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How to Format Your MLA Cover Page


Formatting your MLA paper is important to the overall presentation of your paper. As part of the learning process, your teacher will require you to format your essay by following MLA rules. The cover page is critical to your overall paper as it’s the first impression your instructor and readers will see. However, in MLA, a formal cover page is not required.

Student Formatting his MLA Cover Page

Formatting Rules

Fortunately, it’s easy to format margins and fonts using word processing programs like Word or even Google Docs. Since you do not have to provide a separate cover page, unlike APA style, follow the same formatting rules as the reset of the paper. Formatting rules for research papers depend on the type of editorial style. However, most styles use the same margins and fonts.


  •             Top & Bottom: One inch
  •             Left & Right:    One-inch

Indent the first sentence of a paragraph .5 inches.

Indent block quotes another .5 inches from that indentation.


Times New Roman 12 point is the recommended font size.

Set to left margin and do not use right justify option.

Double-space each line, including:

Space once after a period.

Note: Your teacher may require two – follow his/her rules.

Formatting the First Page

Since you’re not required to provide a separate cover page, you’ll need to place your name, teacher’s name, course and date on the top of the first page.

Include the page number on the first page:

  • .5 inches from the top
  • Right justified. Your last name and page number
  • Do not use commas or p. for page


Avila 1


Your information is placed one inch from the top:
Left justified and double-space

Your name
Professor’s last name
Course Name/Number
10 June 2019

Center the tile of your report two spaces after the report date

Indent the first sentence in the paragraph .5 inches.

Page Numbers:

All the page numbers are formatted .5 inches from the top of the page.

Last name and page number

Note: Insert a header so you don’t have to type it in every page.


Formatting styles for publishing were developed before desktop publishing became common. Now, due to the changing publishing field, publishers may have different requirements than writing for a school or college paper.

MLA Style is used often in middle and high school papers as it is the simplest style to use. It’s designed to be flexible and easy to use. However, particularly with formatting, your teacher may prefer a different way of numbering or creating the first page. Review your assignment rubric and follow those instructions.

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About the author

Adrienne Mathewson

Adrienne Mathewson, Editor-in-Chief of Bibliography.com, is an Information Professional with a Master’s in Library, Information & Science from San José State University with an emphasis on information literacy and scholarly publishing. She is a certified librarian through the State of New Mexico.

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