How to Set Up MLA Format on Google Docs Easily


By Jack

Update on

MLA Format Google Docs

Do you wish to know how to set up MLA format on Google docs for academic coursework? This article has got you covered. The Modern Language Association developed the MLA format, which is commonly used for research papers and academic articles.

If you are a college student, you have probably noticed that the MLA format is mandatory in liberal arts and humanities courses. This format specifies how the page should look, which font to use, how to reference your sources, and other details. You may believe that a few formatting errors are unimportant.

However, if the individual judging your paper is exceptionally thorough, this may not be the case. Hence, it’s always better to be on the safer side and format your articles correctly.

Most teachers would highly advise you to format your essays in Microsoft Word. However, some students may not have access to this premium application. If that’s the case, you may format your essay appropriately in MLA format by utilizing the free Google Docs application within your G Suite.

Google Docs allows you to personalize your documents in a plethora of ways, making it an excellent choice for MLA writing. This article will show you how to correctly structure your essay in MLA format Google Docs, so keep reading!

What is MLA?

The objective of the MLA format is to verify that submitted works are consistent and uniform. The MLA format is being used by students and academics from a variety of areas.

Many professors want you to style your essays according to MLA requirements, and it might be difficult to remember how to accomplish all of this unless you have done it several times.

This tutorial and the listing below can be used as a checklist while you style your papers in MLA format Google Docs. These are the basic MLA guidelines.

However, you should always adhere to your professor’s recommendations, even if they vary from the standard rules.

Basic MLA Standards:

  • Font style: Times New Roman, size 12
  • There must be no unnecessary spaces between paragraphs, and the content should be double-spaced.
  • Both sides of the page should have one-inch margins.
  • Every page should have a header in the top-right corner with your surname and a page number.
  • Put your full name, the professor’s name, the subject title, and the deadline in the top-left corner of the first page.
  • A title that is placed above the body content in the center.
  • The first 1/2 inch of each body paragraph should be indented.
  • The essay should conclude with a Works Cited page.

When it comes to drafting an MLA-style paper on Google Docs, you have two alternatives. One option is to prepare your essay yourself in a blank Google Doc, following the instructions in this tutorial.

The alternative option is to utilize a Google Docs template that has all of the necessary MLA formattings. The template makes everything so much easier! However, it is also beneficial to learn how to set up MLA format on Google docs all by yourself.

Use MLA Format Google Docs Template

Google Docs offers a plethora of templates that might make it easier for students to get a head start on structuring essays. Use the Google Docs Report MLA add-on and save time:

  • Create a fresh document by going to File > New > From template.
  • The template collection will be opened in a new tab. Scroll down to the Education section and click on the Report MLA Add-on button.
Use MLA Format Google Docs Template
  • A document containing fictitious text will appear, which you may customize using your own text. The document would be formatted and ready to go. Only the wording will need to be changed.

PS: let’s figure out how to strikethrough in Google Docs.

How to Set Up MLA Format on Google Docs Manually

Some individuals are wary of using templates, or it might also happen that your professor has asked you to adhere to a particular format of MLA style. If that is so, you must learn how to do MLA format on Google docs manually.

After you are done formatting, you can save it, which will help you to save time when you are writing your papers next, as you do not have to format it again.

  • Modify the font to Times New Roman and increase the font size to 12 points. (Times New Roman is the standard typeface used in MLA-style papers, and teachers may mandate it at times. However, if no font constraints exist, you are free to choose any font that is simple to read and not too huge, such as Calibri, Cambria, or others. Google Docs’ default font is Arial at size 11. Always use a font size of 12 or lower when submitting papers. Instructors can detect whether you have increased the size of your font to fulfill page requirements!)
Format MLA Format On Google Docs
  • Choose Header from the Insert menu. The header can be found by going to Insert > Headers & Footers > Header.
  • It is worth noting that the font for the header reverts to its default. Set the font size to 12 Times New Roman, then choose Right Align.
Google Docs Right Align
  • Enter your last name, followed by a space, and then choose Insert > Page numbers.
Insert Page Numbers
  • Make any required adjustments to your Page number options, then choose Apply.
  • Select Format > Line Spacing > Double by clicking or tapping anywhere below the header. (The text of your work must be double-spaced in MLA format. Single-spacing is normally the default when you start typing. You may adjust the spacing prior to typing, or you can alter it after you finish typing by selecting all of the content and following the instructions.)
Line Spacing on Google Docs
  • On separate lines, write your name, the professor’s name, the course name, and the deadline.
  • To proceed to the next line, press enter, then choose Center Align and input the title of your article.
Center Align on Google Docs
  • Then, to proceed to the next line, press Enter, then choose Left Align.
  • To indent, click the Tab button and start typing your first paragraph. Each new paragraph should start with an indent.
  • After you have finished writing the main body of your essay, go to Insert > Break > Page Break to make a blank page for the Works Cited page.

