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How to Format an Essay

Last Updated: April 11, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Carrie Adkins, PhD and by wikiHow staff writer, Aly Rusciano . Carrie Adkins is the cofounder of NursingClio, an open access, peer-reviewed, collaborative blog that connects historical scholarship to current issues in gender and medicine. She completed her PhD in American History at the University of Oregon in 2013. While completing her PhD, she earned numerous competitive research grants, teaching fellowships, and writing awards. There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 88,275 times.

You’re opening your laptop to write an essay, knowing exactly what you want to write, but then it hits you—you don’t know how to format it! Using the correct format when writing an essay can help your paper look polished and professional while earning you full credit. There are 3 common essay formats—MLA, APA, and Chicago Style—and we’ll teach you the basics of properly formatting each in this article. So, before you shut your laptop in frustration, take a deep breath and keep reading because soon you’ll be formatting like a pro.

Setting Up Your Document

Step 1 Read over the assignment’s guidelines before you begin.

  • If you can’t find information on the style guide you should be following, talk to your instructor after class to discuss the assignment or send them a quick email with your questions.
  • If your instructor lets you pick the format of your essay, opt for the style that matches your course or degree best: MLA is best for English and humanities; APA is typically for education, psychology, and sciences; Chicago Style is common for business, history, and fine arts.

Step 2 Set your margins to 1 inch (2.5 cm) for all style guides.

  • Most word processors default to 1 inch (2.5 cm) margins.

Step 3 Use Times New Roman font.

  • Do not change the font size, style, or color throughout your essay.

Step 4 Change your font size to 12pt.

  • Change the spacing on Google Docs by clicking on Format , and then selecting “Line spacing.”
  • Click on Layout in Microsoft Word, and then click the arrow at the bottom left of the “paragraph” section.

Step 6 Put the page number and your last name in the top right header for all styles.

  • Using the page number function will create consecutive numbering.
  • When using Chicago Style, don’t include a page number on your title page. The first page after the title page should be numbered starting at 2. [4] X Research source
  • In APA format, a running heading may be required in the left-hand header. This is a maximum of 50 characters that’s the full or abbreviated version of your essay’s title. [5] X Research source

Step 7 Use a title page with APA or Chicago Style format.

  • For APA formatting, place the title in bold at the center of the page 3 to 4 lines down from the top. Insert one double-spaced line under the title and type your name. Under your name, in separate centered lines, type out the name of your school, course, instructor, and assignment due date. [6] X Research source
  • For Chicago Style, set your cursor ⅓ of the way down the page, then type your title. In the very center of your page, put your name. Move your cursor ⅔ down the page, then write your course number, followed by your instructor’s name and paper due date on separate, double-spaced lines. [7] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source

Step 8 Create a left-handed heading for MLA Style essays.

  • Double-space the heading like the rest of your paper.

Writing the Essay Body

Step 1 Center the title of your paper in all style formats.

  • Use standard capitalization rules for your title.
  • Do not underline, italicize, or put quotation marks around your title, unless you include other titles of referred texts.

Step 2 Indent the first line of each paragraph by 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) for all styles.

  • A good hook might include a quote, statistic, or rhetorical question.
  • For example, you might write, “Every day in the United States, accidents caused by distracted drivers kill 9 people and injure more than 1,000 others.”

Step 4 Include a thesis statement at the end of your introduction.

  • "Action must be taken to reduce accidents caused by distracted driving, including enacting laws against texting while driving, educating the public about the risks, and giving strong punishments to offenders."
  • "Although passing and enforcing new laws can be challenging, the best way to reduce accidents caused by distracted driving is to enact a law against texting, educate the public about the new law, and levy strong penalties."

Step 5 Present each of your points in 1 or more paragraphs.

  • Use transitions between paragraphs so your paper flows well. For example, say, “In addition to,” “Similarly,” or “On the other hand.” [12] X Research source

Step 6 Complete your essay with a conclusion.

  • A statement of impact might be, "Every day that distracted driving goes unaddressed, another 9 families must plan a funeral."
  • A call to action might read, “Fewer distracted driving accidents are possible, but only if every driver keeps their focus on the road.”

Using References

Step 1 Create parenthetical citations...

  • In MLA format, citations should include the author’s last name and the page number where you found the information. If the author's name appears in the sentence, use just the page number. [14] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
  • For APA format, include the author’s last name and the publication year. If the author’s name appears in the sentence, use just the year. [15] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
  • If you don’t use parenthetical or internal citations, your instructor may accuse you of plagiarizing.

Step 2 Use footnotes for citations in Chicago Style.

  • At the bottom of the page, include the source’s information from your bibliography page next to the footnote number. [16] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source
  • Each footnote should be numbered consecutively.

Step 3 Center the title of your reference page.

  • If you’re using MLA format, this page will be titled “Works Cited.”
  • In APA and Chicago Style, title the page “References.”

Step 4 List your sources on the references page by author’s last name in alphabetical order.

  • If you have more than one work from the same author, list alphabetically following the title name for MLA and by earliest to latest publication year for APA and Chicago Style.
  • Double-space the references page like the rest of your paper.
  • Use a hanging indent of 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) if your citations are longer than one line. Press Tab to indent any lines after the first. [17] X Research source
  • Citations should include (when applicable) the author(s)’s name(s), title of the work, publication date and/or year, and page numbers.
  • Sites like Grammarly , EasyBib , and MyBib can help generate citations if you get stuck.

Formatting Resources

how to format essay in word

Expert Q&A

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Write a Reflection Paper

  • ↑ https://www.une.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/392149/WE_Formatting-your-essay.pdf
  • ↑ https://content.nroc.org/DevelopmentalEnglish/unit10/Foundations/formatting-a-college-essay-mla-style.html
  • ↑ https://camosun.libguides.com/Chicago-17thEd/titlePage
  • ↑ https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/paper-format/page-header
  • ↑ https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/paper-format/title-page
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/chicago_manual_17th_edition/cmos_formatting_and_style_guide/general_format.html
  • ↑ https://www.uvu.edu/writingcenter/docs/basicessayformat.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.deanza.edu/faculty/cruzmayra/basicessayformat.pdf
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_in_text_citations_the_basics.html
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/in_text_citations_the_basics.html
  • ↑ https://library.menloschool.org/chicago

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Tips for Formatting an Essay in Microsoft Word: Fonts and More

  • Brian D. Taylor
  • Categories : Help with writing assignments paragraphs, essays, outlines & more
  • Tags : Homework help & study guides

Tips for Formatting an Essay in Microsoft Word: Fonts and More

Why is Formatting Important?

Formatting refers to the arrangement of text on a document. There are many ways to format different types of documents. The focus of this guide will be formatting for essays.

In general, you will want your documents to look neat and professional. Special attention to formatting will ensure that your essays make a great first impression. In fact, some teachers will mark your paper down if you do not format correctly, or follow specific guidelines the teacher has requested (such as double spacing.)

Typography is a term that was first used when referring to how letters were chosen and set for printing on a press. In today’s age of word processors, it now refers to font selection and formatting. Pay careful attention to how you use typography in your essay. Font selection is of key importance. When you are writing an essay for a school assignment, you should make sure your font looks neat and professional. Remember, your essay will have to be read at some point, so you should make sure it can be read easily.

Fonts to Choose

Serif fonts assist with readability. A serif font has little lines on the end of the character. The lines help the eye move from letter to letter more easily. Some examples of standard serif fonts in Microsoft Word are Times New Roman, Courier New, and Book Antiqua. You should use a serif font for the majority of your essay. Be careful, though. Some serif fonts, still would not be acceptable. For instance, serif font styles such as Goudy Stout or Engravers MT would not look professional as the text of your essay because they are big and bulky. Choose carefully.

Sans serif fonts do not have the little lines at the end of the letters. Some examples of sans serif fonts are Arial, Calibri, and Comic Sans. Usually, sans serif fonts work well in short sections of text such as headings or titles. It is best not to use a sans serif font as the bulk of your essay. Furthermore, while I suggested Comic Sans as an example for a sans serif font, its use is typically frowned upon as it does not present a professional quality.

Another aspect of typography is the size of your font. Fonts are measured in points. A one point font is 1/72 of an inch. A 72 point font would measure one inch. Normally, you should choose 10 to 12 point font for all parts of your essay. Font sizes smaller than ten points become difficult to see and read. Font sizes larger than twelve point are difficult to read as well, and they make your teacher think that you’re just trying to use more space.

Bolding & Italicizing

At times, you may need to use bold, italics, or underlining. Bold is best used only in the title of your essay, if at all. Italics and underlining are typically used when you need to emphasize text or if you are referring to a title of another work.

To format your fonts in Microsoft Word, first select the text you wish to format. From there, you have a few options. You can format directly with the formatting toolbar which, by default, appears at the top of the window. You can also use the Format Font Window, which will give you more options. To get there, right click with the mouse and choose “Font” from the menu that appears. The Format Font Window looks like the image to the left (click on the image for a larger view). The selected text will appear in the preview pane. As you format the text, you can see how your text will look in the preview pane. When you have completed formatting your text, click OK to return to your document.

Spacing refers to the amount of space between lines of text. Typically, teachers ask for double spaced text for most assignments. The extra space between each line gives them room for comments and corrections. The extra space also makes the text easier to read. Always double check your teacher’s spacing policy, though. Sometimes a teacher will require a certain page total for your writing, while expecting single spaced lines. Double spacing will cut the length of your essay in half which will cause you to lose points. Always be sure to double check what the teacher wants.

Typically, headings are single spaced. There’s not much reason to have extra space between lines of your heading, so do not use it unless you’ve been directed otherwise. If you are using a quote of four lines or larger, it requires special formatting. Typically, this should be single spaced, as well.

You can also space at the paragraph level. This type of spacing appears before or after a paragraph.

Paragraph Format

To control spacing in Microsoft Word, select the text, then right click. Choose “Paragraph.” This will open the Format Paragraph Window. It should look like the image to the left (click on the image for a larger view). In the Spacing section, you’ll see two fields: one for Before and one for After. These allow you to space paragraphs apart, either before the paragraph or after. The spacing is measured in points, similar to fonts.

To the right, you can space at the line level. To double space your essay, choose Double from the drop down menu. Similarly, choose Single to single space. There are some other choices for more precise line spacing, but typically double and single will do for most school essays.


Indentation refers to spacing from the left or right of the page. For most of the paragraphs in your essay, you will need to indent the first line. A good standard is a .5" first line indent. The tab key is usually set to tab over .5", but it is good practice to use the Format Paragraph Window to ensure that your indentations are correct.

Paragraph Format

To set a .5" first line indent for all paragraphs, select your text, then right click. Choose “Paragraph.” This will bring up the Format Paragraph Window. In the Indentation section, choose First Line from the drop down menu labeled Special. This will activate a first line indent for your text. Now choose the measurement for the indent. Again, .5" is a good standard to follow.

There are other times when you may need to pay attention to indentation. Let’s say you have a research paper that requires a bibliography or works cited page. The hanging indent option can come in handy and many works cited entries require one. A hanging indent is like the opposite of a first line indent; it indents everything but the first line. You set up a hanging indent in the same way you do a first line indent, only choose Hanging from the drop down menu in the Format Paragraph Window.

Lenghty Quotes

Finally, if you are quoting material of four or more lines, you will need to separate the text from the rest of the paragraph and indent both sides. To do this, go to the Format Paragraph Window. Choose the text to be indented and choose the measurement of indent for both left and right sides. Usually, you will want 1" on each side of quoted material. A sample image is attached to show how this should appear on the page.

Working with Images

Sometimes, a teacher will allow the use of images in an essay. Be sure to check with the teacher before adding images as some teachers frown upon their use. Even if the images are allowed, be sure to use them wisely and sparingly. Typically, less is more when it comes to using pictures in essay writing. Teachers want you to create pictures with your words instead!

Format Picture

To insert an image you can copy and paste it into the document, or you can use the insert image function. Once the image is placed into the document, it can be formatted. Begin with the layout of the photo. Right click the image and choose Format Picture. Click on the Layout tab at the top of the window. Here you have several options. In line with Text will cause your image to act as text. This option may cause your text to behave in unexpected ways. This option will almost always create large gaps of space in your essay and is best avoided. The Square or Tight options will cause the text to wrap around your image, thus eliminating the problem of the gaps. One of these two options is best.

Next, you will need to choose the alignment of the image. This appears near the bottom of the Layout tab. Choose which side of the page you wish the image to appear and click OK to see your results. If you change your mind about the alignment of the image, you can now click and drag the image to where you would like it. Since you’ve chosen the Square or Tight text alignment option, the text will simply wrap around the image wherever you place it. Be sure that when placing the image, the text remains in a neat and professional arrangement.

Good luck on your essay! If you have any additional Microsoft Word tips to share post them in the comments.

how to format essay in word

Learn the Standard Essay Format: MLA, APA, Chicago Styles

how to format essay in word

Being able to write an essay is a vital part of any student's education. However, it's not just about linearly listing ideas. A lot of institutions will require a certain format that your paper must follow; prime examples would be one of a basic essay format like MLA, the APA, and the Chicago formats. This article will explain the differences between the MLA format, the APA format, and the Chicago format. The application of these could range from high school to college essays, and they stand as the standard of college essay formatting. EssayPro — dissertation services , that will help to make a difference!

What is an Essay Format: Structure

Be it an academic, informative or a specific extended essay - structure is essential. For example, the IB extended essay has very strict requirements that are followed by an assigned academic style of writing (primarily MLA, APA, or Chicago):

This outline format for an extended essay is a great example to follow when writing a research essay, and sustaining a proper research essay format - especially if it is based on the MLA guidelines. It is vital to remember that the student must keep track of their resources to apply them to each step outlined above easily. And check out some tips on how to write an essay introduction .

Lost in the Labyrinth of Essay Formatting?

Navigate the complexities of essay structures with ease. Let our experts guide your paper to the format it deserves!

How to Format an Essay (MLA)

mla format

To write an essay in MLA format, one must follow a basic set of guidelines and instructions. This is a step by step from our business essay writing service.

Essay in MLA Format Example

Mla vs. apa.

Before we move on to the APA essay format, it is important to distinguish the two types of formatting. Let’s go through the similarities first:

  • The formatting styles are similar: spacing, citation, indentation.
  • All of the information that is used within the essay must be present within the works cited page (in APA, that’s called a reference page)
  • Both use the parenthetical citations within the body of the paper, usually to show a certain quote or calculation.
  • Citations are listed alphabetically on the works cited / reference page.

What you need to know about the differences is not extensive, thankfully:

  • MLA style is mostly used in humanities, while APA style is focused more on social sciences. The list of sources has a different name (works cited - MLA / references - APA)
  • Works cited differ on the way they display the name of the original content (MLA -> Yorke, Thom / APA -> Yorke T.)
  • When using an in-text citation, and the author’s name is listed within the sentence, place the page number found at the end: “Yorke believes that Creep was Radiohead’s worst song. (4).” APA, on the other hand, requires that a year is to be inserted: “According to Yorke (2013), Creep was a mess.”

Alright, let’s carry over to the APA style specifics.

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How to format an essay (apa).

The APA scheme is one of the most common college essay formats, so being familiar with its requirements is crucial. In a basic APA format structure, we can apply a similar list of guidelines as we did in the MLA section:

If you ask yourself how to format an essay, you can always turn to us and request to write or rewrite essay in APA format if you find it difficult or don't have time.

Note that some teachers and professors may request deviations from some of the characteristics that the APA format originally requires, such as those listed above.

apa format

If you think: 'I want someone write a research paper for me ', you can do it at Essaypro.

Essay in APA Format Example

Apa format chronobiology, chicago style.

The usage of Chicago style is prevalent in academic writing that focuses on the source of origin. This means that precise citations and footnotes are key to a successful paper.

Chicago Style Essay Format

The same bullet point structure can be applied to the Chicago essay format.

chicago style

Tips for Writing an Academic Paper

There isn’t one proper way of writing a paper, but there are solid guidelines to sustain a consistent workflow. Be it a college application essay, a research paper, informative essay, etc. There is a standard essay format that you should follow. For easier access, the following outline will be divided into steps:

Choose a Good Topic

A lot of students struggle with picking a good topic for their essays. The topic you choose should be specific enough so you can explore it in its entirety and hit your word limit if that’s a variable you worry about. With a good topic that should not be a problem. On the other hand, it should not be so broad that some resources would outweigh the information you could squeeze into one paper. Don’t be too specific, or you will find that there is a shortage of information, but don’t be too broad or you will feel overwhelmed. Don’t hesitate to ask your instructor for help with your essay writing.

Start Research as Soon as Possible

Before you even begin writing, make sure that you are acquainted with the information that you are working with. Find compelling arguments and counterpoints, trivia, facts, etc. The sky is the limit when it comes to gathering information.

