Skip to Main Content

MLA Style

Text (Body)

1. Begin the text on page 1 & indent first line when starting a new paragraph

On the Home tab go to Paragraph and click the arrow.

Image showing the paragraph arrow

Find Indentation and change Special to First line.

Image showing the indentation of paragraphs

Then, your paragraph will be half inch (0,5") or 1,27 cm indented.

An image showing the indentation of the paragraph

2. Use section headings

MLA Style specifies three levels of section headings.

  • Level 1 is the highest level and denotes the start of a major new section.
  • Level 2 headings are one level lower and are used to split a major section into sub-sections.
  • Level 3 headings are used to create more specific sub-sections and sub-sub-sections.

Note that using all three levels of section headings is not required, so don’t feel any pressure to do so. You should only use as many headings and levels of headings as needed to neatly organize your paper.

Each type of section heading is formatted differently. Check the following table which demonstrates how to format headings in MLA Style.




Flush Left, Bold, Title Case Heading

         Text begins as a new paragraph.


Flush Left, Title Case Heading

         Text begins as a new paragraph.


Flush Left, Italic, Title Case Heading

         Text begins as a new paragraph.

3. Indent a block quotation

If you want to include in your paper a block quotation, start writing it on a new line and indent the whole block 0,5"(half inch) or 1,27cm from the left margin. If there are additional paragraphs within the quotation, indent the first line of each paragraph an additional 0.5" (half inch) or 1,27cm. Double-space the entire block quotation.

An image showing a block quotation

4. Insert a page break 

When you finish writing the text of your paper, go to the Insert tab to add a page break to ensure that the Works cited list of your paper will start from a new page.

An image showing the page break

Once you’ve done that, you have finished formatting the text (body), and you are ready to move on to setting up the Works cited list of your paper. If you want to include tables and figures in your paper these should be embedded within the text after they have been mentioned. To find out how to present tables and figures in your paper visit the Formatting Your Research Project chapter of the MLA handbook.