Menu

  • In The News

How to Make an Essay Look Longer

It’s somewhat difficult to make demands on essays for students – demanding that they have 500 words, for example, leads to really, really, very, extremely superfluous lists of adjectives and describing words like this sentence to up the word count. Other teachers use the page count as a metric of completion. But what happens when you have 4 and a half pages done of your five page essay? There are plenty of writing techniques to flesh ideas out and make it longer, but I’m assuming that your essay is perfect as it is and you want a more technological answer. Here are a few techniques that have served me well. I use them all the time.

Note: This tutorial is for Microsoft Word as a part of Office 2007, although many of the same techniques can be used in previous or subsequent versions of Word.

Font Choice and Font Size

First, font or font size is a fairly easy way to make an essay longer. Some teachers demand that Times New Roman size 12 be used. However, when they forget to add that to the rules, you can change it to whatever you want (assuming there’s no blanket statement about it on the syllabus). You want to choose a font that maximizes height. Obviously you don’t want to choose a font that’s too difficult to read, as it may annoy the person grading it. Below is a picture of the word “Hello” printed four times, each at size 12. The fonts, from left to right, are “Angsana New”, “Calibri”, “Times New Roman”, and “Algerian”.

Font size can also make a big impact on your paper. Going with a size 72 font will undoubtedly make your paper surpass the required page count, but isn’t the best idea. Just changing the font size from 12 to 13 can add a few lines to your paper. Below is a picture of identical text in two columns, both in Times New Roman, but size 12 on the left and size 13 on the right.

Even if your teacher demands size 12 Times New Roman, you might be tempted to change it anyway. Slight changes are fairly hard to measure in a printout, however, it is possible. For instance, if a teacher were to print out the word “the” in Times New Roman size 12 on a piece of transparency paper, they could then hold it over a word “the” in your essay and confirm whether or not it’s identical. Probably not going to happen, but it actually has happened to me before.

Space Between lines

The spacing between lines is very difficult to measure because although in most fonts the top and bottom edges vary significantly. In some fonts, there is a common edge except for letters that hang above or below the line, but in fonts that are meant to look more like handwriting, there is not. In any case, even with common edges, it’s not likely that your teacher will whip out a ruler and measure. Too large a gap may arouse suspicion, but changing an essay from double spaced to 2.1 spacing may actually make a large difference. The thing to remember is that the longer the base essay, the more they amplify the length. So for instance, if your essay is 10 lines with double spacing, and you change the spacing to 2.1, you get an extra 0.1 of a line for every line you’ve written, and 0.1×10 = 1. So, for every ten lines you actually write, you get the effect of having written eleven instead. For an essay that’s 4.5 pages, this tiny change can easily bring you over the 5 page mark and is virtually undetectable. Below is two paragraphs, the left with single spacing and the right is 1.1 spacing. This really demonstrates the potential of the small change.

To change the spacing between lines, you’ll need to access the “Paragraph” menu (I believe that in older versions of Word this could be done by going to Format -> Paragraph). In Word 2007, it can be accessed by going to the “Page Layout” tab of the ribbon and clicking on the pop-out button of the Paragraph rectangle.

From there, under Line Spacing, choose “Multiple”, and under At, choose a number close to something normal, like 1.1 or 2.1. You can increase this difference at the risk of the teacher noticing.

Changing the margins of a page is another great way to change the length of your paper. By decreasing the amount of space the words can take up per page, you increase the number of pages required to fit your existing content. Changing the left margin is a bit risky since most papers are left-justified, meaning that the left edge will be relatively the same for all papers. The right margin, however, can be changed to your heart’s content, since the length of words, number of letters, and number of spaces greatly affect each line’s right edge. You can also increase the amount of space taken up by the header and footer of a document.

Lengthen Header Content

One final way you can make a paper appear longer is by adding more lines to the header of your document. If you make it too long, be sure to have it on only the first page and not every page, as this would be incredibly obvious.

6-Lines-In-Header

Other Notes

If your teacher demands that an essay be 5 pages long and no longer , but your paper is slightly longer, you can use these same techniques in reverse to make your paper look shorter . For instance, you can change double spacing to 1.9 spacing, or increase the margins.