Pick out Specific, Compelling Resources

When you feel acquainted with the subject, you should be able to have a basic conversation on the matter. Pick out resources that have been bookmarked, saved or are very informative and start extracting information. You will need all you can get to put into the citations at the end of your paper. Stash books, websites, articles and have them ready to cite. See if you can subtract or expand your scope of research.

Create an Outline

Always have a plan. This might be the most important phase of the process. If you have a strong essay outline and you have a particular goal in mind, it’ll be easy to refer to it when you might get stuck somewhere in the middle of the paper. And since you have direct links from the research you’ve done beforehand, the progress is guaranteed to be swift. Having a list of keywords, if applicable, will surely boost the informational scope. With keywords specific to the subject matter of each section, it should be much easier to identify its direction and possible informational criteria.

Write a Draft

Before you jot anything down into the body of your essay, make sure that the outline has enough information to back up whatever statement you choose to explore. Do not be afraid of letting creativity into your paper (within reason, of course) and explore the possibilities. Start with a standard 5 paragraph structure, and the content will come with time.

Ask for a Peer Review of Your Academic Paper

Before you know it, the draft is done, and it’s ready to be sent out for peer review. Ask a classmate, a relative or even a specialist if they are willing to contribute. Get as much feedback as you possibly can and work on it.

Final Draft

Before handing in the final draft, go over it at least one more time, focusing on smaller mistakes like grammar and punctuation. Make sure that what you wrote follows proper essay structure. Learn more about argumentative essay structure on our blog. If you need a second pair of eyes, get help from our service.

Want Your Essay to Stand Out in Structure and Style?

Don't let poor formatting overshadow your ideas. Find your essay on sale and ensure your paper gets the professional polish it deserves!

What Is Essay Format?

How to format a college essay, how to write an essay in mla format.

Adam Jason

is an expert in nursing and healthcare, with a strong background in history, law, and literature. Holding advanced degrees in nursing and public health, his analytical approach and comprehensive knowledge help students navigate complex topics. On EssayPro blog, Adam provides insightful articles on everything from historical analysis to the intricacies of healthcare policies. In his downtime, he enjoys historical documentaries and volunteering at local clinics.

how to format essay in word

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How to Use Microsoft Word Effectively for Essay Writing

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Microsoft Word for Essay Writing

Using the traditional pen and paper to draft your essay has not completely gone out of style. However, if you want to effectively write, proofread and format your essay all at the same time, you need a sophisticated approach that would allow you to do all these in due time to succeed in professional essay writing from scratch.

It doesn’t matter how you feel about the Microsoft Word program but it is a word processing tool that you can’t do without in your profession. You get to use it daily as you go about your work.

Learning the basic aspect of using the program is quite not difficult. Most of us get to use the word processing program after learning the basics without taking out time to learn the more important features the program has.

To most people, that aspect is not necessary once they can type, search and replace words and make use of the format margins. I am guilty of that myself. I didn’t take out time to learn more than the basics before joining the tool.

I found out in my continuous use of Microsoft Word over the years that the program has some tricks that help to save time. If you are an impatient writer like me that wants to get each job done in the soonest possible time, you should learn about these alternative tools in the program. You will save a lot of time doing so.

Features How to Use Microsoft Word Effectively for Writing

  • Track Changes . This feature comes in handy when I want to edit my work or give constructive criticism of another person’s work. The changes you make on the document appear on a highlight and that includes changes in format and deletions. The TRACK CHANGES option can be seen in the REVIEW tab and with it, the texts you edit are highlighted in red color.
  • Document Map . The use of headings gives you an overview of the entire structure of the document when you use the special feature called DOCUMENT MAP. This feature makes it easy for you to skip through long documents and also to get the full picture of the storyline.
  • Headings and Styles . When you make the necessary changes of marking section and chapter titles with the heading, it will make it easy for you to format the heading for the document in a single place. I use NORMAL for the body of the document and HEADING1 for the chapter titles.
  • Headers and Footers . On the old typewriter, the typist has to manually include the page number and author name. This has been upgraded to a word progressing tool. You can add that information just once using the HEADER and it automatically appears on all pages.
  • Comments . This can also be seen in the REVIEW column. With this feature, you can include margin notes into your document. This feature can be used for plenty of functions by a writer. For instance, you can use it to include reminders for some editing work you need to do in the future. You can also use it to create reminders on ideas you wish to develop later on in your document.
  • Table of Contents . Most documents don’t need a table of content but when a document requires it, it can be stressful to manually create one. Not just the creation aspect, you have to go through the stress of updating it anytime you add more information to your document. The headings feature and TABLE OF CONTENTS work together. That is the Table of contents creates a table of headings and includes the page number where the heading can be found.
  • Views . Microsoft Word provides you with different view options. With this option, you can get an overview of your overall manuscript in different ways.
  • Compare Documents . Making edits manually in an older version of a manuscript can be a pain in the ass. This feature provides a highlight to pronounce the difference between the two documents. With this feature, you can go through the document at a later date and pick the better version.
  • Full Screen . If you wish to focus on your writing without worrying about different tabs and editing buttons, the full-screen option comes in handy to minimize distraction.
  • View Side by Side . With this feature, you can open up and review two documents at the same time without having to close one first.
  • Integration with Endnote . If you are working on a nonfiction project, you will need to include a lot of references in your work. The endnote feature enables you to keep track of your references in a neat way.
  • Full Page . This feature enables you to view your work as a full document. This is not the best mode for reading, but it allows you to check your documents for formatting errors and blank pages.

You can effectively use Microsoft Word for your professional essay writing if you consistently practice with the software and look for new tips every day. Microsoft Word is easy-to-use software but you don’t want to stop at the mediocre level. There are other things you could do with your software as outlined in this educational piece.

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How to Use Microsoft Word Effectively for Essay Writing

Word for Writing: A Comprehensive Guide for Students

Enhance Essays with Microsoft Word's Grammar Check

Enhance Essays with Microsoft Word's Grammar Check

Essay writing: Formatting

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Essays are formal documents and should look professional Advice from the Skills Team

Whilst there are no hard rules about how you format essays, there are some conventions and common practices that are best to follow. If you use the settings on this page, you will produce an acceptably formatted essay.

Document layout

Visual display of the information on this page.

Margins - between 2 cm and 2.54 cm (1 inch) all around.

Line spacing - either 1.5 or double-line spacing.

Paragraph spacing - either 1 clear line between or at least 8 pt space after each paragraph (more if double-line spaced)

Alignment - left aligned (fully justified with a straight right-edge is not recommended as this reduces readability and accessibility). Some longer essays may require subheadings which should also be left-aligned.

Indents - no indents on first lines of paragraphs are needed.

It is also good practice to put your student number and module number in the header of the document and a page number at the bottom of the page.

Text formatting

Font - the default font that comes with MS Word (currently Calibri) is fine for academic work. You may see persistent advice in handbooks that suggests you should use Times New Roman or Arial. If you prefer these, you can change it - but this is no longer a requirement.

Font size - fonts should be 11 or 12 point.

Font style - headings and subheadings, if they are required (most essays will not use them), are usually formatted in bold and should be at least 2 point sizes larger than the standard text. Underlining should be avoided as this is seen as rather dated. Some text can be formatted in italics - see our page  Italics, when to use them , for guidance.

Shorter quotations in the text do not need to be italicised and should have double-quotations marks "like this" to indicate they are direct quotations. Longer quotations (what counts as this differs depending on your referencing style) should be created in their own paragraph, single spaced and indented by 1cm from both left and right margins:

For example:

Graduate attributes for employability are described as:

a set of achievements – skills, understandings and personal attributes – that makes graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations, which benefits themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy. (Yorke, 2006)

The main change in this definition compared to the earlier definition of graduate attributes from Bowden (2000) is that that the attributes are no longer ...

UoH Harvard/APA

Your reference list should be in alphabetical order (by author surname) and single line spaced. There should be a clear line space (or at least 6 pt space) between each reference. All references should be left-aligned with no indentation. For information about how to format individual references, see the Harvard Hull Referencing Guide.

UoH Footnotes

Your reference list should be in alphabetical order (by first author surname) and single line spaced.  All references should be left-aligned and have a hanging indent (all but the first line are indented by approx. 1cm). For information about how to format individual references, see the  Footnotes Hull Referencing Guide.

Other referencing styles

Please see your individual departmental guidance.

We provide here a Microsoft Word template that can be used for your essays. It has the correct layout and formatting, including useful styles.

  • Essay template

Download this template to somewhere you can access easily. When you click to open it, it will open a new document based on the template , leaving the original intact.

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How to Format and Structure Your College Essay

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College essays are an entirely new type of writing for high school seniors. For that reason, many students are confused about proper formatting and essay structure. Should you double-space or single-space? Do you need a title? What kind of narrative style is best-suited for your topic?

In this post, we’ll be going over proper college essay format, traditional and unconventional essay structures (plus sample essays!), and which structure might work best for you. 

General College Essay Formatting Guidelines

How you format your essay will depend on whether you’re submitting in a text box, or attaching a document. We’ll go over the different best practices for both, but regardless of how you’re submitting, here are some general formatting tips:

  • There’s no need for a title; it takes up unnecessary space and eats into your word count
  • Stay within the word count as much as possible (+/- 10% of the upper limit). For further discussion on college essay length, see our post How Long Should Your College Essay Be?
  • Indent or double space to separate paragraphs clearly

If you’re submitting in a text box:

  • Avoid italics and bold, since formatting often doesn’t transfer over in text boxes
  • Be careful with essays meant to be a certain shape (like a balloon); text boxes will likely not respect that formatting. Beyond that, this technique can also seem gimmicky, so proceed with caution
  • Make sure that paragraphs are clearly separated, as text boxes can also undo indents and double spacing

If you’re attaching a document:

  • Use a standard font and size like Times New Roman, 12 point
  • Make your lines 1.5-spaced or double-spaced
  • Use 1-inch margins
  • Save as a PDF since it can’t be edited. This also prevents any formatting issues that come with Microsoft Word, since older versions are sometimes incompatible with the newer formatting
  • Number each page with your last name in the header or footer (like “Smith 1”)
  • Pay extra attention to any word limits, as you won’t be cut off automatically, unlike with most text boxes

Conventional College Essay Structures

Now that we’ve gone over the logistical aspects of your essay, let’s talk about how you should structure your writing. There are three traditional college essay structures. They are:

  • In-the-moment narrative
  • Narrative told over an extended period of time
  • Series of anecdotes, or montage

Let’s go over what each one is exactly, and take a look at some real essays using these structures.

1. In-the-moment narrative

This is where you tell the story one moment at a time, sharing the events as they occur. In the moment narrative is a powerful essay format, as your reader experiences the events, your thoughts, and your emotions with you . This structure is ideal for a specific experience involving extensive internal dialogue, emotions, and reflections.

Here’s an example:

The morning of the Model United Nation conference, I walked into Committee feeling confident about my research. We were simulating the Nuremberg Trials – a series of post-World War II proceedings for war crimes – and my portfolio was of the Soviet Judge Major General Iona Nikitchenko. Until that day, the infamous Nazi regime had only been a chapter in my history textbook; however, the conference’s unveiling of each defendant’s crimes brought those horrors to life. The previous night, I had organized my research, proofread my position paper and gone over Judge Nikitchenko’s pertinent statements. I aimed to find the perfect balance between his stance and my own.

As I walked into committee anticipating a battle of wits, my director abruptly called out to me. “I’m afraid we’ve received a late confirmation from another delegate who will be representing Judge Nikitchenko. You, on the other hand, are now the defense attorney, Otto Stahmer.” Everyone around me buzzed around the room in excitement, coordinating with their allies and developing strategies against their enemies, oblivious to the bomb that had just dropped on me. I felt frozen in my tracks, and it seemed that only rage against the careless delegate who had confirmed her presence so late could pull me out of my trance. After having spent a month painstakingly crafting my verdicts and gathering evidence against the Nazis, I now needed to reverse my stance only three hours before the first session.

Gradually, anger gave way to utter panic. My research was fundamental to my performance, and without it, I knew I could add little to the Trials. But confident in my ability, my director optimistically recommended constructing an impromptu defense. Nervously, I began my research anew. Despite feeling hopeless, as I read through the prosecution’s arguments, I uncovered substantial loopholes. I noticed a lack of conclusive evidence against the defendants and certain inconsistencies in testimonies. My discovery energized me, inspiring me to revisit the historical overview in my conference “Background Guide” and to search the web for other relevant articles. Some Nazi prisoners had been treated as “guilty” before their court dates. While I had brushed this information under the carpet while developing my position as a judge, it now became the focus of my defense. I began scratching out a new argument, centered on the premise that the allied countries had violated the fundamental rule that, a defendant was “not guilty” until proven otherwise.

At the end of the three hours, I felt better prepared. The first session began, and with bravado, I raised my placard to speak. Microphone in hand, I turned to face my audience. “Greetings delegates. I, Otto Stahmer would like to…….” I suddenly blanked. Utter dread permeated my body as I tried to recall my thoughts in vain. “Defence Attorney, Stahmer we’ll come back to you,” my Committee Director broke the silence as I tottered back to my seat, flushed with embarrassment. Despite my shame, I was undeterred. I needed to vindicate my director’s faith in me. I pulled out my notes, refocused, and began outlining my arguments in a more clear and direct manner. Thereafter, I spoke articulately, confidently putting forth my points. I was overjoyed when Secretariat members congratulated me on my fine performance.

Going into the conference, I believed that preparation was the key to success. I wouldn’t say I disagree with that statement now, but I believe adaptability is equally important. My ability to problem-solve in the face of an unforeseen challenge proved advantageous in the art of diplomacy. Not only did this experience transform me into a confident and eloquent delegate at that conference, but it also helped me become a more flexible and creative thinker in a variety of other capacities. Now that I know I can adapt under pressure, I look forward to engaging in activities that will push me to be even quicker on my feet.

This essay is an excellent example of in-the-moment narration. The student openly shares their internal state with us — we feel their anger and panic upon the reversal of roles. We empathize with their emotions of “utter dread” and embarrassment when they’re unable to speak. 

For in-the-moment essays, overloading on descriptions is a common mistake students make. This writer provides just the right amount of background and details to help us understand the situation, however, and balances out the actual event with reflection on the significance of this experience. 

One main area of improvement is that the writer sometimes makes explicit statements that could be better illustrated through their thoughts, actions, and feelings. For instance, they say they “spoke articulately” after recovering from their initial inability to speak, and they also claim that adaptability has helped them in other situations. This is not as engaging as actual examples that convey the same meaning. Still, this essay overall is a strong example of in-the-moment narration, and gives us a relatable look into the writer’s life and personality.

2. Narrative told over an extended period of time

In this essay structure, you share a story that takes place across several different experiences. This narrative style is well-suited for any story arc with multiple parts. If you want to highlight your development over time, you might consider this structure. 

When I was younger, I was adamant that no two foods on my plate touch. As a result, I often used a second plate to prevent such an atrocity. In many ways, I learned to separate different things this way from my older brothers, Nate and Rob. Growing up, I idolized both of them. Nate was a performer, and I insisted on arriving early to his shows to secure front row seats, refusing to budge during intermission for fear of missing anything. Rob was a three-sport athlete, and I attended his games religiously, waving worn-out foam cougar paws and cheering until my voice was hoarse. My brothers were my role models. However, while each was talented, neither was interested in the other’s passion. To me, they represented two contrasting ideals of what I could become: artist or athlete. I believed I had to choose.

And for a long time, I chose athlete. I played soccer, basketball, and lacrosse and viewed myself exclusively as an athlete, believing the arts were not for me. I conveniently overlooked that since the age of five, I had been composing stories for my family for Christmas, gifts that were as much for me as them, as I loved writing. So when in tenth grade, I had the option of taking a creative writing class, I was faced with a question: could I be an athlete and a writer? After much debate, I enrolled in the class, feeling both apprehensive and excited. When I arrived on the first day of school, my teacher, Ms. Jenkins, asked us to write down our expectations for the class. After a few minutes, eraser shavings stubbornly sunbathing on my now-smudged paper, I finally wrote, “I do not expect to become a published writer from this class. I just want this to be a place where I can write freely.”

Although the purpose of the class never changed for me, on the third “submission day,” – our time to submit writing to upcoming contests and literary magazines – I faced a predicament. For the first two submission days, I had passed the time editing earlier pieces, eventually (pretty quickly) resorting to screen snake when hopelessness made the words look like hieroglyphics. I must not have been as subtle as I thought, as on the third of these days, Ms. Jenkins approached me. After shifting from excuse to excuse as to why I did not submit my writing, I finally recognized the real reason I had withheld my work: I was scared. I did not want to be different, and I did not want to challenge not only others’ perceptions of me, but also my own. I yielded to Ms. Jenkin’s pleas and sent one of my pieces to an upcoming contest.

