Google Docs is the go-to word processor for millions of users throughout the globe. We can create different types of documents on a Microsoft Word or Google Docs document. One such type of document is a research paper. Writing a research paper is tough, but what might be even more challenging is having the MLA format on Google Docs for a research paper.  

MLA is a standard research paper format developed by the Modern Language Association. It is one of the standard academic styles of writing used primarily by students and researchers from the Arts and Humanities background. Google Docs allows users to create the MLA format using a Google template, or you can also build it manually to have total control over the document’s formatting style. You can check out how to add page numbers in Google Docs since you need to add them in the MLA format.

What is the MLA format?

While any instructor might have their own specific MLA formatting rules, none can ignore the basic ones.

  • Size and Font: 12-point Times New Roman
  • Double-spaced text with no extra spaces between paragraphs
  • Page margin: One-inch page margins on all four sides of the paper
  • Header content: Your last name and a page number in the top-right of every page
  • Your full name, the instructor’s name, the course name, and the due date in the top-left of the first page
  • The entire essay is double spaced
  • Title: Centered above the body text
  • Body paragraphs begin with a 1/2 inch indent
  • The Works Cited list, also known as a reference list with source type or bibliography at the end of the paper

There are two ways to create an MLA format on Google Docs in Google Drive. Let’s take a look at the quick guide in detail.

How To Setup MLA Format On Google Docs

The MLA format makes documents easier to read, thanks to its spacing rules and indentation option. A document written in MLA format will provide the reader every little detail from an in-text citation source to author details. Let’s check out how we can use the Google Docs MLA format –

How To Create An MLA Format Using Ready-Made Template

This method is the easier one of the two. All you need to know is where to find the MLA format template and how to add it to the entire research paper on Google Docs.

To begin with, open Google Docs from the Google Chrome browser.

Open Google Docs
Open Google Docs

Then, on the Google Docs home page, select Template Gallery in the top right corner.

Click on the Template Gallery
Click on the Template Gallery

Then, choose the Report MLA format from the bunch of available templates.

Open the MLA template for mla format on google docs
Open the MLA template

If you have already opened a blank Google Docs file and you want to add a template, you can do that too. Go to the File menu, click on New, and choose the From template option from the Google Docs menu.

Open Template in a new blank document
Open Template in a new blank document

You will be taken to the Templates gallery, where you can select the format. Once you do these steps, your Google Doc MLA format template will be ready for use.

How To Create The MLA Format Manually

If you have been wondering how to do MLA format on Google Docs manually, follow these steps to create one easily.

1. Change The Font And Font Size

After opening a blank new document, the font and font size are the first thing to change. The standard MLA format font size is 12, so set it to 12. Select Times New Roman as the font. Change it from the toolbar in the Google Docs document as shown below.

Change the font and font size
Change the font and font size

2. Set The Document Margins

Next, you need to create a proper margin on all four sides for your MLA format on Google Docs. The standard margin measurement is One-inch margins. 1-inch margins for the left, right, top, and bottom. This is also the default margin size Google Docs uses for every document, so you don’t need to make any changes here.

However, if you wish to check the bottom, top, right, or left margin size, go to the File menu and click on Page Setup from the dropdown menu.

Open Page Setup and check margins
Open Page Setup and check margins

In the dialog box that appears, you can check the header margins plus margins for all four sides.

Check the margins for mla format on google docs
Check the margins

You can see the inch mark margin already set. If you make any changes, don’t forget to click OK to save them.

3. Create An MLA Format Header

The next step is to create an MLA format header in Google Docs. To start with, click on the Insert menu from the menu bar and choose ‘Headers and footers’ from the drop-down list of options. Then, select Header from the nested menu.

 Insert header in the document
Insert header in the document

Once the header is inserted, notice that the default font and font size for it are different. Change the font to Times New Roman and Size 12.

Users can also remove the header in Google Docs at any instant if they wish to do so. However, removing headers in an MLA format on Google Docs isn’t recommended.