How to Set Up MLA Format on Google Docs by Works Cited Page

Your Works Cited section offers a list of all of the resources you have analyzed, paraphrased, or referenced throughout your essay, arranged alphabetically. This page should come at the end of the paper and start at a new page. The Works Cited page is formatted in an unusual way. As a result, there are a few procedures you must do in order to format it appropriately.

The first thing to bear in mind is similar to the instruction you have learned so far. Once you reach a new page, write in “Works Cited” and centralize the text.

Once you have entered the title, the next thing you need to do is cite your references properly. There are a couple of elements from the MLA standards that you must provide here. Firstly, make an alphabetical list of all of your references. Make sure to credit your references correctly, for instance:

Card, Claudia. The Atrocity Paradigm: A Theory of Evil. Oxford UP, 2005.

Last but not least, each reference must have a hanging indentation. This is how you do it:

1. Navigate to Format > Align & indent > Indentation choices.

2. Select Hanging from the selection box under Special indent.

3. Change the indent to 0.5 and then hit Apply.

Format > Align & indent > Indentation choices

How to Set Up MLA Format on Google Docs Using the Already Provided Feature

Google Docs includes a citation feature that will assist you with citing your references in the right way as you need it.

Once you have completed your paper, you may also use this feature to generate a Works Cited page automatically.

Clearly, this is really beneficial because it will allow you to get the formatting right every time, saving you time and effort.

1. Navigate to Tools > Citations.

2. In the sidebar, select MLA from the dropdown menu. (APA and Chicago are also alternatives.)

Use the Already Provided MLA Format Feature on Google Docs

3. Select + Add citation source from the menu.

4. From the dropdown list, choose a source type, such as textbook or journal, and then choose how you received the material, such as print or digital.

5. Fill out the form with your source’s information. 

6. Select Add citation source from the drop-down menu.

This has now been added to your sources list in the citations tool.

7. Put your cursor where you wish to reference the source, then select Cite in the sidebar next to the source.

select Cite in the sidebar

You should now see an MLA in-text citation. Change the # to the page number you want.

8. When you are through with your document, make a new page by inserting a page break as described before. Navigate to the citations tool and select the Insert bibliography option.

Insert bibliography

Depending on the input you give, Google Docs will now instantly create a list of references in the right MLA style. Please note that the title should be changed from Bibliography to Works Cited.

It is a good idea to check the page’s formatting to make sure everything is right. Besides the headline, however, everything will be properly structured. Docs also include the hanging indentation, which is required for the Works Cited section in MLA style.

A Few Other Tips To Help You With Your Writing

Use the Speech-To-Text function.

Voice recognition technology has advanced dramatically in recent years. Consider Alexa or Siri. These pieces of software will comprehend your input nine times out of ten. We do not want to get into too much detail about how it works.

Simply use this function if you are wary of writing or want to test it out. We are sure you will fall in love with it. Just a quick note: punctuation marks and new paragraphs must also be spoken.

Make Available Online

You no longer need to depend on the Internet to complete your work. Google Docs enables you to write from any location. When you’re on the move and can not put off your job, go to File and choose to make it available offline.

If you are using Windows or a Mac, be sure to save your work when you have finished writing. Your document will be synchronized the instant you connect to the Internet. This move has no bearing on Chromebook owners because any file, regardless of connectivity, is automatically stored.


1. Can I use MLA format for sources other than books and articles?

Yes, MLA format can be used for a wide range of sources, including websites, interviews, films, and more. The key is to follow the MLA guidelines specific to each source type.

2. Can I apply MLA format to an existing document in Google Docs?

Yes, you can apply MLA format to an existing document in Google Docs by adjusting the formatting elements accordingly. However, it may require some manual adjustments to align with MLA guidelines.

3. Are there any online tools available to automatically generate MLA citations?

Yes, several online tools, such as citation generators and reference management software, can assist in generating MLA citations. However, it’s important to double-check the accuracy of the generated citations for complete reliability.

4. Can I use MLA format for non-academic writing, such as personal letters or creative works?

MLA format is primarily designed for academic writing and research papers. For non-academic writing, other formatting styles or personal preferences may be more appropriate.

5. Can I switch back and forth between MLA format and other formatting styles in the same document?

While it is possible to switch formatting styles within a document, it is generally recommended to maintain consistency within a single document. Mixing multiple formatting styles may confuse readers and undermine the professionalism of your work.

Final Thoughts

Properly formatting a thesis or paper using Google Docs may appear difficult at first. But, in time, it will become part of the routine.

Hopefully, this article has assisted you in understanding the essentials of the MLA format and helped you to learn how to do MLA format on google docs.


Ten years of experience in information and computer technology. Passionate about electronic devices, smartphones, computers, and modern technology.