By the time the letter came, I had already forgotten about the contest. When the flimsy white envelope arrived in the mail, I was shocked and ecstatic to learn that I had received 2nd place in a nationwide writing competition. The next morning, however, I discovered Ms. Jenkins would make an announcement to the whole school exposing me as a poet. I decided to own this identity and embrace my friends’ jokes and playful digs, and over time, they have learned to accept and respect this part of me. I have since seen more boys at my school identifying themselves as writers or artists.

I no longer see myself as an athlete and a poet independently, but rather I see these two aspects forming a single inseparable identity – me. Despite their apparent differences, these two disciplines are quite similar, as each requires creativity and devotion. I am still a poet when I am lacing up my cleats for soccer practice and still an athlete when I am building metaphors in the back of my mind – and I have realized ice cream and gummy bears taste pretty good together.

The timeline of this essay spans from the writer’s childhood all the way to sophomore year, but we only see key moments along this journey. First, we get context for why the writer thought he had to choose one identity: his older brothers had very distinct interests. Then, we learn about the student’s 10th grade creative writing class, writing contest, and results of the contest. Finally, the essay covers the writers’ embarrassment of his identity as a poet, to gradual acceptance and pride in that identity. 

This essay is a great example of a narrative told over an extended period of time. It’s highly personal and reflective, as the piece shares the writer’s conflicting feelings, and takes care to get to the root of those feelings. Furthermore, the overarching story is that of a personal transformation and development, so it’s well-suited to this essay structure.

3. Series of anecdotes, or montage

This essay structure allows you to focus on the most important experiences of a single storyline, or it lets you feature multiple (not necessarily related) stories that highlight your personality. Montage is a structure where you piece together separate scenes to form a whole story. This technique is most commonly associated with film. Just envision your favorite movie—it likely is a montage of various scenes that may not even be chronological. 

Night had robbed the academy of its daytime colors, yet there was comfort in the dim lights that cast shadows of our advances against the bare studio walls. Silhouettes of roundhouse kicks, spin crescent kicks, uppercuts and the occasional butterfly kick danced while we sparred. She approached me, eyes narrowed with the trace of a smirk challenging me. “Ready spar!” Her arm began an upward trajectory targeting my shoulder, a common first move. I sidestepped — only to almost collide with another flying fist. Pivoting my right foot, I snapped my left leg, aiming my heel at her midsection. The center judge raised one finger. 

There was no time to celebrate, not in the traditional sense at least. Master Pollard gave a brief command greeted with a unanimous “Yes, sir” and the thud of 20 hands dropping-down-and-giving-him-30, while the “winners” celebrated their victory with laps as usual. 

Three years ago, seven-thirty in the evening meant I was a warrior. It meant standing up straighter, pushing a little harder, “Yes, sir” and “Yes, ma’am”, celebrating birthdays by breaking boards, never pointing your toes, and familiarity. Three years later, seven-thirty in the morning meant I was nervous. 

The room is uncomfortably large. The sprung floor soaks up the checkerboard of sunlight piercing through the colonial windows. The mirrored walls further illuminate the studio and I feel the light scrutinizing my sorry attempts at a pas de bourrée , while capturing the organic fluidity of the dancers around me. “ Chassé en croix, grand battement, pique, pirouette.” I follow the graceful limbs of the woman in front of me, her legs floating ribbons, as she executes what seems to be a perfect ronds de jambes. Each movement remains a negotiation. With admirable patience, Ms. Tan casts me a sympathetic glance.   

There is no time to wallow in the misery that is my right foot. Taekwondo calls for dorsiflexion; pointed toes are synonymous with broken toes. My thoughts drag me into a flashback of the usual response to this painful mistake: “You might as well grab a tutu and head to the ballet studio next door.” Well, here I am Master Pollard, unfortunately still following your orders to never point my toes, but no longer feeling the satisfaction that comes with being a third degree black belt with 5 years of experience quite literally under her belt. It’s like being a white belt again — just in a leotard and ballet slippers. 

But the appetite for new beginnings that brought me here doesn’t falter. It is only reinforced by the classical rendition of “Dancing Queen” that floods the room and the ghost of familiarity that reassures me that this new beginning does not and will not erase the past. After years spent at the top, it’s hard to start over. But surrendering what you are only leads you to what you may become. In Taekwondo, we started each class reciting the tenets: honor, courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, courage, humility, and knowledge, and I have never felt that I embodied those traits more so than when I started ballet. 

The thing about change is that it eventually stops making things so different. After nine different schools, four different countries, three different continents, fluency in Tamil, Norwegian, and English, there are more blurred lines than there are clear fragments. My life has not been a tactfully executed, gold medal-worthy Taekwondo form with each movement defined, nor has it been a series of frappés performed by a prima ballerina with each extension identical and precise, but thankfully it has been like the dynamics of a spinning back kick, fluid, and like my chances of landing a pirouette, unpredictable. 

This essay takes a few different anecdotes and weaves them into a coherent narrative about the writer’s penchant for novel experiences. We’re plunged into her universe, in the middle of her Taekwondo spar, three years before the present day. She then transitions into a scene in a ballet studio, present day. By switching from past tense to present tense, the writer clearly demarcates this shift in time. 

The parallel use of the spoken phrase “Point” in the essay ties these two experiences together. The writer also employs a flashback to Master Pollard’s remark about “grabbing a tutu” and her habit of dorsiflexing her toes, which further cements the connection between these anecdotes. 

While some of the descriptions are a little wordy, the piece is well-executed overall, and is a stellar example of the montage structure. The two anecdotes are seamlessly intertwined, and they both clearly illustrate the student’s determination, dedication, reflectiveness, and adaptability. The writer also concludes the essay with a larger reflection on her life, many moves, and multiple languages. 

Unconventional College Essay Structures

Unconventional essay structures are any that don’t fit into the categories above. These tend to be higher risk, as it’s easier to turn off the admissions officer, but they’re also higher reward if executed correctly. 

There are endless possibilities for unconventional structures, but most fall under one of two categories:

1. Playing with essay format

Instead of choosing a traditional narrative format, you might take a more creative route to showcase your interests, writing your essay:

  • As a movie script
  • With a creative visual format (such as creating a visual pattern with the spaces between your sentences forming a picture)
  • As a two-sided Lincoln-Douglas debate
  • As a legal brief
  • Using song lyrics

2. Linguistic techniques

You could also play with the actual language and sentence structure of your essay, writing it:

  • In iambic pentameter
  • Partially in your mother tongue
  • In code or a programming language

These linguistic techniques are often hybrid, where you write some of the essay with the linguistic variation, then write more of an explanation in English.

Under no circumstances should you feel pressured to use an unconventional structure. Trying to force something unconventional will only hurt your chances. That being said, if a creative structure comes naturally to you, suits your personality, and works with the content of your essay — go for that structure!

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HOW TO – Format papers in standard academic format (using Microsoft Word)

This guide explains how to format your documents in Microsoft Word so that they follow the standard rules for formatting academic papers as described in most MLA and APA style books for undergraduate writing. These rules apply to most of the papers you will submit in your college classes, but in some cases your professors will want you to follow specific guidelines that may differ from those below. Always clarify with your professor which set of guidelines he or she wants you to follow before you submit a paper.

Using standard formatting for academic papers shows that you understand the customs of the university community and therefore helps to boost your own credibility. Using unusual or highly distinctive formatting, on the other hand, suggests that your previous schooling did not adequately prepare you for university work. Consider the impact of unusual formatting: not only does it call attention to your paper in a way that might not be positive, professors might also see it as a sign that you’re trying to artificially inflate page length.

Note: These instructions apply to all versions of Word for Mac and for the 2003 version of Word for Windows. I haven’t yet updated them to include instructions for the 2007 version of Word for Windows, but the tools should nevertheless be easy to find if you look around on the toolbar at the top.

  • 6.1 Heading
  • 6.3 Sample First Page
  • 8.1 Document Spacing
  • 8.2 Paragraph Spacing


Rule : Papers submitted for review or grading should have 1” margins all around. This should be the default for Word, but if your default setting is to have left and right margins of 1.25”, change your default. Page length requirements are based on 1” margins.

Instructions : Go to the Format menu, drag down to Document, change the margins, and the click on the Default button and accept the change to the Normal template. Make sure you leave the gutter set to 0” or you’ll mess up your document formatting.


Rule : The first line of each paragraph should be automatically indented.

Instructions : This should be the default for Word, but if not, you might want to change your Normal style, as described above. To change the indentation format for a document, choose Select All from the Edit menu. Then go to the Format menu, drag down to Paragraph, look under the “Special” drop-down menu in the Indentation section, and select “First Line.” This setting automatically indents the first line of a new paragraph so that you don’t have to do it manually.

Rule : College papers should be in a standard academic font: either Times New Roman or Cambria, in 12pt size. (If you submit a paper in another font, I will change it on the file I download.)

Instructions : Times New Roman or Cambria 12pt should be the default for Word, but if yours is different then change your default. Go to the Format menu, drag down to Style, make sure “Normal” is selected from the list of styles, and click “modify.” Choose the correct font and size from the Formatting menu. Click “OK” to make the change to your default settings.

Rule : The text of your paper should be left aligned, NOT justified, as justified text is hard to read if it hasn’t been professionally typeset. The default in Word is left alignment, so don’t change it.


Rule : In the upper left corner of the first page of your document, type your name, the date, the course number and section (or topic), and the version of the paper (such as Paper 1 Second Draft), each on a separate line. Be sure to change the date and paper version when you submit revisions and final versions. See the sample below.

DO NOT use the “headers” feature from the header/footer menu to create this full heading as that will make it appear on every page, which is not customary in academic writing. Also do NOT use a title page unless the assignment specifically asks for one.

Rule : Skip a line after the heading and center an original title that conveys the topic of your paper. Do not use underlining or italics in the heading (unless you’re referring to the title of a book or periodical). Do not use bold text or ALL CAPS.

Sample First Page

Page numbers.

Rule : All papers should have automatically inserted page numbers that show in the upper right corner on all pages except the first. Do not insert these page numbers by hand. Instead, use Word’s Header/Footer tool.

For documents following MLA format, put your last name and page number in the upper right corner. For documents following APA format, put a short version of your title (instead of your last name) and the page number in the upper right corner.

Instructions : Go to the View menu and choose “Header and Footer.” You’ll see a header box appear at the top and a footer box at the bottom. Click in the header box, type your last name (or title), make it align to the right, and then select Page Numbers from the Insert menu.

When you’re finished, click on the “Close” tab under the Header view. Each page of your document should now display a page number at the upper right that updates automatically when you make changes to the document. It will appear as grayed out text unless you active the Header and Footer tool to make changes.

To change the setting so that page numbers do not display on the first page, go to the Format men, drag down to Document, and click on the Layout button. Then check the box next to “Different First Page.” Click OK. If necessary, remove the header that appears on the first page and insert a header on the second page, which will automatically appear on all subsequent pages as well.

Document Spacing

Rule : The entire paper should be double-spaced, including the heading and bibliography.

Instructions : Choose “Select All” from the Edit menu, go to the Format menu and drag down to Paragraph, and choose “double” from the “line spacing” menu in the Spacing section. Or you can use these keyboard shortcuts. On a Mac, use Cmd-A to select all and Cmd-2 to double-space. On a PC, use Ctrl-A to select all and Ctrl-2 to double space.

Paragraph Spacing

Rule : Papers should have no extra spacing after paragraphs. This should be the default for Word, but if your default setting is to have 10pt spacing after paragraphs, change your default.

Instructions : Go to the Format menu, drag down to Style, make sure “Normal” is selected from the list of styles, and click “modify.” In the lower left corner, select the dropdown menu that starts with “Format” and drag down to Paragraph. In the paragraph settings menu that pops up, change the settings for Spacing After to 0pt.


Instead of using a lot of returns before starting your bibliography, create a new page for it following these instructions.

Go to the Insert menu, drag down to Break, and then drag over to Page Break.


Rule : If a quotation will exceed four lines within a paragraph, you should separate it out by blocking and indenting it. As with any quotation, a blocked quotation should be clearly introduced by the sentence that leads up to it and it should also be properly cited, but the rules for blocked quotations are somewhat different. The blocking take the place of quotation marks, and unlike in a regular in-paragraph quotation, the parenthetical citation goes outside of the final period instead of inside of it (given that the blocked quote might contain several sentences.)

Instructions : Type the quotation in its own paragraph, without quotation marks, and remove the indent from the first line. Type the source in parentheses after the last period of the last sentence. With your cursor, select the quotation, from the first word to the end of the parenthetical citation, and click the Increase Indent button from the Paragraph Formatting menu.

  • MLA Formatting Guidelines for College Papers
  • APA Formatting Guidelines for College Papers
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How to Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2022

This reference guide explains how to format your academic documents in Microsoft Word 2022, giving you the fundamental rules for formatting your academic papers as described in most guidelines, such as MLA and APA styles. The rules discussed in this guide apply to most of the academic papers you will submit as college assignments or articles for journals.

how to format essay in word

This reference guide provides some tips to format academic papers in Microsoft Word. To give you an opportunity to practice proofreading, we have left a few spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors in the text. See if you can spot them! If you spot the errors correctly, you will be entitled to a 10% discount.

Document Margins of Microsoft Word

Indentation of microsoft word documents, how to set font settings for academic papers in microsoft word, how to change the default font of your academic paper, how to format page numbers for academic papers, document spacing of academic papers in microsoft word, how to format paragraph spacing for academic papers, how to create a new page or insert a page break in microsoft word.

This reference guide will explain how to format your academic documents in Microsoft Word 2022, giving you the fundamental rules for formatting your academic papers as described in most guidelines, such as MLA and APA styles. The rules discussed in this guide apply to most of the academic papers you will submit as college assignments or articles for journals; however, keep in mind that some of your professors may want you to follow specific standards that may differ from the rules here. Adopting standard formatting for your academic papers indicates that you comprehend the rules of your college and therefore helps to improve your own credibility.

These rules and instructions can be applied to all versions of Microsoft Word for Mac and Windows. The tools, however, cannot be found at the same place on the toolbar at the top of your document.

Microsoft Word documents generally come with the default setting for margins. Check your default setting if it is to have different left and right margin. If so, change the default setting. Suppose that the paper you need to submit for review or grading should have 3.0 cm margins all around.

Here are the instructions you should follow:

Go to the Format menu at the top, scroll down to Document , change the margins, click on the Default button, and accept the change to the Normal template.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

Make sure you leave the gutter set to 0 cm; otherwise, your document formatting will be messed up. 

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

Then, make your selection.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

Suppose that you want t he first line of each paragraph to be automatically indented. Here are the instructions to follow:

To change the indentation format for an academic paper in Microsoft Word, choose Select All from the Edit   menu, or press the combinations of ⌘ A .

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

Then go to the Format menu, select Paragraph from the drop-down menu (or press the key combinations of ⌥⌘M ).

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

Indents and Spacing menu will be selected automatically.  Under this menu, go to the Special drop-down menu and select First line . This setting automatically indents the first line of the new paragraph of your academic paper so that you do not have to set it manually each time.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

Guidelines may adopt different font settings for academic papers. For instance, a variety of fonts are permitted in APA Style papers. Font options in APA Style include sans serif fonts, such as 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, or 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode, serif fonts, such as 12-point Times New Roman, 11-point Georgia, or normal (10-point) Computer Modern (the default font for LaTeX).

To change it, go to the Format menu, select Style under the drop-down menu.  

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

Make sure Normal is selected from the list of styles, and click Modify . Choose your preferred font and size from the Formatting menu.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

Click OK to make the change to your default settings. You may name it as you wish.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

Changing the default font in any template means that the newly set font will be used in every new document that is based on that template. For instance, the default font for new blank documents is based on the Normal   template. First, open the template or a document based on the template whose default settings you wish to change. Go to the  Format  menu at the top of the screen, click the  Font tab (or press the key combinations of ⌥⌘D ) .

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

Make any changes that you want, and then click  Default .

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

You will have two options here: You can set the default font to the selected option for This document only or A ll documents based on the Normal template . Then click OK .

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

All documents should have automatically inserted page numbers shown in the upper right corner on all pages except the first page. Do not insert these page numbers manually. Use the  Header/Footer tool of Microsoft Word instead. 

Go to the View menu and choose Header and Footer.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

A header box will appear at the top and a footer box at the bottom. Click in the header box; you can type your last name or the title of your document, and make it align to the right or left as you wish.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

Then, select Page Numbers from the Insert menu. 

