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Citing and Formatting

About MLA Style

MLA, or Modern Language Association, is primarily used in the humanities and liberal arts disciplines including English, Literature, Art, Philosophy, and Religion. It updates every few years, so be sure to check back for updates. MLA is currently on the Eighth edition. 

Formatting a Word Document in MLA

There are a few things to consider when formatting your paper for MLA in Microsoft Word. View the video for a quick walkthrough and refer to our check list:

  • 12 point font in a clear font (usually Times New Roman)
  • Using the Paragraph function, change the line spacing to double
  • and remove extra spacing before or after paragraphs
  • In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor's name, the course, and the date
  • Center the title in normal text below your information
  • Use the Insert tool to add a header with your last name and page number
  • Indent all new paragraphs with the tab key

Note: Be sure to set your margins to 1 inch (usually set by default). You may want to format your Word document before you ever start typing, that way you don't have to worry about it later. 

In-text Citations

The in-text citation is a brief reference that leads the reader to the full citation of the source on the Works Cited page. In-text citations generally contain the first element listed on the works cited page followed by the page number the information was found on. The first element is typically the author's last name, but when no author is present, you would use the work's title instead (use a shortened form if it's a long title). If the source doesn't have page numbers, only include the first element. 


Type Template Example Works Cited entry
Source with an author (Author's last name page number). (Stoker 110). Stoker, Bram. Dracula. Wordsworth Classics, 1993.
Source with no author or page number


("MLA Style"). "MLA Style." Purdue OWL Online Writing. Purdue University, 2016.

Always put your punctuation after the closed parentheses. 

Works Cited Page

The Works Cited page will be the last page(s) in your paper. This is where the full citations of the sources you consulted will be listed. MLA citations are made up of these Core Elements:

  1. Author.
  2. Title of Source.
  3. Title of Container,
  4. Other Contributors,
  5. Version,
  6. Number,
  7. Publisher,
  8. Publication Date,
  9. Location. 

For a thorough breakdown of each element, please refer to the MLA Handbook shown on the left.

Works Cited page with three entries.

















A few notes about formatting the Works Cited page:

  • It will also be double-spaced like the rest of your paper
  • it will have a hanging indent
  • label the page Works Cited and center it just like your paper title 
  • sources must be listed alphabetically by author (or the element listed first)
  • capitalize each word in source titles except for the articles (the, an) unless it's the first word of the title. 


Note: To change to a hanging indent, go to the Paragraph menu we used to change to double spacing. Under Indentation there is a Special drop down menu. Select Hanging, click OK and you're done!

Templates & Examples


Last name, First name. Title of Book. Publisher, Year of Publication.

Stoker, Bram. Dracula. Wordsworth Classics, 1993.

Journal Articles

Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Journal, Volume, issue, year, pages.

Krishnan, Lakshmi, and Daniel Marchalik. "Physicians, Oaths, and Vampires." The Lancet, vol. 394, no. 10203, 2019, pp. 1001-1001.


"Title of webpage." Title of entire site. Distributor of website. Date published. URL (without http://)

Lundman, Susan. "How to Make Vegetarian Chili." eHow, Accessed 6 July 2015.

Works Cited

"MLA Style." Purdue OWL Online Writing. Purdue University, 2016.