- Make sure your paper is formatted appropriately for your audience.
- Ensure that your paper is formatted to the style your teacher requires. (Some teachers have specific stylistic preferences.) If you’re not sure, then ask.
Make sure that your paper is formatted correctly. Your teacher (or whoever is receiving your paper ultimately) may have some specific guidelines that you’ll need to know. If possible, ask him/her for a sample essay.
Here are some general best practices. Essays should be:
- Double spaced
- 12-point font (stick with Times New Roman; it’s the easiest.)
- 1-inch margins on the top, sides, and bottom
- Left justified – Except for the title, which is centered, and the heading (last name and page number) which is right justified.
Here’s how you do each of those things in Apple’s Pages:
- Double spaced – Choose the spacing icon and select 2.0.
- 12-point font – Choose “Times New Roman” from the font selection bar and “12” from the size specification bar.
- 1-inch margins – This is the default for Pages documents, but if you need to find the setting, choose the “Inspector” icon and navigate to the first page (the “Document” page) of the panel that appears. From there, you can change the margins to 1.0 on all sides.
- Left justified – Choose the justification from the text alignment panel.
- A traditional MLA header has your name, your teacher’s name, the class and period, and the date.
Here’s how the header (your name, your teacher’s name, the class and period, and the date) and heading (last name and page number) should be formatted for MLA style:
Here’s an example:
The heading is fairly simple to format. Just make sure your word processor is in the right font (Times New Roman), is double spaced, and left justified.
The tricky part is the header (your last name and page number in the upper right corner).
Here’s how you make a heading using Apple’s Pages:
- Put your mouse over the part of the page where the header should be. A box will appear. Put your cursor in the box by clicking.
- Type your last name (making sure that the text is in the correct font (Times New Roman is the most standard font for papers), in the correct size, and right justified).
- To add the page number, select Insert >> Page Number, and Pages will automatically add the page number where your cursor is blinking. This number will change automatically to match whatever page you are on. For example, when you make it to the second page, the header will automatically change to “Last name 2”.