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

If you want to show the number on the first page of your document, check the box next to Show number on first page . Set your Position and Alignment as you wish.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

For advanced options, click Format , and set other settings, such as your number format, chat numbers, page numbering, etc.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

When you are finished with the settings, click on the Close tab under the Header view. Each page of your document should now display a page number in the upper right corner that updates automatically when you make changes to your document. It will appear as grayed-out text unless you activate the Header and Footer   tool to make changes.

If you want to change the setting so that page numbers do not display on the first page of your document, click on Document under the Format drop-down menu and click on the Layout menu.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

Under this menu, check the box next to Different First Page , and click OK . If required, remove the header that appears on the first page, and insert a header on the second page. This will automatically appear on all subsequent pages.

Choose Select All from the Edit menu. Select Paragraph under the Format drop-down menu. Choose your desired spacing from the Line spacing menu under the Spacing section. Alternatively, you can use keyboard shortcuts.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

Select the Style from the Format drop-down menu. Make sure that Normal is selected from the list of styles, and click Modify . In the lower-left corner, select the Paragraph under the Format drop-down menu.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

In the Paragraph settings menu that pops up, change the settings for After to 0 pt under the Spacing menu.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

If you wish to create a new page, instead of using numerous returns before starting your bibliography, go to the Insert menu at the top of the screen. Select Page Break under the Break drop-down menu. Alternatively, you can press ⌘+Enter to insert a page break.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

If you need help with formatting your academic papers, contact us!

Best Edit & Proof expert editors aim to provide your manuscripts with proper scholarly and academic tone and style. They will significantly improve the chances of having your research manuscript accepted for publishing. They provide subject-area proofreading and editing services in several fields categorized under various disciplines. With our extensive knowledge and expertise, we will help you find the right tone and style for your manuscript.

If you need our subject-area editors to format your manuscripts, giving you the fundamental rules for formatting your manuscripts as described in your guidelines, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago/Turabian styles, then contact us. At Best Edit & Proof, our proofreaders and editors edit  every type of academic paper . We have a user-friendly website and a simplified ordering process. 

If you would like our subject-area editors and language experts to work on your project for the improvement of its academic tone and style, then please visit the  order page.  It is easy! It takes only a few minutes to submit your paper and complete the process. Click  here   to see how it works.

We have flat-rate pricing based on our type of service (editing or proofreading), word count, and turnaround time. Enter your word count or copy and paste your document into our  pricing calculator   to get an instant quote.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

If you need support for academic editing and proofreading,  contact us . You can also  e-mail  us or use the 24/7 live chat module to get direct support. Our doctorally qualified editors will polish and fine-tune your projects.

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how to format essay in word

Embarking on an academic work is obligatory for every college student who wants to graduate one day. Such an academic work is considered one of the final and most fundamental practices in the curriculum for college students. Some students who embark on their academic writing projects may not actually be aware of the mistakes (whether trivial or vital) that may delay their graduation or cause them to lose marks, or points in their assignments. So, college students should pay attention to these tips to avoid making the errors herein discussed.

how to format essay in word

Writing a research paper involves scrutinizing a plethora of research material to bring forth plausible conclusions. However, no matter the degree of impeccability and thoroughness of the research, successfully transmuting it into words takes a grave amount of practice and endurance. Thus, it is not uncommon to see amateur and even veteran scholarly writers commit research writing mistakes in their papers now and then. Following the narrative, this article will describe 5 research writing mistakes that frequently blemish the works of academic writers. It will also shed some much-needed light on the tips to amend and avoid these mistakes.

how to format essay in word

Some essays use logical and factual data to sustain their claims. They are known as argumentative essays and form a significant proportion of all essays written by scholars and students during their academic tenure. This article demonstrates how to write an argumentative essay by dividing the writing process into four detailed steps. Hence, readers looking to augment the plausibility of their argumentative texts should ensure to abide by them.

how to format essay in word

Research methodology is about the data collection and analysis methods employed in your research. Thus, this section addresses what you performed and how you did it, letting readers assess the reliability and validity of your study and is a critical part of your thesis or dissertation.

how to format essay in word

Formal writing can cover everything from academic essays to a thesis or dissertation; a few fundamental rules are valid in all types of academic writing. A student can find writing in different formats boring or unbearable. With the following tips, you will start finding academic writing almost enjoyable and utterly rewarding.

How-To Geek

8 microsoft word tips for professional looking documents.

Not sure which features will improve the appearance of your document?

Quick Links

Choose the right font for the job, adjust the margins appropriately, choose the right line and paragraph spacing, adjust your indents, format using columns when they fit, add headings to identify sections, position images between text and paragraphs, use alignment tools for images and objects.

As you probably already know, Microsoft Word gives you plenty of tools for composing and formatting most any type of document. But which of these features should you use to create professional looking documents? Here are several helpful tips.

Whether you create a business document or college paper, pick an easy-to-read font.

If you plan to print the document , you can choose a serif font like Times New Roman or Georgia. As the name implies, serif letters have serifs , which you might call wings or tails, that make the font look more ornate. These appear nicely on printed pieces.

For digital documents, go for a sans serif font instead like Arial or Calibri. These font styles don't have serifs (wings or tails) which make them easier to read on computer or mobile device screens.

To change the font style, along with the size and color, head to the Home tab and Fonts section of the ribbon.

To change the default font for all documents, open the Font launcher using the small arrow in the bottom right corner.

Make your selection, pick "Set as Default," and "OK."

If you have a requirement for the margins, you can set them to the exact sizes you need easily. If not, the standard is one inch for all four sides. Depending on the type of document you're creating, you may want smaller margins to accommodate tables or diagrams. In this case, you can go with the narrow margin settings at one-half inch on each side.

To adjust the margins, go to the Layout tab and open the Margins drop-down menu to make your selection.

For margins at exact sizes, choose Custom Margins at the bottom of the list. Enter the measurements at the top, including the gutter if you like, and click "OK" to save the changes.

Note that you have additional options for Custom Margins in Word. You can use specifics per the page orientation, page type, and apply the margins to the whole document, a certain section, or from a point moving forward.

Line and paragraph spacing can affect the readability of your document, so this is another formatting option to keep in mind. You may be required to double space something like a college essay but if not, the default for Word documents is 1.15 points which is appropriate for most document types.

You can adjust the spacing from the Paragraph section on the Home tab. Select all text in your document or particular text if you prefer. Then, open the Line and Paragraph Spacing drop-down menu to make your selection.

To customize your spacing, pick "Line Spacing Options" in the list. Use the Spacing section on the Indents and Spacing tab to change the points before and after paragraphs. You can then use the Line Spacing drop-down box to pick Single, Double , or another option.

As you make your changes, you can see a preview at the bottom. When you're happy with your choices, select "OK" to apply them. You can also use the Set as Default button to keep these settings for all future documents.

Related: How to Print a Test Page in Windows 10

Again, if you have a requirement for how your indents should appear , we'll show you how to adjust them. But many documents these days use left-aligned text. To break up the paragraphs, simply insert an extra line between them.

On the other hand, you may need to indent the first line of each paragraph with no extra spacing between paragraphs. This type of layout, called first line indent, is what you'd see in a book, for example.

Go to the Layout tab and use the Indent settings in the Paragraph section to change your current indents.

Alternatively, open the Paragraph launcher using the small arrow in the bottom right corner. You can then make your adjustments in the Indentation section of the Indents and Spacing tab. Add what you'd like for the left and right indents or pick a special option on the right like a First Line or Hanging indent .

Columns have their places in certain types of documents like brochures and newsletters . If you're creating this kind of document, head to the Layout tab and use the Columns drop-down menu to choose the number of columns.

For additional options, select "More Columns" at the bottom. You can then use a preset, choose the width and spacing for each column, and apply it to the whole document or only certain portions.

Just keep in mind that columns are only useful if the type of document you're composing warrants them. This gives your document a newspaper-style appearance which usually isn't appropriate for school papers, business proposals, or company reports.

If you have a lengthy document or one that could benefit from different sections , you can apply headings to identify the sections. Not only does this help visually separate the document for readability but is also useful for creating a table of contents .

To apply a heading , select the text and go to the Home tab. Use the box in the Styles section to pick Heading 1 or Heading 2, depending on the size and style you want.

You can also change the color of the heading. For instance, it may display in blue and you want black. Select the heading and use the color drop-down box in the floating toolbar above the text or in the Font section on the Home tab.

Maybe you're adding images to your document. You have many ways to adjust the appearance of your images in Word with one being how they're positioned with the surrounding text.

For example, you may have a small decorative image that can go within the text where the words wrap around it. Or maybe you have a large explanatory image that should stand on its own between paragraphs.

Select the image and click the Layout Options button that appears on the top right (Windows only).

Alternatively, go to the Picture Format tab and use the Position and Wrap Text drop-down menus in the Arrange section of the ribbon.

You can then wrap the text around the image with different spacing options, place the text on the top and bottom of the image, or wrap the text around only the left or right side.

For even more options, select "See More" in the Layout Options pop-up window or "More Layout Options" in the Position or Wrap Text menu.

One more tip to make your document look fantastic is to use Word's alignment tools for things like images, shapes, or objects. You can use Alignment Guides which only display as you move the element on the page or Gridlines which appear and remain as soon as you enable them.

These two tools can help you equally space and place your items next to each other for a neat and tidy appearance.

For help moving your pictures, look at our how-to for freely moving images in Word .

Head to the Picture Format, Shape Format, or Graphics Format tab, depending on the type of item you use. Then, open the Align drop-down box to choose "Use Alignment Guides" or "View Gridlines." Note that you can't use both at the same time.

Hopefully these suggestions have you on your way to a professional-looking Word document.

Related: 7 Awesome Microsoft Word Features You Should Be Using

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How to Format Your Essay in APA Style Using Microsoft Word 2021

by Mel Beasley | Jan 6, 2022 | Academic Writing

Information is taken from the American Psychological Association, 7th Edition, latest version, 2022.

Here’s your guide to setting up your APA essay in Microsoft Word. Keep in mind that there are a few changes to APA style found in the 7th edition. Here’s what you should know:

Changes in APA, 7th Edition, Latest Version:

  • Running heads are no longer required. If you choose to use one, it only has to include the page number and abbreviated version of your title.
  • Use one space after a period unless instructed otherwise.
  • The first in-text citation of a work by more than two authors may list only the first author, followed by “et al,” without any further explanation.
  • The term “they” is now acceptable for singular usage.

Reference Changes Include:

  • “Retrieved from” is no longer required before URLs unless a retrieval date is needed.
  • A website’s name is included (unless it’s the same as an author), and webpage titles are italicized.
  • Book references no longer need the publisher’s location.

Format Your Essay in APA Style Using Microsoft Word

This guide will show you exactly how to format your essay properly in APA style using Microsoft Word. This guide only covers the basics of formatting such as margins, spacing, etc., so please see our other resources for further APA formatting guidelines.

1. Set the Page Number

APA style papers require that you have a title page. You should also have page numbers in the top right of every page. Follow these instructions to set up your title page and page numbers.

How to Set the Page Number

  • Open a blank document in Microsoft Word and select INSERT .
  • Select PAGE NUMBER .
  • Select TOP OF PAGE .
  • Select PLAIN NUMBER 3 .
  • Using your mouse, double click anywhere on the document to hold the page number in place.

2. Set the Font Style, Size, and Spacing

  • From the HOME tab, set your font to Times New Roman size 12 .
  • Select the paragraph settings icon to open the menu.
  • Set your body text as double spaced .

Note that you can also change the spacing this way:

3. Set Margins

According to APA style, your margins should be 1 inch all the way around.

  • Navigate to LAYOUT .
  • Select MARGINS .
  • Choose the NORMAL option in the dropdown.

3. How to Set Your Title Page

  • Center your title page information.
  • Hit ENTER at least 3 times so your title info displays slightly toward the middle of the page.
  • Type the title of your essay in Bold, but keep the size at 12.
  • Hit ENTER twice before typing the next lines.
  • You should enter your first and last name.
  • Type your university’s name.
  • Type your course code.
  • Enter your instructor’s name.
  • Enter the date. For example: January 1, 2022 .

After you’ve finished your title page information, go ahead and hit ENTER until you’ve reached page two. This is where you can begin typing your essay. Hopefully this helps you out!

Mel Beasley

Mel Beasley has a bachelor’s in creative writing and journalism from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He brings 9+ years of digital marketing and writing experience to the table by writing for publications such as Lumina News and Encore Magazine. He spent 2 years as a college-level writing tutor, and is a certified writing tutor through the CRLA, which is a prestigious cert recognized by the Association for the Coaching & Tutoring Profession. He is a professional SEO blogger with experience writing for brands such as Boardworks Education and The Greater Wilmington Business Journal. One of his latest website and marketing projects has been building the website for the now New York Times Bestselling author, Nina de Gramont .

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ENG 1002 Writing Resources | R. Rambo Home Page

English Composition 2

The proper format for essays.

Below are guidelines for the formatting of essays based on recommendations from the MLA (the Modern Language Association).

  • Fonts : Your essay should be word processed in 12-point Times New Roman fonts.
  • Double space : Your entire essay should be double spaced, with no single spacing anywhere and no extra spacing anywhere. There should not be extra spaces between paragraphs.
  • Heading : In the upper left corner of the first page of your essay, you should type your name, the instructor's name, your class, and the date, as follows: Your Name Mr. Rambo ENG 1002-100 24 February 2017
  • Margins : According to the MLA, your essay should have a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, left, and right. However, for this course, just keep the default margins in Word.
  • Page Numbers : Your last name and the page number should appear in the upper right corner of each page of your essay, including the first page, as in Jones 3 . Insert your name and the page number as a "header." Do not type this information where the text of your essay should be.
  • Title : Your essay should include a title. The title should be centered and should appear under the heading information on the first page and above the first line of your essay. The title should be in the same fonts as the rest of your essay, with no quotation marks, no underlining, no italics, and no bold.
  • Indentation : The first line of each paragraph should be indented. According to the MLA, this indentation should be 1/2 inch or five spaces, but pressing [Tab] once should give you the correct indentation.

Putting all of the above together, you should have a first page that looks like the following:

Essay Format

Copyright Randy Rambo , 2019.

Your Image

How to format an essay in Microsoft Word

An essay is a creative work that allows you to reflect deeply on an idea and put your thoughts on paper. The readability of the text and the perception of the presented information depends on the layout of any written work. That is why it is so important to always pay enough attention to the content and the proper formatting of the essay.

This article will cover the recommendations for the three most commonly used essay formats: MLA, APA, and Chicago, as well as the paper’s formatting in Microsoft Word. We hope the information will be handy!

Why is it important to have an essay-style format?

The essay format is a set of guidelines that define the organization of the components of your paper. The text, title, quotations, and basic outline are included in the guidelines layout.

Style standards were created to regulate the appearance of writing and citation lists. Why is this necessary? Suppose you are a teacher, researcher, or publisher reading hundreds of papers weekly. Suppose the papers were formatted in various ways; in that case, you can lose a lot of time trying to figure out what sources were used, whether a particular piece was a direct quote or paraphrase, and even who the author was. Having essay formatting guidelines to follow makes it easy for everyone. Essay writers can follow a set of rules without deciding which formatting parameters are ideal, and readers do not have to search for the information they are looking for.

If you need help creating an essay, it is best to seek advice from experts at www.essayshark.com , who can write an essay for cheap. It will still be of high quality according to different style and formatting standards.

Main essay writing styles

The Modern Language Association created the MLA style, which has become the most common college essay format for students preparing papers for study. It was created to give students and academics in literary and language fields a standardized way to structure their papers. However, it is now used in many disciplines, especially in the humanities.

  • Here are the key criteria for MLA essays that one should follow:
  • Use 12pt New Times Roman as the font;
  • Use double spacing throughout and make sure there are no extra spaces between paragraphs;
  • Margins should be one inch on each side of the paper;
  • Each page has the author’s last name and page number;
  • Write your name, instructor’s name, class, and date in the upper left-hand corner;
  • It is necessary to center the title of the essay;
  • Use the tab key to add an indentation;
  • Place a list of sources on the “References” page.

One of the benefits of writing your papers mentioned for MLA is that all citations are formatted the same, whether or not they come from different sources. This is the only type of essay format that makes citing sources so easy!

The American Psychological Association is abbreviated APA. This style is most often used for research articles, especially in the human behavioral and social sciences. Because the APA style is often used for more research-oriented articles, it has a stricter framework to follow than, say, the MLA style.

Here are some simple instructions in APA format on how to write an essay in APA format:

  • Times New Roman 12pt should be used for text style and size;
  • Double spacing;
  • Include a brief title and page number in the header of each page (top left/top right);
  • The title page should include the author’s name, organization, date, and instructor’s name;
  • It should include a list of citations on the reference page.

Unlike MLA style, each source type is cited separately in APA essay format. As a result, a reference to a book differs from a reference to a journal article, which is different from a reference to an interview. The references should start on a new page with the word “References” in the center at the top. Links should be in alphabetical order.