Now, you need to align the blinking cursor in the document header. To do that, press the Enter key twice on your keyboard. Then click on the Right Align icon from the toolbar to align the content as per MLA standards.

A header contains the last name of the author and a page number on the top right corner of every page. Enter your last name and press the Space bar button twice on your keyboard.

 Enter your last name and press Space bar twice
Enter your last name and press Space bar twice

To insert the MLA format page numbers, click on the Insert drop-down menu and select – Page number. Then, select the ‘Top of the page’ option from the nested menu.

Insert page number in the top right corner
Insert page number in the top right corner

You can click anywhere outside the header to stop editing it. Now, the MLA format on Google Docs has a header, footer, and page number.

4. Insert Line Spacing

Line spacing is another important aspect of an MLA format document. You need to setup Line Spacing to double spaced.

Click on the Format menu and choose ‘Line and paragraph spacing’ from the “line spacing” drop-down menu. Then, select Double from the nested menu.

Insert double line spacing for mla format on google docs
Insert double line spacing

If you want to skip this detour, click on the ‘Line and paragraph spacing’ option from the toolbar and choose Double from the drop-down menu.

Use the line spacing shortcut for mla format google docs
Use the line spacing shortcut

The basic aspect of this step is to change the default 1.15 spacing to Double spacing in a Google Docs document using the spacing button or the Format menu.

5. Enter First Page Information

The page formatting of the Google Docs MLA format is complete. Now, you need to enter the details of your research paper as specified in the MLA standards.

You need to enter these four details in the first four lines –

  • First name and last name,
  • Instructor’s name,
  • Course name, and
  • Due date.

Once you enter these details, type the course title of your paper. The first letter of all Common nouns and Proper nouns should be capitalized. Make sure you don’t use Bold, Italic, and Underline options in the paper title. Also, the title shouldn’t be entirely in capital letters. The use of full-stop or period is prohibited in the title block.

You also need to use the central align button to position the title in the center of the document.

Press the Enter key after you type the title and click the Align left icon if your cursor isn’t positioned on the left side in the MLA format on Google Docs.

Enter the first-page information for mla format google docs
Enter the first-page information

Now, press the Tab key to add an indent, and then start typing the main content. By using the Tab key, users can add a ½ inch indent for a paragraph. This indent must be added for every paragraph in the document.

6. How To Set MLA Works Cited In Google Docs

Work citation is nothing but the bibliography of your research paper. It consists of all the resources you have used for your research essay. An MLA-formatted paper ends only when you insert a bibliography and citation details in it.

The Works Cited section, also known as bibliography, comes at the end of the MLA format on Google Docs. When it comes to citation styles, it is placed in a centered position. There are several ways to cite your sources to create your research paper in the Google Docs MLA format.

You can follow the preferred citation format given below to list down the citation sources:

Author name (last, first). "Title." Publication, Date (day, month, year). URL. Accessed date.

You need to mention the title in the quotation mark to get the format right. In addition, all citation entries must have a hanging indent. It means that each line after the first line is indented like a paragraph. You can also check how to do hanging indent on Google Docs using the indentation options for this purpose.

If you don’t wish to enter flawless citations manually, you can go for a citation tool to have the job quickly done for you.

Can You Create MLA Format On Mobile?

Unfortunately, the MLA format cannot be created on mobile. We can only change the font and font size on the Google Docs mobile app, but there are no options for changing the document margins and the line spacing.

Final Thoughts

MLA style formatting may not be the easiest task you take on if you are new to the world of writing research papers. However, Google Docs can help you ensure your paper is perfect with a pre-formatted template and correct heading styles. You can opt for a template of the MLA format on Google Docs if you aren’t much into having deeper control over the formatting of your document.

On the flip side, you may need to know Google Docs in and out if you wish to create an MLA Google Docs template that caters to your needs. From the First-page title information to the citations tool, there are multiple customizations to take care of when you are creating a template all by yourself. However, you also have the freedom to eliminate any element you don’t require in the document. Also, do note that the MLA format cannot be created on Google Sheets.