end of the sentence you are citing. Word will do much of the work for you.

Change the bibliography style from the REFERENCES tab. under Style in the Citations and Bibliography section change it to MLA.

Then click the INSERT CITATION button, and ADD NEW SOURCE.

Choose the type of source and then fill in the rest of the window. Click OK when you are done.

WORD does not include the page number in the parenthetical citation, so you will need to edit the citation. Right click the Citation that was created and click on EDIT CITATION, put the page numbers in the ADD PAGES section and click OK. The parenthetical citation goes on the inside of the period.

Creating Footnotes


In MLA formatting footnotes are used for explanations. When you use a footnote you will need to add a NOTE REFERENCE MARK or a superscribed number (a number that is raised above the rest of the text)to signify a note exists. A FOOTNOTE is a note that is located at the bottom of the page that has been referenced. A ENDNOTE is a note that is added to the end of the document. The actual text of the footnote or endnote is called the NOTE TEXT. To insert a footnote reference mark:

  • Go to the References Tab
  • Click the Insert Footnote button
  • Type your note text at the bottom of the page
  • Highlight the text
  • Click on the Style you created for MLA to change the footnote to the correct style

To insert a citation in the footnote

  • Go to the References Tab
  • Click the Insert Citation button
  • Click on the ADD NEW PLACEHOLDER command
  • Type a name for your tag
  • Click OK

Edit a Citation

  • Click on the drop down on the parenthetical citation
  • Click on Edit Source
  • Type in the information for this source
  • Click OK

NOTE: If you use the name of the author in the sentence, you do not need to put the authors name in the parenthetical citation.

To Remove the Author from a parenthetical citation

  • Click the drop down on the parenthetical citation
  • Click SUPPRESS AUTHOR check box
  • Click OK

Page Breaking

Soft page break

This is an automatic page break that occurs when you run out of room on one page, Word will automatically create and place your next text on the following page.

Hard page break

This is when you need to ensure that a page break occurs, like when you are going to a Works Cited or References page. To create a Hard Page Break press CTRL+ENTER. This is also a manual page break.

Background repagination

Automatic page break task, meaning when you are typing Word will continually recalculate the pages to ensure page breaks are created and inserted correctly.

Creating a Works Cited Page

  • Start a new page with a hard page break
  • Click in the center of the page and type: Works Cited
  • Press Enter
  • Insert the Bibliographies from the sources you have created
  • Go to the References Tab
  • In the Citations and Bibliographies group click the BIBLIOGRAPHY drop down
  • Click Insert Bibliography

Format them in MLA formatting

  • Highlight all of the bibliographies
  • Double space them
  • Make sure there is no space after the paragraphs
  • Create a hanging indent
    • Go to the ruler at the top of the page
    • Move the bottom triangle(hanging indent marker) over to 0.5

Finding a Replacing Text


From the HOME tab, in the Editing group at the far right, click REPLACE. A dialog box will pop up and ask for the word you want to replace and what you want to replace it with. Fill both in and then click replace all.

Counting Words


Click on the number of words in the status bar at the bottom of the window. This will display the information about the document like the number of words, number of paragraphs, and number of pages.

Spelling and Grammar Checking


From the Review tab you can click on the Spelling and Grammar checking button to have the document check and report its findings. If you want to turn on or off some of the options you need to go to the Office button and click on WORD OPTIONS. Go to the proofing section, then click on SETTINGS in the "When correction spelling and grammar in Word". From here you can turn on and off many grammar checking features depending on what your instructor is requiring.

Research Options in Word


In Word you can easily get to the research options by ALT+clicking on a word. It will automatically find the thesaurus with a list of synonyms for the word you are looking up.

Shortcut keys

Short Cut Key Strokes
Function Short cut
Align to the left side of the page CTRL+L
Align to the right side of the page CTRL+R
Align to the center of the page CTRL+E
Align to justified, flush with both the right and left CTRL+J
Hard Page Break CTRL+ENTER
Underline CTRL+U
Italics CTRL+LI
Selet all CTRL+A
Paste CTRL+V
Print CTRL+P
New Document CTRL+N
Move the Cursor Click with the mouse one time
Choose a word Double click
Choose a paragraph Triple click



Create a Research Paper that Compares MLA to APA document styles.

  • Using what you have learned in this module to write a research paper on the differences and similarities of the MLA and APA document styles.
  • The paper should be 400 - 500 words
  • Use the internet and this text to help with your paper. (Wikipedia is not a source)
  • Include at least two references
  • Includes one explanatory note as a footnote.
  • You should spell and grammar check the document.
  • Write the paper in APA format.


Resume Rubric
Standards 1 point 2 points 3 points 4 points 5 points
Covers all differences between APA and MLA Is missing four or more items Is missing three items Is missing two items Is missing one items Includes the title page versus the heading, the header, the references versus the works cited
Formatted according to APA style Poor Weak Fair Good Exemplary
Is 400 - 500 words in length Poor Weak Fair Good Exemplary
Has two quality cited references Poor Weak Fair Good Exemplary
Has one explanatory note Poor Weak Fair Good Exemplary
Has no spelling or grammatical errors Poor Weak Fair Good Exemplary