Chicago Style

The University of Chicago Press has established the Chicago style (also known as the “Turabian style”), which is the least used of the three major formats in student essay style. It is most often used in historical disciplines. However, many people look to the Chicago Manual of Style for help with problem citations or essay style. Many authors of books also use this approach.

The rules for a Chicago-style paper are as follows:

  • Spacing should be doubled everywhere;
  • Times New Roman 12pt should use text;
  • Include the top of each page, page number, and last name;
  • This format also requires footnotes for paraphrased passages;
  • A Chicago-style bibliography is very similar to an MLA-style bibliography;
  • Arrange the material in alphabetical order on the Bibliography page.

Unlike MLA or APA, the Chicago style usually uses footnotes or endnotes rather than citations in the text or parentheses. A superscript number will appear at the end of a sentence (for a footnote) or the bottom of the page (for an endnote), followed by an abbreviated reference to the source.

Formatting specifics of essays in Microsoft Word

Often educational institutions also have their own requirements for the design of written work in Microsoft Word.

Formatting of structural elements

Before starting any written work, the student creates an outline. The structure of an essay is simple:

  • title page;
  • list of references;
  • appendices (optional).

If there are no such requirements, it is desirable to be guided by the essay’s writing style and adhere to the standard rules of registration, like using the font Times New Roman, size 12pt.

Numbering the pages

Rule: Your essay must have automatically assigned page numbers that appear in the upper right-hand corner on all pages except the first page. Use Word’s Header/Footer tool.

For papers in MLA format, put your name and page number in the upper right-hand corner. For documents in APA format, place a short version of your title (instead of your last name) and the page number in the upper right corner.


Subheadings may be used in the essay’s body and are acceptable in bold. Subheadings should be typed with a paragraph interval, with a capital letter, without a period at the end of the subheading, and without using an underline.

References and footnotes

Bibliographic information about the author and the source’s title, the output of the cited monograph is called a bibliographical reference. These are listed in the bibliography. Sometimes this reference is placed at the bottom of the page. In this case, it is a footnote – additional text placed under the main one and separated by a line. Besides, bibliographical references in a footnote may be translations of terms, some notes, etc.

Bibliographical references can be of three types:

An in-text reference contains information about a document that is not included in the text, it is closed in round brackets, but it is rarely used in universities. Off-text references indicate the sources of quotations with reference to the list of bibliographic references at the end of the essay and are enclosed in brackets — for example, (7, p. 33), where 7 is the serial number of the article in the list, and 33 is the page to which you refer. The footnote bibliographical reference is taken out at the bottom of the page. For this kind of reference, use the “Insert” box on the toolbar of Word, then “Footnote” and the numbering of the footnote “On each page.”

The work may contain tables, diagrams, drawings, and diagrams. They are inserted in the essay with captions. Figures and tables should be numbered. The title is in the center, the figure is named at the bottom, and the table is at the top.

List of references

The references are printed on a separate page following the established standards of style in which you write the essay.

Writing a great essay involves the correct presentation of the content. Styles and formatting guidelines are created for this reason. Students often create poorly structured text when rushing to complete their projects. This leads to sloppy writing and causes students to lose their grades. This is why you need to know the three popular essay format styles – MLA, APA, and Chicago – and develop essay formatting skills in Microsoft Word – then, it will be much easier to write papers!

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Essay Formatting: How to Format an Essay That Wows Your Professor

If you want to be one of the top students in your class, you’re going to have to nail essay formatting . Learn how to format an essay and you’ll see a huge difference in your grades.

How to format an essay blog title image

One of the biggest obstacles that students face when trying to write a great essay is getting the main points across in a clear, logical fashion that actually answers the set question.

It doesn’t matter which way you cut it: Writing an A-grade essay is a science.

Very few students crack the secret of writing a great essay on their first attempt. They engage in a process of trial and error through which they work out what works… and what doesn’t.

Fortunately, you don’t need to start this process from scratch. Our essay editors know exactly what it takes to get results.

The best thing of all is that the rules on how to format an essay are incredibly simple. So simple, in fact, that we’ve fit them all on one page (whoop!).

How to Format an Essay: The Perfect Essay Format

When formatting your essay, you will need to ensure you follow the appropriate style guide. This will usually be APA, MLA , or something similar. You can read more about APA in our guide to APA formatting for dissertations .

If there’s one thing that is consistent across all great essays, it’s this:

They follow a clear and logical format that incorporates effective transitions.

As such, before we delve a little deeper into what is happening in each section of an essay that utilizes optimal essay formatting, we need to take a look at transitions.

The first thing you should get straight in your mind is that a good essay is formatted to take the reader on a journey through your train of thought. Transitions help them along this journey.

With the addition of just a few strategically chosen and placed transition words, the organization of the whole essay is greatly enhanced. Transitions strengthen the flow of ideas from one sentence to the other, from one paragraph to the next, and from section to section.  You can read more here: Guide to essay transitions .

Here is a list of the types of transitions you could use when formatting your essay:

Useful Transitions for Essays: A Really Cool Cheat Sheet

So that’s the transition sorted. Let’s look at how they work within the essay itself.

For the purpose of this guide, we’ll focus on a five-paragraph essay format; however, the same techniques and tips will apply regardless of how many paragraphs your essay contains.

How to Format An Essay: The Five-Paragraph Essay

1) introduction.

The introduction to your paper is critical because this is where you get your reader involved in your essay. You need a strong opening that hooks the reader into reading more. Check out our guide to how to write an essay introduction for more information.

Here are a couple of examples of great opening lines that capture the reader’s attention:

As Gru was in the process of giving his acceptance speech at the annual Anti-Villain League Employee of the Year awards, many people in the room looked on in shock. Exactly what had Gru done that had made him so worthy of this accolade? The playwright George Bernard Shaw famously stated ‘Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.’ Later, the film director Woody Allen took the definition one step further by positing ‘Those who can’t teach, teach gym’…

The second purpose of your introductory paragraph is to tell the reader what they will learn from reading your essay. As such, you should include a thesis statement that outlines what your essay will set out to prove. Not sure how to write a thesis statement? Check out our guide to how to write a thesis statement .

Here’s a couple of examples of great thesis statements:

From examining minions’ cramped working conditions, low pay, and lack of vacation entitlement, it is clear that Gru should not have been awarded Employer of the Year. As individuals who directly impact children’s educational development, aspirations, and ability to function in society, teachers should be afforded a greater level of respect than that afforded to them by people like George Bernard Shaw.”

The third purpose of your intro is to keep the reader engaged. As such, you should include a good transitional hook that transitions him or her from the introduction to the main body of the essay.

Here’s an example of a great transitional hook:

This paper will examine some of the ways in which Gru’s minions are mistreated and prove that he is unworthy of the Employer of the Year award he recently won at the Bad Guys Conference.

So, let’s put it all together: A fabulous opening paragraph

As Gru was in the process of giving his acceptance speech at the annual Anti-Villain League Employee of the Year awards, many people in the room looked on in shock. Exactly what had Gru done that had made him so worthy of this accolade? As someone who is renowned for controlling and manipulating his minions, Gru is perhaps one of the last people who should be granted an award for exemplary employment practices. In fact, from examining minions’ cramped working conditions, low pay, and lack of vacation entitlement, it is clear that Gru should not have been awarded Employer of the Year. This paper will examine some of the ways in which Gru’s minions are mistreated and prove that he is unworthy of the Employer of the Year award he recently won at the Anti-Villain League Conference.

2) The Body

Paragraph one.

So, this is where we progress to the real meat of the essay.

Open the first paragraph of the body with a reverse hook that pulls in the transitional hook with which you closed the introductory paragraph.

Okay, admittedly, that sounds complicated. Luckily, it isn’t.

Here are some examples to help you out:

Examples of Essay Transitions

In the first body paragraph, you should aim to reel the reader in. As such, you should put across your strongest argument at this point.

Immediately following the reverse hook, state your topic for the first paragraph. This topic should be directly relevant to the thesis statement you presented in the introduction.

Once you have shared all the main points related to that particular argument, close the paragraph with…

You guessed it, a transition! (Gotta love a good transition).

Paragraph Two

From this point onward, you kinda rinse and repeat.

That is, in your second body paragraph, you use a reverse hook and then present your second strongest argument, second most significant example, second smartest point… you get the picture.

Don’t forget to relate the points you have made back to the thesis statement.

There is one super simple sentence that can help you to nail this every time:

This proves that the view that <main argument of thesis> is correct because…

The word because is extremely important here because it is at this point you present your “so what.” You’ve shared some facts that are relevant to the thesis but you need to explicitly outline how they prove your claim is true.

Once you’ve put your argument across and tied it back to the thesis, you’re ready for…

Can you guess what’s coming?

A transition!

By now this should all be becoming crystal clear. And it couldn’t be simpler.

Here’s our ideal paragraph structure…

Reverse hook > Argument/Strong example > Thesis statement > Transition

Essay Paragraph Structure

A Quick Tip on Proofreading Paragraph Transitions

When you reach the editing stage of writing your essay, take a look at the end of each paragraph and check that it connects to the first sentence of the paragraph following it. If the connection doesn’t quite seem strong enough, consider rewriting the transition by clarifying your logic or even rearranging the paragraphs.

Paragraph Three

Follow the same processes you used in paragraph one and paragraph two. That is:

If you’re making more than three points, you’ll carry on the cycle with each additional body paragraph until you’ve said everything you have to say.

However, at a minimum, you should aim to have at least three body paragraphs that make at least three separate, but important, points related to your thesis.

Closing Body Paragraph

The closing paragraph in the body of your essay will follow the cycle we looked at for paras. one, two, and three.

There will be just one small difference:

The final sentence won’t just be a standard transition. It will be a concluding hook that tells the reader you’ve finished presenting your argument.

Here is an example of a concluding transition:

As such, the third and final reason why Gru should not have been awarded the Employer of the Year award is because he does not allow his minions to take any vacation, something that is in violation of the Bad Guys’ Employment Act 1018.

So, in the final body paragraph of the paper, we have:

Reverse hook > Final Argument/Strong example > Thesis statement > Concluding transition

3) Conclusion

You’ve done all the hard work, but you’re certainly not finished yet.

The conclusion is where you tie everything together and leave a great impression on the reader.

Your conclusion should contain the following:

  • An allusion to the claim you made in the introduction.
  • A reassertion of the thesis statement in alternative words to those you used in the introduction (i.e., the same claim, presented slightly differently).
  • A summary of the main points you presented in the essay.
  • A final concluding statement that lets the reader know you’re done.

Here’s an example of a great concluding statement:

In the end, then, one thing is clear: Teachers do far more than simply teach a curriculum. As the examples provided in this paper confirm, teachers directly impact children’s educational development, aspirations, and ability to function in society. Those who can , teach.

Useful Transitions for Conclusions

And, we’re done.

Got any essay formatting advice to share? Any top tips on how to format an essay that we’ve missed? Leave a comment and give us the full lowdown.

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  • How to Format an Essay with Microsoft Word

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.

  • Click on the Microsoft Word icon on the computer screen
  • After Microsoft Word loads, click on Format at the top of the screen and then on Paragraph
  • In the Paragraph box, click inverted triangle next to Line Spacing and then click on Double from the drop down menu
  • Click on “View” at top of screen and then click on “Header and Footer”
  • 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
  • Type in your last name (ex. Doe) and press the space-bar once
  • 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
  • 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).
  • Wipe the sweat off your brow
  • Type in you first and last name (ex. Jane Doe) and press the “Enter” key
  • Type your Instructor’s name (ex. Dr. Bordelon) and press the “Enter” key
  • Type your course name, number, and section (ex. English 021-06) and press the “Enter” key
  • type in your full name and essay # (example: Emily Dickinson Essay #1)
  • press the “Enter” key
  • Shout “Yahoo!” really loud
  • Click on “Insert” at top of the screen and then on “Date and Time”
  • Click on the date in the month, day, year format (ex. July 15, 1999) and press the “Enter” key
  • type in you title (Ex: How to Set Up MLA Format in Microsoft Word) and
  • press the “Enter” key . (Note: do not bold or underline your title and do not put it in quotation marks)
  • Press the “Back Space” key once and then the “Tab” key
  • Begin typing your paper in MLA college essay format.

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

  • After Microsoft Word loads, click on “Format” at the top of the screen and then on “Paragraph”
  • In the “Paragraph” box, click inverted triangle next to “Line Spacing” and then click on “Double” from the drop down menu
  • Type short title of essay and press the space-bar once
  • Press enter until the center of the page, hold down the ctrl key and press E once: then type in your title
  • Press enter twice and type first and last name (ex. Jane Doe)
  • Go down to end and type your course name, number, and section (ex. English 021-06) and press the “Enter” key, type professor’s name, enter, and the date.
  • 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
  • Begin typing your paper in APA college essay format.
  • Scroll or page down to the end of your last paragraph
  • Hold down the “Ctrl” key (on bottom of keyboard near the space bar) and press the “Enter” key once
  • You’ve just created a “hard page break” that will keep your Works Cited page separate from the rest of your essay.
  • hold down the “Ctrl” key (on bottom of keyboard near the space bar);
  • press the letter “E” once (The cursor should now be at the middle of your screen);
  • type “Works Cited” if using MLA citation or “References” if using APA (Note: do not bold or underline it); and
  • Press the “Back Space” key once and begin adding your entries in  alphabetical order .

Need Additional Assistance?

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How to Format an Essay Properly: Examples of Formatting


Table of contents

  • 1.1 Essay Structure
  • 2.1 The difference between MLA and APA essay format
  • 3 Essay in MLA Format
  • 4 APA Essay Format
  • 5 Chicago Style
  • 6 How to Format Title Page in Essay
  • 7 Different Fonts in Essay – How to Use Them?
  • 8.1 How to format song titles in an essay?
  • 8.2 Format of movie titles
  • 8.3 Citing the title of a book in your essay
  • 8.4 Format a poem
  • 8.5 Play title format
  • 9 How to Format Quotes in Essay?

Definition of a Perfect Essay Format

A big challenge facing new college students is understanding the rules of academic writing. The numerous citation styles, formatting options and courses can overwhelm a first-year student. In university, lecturers teach you to properly reference previous literature and how to navigate bibliographies and module handbooks.

Students find that the proper essay format can be time-consuming as there are various options and standard essay examples to follow. An extra item to add to your to-do list when you’ve procrastinated most of the deadline away.

Common types you’ll need to master are argumentative, narrative, comparison, and the English basic essay format. So where do you start on the journey to essay perfection? You can start here with this manual. PapersOwl knows it can be tricky to figure out how to write an essay. So, we’ve put together this how-to guide to ensure you are prepared for any college assignment and can get it done right the first time.

Your module coordinator for each class you take will have two categories to direct you on how to write your papers . The first is the citation style. Some examples are APA, MLA, Chicago, and Harvard and depending on the discipline you study.

These guides instruct you on  how to title your papers , have font requirements, reference your sources, and plan a good essay outline , among other things. The second is the type of academic essay format you need. Some papers may carry a particular theme or style to support this goal and include specific sections to meet your essay formatting requirements. There are a few parts of the structure, so let’s look.

Essay Structure

A structure of an essay is a series of guidelines that determine how your paper should be arranged. As a rule, all essays will have an introduction and a conclusion. Essays that flow follow the introduction, body, and conclusion method. In the opening of your essay, the goal is to set up what you will discuss so it’s easy to follow.

It’s critical to be interesting yet appropriate so you don’t devalue your work. Provide information, but do so in a way that encourages the reader to continue. Most introductions will close with a thesis statement that encompasses the body of your paper. So, the first paragraph, where you introduce your subject and include a thesis statement is typical.

The body of your paper may differ. Research papers, for instance, will include information related to the methods and results of your work. A typical one will have three body paragraphs highlighting a few points supporting your thesis. In all essays, the conclusion gives a verdict on the body of the paper and provides a few points to go home with.

When plotting out the format of the essay, there are some tricks to improve your workflow. Using lists is a great way to break up long-winded text into scannable information that jumps out to the reader. You can write the headings first: an introduction, thesis statement, body of your essay, and conclusion. You can also use lists for setting definitions. It is important to provide a terminology list to ensure that everyone in your audience is kept in the loop and can understand the terms you are using. This is especially important when writing college essays for money , as it is essential to ensure that the reader is able to comprehend the information you are conveying. To create a terminology list, identify any terms that may be unfamiliar to your reader and provide a brief explanation of each. This will help to avoid any confusion and make sure your message is effectively communicated.

Simple Essay Format Requirements

Getting used to essay formatting can take time and patience. We’ve listed out some typical requirements depending on your discipline. The following items are compliant with APA or MLA, two of the most popular types you’ll come across in your homework assignments. We’re discussing essays that usually consist of a five-paragraph essay with an introduction, body, and conclusion.

