How to Format an Essay with Microsoft Word

Follow these steps to put a smile on your instructor's face – and more importantly, to correctly format your essay.

MLA

  1. Click on the Microsoft Word icon on the computer screen
  2. After Microsoft Word loads, click on "Format" at the top of the screen and then on "Paragraph"
  3. In the "Paragraph" box, click inverted triangle next to "Line Spacing" and then click on "Double" from the drop down menu
  4. Click on "View" at top of screen and then click on "Header and Footer"
  5. You should now be in the "Header" box.  Hold down the "Ctrl" button (on bottom of keyboard near the space bar), and press down the letter "R" once.  The cursor should now be at the right hand side of the Header box
  6. Type in your last name (ex. Doe) and press the space-bar once
  7. In the blue and gray "Header and Footer" box, click on the white page icon (the one with the single pound sign: ex. # ) on the extreme left
  8. Click on the "Close" button.  You should now see your last name and the numeral 1 in a light gray in the upper right hand corner of your document (ex. Doe 1).
  9. Wipe the sweat off your brow
  10. Type in you first and last name (ex. Jane Doe) and press the "Enter" key
  11. Type your Instructor's name (ex. Dr. Bordelon) and press the "Enter" key
  12. Type your course name, number, and section (ex. English 021-06) and press the "Enter" key
  13. Click on "F12" function key at the top of the keyboard.  Two steps here:
    1. type in your full name and essay # (example: Emily Dickinson Essay #1)
    2. press the "Enter" key
  14. Shout "Yahoo!" really loud
  15. Click on "Insert" at top of the screen and then on "Date and Time"
  16. Click on the date in the month, day, year format (ex. July 15, 1999) and press the "Enter" key
  17. Almost there . . . . Hold down the "Ctrl" key (on bottom of keyboard near the space bar) and press the letter "E" once."  The cursor should now be at the middle of your screen.  Two steps here:
    1. type in you title (Ex: How to Set Up MLA Format in Microsoft Word) and
    2. press the "Enter" key . (Note: do not bold or underline your title and do not put it in quotation marks)
  18. Press the "Back Space" key once and then the "Tab" key
  19. Begin typing essay.

Before ending your work session, remember to save back up copy to A:drive or flash drive.

APA

  1. Click on the Microsoft Word icon on the computer screen
  2. After Microsoft Word loads, click on "Format" at the top of the screen and then on "Paragraph"
  3. In the "Paragraph" box, click inverted triangle next to "Line Spacing" and then click on "Double" from the drop down menu
  4. Click on "View" at top of screen and then click on "Header and Footer"
  5. You should now be in the "Header" box.  Hold down the "Ctrl" button (on bottom of keyboard near the space bar), and press down the letter "R" once.  The cursor should now be at the right hand side of the Header box
  6. Type short title of essay and press the space-bar once
  7. In the blue and gray "Header and Footer" box, click on the white page icon (the one with the single pound sign: ex. # ) on the extreme left
  8. Click on the "Close" button.  You should now see your last name and the numeral 1 in a light gray in the upper right hand corner of your document (ex. Doe 1).
  9. Wipe the sweat off your brow
  10. Press enter until the center of the page, hold down the ctrl key and press E once: then type in your title
  11. Press enter twice and type  first and last name (ex. Jane Doe)
  12. Go down to end of ype your course name, number, and section (ex. English 021-06) and press the "Enter" key, type professor's name, enter, and the date.
  13. Hold down ctrl and press the letter S.  Two steps here:
    1. type in your full name and essay # (example: Emily Dickinson Essay #1)
    2. press the "Enter" key
  14. Shout "Yahoo!" really loud
  15. Almost there . . . . Hold down the "Ctrl" key and press the "Enter" key. You should be on a new page.   Hold down Ctrl and press letter "E" once."  Type title
  16. Press the "Back Space" key once and then the "Tab" key
  17. Begin typing essay.

Before ending your work session, remember to save back up copy to A:drive or flash drive.

How to Add a Works Cited or List of References Page

  1. Scroll or page down to the end of your last paragraph
  2. Hold down the "Ctrl" key (on bottom of keyboard near the space bar) and press the "Enter" key once
  3. You've just created a "hard page break" that will keep your Works Cited page separate from the rest of your essay.
  4. Four steps in one:
    1. hold down the "Ctrl" key (on bottom of keyboard near the space bar);
    2. press the letter "E" once (The cursor should now be at the middle of your screen);
    3. type "Works Cited" if using MLA citation or "References" if using APA (Note: do not bold or underline it); and
    4. press the "Enter" key
  5. Press the "Back Space" key once and begin adding your entries in alphabetical order.
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