How to Do MLA Format on Google Docs: A Step-by-Step Guide


Matthew Burleigh

Formatting a document in MLA style on Google Docs is easier than you might think. In less than ten minutes, you can have a perfectly formatted document ready to go. All you need is a Google account and a document to format. Let’s dive into the step-by-step process of how to do MLA format on Google Docs.

Step by Step Tutorial: MLA Format on Google Docs

Before we get started on the steps, let’s talk about what we’re aiming for. MLA format is a style guide for writing and formatting research papers. It includes specific guidelines for document layout, in-text citations, and a Works Cited page. By following these steps, your document will meet the standards set by the Modern Language Association (MLA).

Step 1: Set the Margins

Set the document margins to one inch on all sides.

Google Docs defaults to one-inch margins on all sides, but it’s always good to check. Go to File > Page Setup, and ensure each margin is set to one inch.

Step 2: Choose the Right Font

Set the font to Times New Roman, size 12.

MLA format requires Times New Roman, size 12. You can set this by clicking on the font menu on the top toolbar. If Times New Roman isn’t there, click on “More fonts” at the bottom of the list to add it.

Step 3: Double Space the Document

Double space the entire document.

To double space, click on the line spacing icon in the top toolbar and select “Double.” This will apply double spacing to the entire document, which is a requirement for MLA format.

Step 4: Add a Header

Insert a header that includes your last name and the page number.

Click on “Insert” in the top menu, select “Header & page number,” then “Header.” Check the box that says “Different first page” if your document requires a title page. Then, add your last name, a space, and click on “Insert” again to add the page number.

Step 5: Create a Title Block

Create a title block with your name, your instructor’s name, the course, and the date.

The title block should be double-spaced and aligned to the left. Hit the “Enter” key to move down four lines from the top of the page, and type your information following MLA format.

Step 6: Add a Title

Center the title of your document.

Press “Enter” to move down one double-spaced line from your title block. Then, click on “Center align” in the top toolbar and type your title. Remember, MLA format does not require a title to be bold, italicized, or underlined.

Step 7: Indent the First Line of Paragraphs

Indent the first line of each paragraph by half an inch.

You can either use the “Tab” key on your keyboard for each new paragraph or set the ruler at the top of your document to automatically indent the first line by half an inch.

Step 8: Insert In-text Citations and a Works Cited Page

Follow MLA guidelines for in-text citations and your Works Cited page.

In-text citations should include the author’s last name and page number where the information was found. For the Works Cited page, go to the end of your document, hit “Enter” a couple of times, and center the title “Works Cited.” Then, list your sources following MLA’s guidelines for formatting.

After completing these steps, your document will be formatted according to MLA standards, ready for submission.

Tips for MLA Format on Google Docs

  • Always double-check the formatting requirements for your specific assignment, as they may vary.
  • Use the “Paint format” tool to quickly apply text formatting to other parts of your document.
  • Take advantage of Google Docs’ “Explore” feature to find and cite scholarly sources.
  • Remember to save your document regularly to avoid losing any changes.
  • Use the “Clear formatting” tool if you encounter any formatting issues, then reapply the correct format.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I need a title page?

For a title page, follow the same formatting rules but include your title block at the center of the page, followed by the actual title of your paper.

How do I cite sources with no author?

Use the title of the work instead of the author’s name in your in-text citations.

Can I use fonts other than Times New Roman?

While Times New Roman is the standard, other readable fonts like Arial or Calibri can be used if specified by your instructor.

How do I format block quotes?

For quotes longer than four lines, use a block quote format by indenting the entire quote one inch from the left margin.

What if my Works Cited page has multiple lines for a single source?

Use a hanging indent for second and subsequent lines, which can be set up in the ruler at the top of your document.


  1. Set the document margins to one inch on all sides.
  2. Set the font to Times New Roman, size 12.
  3. Double space the entire document.
  4. Insert a header with your last name and page number.
  5. Create a title block with your personal and class information.
  6. Center the title of your document.
  7. Indent the first line of each paragraph by half an inch.
  8. Insert in-text citations and format the Works Cited page according to MLA guidelines.


Mastering how to do MLA format on Google Docs can seem daunting at first, but with these simple steps, anyone can produce a polished and professional document. Not only does proper formatting make your work look clean and organized, but it also shows your attention to detail and respect for academic standards. As technology continues to evolve, so does the ease of formatting documents. Google Docs is a powerful tool that enables seamless collaboration and formatting capabilities, making it an excellent choice for students and professionals alike. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you’ll be well on your way to mastering MLA format on Google Docs and enhancing your writing projects. Keep practicing, and don’t be afraid to explore the many features Google Docs has to offer to make your writing process even smoother.

Matthew Burleigh

Matthew Burleigh has been writing tech content online for more than ten years. He enjoys writing about Google Docs in addition to many other applications and devices and has cumulatively covered Google’s word-processing application in hundreds of different articles.

He has been published on dozens of popular websites, and his works have accumulated millions of pageviews.
While focused primarily on tutorials and guides for popular electronics like the iPhone and iPad, as well as common applications like Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, and Excel, he covers topics across the entire technology spectrum.

You can read his bio here.

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