Size of paper: The volume of your essay is given in a word count. In business, one page is 500 words, whereas, in academia, a page is typically 275 words double-spaced.

Font type and font size: The suggested [read: required] font for your tasks is a 12-point Times New Roman font. You’ll see the word “suggested” in the different style guides. We advise that if your university suggests something, you should follow it.

Spacing: APA and MLA both require double-spaced text, hence the shorter word count per page. This allows your professor to mark up your essay layout with ample space.

Margins: Both types require 1” margins all around your paper.

Header: MLA does not require a particular header, but APA uses what is called a running head. Headers will contain a shortened title, less than 50 characters, and the page number.

The difference between MLA and APA essay format

When students first encounter these styles, they often wonder why it makes a difference which guidebook to use. Both formats share many similarities and have the means to cite references, so what’s the correct format for an essay?

The critical difference between the two is that the APA format  cares about when things happen. You’ll find the APA citation is more strict regarding dates. This is because, in the social sciences, research can be rendered obsolete. Imagine a study on homosexual relationships from the 19th century, for example. Academic writing formats from this period is different and could send a reader on the hunt for information that isn’t relevant. Adding the date of publication helps fellow scholars reference the modern era.

MLA, on the other hand, considers essay formats to be timeless and has a focus on who and where. Typical for an English-format essay. A lot of literature is considered timeless, and little significance is considered for the era it was written.

APA includes:

  • The author’s last name
  • The date of publication
  • (Exception!) Quotations include page numbers for reference

MLA includes:

  • Page number

Essay in MLA Format

How to format an essay? Formatting guidelines can take a lot of work to wrap your head around. Let’s break down the MLA format for the essay first. It can be hard to visualize an MLA essay format , so we recommend you check out a few before trying your own. A proper structure is critical. It’s the standard format for essays in English courses. When formatting an essay, it’s essential to ensure you match your format for an essay with the required citation style of a standard essay format.

  • Font Size: 12pts Times New Roman
  • Spacing: use double spaces
  • No double spacing between paragraphs
  • Heading: Put the heading on the first page of the essay. Your essay prompt, your name, your Professor’s name, your class for this essay and the date.
  • Margins: The top, bottom, left and right of the page must have a one-inch margin.
  • Page Numbers: add the header to write your last name and the page number.
  • Title: Format it by entering the title centered and above the opening line of your paper in the same font and size of the essay itself.
  • Indentation: A half inch, and you can press “tab” to indent with each new paragraph.
  • Align: Alignment is to the left side of the page and even throughout.

APA Essay Format

  • Title Page: Also known as cover. Add the essay’s title, your name and university. Usually, it’s a good idea to insert the date, course title and instructor name here too.
  • Headings: Put your proper heading for essay in bold and titlecase, unless your instructor has other requirements.

Chicago Style

This essay writing format differs from the others, as the Chicago essay format involves footnotes instead of in-text citations. It’s useful to look at the formatting of standard citation styles like the  Chicago style format essay and Chicago format title page before you start writing your essay.

  • Title Page: The Chicago Style essay format loves space. So, halfway down the page insert your title with regular text. If it’s a long title, ensure it is double-spaced.
  • Center your full name in the middle
  • Below, enter your college course title, instructor’s name and the date in separate double-spaced lines.
  • Margins: The one-inch margin on all sides of the page.
  • Spacing: Double space the entire essay.
  • Leave no extra spaces, particularly between paragraphs and before punctuation.
  • Font Size: 12pt Times New Roman.
  • Page Numbers: Last name and page number in the heading of each page at the top right-hand side of the document. (Not just the heading on the first page of an essay!)
  • No numbering of the title page. The text’s proper first page should start at 2.
  • Footnotes: Paraphrased or quoted passages must have footnotes.
  • Bibliography: Similar to MLA, you gather the proper information of your citations and add it to the bottom of your page, using the “footnote” option in Word.


How to Format Title Page in Essay

MLA does not mandate a title page and it should not be included unless specified by your instructor. Simply put your name, teacher’s name, the course, and the date in your essay. That’s all there is to it. With APA, it’s different; title pages are required. Your title page will include at the top your running head, preceded by the words “running head”. It will also include the page number on the right side of the running head with your short title on the left of your essay. Then in the dead center, state your name, course, institution, and date. The Chicago style essay format also uses title pages in essay writing.

Different Fonts in Essay – How to Use Them?

You must comply with the academic paper format when dressing up your font. We may habit-bolding any points we want to reinforce or using italics to have words stand out. According to the APA style guide, you should use italics for the work titles and never use quotation marks. You should also be careful with bold-faced text and reserve it for your paper’s organizational headings. You may also use italics when using technical words where the meaning of a word may be confused. Using the proper format consistent with other academic work will ensure your text is easy to read, so do not deviate from best practices.

Citing Sources in Essay: How to Format Citations Properly

Depending on your paper, you may need to reference various resources. Your text should always identify the content owner whenever possible. Here are some examples of citations in APA format:

How to format song titles in an essay?

Songwriter F.M. (Copyright year). Song title [Recorded by F.M. Last (performer’s name/musical group)]. On Album title [Medium of recording]. City, State of label: Record label name.
Turner, T. (1987). Where do we go? [Recorded by Tina Turner]. On Cassette Tape. Los Angeles, California: Do Right Records.

Format of movie titles

Producer, A. (Producer), & Director, A. (Director). (Release Year). Title of motion picture [Motion Picture]. Country of Origin: Studio
Roanoke, J. (Producer), & Mills, A. (Director). (2004). First Strike [Motion Picture]. United States: Miramax

Citing the title of a book in your essay

Last, F. M. (Year Published) Book. City, State: Publisher
Cortez, H. (1967). The Liquidators. New York, NY: Penguin House.

Format a poem

Cleveland, J. (1972). To the state of love or the senses festival. In H. Gardner (Ed.), The metaphysical poets (pp. 218-220). Harmonsworth: Penguin
Hardy, T. (1930). The collected poems of Thomas Hardy (4th ed.). London: Macmillan

Play title format

Playwright last name, First initial. (Year published). Play title. In Editor first initial. Last name (Ed.), Publication Title (Page numbers). Publication City: Publisher.
Miranda, L. (2016). Hamilton: an American musical. In J. McCarter (Ed.), Hamilton: the revolution (pp. 11-18). New York: Grand Central Publishing

How to Format Quotes in Essay?

Formatting quotes is another excellent resource for your paper essay format. When referencing other research, you can include direct quotes and cite them properly to give your work more authority. APA and MLA differ in their methods for quotes in an essay , so be sure to look at examples before writing your perfect academic essay . Short quotes in MLA formatting should encapsulate the text with quotation marks indicating the author and page number.

With APA, you should not use quotes and italicize the text with a lead-in statement, such as Jones stated in 2009, direct quotation, for example.

Understanding essay formatting styles is a large part of the university experience. Follow the advice in this guide to improve your skills and get better grades. Feel free to use this essay format example as a template when writing future papers. You’ll get started quickly and have more time to fine-tune your work. Moreover, here you can find original essays for sale written by professional writers who are ready to help you with your academic needs. In the end, if you need a hand, professional writers for hire are here to serve your academic needs.

Readers also enjoyed

MLA Style Essay Made Easy: Walkthrough of MLA Formatting


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8 advanced Microsoft Word tricks you probably missed

Anders Lundberg

Microsoft Word is one of the most widely used programs in the world, yet it’s also one that many complain about. The most common criticism? That it’s heavy, slow, and a typical example of “feature bloat.”

Which is true. Word is packed with tons of features. And while some critics think that most people only use it because everyone else is using it, Word is actually quite powerful and capable.

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It’s just a matter of getting to know it, and not beating it to death, so to speak. Word has some quirks that can drive a user crazy, but in most cases it’s a setting that can be changed or a behavior that can be circumvented with another feature or the right handling.

In this guide I go through a number of more advanced or unfamiliar parts of Word, in the hope that you, the reader, will find at least a few goodies you can use. You might even start to like the program.

Stop Word’s automatic formatting

Of all the things users have found most annoying about Word, automatic formatting is probably the most common. Word tends to think it knows best, and doesn’t wait for you, the user, to choose to create a “real” list, for example.

Word options

Now it is finally possible to change how Word pastes formatted text.


Word has always insisted on pasting text while maintaining formatting, but this spring an update has added settings to choose how you want to do it by default. This means that you can change it so that Ctrl+V pastes text only, with the same formatting as the surrounding text. There is also a new option called Merge formatting , which keeps the bold/italic/underline/overline and list formats but matches the target font, color, and size. This makes it possible to copy, for example, a formatted list from a document in Helvetica to one in Word’s standard font Aptos.

Word autoformat

The program also likes to automatically change, for example, a paragraph starting with a number to a numbered list as soon as you press return to create a new paragraph. You can easily change this behavior in the settings. Go to File > Options > Proofing . Click on the Autocorrect options and select the tab Auto format . Here you’ll find lots of tick boxes for things you might not want, like automatic bullet points.

Another annoyance for many is that Word insists on highlighting whole words. For example, if you want to delete a sentence from the first letter to halfway into the fourth word, it can seem impossible to get the highlighting right so that pressing the backspace key once will delete just that bit, because as soon as you pass a space, Word starts highlighting one word at a time and not one character.

Word editing options

This can also be easily fixed by opening File > Options > Advanced and ticking off When selecting, automatic select entire word . Just like that, Word will highlight exactly as you want. You can uncheck the Customize paragraph markup option if you don’t want Word to automatically add a new paragraph mark when you select a whole paragraph, so that you can paste the paragraph into another paragraph.

Change the default stylesheets

Have you ever wondered why on earth Word has multiple stylesheets with blue text? Or how you can change the default fonts in new documents? These days it’s surprisingly easy.

Right-click on a style, for example Heading 1 , and select Modify . Make any changes you want, such as switching to black text or changing the font. When you’re happy, click New documents based on this template , then OK to save the changes to the default template. If you make changes to the style sheet Normal it will also affect several other templates based on it: No spacing , Subheading , Quote , Strong quote , and List piece for example, have the same font as Normal .

Word modify styles

Mastering the search function

As you probably know, Word has a search function. You’re probably also familiar with the slightly more advanced Find and Replace function. But Word’s search function is actually much more powerful than that, and you can search for things you might not have thought of.

Click on Find to the right of the fonts in the Home ribbon, and then click Advanced find . The dialog box that opens has three tabs, where Replace is the usual search and replace function, and Go to is a way to quickly get to a page number or bookmark, for example. But in the Find tab, you’ll find the More button, which shows a bunch of settings for searches (for example, to search only for whole words, or to ignore punctuation).

There are also two drop-down menus with additional search functions. The Format menu allows you to search for parts of text that, for example, use a particular font or are italicized. The Special menu is used to find, for example, special characters such as line breaks and hard spaces.

Word find menu

Transcribing recorded calls

Do you have an audio recording you don’t want on “paper”? Word now has a built-in AI-based transcription feature that makes it easy. Just click on Dictate on the right side of the Start tab in the ribbon and select Transcribe and the feature will open in the right column.

Select English if it is not already preset, and click on Upload audio to send a recording you have on file to the Microsoft server. The transcription may take a while and Word will tell you when it is ready. When it is, click on Add to document where you have four options for how the text should be formatted (with or without speakers and timestamps).

The results when I’ve tested it have been full of errors, so it can’t be used directly in any texts. But it works well enough to understand from the context what the speakers have said and can be written cleanly if needed.

Word transcribe

The desktop version of Word now also offers transcription of audio recordings. This function is currently still completely free.


Share documents with others and co-edit

When Google started to take market share from Office, one of the reasons was how easy it is for multiple collaborators to co-edit a document or spreadsheet. Microsoft realized the importance of this co-editing and introduced similar features in 2013.

Word Share

Today, it’s easy to invite others to edit documents in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and they can edit either in the desktop applications or the web apps. To get started, make sure the document is saved on OneDrive. Then click on the Share button at the top right. There are two options here: Invite and share with selected people or create a link that anyone can use. The former is obviously a bit safer, but if you don’t know what email address the person you’re inviting uses for their Microsoft account, a link is easier.

If more than one user has a document open for editing, everyone can see where in the document the others are working, which reduces the risk of editing conflicts that can arise if two people make changes in the same place at the same time. Should a conflict still arise, Word helps to resolve it.

Read and restore older versions of documents

Saving your documents on OneDrive gives you several advantages over storing them locally. Firstly, autosave is activated so that you do not have to sit and press Ctrl+S all at once. Sure, Word has a recovery function in case the program crashes, but many users can tell horror stories about large documents that they forgot to save and which disappeared without a trace and could never be recovered.

Another advantage is that OneDrive saves version history so you can revert to previous versions of the document without having to save a bunch of different versions. “Report_last_draft_final_final_final.docx” becomes a thing of the past.

Here’s how to find older versions:

1. Open the document from OneDrive.

2. Click on the file name above in the Word window.

3. Select the Version history and the current version will be displayed, with a list of previously saved versions on the right.

4. Click on a previous version to view it.

5. You can restore the old version by clicking on the button Restore button in the yellow strip that appears below the toolbar, or select and copy text that you can then paste into a new document or into the last saved version to restore just that bit.

Word has long had features for placing images and shapes in documents, but did you know it now also has drawing tools? Microsoft added it to make Word more usable on computers and tablets with a touchscreen and/or pen, but it can also be used with a mouse or trackpad.

Click on the Draw menu tab to see the different options. On the left are different pens, erasers, and two types of markers. The next button is Ruler , which places a virtual ruler over the document you can use to draw straight lines. To change the angle of the ruler, simply hold the pointer over the ruler and scroll the scroll wheel on the mouse (or drag with two fingers on the trackpad). To move it, click and drag.

Other functions are not that interesting, except possibly Ink to math , which makes it easy to print formulas and equations with correct formatting.

Word draw menu

AI writing assistance with Microsoft Editor

Word Editor

Microsoft Editor is a modern, AI-based upgrade to the classic spell and grammar checker that has been in Word for many years. It’s built into Word and Outlook on Windows and Mac, but also available as an extension for Chromium-based browsers like Edge and Chrome.

In Word, you can find the Editor under the Editor button on the right of the Start tab in the Ribbon, and it opens in a column on the right of the window.

At the top of the Editor, a judgement of the document is displayed in the form of a percentage. As you fix the various flaws the feature has found, the percentage increases. Below the judgement you will find four sections: Corrections , which shows spelling and grammar errors; Refinements , where the program suggests changes to make the language more formal and clear; Similarity to test how similar your text is to online sources; and Insights , which is a shortcut to the old Readability Statistics feature with figures such as number of sentences per paragraph and number of words per sentence.

Click on each subcategory to go through the Editor’s suggestions. As with the old spelling feature, you can change, ignore, or add words to the glossary, and follow or ignore other suggested changes.

Best alternatives to Word

There are plenty of programs for writing and processing text in different ways, to say the least. If you don’t like the subscription model, or just find Word unwieldy, you have other options. Because Word can be used for so many different things, I’ve categorized my recommendations by need:

Simple needs? Word Online or Google Docs If you don’t necessarily need a full-blown Windows program, you can get by with Word Online — included in free accounts — or Google Docs. Both have all the usual features you might need for word processing, and on top of that you get the ability to co-edit with others you invite.

Packed with functionality? Libreoffice Writer The closest thing to a full Word clone you can get today is Libreoffice Writer . Like Word, it’s packed with features for all kinds of word processing, but it’s open source and free.

Do you really want to layout? Scribus or Affinity Publisher Scribus is a powerful open source program. If you are willing to pay a bit more, Affinity Publisher is more polished and similar to Adobe Indesign, with very powerful features while being fairly easy to get started with.

Are you writing a book or thesis? Scrivener The Scrivener payment program is very popular among writers, translators, journalists, lawyers, and academics, and for good reason. The program simply makes it easier to work with long texts.

This article originally appeared on our sister publication PC för Alla and was translated and localized from Swedish.

Author: Anders Lundberg , Skribent

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Make your Word documents accessible to everyone

This guide provides step-by-step instructions and best practices to ensure your Word documents are accessible, making your content available to everyone. 

Accessibility Assistant helps you to address accessibility issues as you write your document. It guides you on how to add an alt text to images, allowing people using screen readers to understand the image content. Additionally, it provides tips on using fonts, colors, and styles to make your Word documents more inclusive.

Note:  Accessibility Assistant is now available exclusively for Microsoft Word on Windows. The features and instructions mentioned in this article apply only to the Windows version of Microsoft Word.

In this article 

Check accessibility while you work in word .

