MLA Heading Format Guide With Examples

Understanding MLA Heading & MLA Header Peculiarities 

The majority of college students can tell MLA writing style apart with the help of the classic MLA heading that can be seen at the top left corner of the page where one can see student's full name, professor's last name, course name, and the date. The most common example of the actual MLA heading would look this way: 

John R. Smith
Professor McReady
English 2030
9 September 2021 

According to the Modern Language Association (MLA), there are no other lines involved unless specified otherwise by your college or university writing guidelines. When you can see some paper with such heading, you will know that you are dealing with the MLA format. 

You should remember that the MLA format heading always comes along with relevant headers, which is not the same. For example, an MLA example above represents the MLA header, which must only appear on your first page. As for the header, it contains your last student's name (as identified by your student's card) and has a page number. Unlike the MLA heading that is always placed at the top left of the first page, your MLA header appears at the top right corner of each page with corresponding numbers. 

If we took our fourth page, an example of a header would look like this:

Smith 4 

How to Implement MLA Heading in MS Word & Google Docs

If you are using Microsoft Word, adding a heading or a header is not as challenging as it often seems. If you do it at least once, you will always remember. Let us start with a running header format first: 

  1. Click the "Insert" tab. 
  2. Continue by clicking on Page Number, then Top of the Page, and choose the right alignment. 
  3. Click on your page's header and add your Last Name before your page's number. 
  4. Make sure that you check the font and size twice. It should be Times New Roman (or any other font chosen) with the font size being point 12. 

Now if your college professor has any other instructions, you may add your full name to the header, yet it will go against the basic MLA rules. 

Speaking of the MLA heading, it is written just as plain text, which does not require anything specific regarding MS Word formatting. 

Let us review how to create an MLA style header in Google Docs, which is what remote or Mac students use these days: 

  1. First of all, click on "Insert". 
  2. Go down to the "Header" section and Page Number. 
  3. Click on the tiny arrow icon and put your mouse upon your Header part. 
  4. Once you are in the toolbar, you should continue with the right align just like in MS Word. 
  5. Click "Insert", then page numbering, and choose right-alignment. 
  6. This is when you should click on an appropriate page number to add your Last Name. 
  7. Now make sure to choose your assignment's header by setting your font and size. 

Once again, working with your MLA heading in Google Docs, you should follow the basic rules that can be learned below. 

Basic Rules & MLA Examples 

Remember that MLA style format requires a running header that includes your Last Name with a page number. It must be aligned to the right top corner of the page with a 1/2 inch placement. The purpose of the MLA header is meant to keep page numbering accurate to avoid getting your college assigned lost by accident. 

The basic MLA header template formatting goes this way: 

Last Name page number 

Let us continue with the MLA heading format template: 

Your Full Name
Your instructor's Last Name with academic credentials
Course name or special curriculum code

What we have in the result is: 

Andrew R. Goodridge
Dr. Jefferson
SOC 1162
​12 May 2003 

Learning how to do headings in MLA, don’t forget that the heading should be double-spaced unless specified otherwise. It must implement a 1-inch margin and appear in the upper left corner. Your page's title should come next and be centered with each word of the title starting with the capital letter, except for "the, a, or and". 

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