MLA Format Google Docs

by Stephen on January 14, 2014 · 68 comments

This tutorial will show you how to do MLA Format using Google Docs on Google Drive. It is very easy and we are going to accomplish the following settings:

There are two ways, one is to use a template with all the settings preconfigured and the other way is to preform the settings yourself.

Method 1: Using a Template:

  1. On the Google Docs menu, click on File => New => From Template.
  2. In the newly opened window, search forMLA Format“.
  3. Many results will appear and they are all good => let’s assume you pick the first one, click on the “Use this template” button.
  4. The template will be copied to your Google Drive and you are ready to type your essay.

Method 2: How to Perform all the Settings Yourself:

I. How to Set the Font and Size:

  1. When you create a new document, the default font is Arial and size 11.
  2. Click on the font and change it to Times New Roman.
  3. Click on font size 11 and change it to font size 12.

II. How to Set the Margins in Google Docs:

Google uses the default margin of 1 inch for all top, right, bottom & left so there is no need to change.

If you would like to verify the margins, here are the steps: click on File => Page Setup


III. How To Create a Header in Google Docs:

  1. Click on Insert => click on Header.
  2. Notice the font on the Header is NOT Times New Roman => change the font to Times New Roman and font size 12.
  3. Notice the cursor is blinking on the left, click on the Right Align icon to align the cursor to the right.
  4. Press the Enter key on your keyboard twice.
  5. Type your Last Name => press the Spacebar key on the keyboard once.
  6. Click on Insert => Page Number => Top of Page.
  7. Now click on anywhere below the Header line to close the Header.

IV. How to Setup Line Spacing to Double Spaced:

  1. Click on the Line Spacing button => Choose Double.

V. How to Enter the First Page Information:

  1. Type your full name => press Enter.
  2. Type your professor’s name => press Enter.
  3. Type course title => press Enter.
  4. Type your paper’s due date => press Enter.
  5. Click on the Align Center icon on the formatting toolbar (to center your blinking cursor) => Type the title of your paper, capitalizing the first letter and all major words and proper nouns. Do not use italics, boldfaced type, underlining, or all caps to format your title. Do not type a period at the end of the title => press Enter.
  6. Click on the Align Left icon (to bring your blinking cursor to the left).
  7. Click on the Tab key to indent 1/2 inch to begin your first paragraph. Use the Tab key on every next new paragraphs. Your completed setting should look like this:googledocs-firstpage-mla

VI. How to Setup the Works Cited Page:

Follow this how-to when you are ready to work on your Works Cited page. The Works Cited page has the following characteristics:

  • A heading β€œWorks Cited” centered one inch below the top edge of a new page. Do not bold or underline this heading.
  • No indent on the first line of each entry. If an entry runs more than one line, indent the subsequent line or lines 1/2 inch from the left margin.
  • Alphabetize entries in your list of works cited by the author’s last name, using the letter-by-letter system.
  1. Immediately after typing the final line of your paper, click on Insert => Page Break (to begin a new page). Your header with your last name and automatic page numbering should appear at the top left of your paper.
  2. Click on the align center icon so that the text is centered.
  3. Type Works Cited (do not underline, boldface, italicize, or enclose the title in quotation marks).
  4. Press the Enter key once to begin a new line.
  5. Click on the align left icon so that the text is aligned left.
  6. Now type your sources. Don’t worry about indentation on the subsequent line/lines yet.
  7. Once you are done typing your sources => highlight all your sources => click on the Left Indent icon and drag it to the 1/2 inch mark.
  8. Now click on the First Line Indent icon and drag it to 0 inch mark. You are done setting the Hanging Indent for Google Docs.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful. Take care!

{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mickey Goularte September 29, 2014 at 3:06 pm

This is the best tutorial I have seen, and I would like to use it in my classes

Mickey Goularte
Common Core Coach
Monache High School

2 Morgan February 26, 2015 at 9:02 pm

Oh my gosh, this is SO helpful! I hate using Word, so this is a great alternative. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

3 Darwin March 11, 2015 at 12:22 pm

Thank you so much for helping me with mla format.