Use accessible font color   

Add alt text to visuals  

Use table headers 

Avoid using fixed-width tables 

Use the built-in title, subtitle, and heading styles  

Create paragraph banners   

Add accessible hyperlink text and screen Tips 

Create accessible lists 

Adjust space between sentences and paragraphs   

Test accessibility with an Immersive Reader  

The Accessibility Assistant is a tool that reviews your content and flags accessibility issues in your document. In Word, the Accessibility Assistant automatically runs in the background, detecting accessibility issues and sending reminders in the status bar. 

Select Review and then Check Accessibility to open the accessibility pane, where you can review and fix accessibility issues. 

To use the features described in this article, open a new document in Word or access an existing one. 

Use accessible font colors 

The text in your document should be easy to read, with enough contrast against the background color. 

Go to the Home tab or press Alt+H .

A screenshot shows the location of the High contrast only toggle button.

To see only the colors that have enough contrast, select the High-contrast only and toggle to turn on high-contrast mode.

When you hover over any color choice in the color picker, a tooltip will indicate whether the selected color has low or good contrast with the background.

The Accessibility Assistant flags text colors with poor contrast and provides suggestions to improve them.

Add alt text to the visuals  

Alt text helps users who are blind or have low vision understand the content of visual elements. These visual elements include pictures, SmartArt graphics, shapes, groups, charts, embedded objects, ink, and videos. 

Click on the image, video, or any other visual content in the document.

Right-click on the visual content and select View Alt Text from the context menu.

In the right pane, select Alt Text , Type a description for the visual content in one or two sentences.

Note:  If the visual content is decorative, then select the Mark as decorative checkbox 

Avoid using images with text to convey essential information. If you do, put the same text in the document.

Use alt text to briefly describe the image and text and why they are there.

Write an accurate and short alt text that explains the content and function of the image.

A few words are often enough. Don't write more than a sentence or two.

Don't repeat the text around the image; use "a graphic of" or "an image of."

For audio and video, use alt text and closed captions for those who are deaf or have a hearing disability.

Make diagrams into pictures and add alt text. Avoid grouping objects in diagrams, as they will remain in tab order.

Use table headers 

Use a simple table structure with column headers. Nested tables, empty cells and merged or split cells may confuse the reader, making it hard to convey useful information. 

In the left pane, select Insert .

Click on the Table button. A drop-down menu will appear.

Select the number of rows and columns by dragging your cursor over the grid.

Once the table is inserted, click inside the first row of the table.

when you select the table, the Table Design tab will appear on the ribbon tab.

Check the box labeled Header Row in the Table Style Options section.

When you select the table, the Table Desig n tab will appear with the cursor in the first row.

Check the box labeled Header Ro w in the Table Style Option s section.

A screenshot displays the header row's location.

This will format the first row as the header row.

Avoid using fixed-width tables  

Using fixed-width tables in Word files can cause several accessibility issues. They don't adjust well to different screen sizes or zoom levels, making content hard to read on mobile devices or when zooming in. Screen readers may struggle with the fixed structure, leading to confusion for visually impaired users. 

Fixed-width tables can also cause text to overflow or get cut off, making it difficult to access all the information. 

Additionally, because screen magnifiers only enlarge a portion of the screen, cutting off content or requiring excessive scrolling, users who use the screen magnifiers may find it challenging to view the content properly. For better accessibility, use flexible widths and ensure a clear table structure. 

Use the built-in title, subtitle, and heading styles  

Use the built-in title and subtitle styles for your document's title and subtitle. These styles are designed to be easily scanned both visually and with assistive technology. Headings should provide a well-defined structure and serve as navigational landmarks 

Select the text that you want to format as a title.

Click on the Home tab or press Alt+H .

Select the required style from the Styles group.

A screenshot which shows the location of styles group.

Note:  Organize headings in the prescribed logical order; do not skip heading levels. For example, use Heading 1 , Heading 2 , and then Heading 3 , rather than Heading 3 , Heading 1 , and then Heading 2 . 

For the step-by-step instructions on how to use the headings and styles, see:  Improve accessibility with heading styles .  

Create paragraph banners 

In Word, a paragraph banner is a visual element often used to emphasize or highlight a specific paragraph within a document. It typically consists of a horizontal line, or a decorative border placed above or below the paragraph. 

This formatting technique helps draw attention to the paragraph, making it stand out from the surrounding text. Paragraph banners can be customized with different line styles, colors, and thicknesses to suit the document's design and purpose.  

Select the text that you want to apply shading to.

Go to the Home tab.

Select the Shading button in the Paragraph group.

A screenshot which shows the location of shading menu.

Open the Shading menu and choose the desired color from the options provided.

Add accessible hyperlink text and ScreenTips 

People who use screen readers have the option to scan a list of links in the document. Links should convey clear and accurate information about the destination. You can also add ScreenTips that appear when your cursor hovers over text or images that include a hyperlink.  

For the step-by-step instructions on how to create accessible hyperlinks and ScreenTips, go to  Create accessible links in Word  and  Create or edit a hyperlink .  

Highlight the text or picture that you want to add a link to.

Go to the Inser t tab.

Click on the Hyperlink button or press Ctrl+K .

To link an existing file or web page: 

Go to the “Link to” section and select Existing File or Web Page .

Enter the webpage's address or select the file you want to link to.

To link a place in the same document: 

Go to the "Link to" section and select Place in This Document .

A list of locations within the document will appear; from the list, select the Headings or Bookmarks that you want to link to.

Click on the Text to display and provide definitive and accurate information about the link destination, then select OK.

Note:  Avoid using link texts such as “click here,” “see this page,” “go here,” or “learn more.” Instead, include the destination page's full title. 

Create accessible lists  

To make documents easier for screen readers, use small chunks like bulleted or numbered lists. Avoid plain paragraphs in the middle of lists to prevent confusion. This ensures accurate navigation and enhances readability for all users. 

Bulleted List: 

Place your cursor where you want to start the bulleted list.

Click on the Bullets button in the Paragraph group.

Type your list items. Press Ente r after each item to create a new bullet point.

Numbered List: 

Place your cursor where you want to start the numbered list.

Click on the Numbering button in the Paragraph group.

Type your list items. Press Enter after each item to create a new numbered point.

Multilevel List: 

Place your cursor where you want to start the multilevel list.

Click on the Multilevel List button in the Paragraph group.

Choose the type of multilevel list you want to create from the list styles provided.

Type your list items. Press Enter after each item to create a new point. To create a sub-level item, press the Tab key before typing.

Adjust the spacing between sentences and paragraphs 

Text can appear to “blend together” on a page (the lines of text squeeze into each other). To make reading easier, you can increase the line spacing between sentences and add space before or after paragraphs. 

Select one or more paragraphs to adjust the space.

A screenshot, which shows the line and paragraph spacing options.

Note:  It is recommended to use a line spacing of 1.5 in the Word file.

From the dropdown menu, select the desired line and paragraph spacing.

For the step-by-step instructions on how to adjust the spacing, go to  Adjust indents and spacing in Word .  

Test accessibility with an Immersive Reader 

Immersive Reader in Microsoft Word enhances readability with features like Read Aloud , Text Spacing , Syllable Breakdown, and Line Focus . Access it via the View tab and select Immersive Reader .  

For more information, visit the  Use Immersive Reader in Word . 

Improve accessibility in your documents with the Accessibility Assistant  

Get real-time notifications of accessibility issues while working on Microsoft 365 Apps  

Everything you need to know to write effective alt text 


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How to Remove Section Breaks in Word? [For Students]

As a student navigating the intricacies of academic formatting, I understand the frustration of encountering stubborn section breaks that disrupt the flow of your document. In this guide, I share my insights and experiences to help you tackle this common issue effectively. Let's dive in and unravel the mystery of removing section breaks in Word!

Part 1: Why Can’t I Remove Section Breaks in Word?

Have you ever struggled to remove a section break in your Word document? You're not alone. Section breaks, while useful for formatting, can sometimes be a bit tricky to delete. This part will explore two common scenarios where removing section breaks might cause frustration:

1. Failing to Remove Section Breaks in Word on Mac

Unlike Windows, deleting section breaks on Mac using Backspace or Delete might not work as intended. Here's why:

Hidden Section Break: Section breaks are hidden by default in Word. To see them, you need to enable the "Show/Hide" formatting marks.

Unselectable Break: Even with formatting marks displayed, the section break might still appear unselectable. This can happen if it's followed by a page break or other formatting element.

2. Failing to Remove the Last Section Break Without Losing Formatting in Your Essay

Especially for essays, the last section break might be causing an unwanted page break. However, deleting it can remove your formatting throughout the document. Here's why this occurs:

Linked Sections: Sections in your document can inherit formatting from the previous section. Deleting the last section break can merge its formatting with the preceding section, potentially causing inconsistencies.

Scenario: Imagine your essay has two sections. The first section has single line spacing, while the second (shorter) section has double line spacing for the references. Deleting the last section break might apply the double spacing to the entire essay.

Solution to these problems will be covered in Part 2!

Part 2: Easy Steps to Remove Section Breaks in Word for Your Essay

In Part 2 of this guide, I'll walk you through the simple steps to remove section breaks in Word for your essays. Whether you're using WPS Office or Microsoft Word, these easy-to-follow instructions will help you maintain smooth formatting in your documents. Say goodbye to pesky section breaks and hello to seamless editing with these straightforward techniques.

Remove a section break in Word

There are two main ways to remove section breaks in Word:

Using the Show/Hide button:

Step 1: Click the Show/Hide button in the Paragraph group on the Home tab. This will reveal all formatting marks in your document, including section breaks.

Step 2: Place your cursor at the beginning of the line after the section break you want to remove.

Step 3: Press the Backspace key.

Using the Navigation Pane :

Step 1: Open your Word document: Launch WPS Office and open the document where you want to remove the section break.

Step 2: Access the "View" tab: Look for the toolbar at the top of the Word window. Click on the "View" tab located in the menu options.

Step 3: Enable the Navigation Pane: Within the "View" tab, locate the "Show" section. Make sure that the "Navigation Pane" option is checked or enabled.

Step 4: Navigate to the "Section" tab: Once the Navigation Pane is activated, you'll see it appear on the left side of your document. Click on the " Section" tab within the Navigation Pane.

Step 5: Identify the section break: In the Navigation Pane, you'll now see a list of headings or sections in your document. Scroll through this list to find the section break you want to remove.

Step 6: Select the section break: Click on the section break you wish to delete. It will be highlighted in the Navigation Pane.

Step 7: Remove the section break: Once the section break is selected, simply press the "Delete" key on your keyboard. The section break will be deleted from your document.

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Removing Multiple or All Section Breaks

There is no built-in way to remove all section breaks at once in Word. However, you can use the Find and Replace feature to find all section breaks and replace them with paragraph marks.

Here's how to do it:

Step 1: Press Ctrl+H to open the Find and Replace dialog box.

Step 2: In the Find what field, type ^b. This is the code for a section break in Word .

Step 3: Leave the Replace with field empty.

Step 4: Click Replace All.

WPS AI: Your Best Assistant with Essay Paper Work

Feeling overwhelmed by the blank page when starting your essay? Don't worry, WPS AI is here to be your secret weapon!

WPS AI is a powerful built-in feature within WPS Office that utilizes artificial intelligence to assist you in various writing tasks. One of its valuable tools is the ability to generate outlines and brainstorm ideas, giving your essay a strong foundation.

Here's how to leverage WPS AI to create an outline for your essay:

Step 1: Access WPS AI

Open your WPS Writer document and locate the AI Assistant icon on the top right corner. It might be labelled as "AI Writer" depending on your version. Click on the icon to activate the AI features.

Step 2: Describe Your Essay Topic

In the AI Assistant panel, you'll see a text box prompting you to "Enter instructions or questions." Here, clearly state your essay topic. For example, if your essay is about the environmental impact of fast fashion, you could type: "Outline for essay: Environmental impact of fast fashion"

Step 3: Generate the Outline

Once you've described your topic, click the "Generate" button. WPS AI will analyze your input and utilize its knowledge base to create a draft outline for your essay.

Step 4: Review and Refine

WPS AI will present a structured outline for your essay, including main points, sub-points, and even potential supporting arguments. Review the outline carefully and make any necessary adjustments to suit your specific essay needs. You can add, remove, or rearrange sections to ensure the outline accurately reflects your approach.

WPS AI: Streamlining Your Essay Writing Process

By using WPS AI to generate outlines, you can save valuable time and overcome writer's block. This AI assistant provides a solid framework to structure your essay, allowing you to focus on developing strong arguments and crafting compelling content.

Remember, WPS AI is a tool to empower you, not replace your own critical thinking. Use the generated outline as a starting point and personalize it to create a unique and well-structured essay.

How can I insert a section break in Word?

To insert a section break in Word, follow these steps:

Step 1. Place your cursor where you want to insert the section break.

Step 2. Go to the "Layout" or "Page Layout" tab in the toolbar.

Step 3. Click on the "Breaks" option.

Step 4. Select "Next Page" under the "Section Breaks" section.

How can I insert a page break in Word?

To insert a page break in Word , follow these steps:

Step 1. Place your cursor where you want to insert the page break.

Step 2. Go to the "Insert" tab in the toolbar.

Step 3. Click on the "Page Break" option.

What is the difference between page break and section break?

The key difference between a page break and a section break in Word lies in their impact on your document's layout and formatting. Here's a breakdown:

In this guide, I've shown you how to easily remove section breaks in Word. I've explained common problems and provided simple steps to solve them. Throughout, I've emphasized the convenience of using WPS Office , which makes editing documents a breeze. With clear instructions and practical tips, you can now handle section breaks with confidence and efficiency using WPS Office.

  • 1. How to insert a section break in word
  • 2. How to Remove Page Breaks in Word[2024]
  • 3. How to remove all page breaks from word document
  • 4. Inserting section break in Word document (Mac and PC)
  • 5. How to insert a section break in Word
  • 6. How can we insert next page section break in WPS Writer

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Home / Guides / Citation Guides / How to Cite Sources

How to Cite Sources

Here is a complete list for how to cite sources. Most of these guides present citation guidance and examples in MLA, APA, and Chicago.

If you’re looking for general information on MLA or APA citations , the EasyBib Writing Center was designed for you! It has articles on what’s needed in an MLA in-text citation , how to format an APA paper, what an MLA annotated bibliography is, making an MLA works cited page, and much more!

MLA Format Citation Examples

The Modern Language Association created the MLA Style, currently in its 9th edition, to provide researchers with guidelines for writing and documenting scholarly borrowings.  Most often used in the humanities, MLA style (or MLA format ) has been adopted and used by numerous other disciplines, in multiple parts of the world.

MLA provides standard rules to follow so that most research papers are formatted in a similar manner. This makes it easier for readers to comprehend the information. The MLA in-text citation guidelines, MLA works cited standards, and MLA annotated bibliography instructions provide scholars with the information they need to properly cite sources in their research papers, articles, and assignments.

  • Book Chapter
  • Conference Paper
  • Documentary
  • Encyclopedia
  • Google Images
  • Kindle Book
  • Memorial Inscription
  • Museum Exhibit
  • Painting or Artwork
  • PowerPoint Presentation
  • Sheet Music
  • Thesis or Dissertation
  • YouTube Video

APA Format Citation Examples

The American Psychological Association created the APA citation style in 1929 as a way to help psychologists, anthropologists, and even business managers establish one common way to cite sources and present content.

APA is used when citing sources for academic articles such as journals, and is intended to help readers better comprehend content, and to avoid language bias wherever possible. The APA style (or APA format ) is now in its 7th edition, and provides citation style guides for virtually any type of resource.

Chicago Style Citation Examples

The Chicago/Turabian style of citing sources is generally used when citing sources for humanities papers, and is best known for its requirement that writers place bibliographic citations at the bottom of a page (in Chicago-format footnotes ) or at the end of a paper (endnotes).

The Turabian and Chicago citation styles are almost identical, but the Turabian style is geared towards student published papers such as theses and dissertations, while the Chicago style provides guidelines for all types of publications. This is why you’ll commonly see Chicago style and Turabian style presented together. The Chicago Manual of Style is currently in its 17th edition, and Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations is in its 8th edition.

Citing Specific Sources or Events

  • Declaration of Independence
  • Gettysburg Address
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Speech
  • President Obama’s Farewell Address
  • President Trump’s Inauguration Speech
  • White House Press Briefing

Additional FAQs

  • Citing Archived Contributors
  • Citing a Blog
  • Citing a Book Chapter
  • Citing a Source in a Foreign Language
  • Citing an Image
  • Citing a Song
  • Citing Special Contributors
  • Citing a Translated Article
  • Citing a Tweet

6 Interesting Citation Facts

The world of citations may seem cut and dry, but there’s more to them than just specific capitalization rules, MLA in-text citations , and other formatting specifications. Citations have been helping researches document their sources for hundreds of years, and are a great way to learn more about a particular subject area.