110 Comments

If you must have MLA format and the essay is turned in electronically the teachers will be able to see the changes of font size and other things. So the easiest thing for me is to increase the font size of just the periods to 14 instead of the required 12 font. This makes your essay lines more spaced out and sentences longer. Even though it is not a huge change, it makes a very big difference.

In addition to that, I usually add just enough description to my sentences in order to barely create one new line of text before going to the next paragraph. It is also beneficial to end a paragraph on the second to last line of a page. That way the next paragraph is forced to appear on the next page altogether.

If you are turning in your essay online, use these and the larger font periods only, as everything else will likely be checked by the system when you upload it.

If you turn it in online, turn it in in PDF format, it’s standardized and they can’t see the font size easily

Unfortunately, this is not true. While it may not be obvious ow to inspect a PDF to get the font, the easiest thing to do is copy some text and paste it into Microsoft Word – it’ll retain its font.

This + the commas

THANKS GANG

REALLY REALLY LIKE THIS

This helped me so much!!!

It’s 5 am, my paper’s topic would have sent me to sleep hours ago if it weren’t for the Red Bulls, and you’ve been added to my list of “People I Will Buy a Drink for if I Ever Meet Them”.

You my good sir have just made my night! If you’re ever in Atlanta I will be MORE than happy to buy you a drink as well! 🙂

I don’t know you. But I love you.

You are amazing. Another thing that I tried at one time was to bold the periods. it made my 4 1/4 page research paper into a 5 page paper. Just trying to help out some more.

Recently I had to write a 12-page essay on a mostly-factual topic. It wasn’t pretty. I was on the eleventh page when I found that I simply couldn’t add any more to the paper no matter how I tried. A quick change to all the margins from 1.0 to 1.1 boosted my essay to fill the entire twelfth page! I wish I had found this article earlier, though, as I didn’t know that modifying the left margin is risky.

In retrospect, I really should have just changed the line spacing from 2.0 to 2.1, but I couldn’t figure out how to do that thanks to Word’s confusing line spacing interface. Now I know that I can set the spacing to “multiple” and achieve the desired effect!

I also recommend “adding space between paragraphs of the same style” as is done by default in Word 2010. It doesn’t make a really significant difference, but for every paragraph you write you’ll gain about 1 extra line.

To all you essay writers out there: these techniques should really only be used as a last resort. If you are able to flush out your entire essay, do that instead of modifying its layout. Only when you are completely stuck and need just one more page or so should you use the strategies here.

I was struggling to write 10 pages of term paper. Thank you for the tips!!!!

10? I can barely write 5 wow

Thank you!! =,) Thank you so much!

tnx so much that helps a lot .I had to write 3 pages and I only had 1 page and ur advice works!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You sir are amazing. Thank you SO SO SO much.

I owe you a drink sir. It’s 5:00 A.M. and this paper is due in a few hours. Five and a half pages out of eight! Tough night oh and screw Marry Shelley and Frankenstein.

in college i made my periods a font size bigger and doing that to all puntuation can add up to 1/4 to a page and teacher will NEVER know

I have two 12-15 page research essays due in the same week and this post just saved my life. I never would’ve thought of changing the line spacing from 2.0 to 2.1, but it added about another page length to what I’d already typed. Bless you.

ERMERGERD these pointers helped out sooo much I absolutely hate typing term papers for my class and this helps out a bunch THANKS A MILLION.

praise the man, you are the new black baby jesus. bruh, you are my sunshine on a cloudy day, I am your loyal friend to the ends of the fiery underworld, all of the twinkies shall be yours. may your palm tree forever sway high.

This…I…well, thank you, brother. This is the greatest comment I have ever received. I feel giddy.

Hey, I’m a TA and when I have to grade lab reports, I always select all and change to 12pt times new roman even if it looks like it is already, and I check the margins and spacing. I don’t actually ever have to take points off for length, just check to make sure that the essay has x number of examples of y thing and an explanation for each. Be careful because I know a few of the English TAs do that to all the papers before the prof. grades them if the TAs aren’t grading.

thank you sooo much you just saved my English grade and my date that was depending on my English grade. you are the best person ever I love you!!!