4 Darwin March 12, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Oh my gosh, thank you, this helped alot

5 Sam Vaughan August 11, 2015 at 7:55 pm


6 Carly Maddox August 25, 2015 at 8:08 pm

OMG!! Thanks soooo much. This helps me so much. You have no idea. So clear and easy-to understand, too.

7 Montreo parks September 4, 2015 at 3:04 pm

It really did help thanks

8 Jake Clements September 21, 2015 at 7:38 pm

Thanks a million, you have no idea how much this helped. Saved my grade lol.

9 Hunter J. October 5, 2015 at 12:43 pm

This really helped sooooo much thank you. I would have gotten points off if I hadn’t used this. Thanks! πŸ˜€

10 Zachary Wills October 16, 2015 at 1:42 pm

Thank you this helped me alot because i needed to know how to setup a MLA paper to teach to my students.

11 Ethand October 21, 2015 at 10:29 am

This helped a lot thanks

12 Peter Curtis November 17, 2015 at 12:54 am

You sir or ma’am are a lifesaver. I appreciate the hard work & diligently annotated screenshots.


13 Meagan November 30, 2015 at 9:24 pm

SOOOOOO helpful. Thank you to

14 Emily December 16, 2015 at 6:34 pm

This was so helpful to me! Thank you so so much, Merry Christmas!

15 Alexandria December 16, 2015 at 7:18 pm

This was sooooo helpful thanks for the awesome tips!?

16 Terence Hawkins January 27, 2016 at 7:45 pm

Thanks sooo much I use this every time I need to write a MLA format paper

17 Sophia Bui January 28, 2016 at 1:42 am

Thank you so much for such detailed instruction.

18 Kitty F. February 21, 2016 at 1:48 am

Thank you for such an excellent, step-by-step explanation…and ZERO assumptions. “The devil is in the assumptions…”.

19 Zecarrius D March 18, 2016 at 1:25 pm

This was really helpful thx

20 Dalton April 13, 2016 at 10:17 am

thank you so much

21 Braeden April 14, 2016 at 8:40 am

Thank you so much! This helped me pass. πŸ™‚

22 Amir Abdulmalik April 26, 2016 at 11:01 am

This is very helpful. I have used this on multiple occasions. πŸ™‚

23 Katie May 10, 2016 at 7:10 pm

Thank you so much! I spent about 15 minutes trying to get this right and eventually I got so frustrated I decided to look it up. Thank you again!

24 Trent May 10, 2016 at 10:22 pm

This was great! But how do you make it so when you form an out line it will use an MLA outline? Right now even in the “MLA” document, I cannot get the initial letters to be capitalized like the true MLA. Also the i’s should be replaced with numbers. If I could figure this out google docs would seem complete, but it is frustrating now because for all of my documents i have to flip from Open Office Word to Google Docs. Thanks for any help!

25 tyler May 11, 2016 at 6:25 am

This was incredibly helpful thank you so much!

26 Elsie Alatorre May 24, 2016 at 10:06 pm

Thank you so much for the tip. Ive been looking everywhere searching up” how to move all citations from the bottom a google doc page to a new page”… until i came to this. This is really helpful and im sure that this is going to help me pass the cba since ive got til tommorrow to turn it in. Sometimes, teachers make students get confused when they explain the mla.So thanks for the great tip!!!!!!

27 NATALIA June 3, 2016 at 12:16 pm


28 Ali Jannet September 8, 2016 at 4:14 pm


29 clayton September 9, 2016 at 11:23 am

thank you so much!!!!!!!!

30 NATALIA WILLIAMS September 27, 2016 at 12:41 am

You are an amazing person for this. I could never figure out how to do the hanging indent. I’ve been using this same page since 10th grade LOL. Thanks!

31 James October 17, 2016 at 2:24 pm


32 Nnnn November 2, 2016 at 7:23 pm

So helpful

33 Detra Wilson November 3, 2016 at 8:17 am

This is an awesome resource! I’m going to use this for my students.

34 Thanks December 6, 2016 at 3:55 pm


35 IzL December 15, 2016 at 4:37 pm

That was so helpful! Thank you so much, your tutorials are awesome!

