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MLA Heading Format Guide With Examples

August 19, 2023
5 minutes read
Table of contents

Understanding MLA Heading & MLA Header Peculiarities

In the specialized field of academic writing, where meticulous precision, unambiguous clarity, and adherence to specific norms are vital, the MLA format stands out as a renowned guideline. Unique to the MLA style are the MLA heading and MLA header, two components that, although closely associated in terminology, fulfill distinct and clearly delineated functions within a document.

The MLA paper heading, situated at the top left corner of the initial page, functions as an official introduction, encompassing the student's full name, the professor's surname, the course name, and the date, arranged as:

John R. Smith
Professor McReady
English 2030
9 September 2021

In contrast, the MLA header format is positioned at the top right corner of every page, consisting of the student's surname and a corresponding page number, such as:

Smith 4

A parallel examination of the MLA heading example and the MLA header reveals numerous differences. Initially, the heading acts as a static and singular introduction, symbolizing the document's authorship and context, while the header, repeated across each page, operates as an ongoing reference for both reader and writer. Secondly, the multifaceted structure of the heading contrasts with the header's streamlined one-line design, signifying their different roles; the heading transmits detailed information, while the header maintains simplified uniformity.

Moreover, although both elements possess a visual position at the top of each page, their locations vary, with the MLA heading anchored at the top left and the header at the top right. This symmetrical arrangement not only harmonizes the visual aesthetics of the manuscript but also defines their separate functions. The heading, as a detailed introduction, resides on the left, aligning with the reader's innate tendency to begin there, while the header, acting as a constant navigation instrument, is found at the top right. For those who may find this process challenging, considering assistance from an APA paper writer can be a beneficial option to ensure the accuracy of your citations.

How to Implement MLA Heading in MS Word & Google Docs

Understanding how to do an MLA header and MLA heading in widely-used platforms like MS Word and Google Docs, although potentially overwhelming for beginners, can be deconstructed into clear, manageable steps. The alignment, positioning, and font size in MS Word follow a distinct path:

  1. Accessing the "Insert" tab, selecting Page Number, then Top of the Page, and opting for the right alignment.
  2. Clicking on the page's header to add the Last Name before the page's number, and finally,
  3. Double-checking the font and size, ensuring conformity to Times New Roman and a 12-point size.

Contrarily, in Google Docs, although the objective remains consistent, the procedure differs:

  1. Starting with a click on "Insert,"
  2. Proceeding to the "Header" section and Page Number,
  3. Right-aligning similar to MS Word, and
  4. Inserting the Last Name followed by the appropriate page number, before finalizing the font and size.

This juxtaposition of methodologies highlights that, despite variations in MS Word and Google Docs interfaces and user experiences, the fundamental principles of what is an MLA heading and header unite them, crafting a standardized approach to scholarly communication.

Basic Rules & MLA Examples

Embarking on the journey of comprehending the basic rules and examples of the MLA format plunges one into a realm where structure integrates with content. The foundation of the MLA format resides in its heading and header, each displaying unique characteristics.

The MLA heading, a more comprehensive entity, is composed of:

  • Your Full Name
  • Your instructor's Last Name, often with academic credentials
  • The Course name or specific curriculum code
  • The Date, depicted in a precise format.

Comparatively, the MLA header, a brief and repeated element, is simply constructed by:

  • Last Name followed by the page number.

These structures are manifested in the following examples, wherein an MLA heading example might present itself as:

John R. Goodridge
Professor Thompson
ENG 101
1 January 2023

While an MLA header on the fourth page would be succinctly:

Goodridge 4

This contrast illuminates the divergence between the heading's role in introducing and framing the document and the header's function as a persistent navigational guide, continually steering the reader through the academic landscape.

In conclusion, the seemingly complex task of knowing how to do an MLA header and heading in MS Word & Google Docs, coupled with understanding the foundational rules and examples, can be elucidated through insight, comparison, and scrupulous observance of guidelines. These guidelines serve as the underlying connective tissue, weaving together the essence of academic rigor, uniformity, and scholarly eminence.

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