Ever wonder what sets all the different styles apart, or how they came to be in the first place? Read on for some interesting facts about citations!

1. There are Over 7,000 Different Citation Styles

You may be familiar with MLA and APA citation styles, but there are actually thousands of citation styles used for all different academic disciplines all across the world. Deciding which one to use can be difficult, so be sure to ask you instructor which one you should be using for your next paper.

2. Some Citation Styles are Named After People

While a majority of citation styles are named for the specific organizations that publish them (i.e. APA is published by the American Psychological Association, and MLA format is named for the Modern Language Association), some are actually named after individuals. The most well-known example of this is perhaps Turabian style, named for Kate L. Turabian, an American educator and writer. She developed this style as a condensed version of the Chicago Manual of Style in order to present a more concise set of rules to students.

3. There are Some Really Specific and Uniquely Named Citation Styles

How specific can citation styles get? The answer is very. For example, the “Flavour and Fragrance Journal” style is based on a bimonthly, peer-reviewed scientific journal published since 1985 by John Wiley & Sons. It publishes original research articles, reviews and special reports on all aspects of flavor and fragrance. Another example is “Nordic Pulp and Paper Research,” a style used by an international scientific magazine covering science and technology for the areas of wood or bio-mass constituents.

4. More citations were created on  EasyBib.com  in the first quarter of 2018 than there are people in California.

The US Census Bureau estimates that approximately 39.5 million people live in the state of California. Meanwhile, about 43 million citations were made on EasyBib from January to March of 2018. That’s a lot of citations.

5. “Citations” is a Word With a Long History

The word “citations” can be traced back literally thousands of years to the Latin word “citare” meaning “to summon, urge, call; put in sudden motion, call forward; rouse, excite.” The word then took on its more modern meaning and relevance to writing papers in the 1600s, where it became known as the “act of citing or quoting a passage from a book, etc.”

6. Citation Styles are Always Changing

The concept of citations always stays the same. It is a means of preventing plagiarism and demonstrating where you relied on outside sources. The specific style rules, however, can and do change regularly. For example, in 2018 alone, 46 new citation styles were introduced , and 106 updates were made to exiting styles. At EasyBib, we are always on the lookout for ways to improve our styles and opportunities to add new ones to our list.

Why Citations Matter

Here are the ways accurate citations can help your students achieve academic success, and how you can answer the dreaded question, “why should I cite my sources?”

They Give Credit to the Right People

Citing their sources makes sure that the reader can differentiate the student’s original thoughts from those of other researchers. Not only does this make sure that the sources they use receive proper credit for their work, it ensures that the student receives deserved recognition for their unique contributions to the topic. Whether the student is citing in MLA format , APA format , or any other style, citations serve as a natural way to place a student’s work in the broader context of the subject area, and serve as an easy way to gauge their commitment to the project.

They Provide Hard Evidence of Ideas

Having many citations from a wide variety of sources related to their idea means that the student is working on a well-researched and respected subject. Citing sources that back up their claim creates room for fact-checking and further research . And, if they can cite a few sources that have the converse opinion or idea, and then demonstrate to the reader why they believe that that viewpoint is wrong by again citing credible sources, the student is well on their way to winning over the reader and cementing their point of view.

They Promote Originality and Prevent Plagiarism

The point of research projects is not to regurgitate information that can already be found elsewhere. We have Google for that! What the student’s project should aim to do is promote an original idea or a spin on an existing idea, and use reliable sources to promote that idea. Copying or directly referencing a source without proper citation can lead to not only a poor grade, but accusations of academic dishonesty. By citing their sources regularly and accurately, students can easily avoid the trap of plagiarism , and promote further research on their topic.

They Create Better Researchers

By researching sources to back up and promote their ideas, students are becoming better researchers without even knowing it! Each time a new source is read or researched, the student is becoming more engaged with the project and is developing a deeper understanding of the subject area. Proper citations demonstrate a breadth of the student’s reading and dedication to the project itself. By creating citations, students are compelled to make connections between their sources and discern research patterns. Each time they complete this process, they are helping themselves become better researchers and writers overall.

When is the Right Time to Start Making Citations?

Make in-text/parenthetical citations as you need them.

As you are writing your paper, be sure to include references within the text that correspond with references in a works cited or bibliography. These are usually called in-text citations or parenthetical citations in MLA and APA formats. The most effective time to complete these is directly after you have made your reference to another source. For instance, after writing the line from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities : “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…,” you would include a citation like this (depending on your chosen citation style):

(Dickens 11).

This signals to the reader that you have referenced an outside source. What’s great about this system is that the in-text citations serve as a natural list for all of the citations you have made in your paper, which will make completing the works cited page a whole lot easier. After you are done writing, all that will be left for you to do is scan your paper for these references, and then build a works cited page that includes a citation for each one.

Need help creating an MLA works cited page ? Try the MLA format generator on EasyBib.com! We also have a guide on how to format an APA reference page .

2. Understand the General Formatting Rules of Your Citation Style Before You Start Writing

While reading up on paper formatting may not sound exciting, being aware of how your paper should look early on in the paper writing process is super important. Citation styles can dictate more than just the appearance of the citations themselves, but rather can impact the layout of your paper as a whole, with specific guidelines concerning margin width, title treatment, and even font size and spacing. Knowing how to organize your paper before you start writing will ensure that you do not receive a low grade for something as trivial as forgetting a hanging indent.

Don’t know where to start? Here’s a formatting guide on APA format .

3. Double-check All of Your Outside Sources for Relevance and Trustworthiness First

Collecting outside sources that support your research and specific topic is a critical step in writing an effective paper. But before you run to the library and grab the first 20 books you can lay your hands on, keep in mind that selecting a source to include in your paper should not be taken lightly. Before you proceed with using it to backup your ideas, run a quick Internet search for it and see if other scholars in your field have written about it as well. Check to see if there are book reviews about it or peer accolades. If you spot something that seems off to you, you may want to consider leaving it out of your work. Doing this before your start making citations can save you a ton of time in the long run.

Finished with your paper? It may be time to run it through a grammar and plagiarism checker , like the one offered by EasyBib Plus. If you’re just looking to brush up on the basics, our grammar guides  are ready anytime you are.

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Technical Report Writing

Report generator.

how to format essay in word

Being able to write with finesse and conciseness is an advantageous skill to anyone who has it. Whether they are a student or a professional, writing is a communication medium that they will have to master to be able to effectively answer the many needs that their current position asks them to perform. When writing, you will be asked to use different writing techniques, tones, and diction depending on the topic that you are writing about and the people you are writing it for.

Technical Report Example

Technical Report Template

  • Google Docs
  • Editable PDF

Size: A4, US

Technical Service Report Example

Technical Service Report Template

Free Report Technical Specification

Free Report Technical Specification

Size: 68 KB

Technical Evaluation Report Letter Example

Technical Evaluation Report Letter

  • Apple Pages

Size: 142 KB

Free Letter of Transmittal for Technical Report

Free Letter of Transmittal for Technical Report

Size: 145 KB

Report Examples:

The way you would write an essay or a piece of fiction is completely different from how you should write a technical report.

For starters, the main purpose of this type of writing is to create an in-depth view of technical work that has been conducted. You may also like project report examples. It will discuss in detail the many aspects of a technical report such as the purpose for its execution, the results that have been gathered from the process, and the importance and implications that these results may bring.

A thoroughly written report can help a reader tread effortlessly and easily through the complex processes that may have been involved in the technical process. It will allow the reader to understand the work more easily, and duplicate the process and recreate the results should he wish. Check out English report writing examples too.

A technical report is simply defined as formal and organized documentation of the process that was performed which is created to communicate to a certain audience important information about the work. You might be interested in status report examples.

Technical Report Writing Example

Technical Report Writing Example

Size: 117 KB

Parts of a Technical Report Writing

Parts Of A Technical Report Writing

Size: 122 KB

Engineering Technical Report Example

Engineering Technical Report Example

Size: 92 KB

What is a Report used for?

The presentation of facts and data about a work or a project is just as important as showcasing the results. This is why a technical report is a vital aspect of a study.

The numbers and graphs your study contains will be incomprehensible to outsiders, especially those who are not experts in your field. You may also see investigation report examples. A written explanation must follow your data because this is how your audience will understand your findings. This will be the content of your technical report.

The secret to an effective technical report is organization. Since you are trying to exhibit facts or at least numerical data, it is important that you arrange them in a logical sequence, one where the information is not thrown haphazardly but positioned intentionally. This format can help the reader create an overview of your general report’s contents and locate specific parts they want to focus on.

Technical Report Example Format

Technical Report Example Format

Size: 382 KB

Universal Qualities of Technical Report

1. The simple report should be written in the active voice and should utilize the third person speaker in much of the writing. This is not just a rule for technical reports. It should be observed in any formal writing. Personal pronouns should also be avoided because they create the impression of being subjective, and, since we are trying to relay facts as a product of a systematic study, we want to make the technical report as objective as possible.

Proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling should also be observed because paying attention to these details, no matter how small and inconsequential they may seem, can add to the professional tone that your technical report is aiming for. You may also see academic report examples.

2. Your diagrams, graphs, and other images you may want to include in your technical report should be neatly presented and computer-generated. A one-inch margin on all sides of a full-page diagram should also be observed. The titles of your figures should also be numbered and titled properly. You may also like examples of a short report .

3. The proper page number should be maintained. Report writing formality dictates that all pages after the Table of Contents must include a page number.

4. The proper citation must be heeded. This is not just a technical report writing guideline . This applies to any and every writing that makes use of a citation. The sources cited should be properly acknowledged with the proper notation.

5. Proper citation is also mandated for any line or paragraph that has been directly paraphrased from a source. Even if you have changed the words used in the original reference, the idea is not yours. This means that to avoid committing the greatest crime a writer or author can commit, the citation should be kept. You may also check out quality report examples.

6. Sources that are cited in technical reports, or any type of writing, should come from a credible and trustworthy origin. This guideline is best applicable to online or Web sources.

Before citing one, a researcher must conduct a thorough general analysis of it to make sure that the information stated on it is true. The author must be of a sound reputation with, preferably, a professional and educational background. This is important because we are aiming for a factual technical report and fraud websites will not help with this endeavor.

7. 8.5″ by 11″ is the standard size of a formal paper and a technical report. If your pages are longer, they should be folded until they fit the proportions specified.

Report Format Example

Report Format Example

Size: 78 KB

The Proper Format of a Technical Report

The report writing format that will be discussed and provided below is the standard format. However, depending on the needs of a technical report, this can be readjusted in accordance to it.

1. The Title Page.

The contents of a title page may vary depending on the author’s preference. However, it should always contain these important pieces of information: the report title, the person for whom the formal report was written for, the person who created the report, and the date of the report’s submission. The title page may also contain the name of the institution or office which the report’s author is a part of.

2. Abstract.

An abstract is a one-paged introductory entry that condenses the report’s purpose and its most important results. It should not be more than half of a page, and must not include any figure in the study or make any reference to them. An abstract may also provide a qualitative summary of the results of the study. It should not contain jargon, abbreviations, or acronyms. You may also see management report examples .

3. Table of Contents.

As all table of contents goes, this one on your technical report should include the parts, sections, subsections, and even the appendices of your paper and the page where your reader can find them.

4. Introduction.

The objective of your study should be stated in the introduction. A brief discussion of the problem your study is trying to answer and the approach you have used to remedy it should also be properly discussed in this section to give your readers a general grasp on what the rest of the study will have in store for them. You may also like  marketing report examples.

It should also provide an overview of the works that have been performed and the results that it has produced. This task will not be difficult if the project has clear objectives that its author/s understand.

An introduction does not have a specific length unlike the abstract. But when writing this part, the author must always aim for conciseness and brevity so as not to bore readers with too many introductory details. Jargon and abbreviation should also be avoided, while acronyms should be properly defined before they are used. This should be maintained and carefully observed throughout the rest of the basic report .

5. Background Theory.

Include necessary discussions of the theories you have used before starting the study, and those you have utilized during it. A background theory must be brief and concise, discussing only the most relevant details. The author may also refer the readers to an outside source for further research on the subject. Check the  consulting report examples for more

6. Theoretical Analysis.

This is the part of your sample report where you will have to introduce and describe the details and designs of your work. Sentences are the most effective tool in this task since equations may not be elaborate enough. This section of your report should be as general as possible. This is not where the beans are spilled just yet.

7. Works Cited.

It is rare for a technical report to be written without containing external references and sources. Every work that was cited in the technical report must be listed here, with all the important bibliographical information.

8. Appendices.

This part of a technical report may not always be present. However, if it does, it will contain every graph and table you have used, your calculations, diagrams, lab sheets, and parts list. It will contain every material you have used for your project. You might be interested in debate report writing examples.

School Technical Report Format

School Technical Report Format

Size: 326 KB

Technical Report Requirements

Technical Report Requirements

Size: 549 KB

Tips in Writing Technical Reports

Here are a few tips in writing the best technical reports you need:

1. Your technical report, above everything else, should convey information. This means that your main job as the author is to make sure that there will be no hindrance between your mind, your report’s contents, and your reader’s understanding. Every detail you incorporate into your report, every terminology you choose to use, should help you in your aim to make your readers comprehend. You may also see sample activity reports .

2. Your technical report should also be stimulating and entertaining. This means that, as the author, your main antagonists are boredom and disinterest. These are two things you must overcome by keeping your tone lively yet factual, and your information fascinating.

However, if you were to choose between information and entertainment, you should always choose the former because, about the first guideline, this is your main job as the author.

3. Plan your technical report. Get a clear picture of what you want to say through it, and how you are going to say it in a way that will make your readers grasp the idea easier. It would also make things easier for you if you create a draft of your content first before you proceed to write it. You may also check out incident report letter examples.

Structure your data so that it will be easier for your audience to locate them. It is also best to remember that very few people will read your technical report from start to finish.

Most of them will simply skim through the contents and decide whether they like it or not. This gives you about 4 minutes to get your point across. So when you are writing your technical report, arrange it in a way that your reader will easily understand the important parts in just 4 minutes. Take a look at the  service report examples for more.

4. Decide who your audience is. Are you writing for an academic professor? Are you writing for managers or businessmen?

Are you writing your technical report for investors, or simply for the general crowd? You must decide beforehand who you are addressing in your technical report. This is because different crowds have different levels of understanding, which means that you can’t talk to them the same way.

A set of professionals in the field of your study will have an easier time understanding your report in comparison to those who are not. Identify, first, your potential group of the audience so that you can write your technical report especially for them.

5. The length of your report should also be decided beforehand. Are you going to write 3,000 words or 30,000? Shorter reports tend to be more difficult to write since you would have to structure and organize it better to fit your information within a limited space. In academic settings, there is a definite number of words required for every technical report, so make sure you are made aware of them.

Technical Reports

Size: 149 KB

Types of Technical Reports Writing

Types Of Technical Reports

Size: 49 KB

Writing a technical report will only be difficult if you don’t know your project very well. But if you do, the data you will have to include into your report are information you already know, and probably memorized, because you have come up with them yourself. There are no rigid rules you will have to follow if you will write a technical report.

The  narrative report examples  that are available online can be of great use to you in making the right report you need of any kind. However, there are guidelines, as we have discussed earlier. But they don’t exist to restrict your writing. Instead, they are there to make the writing easier for you.

General FAQs

1. what is a technical report.

A technical report is a report that describes the development, process or results of scientific/technical research. It includes recommendations, conclusions and other details about a company. Technical reports are an excellent source of technical or scientific information. They can be either written or printed, for both wider and internal audiences.

2. What is the purpose of using a Technical Report?

Technical reports are used to communicate information to customers, colleagues, and managers about what is happening in the company. It is used to document the equipment and procedures used in testing, the results obtained, etc. so that the work can be repeated if deemed necessary.

3. What should a Technical Report include?

A technical report can include the following details:

  • Abstract and table of contents
  • List of illustrations
  • Executive summary
  • Details you want to share with your client/investors
  • Glossary and list of symbols
  • Introduction, body, and conclusion of your observation.

4. Why is it important to use a Technical Report?

In any industry of work and business, technical reports are used to communicate technical information to employees and clients. This information assists in decision making and helps make decisions in favor of everyone. Determining how to report on technical data to others is an essential component of technical studies.

5. How is a Techincal Report written?

Write technical reports with the help of these steps:

  • Add the title page
  • Introduction, highlighting the main aim of the report
  • Experiment details and description of budget, if needed
  • Results and discussions
  • The body, which has details of what you want the reader to know
  • Conclude on a positive note.


Text prompt

  • Instructive
  • Professional

Generate a report on the impact of technology in the classroom on student learning outcomes

Prepare a report analyzing the trends in student participation in sports and arts programs over the last five years at your school.


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