36 Joanna Morrow January 10, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Extemly well put together! wow!!! Thank you, as I am new to this and have a google chromebook.

37 Melita Nesbit January 24, 2017 at 1:37 am

This site is my saving grace! I am 34 years old and it has been 10 years since I last attended school. I am now taking online classes for my associates degree and have used this website to guide me through my English course. It’s awesome!!

38 A Roca January 24, 2017 at 5:33 am

Thank you, sir for making my life so convenient and smooth!

39 NO comment February 7, 2017 at 11:09 pm

I’ve been doing this my whole life and couldn’t figure it out so thank you. SIncerely, a 15 yr old.

40 Bob henery February 10, 2017 at 4:28 pm

OMG you saved my life I stayed up all night doing my English project and yo guys saved MY STICKEN LIFE THANKS

41 Banquisha February 28, 2017 at 8:29 pm

Thank you so much this helped me out so much

42 Melissa April 9, 2017 at 1:51 pm

This is awesome for people using the desktop version. However, when using the app on iPad, none of this works and the iPad won’t let you use the desktop version without constantly trying to move you into the app. The app formatting options are much more limited and much harder to find. If anyone knows of a similar tutorial for the iPad app version, that would be GREATLY appreciated.

43 Steve April 19, 2017 at 8:05 am

Bless your heart

44 Luke April 19, 2017 at 3:12 pm

Helped πŸ™‚

45 Matthew April 19, 2017 at 7:23 pm

It’s really helpful

46 Jimm April 21, 2017 at 4:17 am

Amazing thanks.

47 Khoirul Anwar June 14, 2017 at 6:06 pm

This was really helpful thx

48 Anonymous August 19, 2017 at 10:35 am

THANKS so much

49 Macey Gloria August 26, 2017 at 11:47 pm

super helpful with the header!

50 Cam Chow September 5, 2017 at 1:20 pm

thank you for this. It helped me get a good grade πŸ™‚

51 Avery Peterson September 14, 2017 at 12:23 pm

This really helped me. It was really easy to understand and it saved my grade. Thanks!

52 Jake from State Farm October 1, 2017 at 10:15 pm


53 Jakes Twin October 3, 2017 at 10:07 am

Thanks a bunch

54 Chance Cash October 12, 2017 at 12:18 pm

Thank you It has helped me a lot!

55 Flow from Progessive October 19, 2017 at 7:05 pm

Thank you for the help!

56 trinity November 16, 2017 at 4:47 pm

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!

57 shannon February 11, 2018 at 5:40 pm

THANK YOU!! I’ve been out of school 20 years, this just saved me so much time!!!

58 thank you February 21, 2018 at 11:11 am

this is soo helpful

59 kylee February 21, 2018 at 11:15 am

Thank you sooooo much!!!!!!!!!

60 Cutter Babcock February 27, 2018 at 3:42 pm

Thank you so much!!! My teacher gave no hints or anything about MLA format, I had to search everywhere and found nothing that explained it well. Your tips and tutorials were amazing so thank you. You really helped a lot of people out.

61 Nickieta Karp March 3, 2018 at 2:44 pm

This has been so helpful, especially with the heading, as I was very confused on how to get different headings on each page. I have bookmarked this page and I am sending this link for this website to all of my friends for them to use it. I know that for every essay I ever write, I am going to use this! Thanks so much for this guide!

62 Olivia March 12, 2018 at 12:42 pm

Thank you so much!! I really needed help on writing my paper and this helped me so much I can not explain how much trouble I was having and this site really helped me get my paper done. I hope other people use this site cause it helps so much.

63 manuel March 12, 2018 at 1:15 pm

This was very helpful. Thank you!!!

64 Anonymous March 19, 2018 at 8:13 pm

It was helpful

65 Grace May 1, 2018 at 8:43 pm

thank you so muchhh!! so helpful

66 Caylin July 10, 2018 at 9:21 am

This was a very helpful article. Thank you!

67 Rino Robert September 20, 2018 at 12:40 am

This is very helpful

68 Tenzin Tseten October 7, 2018 at 10:40 pm

Very helpful and easy to understand. Thanks!

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