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MLA Style Quick Guide for NWACC Assignments: Using Microsoft Word


These are the basic guidelines for formatting an MLA style student paper.

When choosing the explainer, make sure to select the correct version of word - the desktop version of Microsoft Word 2016 or the online Word 365. Phone and tablet based apps and the MAC version of Word may be different

Pro Tip: Do not use the insert references function provided by Word to create your Works Cited page. You can do this better on your own!

Want the desktop version of Word? It's free for current NWACC students at You can access Microsoft Office 365 and download the desktop software and mobile apps using your myNWACC username/password. If you need help, contact the IT Help Desk.

Academic Literacy Workshop Materials

Basic Formatting

Document Settings

  • 1 inch margins
  • Double spaced
  • 0 points after paragraphs
    • Home ribbon: select Paragraph Settings. Spacing -- After
  • 12-point font (Times New Roman preferred)
  • Indent every paragraph


  • Insert a header in the upper right corner
    • Use the Insert ribbon: Header -- Blank.
    • Align right
    • Use Heater & Footer Tools bar: Insert Page #
  • Start the header on page 1 and use on every page. This is called a running header.
  • The running header is:
    • your last name
    • a space
    • the page number 

Name and Title Block

Name, Course, Date

  • Begin with 4 standard elements, double spaced.

Your Name

Your Instructor's Name

Class or Course Name

Date the Paper is Due

  • Instructor's Name: Use your instructor's full name and include Dr. if they have one. For example, Dr. Lindsay Hutton or Instructor Rachel Ackerman.
  • Class / Course Name: Your instructor may have a preference so check. For example, does she prefer English 1013 or Composition I? They are the same class. If no preference is stated, MLA recommends English 1013.
  • Date: Use the paper's due date. Dates are written Day Month Year, for example 18 September 2018.


  • Center the title on the page on the line immediately after the date. 
  • Type in regular font without bold, etc.
  • Use title case. Title case capitalizes the first letter of each word with the exception of articles (the, an, a) and prepositions (of, with, on, in, etc.). For example: The Rise and Fall of the Mouse Pad


In-Text Citations

Formatting In-Text Citations

  • Insert after the quote.
  • Write the author's last name. Space. Page number. 
  • Enclose in parenthesis.
  • Put the period after.
  • If there page numbers, as with a web site, just skip that part.
  • If there is no author, use the first few words of the title as it's written in the Works Cited page.
(Rodgers 51).
(MLA Style Quick Guide).

Works Cited

Works Cited Page

  • A new page at the end of the paper
  • Double spaced
  • Hanging indentation
    • The first line starts at the left margin
    • Each following line is indented 0.5"
  • Centered on top line: Works Cited
  • Alphabetize the list by author. Use the title, if there is no author
  • For web sources, remove the "https://" or "http://"
  • Long URLs can be formatted and forced onto separate lines by inserting No-Width Optional Breaks, which keeps the links functional as hyperlinks that can be clicked to take the reader direclty to the original source
    • Place cursor at point of URL that you want to break
    • Use Insert ribbon: Symbol --> More Symbols. Click on tab Special Characters. Scroll down to select: No-Width Optional Break. Insert. 
    • May require some trial and error to get the break in a good place so part of the URL is on one line and the rest is on the next line
  • Check with your instructor to see if links (URLs and DOIs) should be kept active and clickable, which is Microsoft Word's default (blue, underlined font) or if they want you to remove the hyperlinks
    • In general, NWACC instructors prefer active links when the paper is submitted online and links removed when the paper is printed to be turned in.
    • If no preference is given, MLA recommends removing hyperlinks (no color, no underline)
    • Right-click on hyperlink. Select: Remove hyperlink.

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