Introduction: MLA Format 8th Edition

Professors can be picky and the process to MLA format papers can be tricky. This tutorial will provide you with step-by-step instructions to help guide you through the process of formatting a paper in Microsoft Word, inputting in-text citations, and creating a Works Cited page using the latest MLA 8th edition.


  • Step 1: Materials
  • Step 2: Creating Proper Formatting in Microsoft Word
  • Step 3: Creating a Citation for a Book
  • Step 4: Creating a Citation for an Anthology
  • Step 5: Creating a Citation for a Scholarly Journal
  • Step 6: Creating a Citation for an Online Source
  • Step 7: Formatting the Works Cited Page in Microsoft Word
  • Step 8: Adding In-text Citations

Step 1: Materials

  • MacBook Pro
  • Microsoft Word 2013
  • Written Paper

Step 2: Creating Proper Formatting in Microsoft Word

1. Text needs to be set to Times New Roman and 12-point font for MLA formatting.

Note: If you already wrote the text you can use control (or command on MACs) + A to highlight all text then edit to adjust all text.

2. Margins need to be set to 1”. To access margins click on the page layout tab in Microsoft word and then page margins and set them to MLA standard

Note: Do not change gutter or gutter position.

3. Next we need to insert a page number header. Click on document elements tab and find Header & Footer. Under Header & Footer, you choose page number, top of page (header) and right alignment. Now type in your last name and put a space after to give room for the page number.

Note: Change header font to Times New Roman and 12 point.

4. MLA uses double spacing for all essays. To do this click on the home tab, go to the lines spacing button on the toolbar, and choose 2.0.

5. The essay information will be located at the top left of your first page. The information is listed below with the order of information as well:

Name (enter)

Professor’s name (enter)

Course Title (enter)

Date (Day Month Year) (enter).

Note: Make sure that the above information is using left alignment.

6. The title of your essay will be put on the next line using center alignment. The line adjustment buttons are located on the right-center of the home tab toolbar.

7. You can start your essay by clicking the tab button to give you an appropriate indentation (½”) before you start writing.

Note: Remember to use the tab key at the beginning of all paragraphs.

Step 3: Creating a Citation for a Book

  1. To cite books locate the author’s first and last name, the title of the book, the publisher, and the publication date.
  2. Format the citation using the following arrangement:

Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date.


Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Ballantine Books, 2009.

Note: For a book with more than one author, order the authors in the same way they are presented in the book. The first name given appears in last name, first name format; subsequent author names appear in first name last name format.

Example: Hart, Roderick P. and Suzanne Daughton.

Note: If there are three or more authors, list only the first author followed by the phrase et al.

Example: Daughton, Suzanne, et al.

Step 4: Creating a Citation for an Anthology

  1. To cite an entire anthology locate the author of the works name, the title of the selection, the title of the anthology, the editors name, the publisher, the publication year, and the page range.
  2. Format the citation using the following arrangement:

Last name, First name. “Title of Essay.” Title of Collection, edited by Editor’s Name(s),Publisher, Year, Page range of entry.


Hays, Mary. “Appeal to the Men of Great Britain on Behalf of Women.” British Literature 1780-1830. Mellor, Anne K., Richard E. Matlak. Boston: Heinle & Heinle, 1996. 38-41.

Step 5: Creating a Citation for a Scholarly Journal

  1. To cite a scholarly journal locate the author(s), the title of the article, title of the overall journal, the volume, the issue, the publication date, and the page range.
  2. Format the citation using the following arrangement:

Author(s). “Title of Article.” Title of Journal, Volume, Issue, Year, Pages.


Stafford, Pauline. “Women and the Norman Conquest.” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, vol. 4, 1994, pp. 221-249.

Note: To cite online scholarly journals you should provide the same information but also include the URL, DOI, or permalink to help readers located the source.


Dlova, N.C. “Skin Lightening Practices: An Epidemiological Study Of South African Women Of African And Indian Ancestries.” British Journal Of Dermatology, 2015, Consumer Health Complete – EBSCOhost, doi: 10.1111/bjd.13556. Accessed 1 Dec. 2016.

Step 6: Creating a Citation for an Online Source

When citing online sources you should try to locate the following information. Some of the sites will not offer all this information.

  • Author and/or editor names
  • Article name in quotation marks
  • Title of the website, project, or book in italics
  • Any version numbers available, including editions (ed.), revisions, posting dates, volumes (vol.), or issue numbers (no.).
  • Publisher information, including the publisher name and publishing date
  • Take note of any page numbers or paragraph numbers URL, DOI, or permalink
  • Date you accessed the material Remember to cite containers after your regular citation
  • A container is anything that is a part of a larger body of works
  1. To cite online sources you should include the URL or web address to help locate the source. MLA only requires the www. address, so eliminate all https:// when citing URLs.
  2. You should include the date that you accessed the webpage. In order to indicate this, type (Accessed) followed by the date (Day Month Year).
  3. Format the citation using the following arrangement:

Editor, author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site. Version number, Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available), URL, DOI or permalink. Date of access (if applicable).


Borjas, George. “The Immigration Debate We Need.” The New York Times. 27 February 2017, Accessed 2 March 2017.


  • To cite a specific page on a website list the author if known, followed by the information covered above for entire Web sites.
  • If the publisher is the same as the website name, only list it once.
  • When writing months that are longer than four letters abbreviate them using the first three letters of the month.

Step 7: Formatting the Works Cited Page in Microsoft Word

The Works Cited is the last page of the paper and is double-spaced. This page is used to give credit to the sources where you gathered information for your research paper.

To format the Works Cited page:

  1. Organize the citations in alphabetical order by the first letter of each citation.
  2. Highlight the citations and right click.
  3. Click the (paragraph) option in the menu.
  4. Click the (special) option and in the drop down menu choose (hanging).
  5. Click (OK).

Step 8: Adding In-Text Citations

In-text citations are a vital part of any research paper because most the information that makes up your paper will be from the work of others. Information that is not your own must be credited to the author in order to avoid plagiarism, which is a serious offense in the world of academia.

An in-text citation should follow every sentence that contains information or arguments/ideas/thoughts that are not your own. Sentences that are paraphrased or that include direct quotes should have a citation at the end.

To create an in-text citation:

1. Find the name of the author, article title, or website name of the source who provided the information used in your paper

Note: This information can be found in your Works Cited page

2. Find the page number you found the information on

Note: For websites you do not need to provide paragraph numbers or page numbers

3. Put parentheses around the author’s last name/source title and the page number

4. Add the period of the sentence after the completed citation

An in-text citation should look like this → (Author pg#) or (Article Title) or (Website Name)

The full citation of the sources used in your text should be located in the Works Cited page; your professor should be able to match the author and source names in your text with those in your Works Cited.