Every student knows that formatting their academic papers according to the required style manual is crucial for their final grade. And every student also knows that there is a wide range of different styles, each of which comes with its own set of rules, and, thus, formatting your papers properly can get pretty stressful.
An easy way to overcome this challenge is to delegate your papers to a reliable paper writer service that employs expert writers who can do all the hard work for you. This way, you can ensure a high grade and save a bit of time. But, there is also another path. Luckily for all students out there, Google Docs (which is widely used for academic papers these days) has plenty of great features that make formatting a paper almost effortless.
To help you get on the right track, we’ve collected some of the handiest tips that will help you format your APA and MLA papers with ease. Let’s dive in!
APA Formatting Tips
If your paper needs to be formatted according to the APA style, below is a step-by-step guide that you can use in Google Docs.
1. Running Head and Page Numbers
First of all, go to the Insert menu in Google Docs and click on the Page Number option. You will see a new fold-out menu, where you have to choose the first option with page numbers located in the top right corner of the page.
Once the page numbers appear in your document, click on them and type a shortened title of your paper in all caps. You need to press the tab key after typing your title to make it left-aligned, while the page number should stay right-aligned.
When ready, find the “Different first-page header/footer” box and check it. This step is necessary to remove the running head from your title page. Yet, it will appear on the following pages of your paper.
At this point, be sure you select the right font (preferably Times New Roman) and font size for your text.
2. Title Page
To create a title page for your document, press the enter key multiple times until the insertion point happens to be in the middle of the page. Then center the alignment and type all the title page information, including the title, your name, and school’s name. Remember to add additional space after every entry (simply press the enter key).
3. Abstract Page
Abstract pages might be optional, not mandatory. So, be sure to check the requirements with your professor.
If you do need an abstract page, go to the Insert menu and click on the Page Break option. Then center the alignment and type the word “Abstract.” Then go back to the left-side alignment and type your abstract.
4. Body of the Paper
Use the Page Break feature to add a new page. Align the text to the center and type your paper’s full title on the first page. Then, choose left alignment for the rest of the text.
Go to the View menu and be sure to check the Show Ruler box. This is needed to create the first-line indent in your document. By dragging the line placed above the triangle on the ruler, you will set up the required indent.
MLA Formatting Tips
For papers formatted in the MLA style, the rules are slightly different. Here is a list of hacks that will help you format your papers properly.
1. Page Numbers
Add page numbers following the same tips as for the APA style. Then, ensure that your insertion point is placed to the left side of the page number and type your last name and press the spacebar to save changes.
Highlight the page number and your last name and select the Times New Roman font and 12pt font size. Also, make sure you keep the same font settings for the rest of your document.
To add headings, place the insertion point in the top left corner of the page and click the left align button. Then type the required paper heading info, such as your full name, the name of your instructor and course (with the relevant number), and the due date. Be sure to press the enter key after every entry.
To add the title of your paper, align the text to the center and type the full title. After doing this, press the enter key and change alignment back to the left side.
4. First-Line Indent
As was suggested for the papers formatted in the APA style, go to the View menu and check the Show Ruler box to create the first-line indent in your paper. As mentioned earlier, to set up the needed indent, you will have to move around the line sign located above the triangle on the ruler.
The Bottom Line
Although many students hate formatting their papers, this process doesn’t have to be so draining. With the help of modern technologies, this task can be simplified. And one of the tools that can help you with that is Google Docs.
After reading this article, you are well-equipped for success. Now, you have a complete guide with handy hacks that will help you format your MLA and APA papers quicker and easier than before. Use these tips to save your time and get high grades!