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Formatting a Research Paper in Word: Home

Includes keystroke commands

This page will help you set up a Microsoft Word document to write an MLA or APA research paper. It includes keystroke commands where possible.

Keyboard shortcuts from Microsoft

Cover Page

Header for MLA Style

Insert Header

(ALT + N, H spacebar)

  • To create the header, click on the Insert tab on the toolbar.

Page number

(Alt+N, N, U) , T (selects top of page from menu options), Enter , Right align (Ctrl+R), Type Last name and a space

  • Click page number in the Header & Footer box. Choose Top of Page in the drop down  menu, and select Plain Number 3. 
  • While your cursor is still on the page number, type your last name and a space. 

Format Font to Times New Roman, size 12

Alt+A to select all font, Ctrl+D to open font dialog box, type Times, tab twice to get to size box, type 12, then Enter to close box and header.

  • Highlight all text if needed, then on the Home tab, in the Font section, select Times New Roman, size 12.

To Close Header

(Alt+J, H, C) 

  • Click on Close Header & Footer or double-click on the body of the document

To Edit Header

(Alt+N, H, Alt+E)

  • Open header & footer box or double click in header space

Header for APA Style

THIS IS NOT RIGHT YET>

Insert Header

(ALT + N, H spacebar)

  • To create the header, click on the Insert tab on the toolbar.

Running Head

In all caps, enter your running head, which is a short version of your title.

Page number

(Alt+N, N, U) , T (selects top of page from menu options), Enter , Right align (Ctrl+R), Type Last name and a space

  • Click page number in the Header & Footer box. Choose Top of Page in the drop down  menu, and select Plain Number 3. 
  • While your cursor is still on the page number, type your last name and a space. 

Format Font to Times New Roman, size 12

Alt+A to select all font, Ctrl+D to open font dialog box, type Times, tab twice to get to size box, type 12, then Enter to close box and header.

  • Highlight all text if needed, then on the Home tab, in the Font section, select Times New Roman, size 12.

To Close Header

(Alt+J, H, C) 

  • Click on Close Header & Footer or double-click on the body of the document

To Edit Header

(Alt+N, H, Alt+E)

  • Open header & footer box or double click in header space

Page Set up

Format Font to Times New Roman, Size 12

Alt+A to select all font, Ctrl+D to open font dialog box, type Times, tab twice to get to size box, type 12, then Enter to close box and header.

  • Highlight all text if needed, then on the Home tab, in the Font section, select Times New Roman, size 12.

Double Space lines

Alt+K, arrow down to 2.0, enter

  • On Home Tab, in the Paragraph section, choose 2.0 or Double for line spacing.

Paragraph Spacing

Alt+P, S, A, type the number zero, enter

  • On Home Tab, in the Paragraph section, enter 0 (zero) for space before and after paragraphs.

Set Margins to 1 inch

Alt+P opens Page Layout, Alt+M online Margins, use arrows to select Normal Template. Enter.

  • Under Layout Tab, open Margins and select Normal.

To Save this Format as the Default

 

Your information and Title of paper

Left align text (This should be the default)

Ctrl+L

  • Under Home tab, in the Paragraph box, click Left Align icon

Your Information:

  • Your first and last name <Enter>
  • Your Instructor's name <Enter>
  • Class name and course number <Enter>
  • Date in format day, month, year <Enter>

Title of Paper

Center Align Text using Ctrl+C 

Type the title of your paper, capitalizing the first letter of the of the first word and then the first letter of every word except conjunctions, prepositions, and articles. <Enter>

Note: You will need to left align text (Ctrl+L) before beginning body of the paper.

 

Body of Text

Make sure you have already completed the Page Set up.

If your preceding line was center justified, left align the text with Ctrl+L or using the Left Align icon on the toolbar.

Indent first line of paragraphs

You can tab to indent the first line of the paragraphs OR

Alt+O, P to open paragraph dialogue box, Alt+S to chose Special indentation. From dropdown, select First Line. Enter.

  • On Home Tab, in the Paragraph section, under Indentation, in Special, use dropdown to select First Line. 

Indenting block quotations

  1. (Alt+P, I, L) type .5 to indent by 1/2 inch. <enter>  Or, with text highlighted, click the Increase indent button in the Paragraph settings section of the Home or Layout tab.
  2. Type your block quotation.
  3. To cancel indenting the block quotation, change the indent back to 0 using (Alt+P, I, L), 0. <enter> OR click the decrease indent to return back to the left margin.

Works Cited or References List

Start a new page

Ctrl+Enter

  • On the Insert tab, in the Pages section, slick on the Page Break icon

Center the title of the section

Ctrl+E, type "Works Cited" for MLA or "References" for APA, <enter> (return to Left alignment with Ctrl+L)

  • On the Home Tab, in the Paragraph section, click the Center Align icon
  • Type Works Cited for MLA or References for APA
  • Return to Left Alignment using the Left Align icon

Format page for hanging indent

Alt+H, P, G opens paragraph dialog box, Tab to Special Indent, Arrow down to Hanging indent, <enter>

  • On Home Tab, in the Paragraph section, under Indentation, in Special, use dropdown to select Hanging Indent <OK>

Alphabetize your Works Cited

This feature enables you to quickly alphabetize your works cited section. However, be aware that it does not ignore citations starting with A, An, or The, as you should according to MLA and APA style. Therefore, if any of your citations start with these words, you will need to manually move them into place.

  1. Select the text you want to sort.
  2. On the Home tab, in the Paragraph section, click the Alphabetize icon.

 

Preformatted Word Documents

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