Standard College Essay Format

Font styling and size are used to signal prominence.

Balance No internal heading level should have only one instance.

For example, if you have one level 1 heading, you need to have a second level 1 heading.

Note: These instructions apply to all versions of Word for Mac and for the 2003 version of Word for Windows.

I haven’t yet updated them to include instructions for the 2007 version of Word for Windows, but the tools should nevertheless be easy to find if you look around on the toolbar at the top.

This guide explains how to format your documents in Microsoft Word so that they follow the standard rules for formatting academic papers as described in most MLA and APA style books for undergraduate writing.

These rules apply to most of the papers you will submit in your college classes, but in some cases your professors will want you to follow specific guidelines that may differ from those below.Using unusual or highly distinctive formatting, on the other hand, suggests that your previous schooling did not adequately prepare you for university work.Consider the impact of unusual formatting: not only does it call attention to your paper in a way that might not be positive, professors might also see it as a sign that you’re trying to artificially inflate page length.Quotes longer than 4 lines should be written as a block of text a half an inch from the left margin. Include your last name and page numbers in the upper right-hand corner of every page.An MLA research paper does not need a title page, but your instructor may require one. The page numbers will be one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin.Rule: Papers submitted for review or grading should have 1” margins all around.This should be the default for Word, but if your default setting is to have left and right margins of 1.25”, change your default. Instructions: Go to the Format menu, drag down to Document, change the margins, and the click on the Default button and accept the change to the Normal template.(The exceptions are the paper or chapter title and the headings for notes and the list of works cited.) You should also generally have text under each heading.Capitalization Capitalize headings like the titles of works, as explained in section 1.2 of the MLA Handbook.Note that a heading labeled “1” requires a subsequent heading labeled “2,” and a heading labeled “a” requires a subsequent heading labeled “b.” Position In a project that is not professionally designed and published, headings should be flush with the left margin, to avoid confusion with block quotations.(The exception is the paper or chapter title, which is centered in MLA style.) Spacing For readability, it is helpful to include a line space above and below a heading, as shown in this post.

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