3 page assignment due by the end of tomorrow, and had really hit my limit at around 2 1/2 pages of B.S’ing. You’re the real MVP tonight.

Go to the Font Dialog box (Ctrl+D) and under character spacing change from normal to expanded very subtle but gives you a couple lines

I love you.

You are amazing, this helped me so much, Thank you

i literally used to use all of these in high school, i just wish i could have found this page instead of having to figure it out on my own

If your page is a little too long, try changing the font to Garamond, it looks the same as Time New Roman, but is smaller

Are you married? If not, I’d totally marry you for this advice. Thank you so much, brilliant person!

For me I had a required 12 point font size but if you type in a 12.5 point font size the it really helps without being too noticeable on a printed copy.

Another good tip is to change the font color to grey instead of black (on the printed papers) This is a good tip because it will make the words pop off the page less, and therefore the teacher will have a harder time reading what you wrote. This is also good because if your teacher magically notices your letters are the wrong shade, you can blame it on your printer.

There’s something so rewarding about sitting here screwing with margins, spacing, adding random and pointless space lines to the header, and going through the entire paper making every blessed period 14 pt font until the paper is long enough. Thank you so much for the tips!

Arial looks to be larger than Times New Roman and is a standard looking font

Useful… very useful… although I turn my work in electronically, my teacher allows this stuff, because he used this kind of thing in school

there is a font on 2013 word called verdena, its like calibra but a little bigger. changing all of the periods to size 16 is very useful too

Another tip-increase the size of periods, commas, apostrophes etc. Ex if I’m typing in 12 size font, I increase the size for periods, commas etc to size 14.

Another thing that might help is to have more paragraph breaks.

Thxs so much man ur a life saver! 2.1 Is the best spacing and so hard for my teachers to notice

Thank You… Thank You Very Much.

Another good way to increase the amount of writing without actually writing more is to mess around with widow-orphan controls (Under line-spacing options). You can set it so that if you write a paragraph with one word on the next page, it’ll put another line on that page to make the one word less lonely. That can add at least a half-page if you work it right.

This is so helpful!

Awesome. Better tip – Courier font is the biggest font and still passes as acceptable on essays. Check it out, I promise.

You just made my 15 page paper much more delightful. AP classes in high school are an absolute pain! 🙂

Another way to make your paper longer is to double space between sentences. Not the double space between the lines, but in between the sentences double click the space bar. It’s what I’m doing right now and you might not have noticed until I told you.

Its 2016, I’m exhausted, and I had to crank out 12 pages. You may not even read this comment. But you are a true American Hero. If you are ever in the state of Michigan (particularly the lower peninsula), I will purchase you a beverage. Infinitely grateful. Best of luck to you, sir!

THIS HELPED SO MUCH WITH MY 30 PG ESSAY

Verdana seems to be the largest proper looking font I’ve seen so far. I highly recommend it.

The thing i do the most to make a paper longer if specifics are required is 2 spaces after the periods. depending on the length of the paper it can add half a page or more. I wrote a 75 page paper over the summer, with every detail specified, except nothing about spaces between sentences. 69 with one space, 72 with 2.

This just saved my life. English 1101 is going to be the death of me….can’t wait for next semester.

OMG. Heart u! My teacher says she knows a font near identical Times N Roman, but a teeny bit wider, so it makes 3 pages 3.5 pgs. Any Ideas?

Also, changing the file type to a pdf if you have to turn it in electronically will confuse the hell out of most english/humanities teachers to the point where they’ll never discover a 2.3 spacing change in between paragraphs

http://cdn1.thecomeback.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/94/2015/02/Screen-Shot-2015-02-19-at-11.56.00-AM.png You the real MVP

Not a typical trick but if it is permitted use Chicago style citations (or any footnote based citation style… if any others exist). While it does not technically add to the length of an essay as references do not count the lines upon lines of footnotes can add pages upon pages to an essay. At certain points I have literally had half the page just be lines of footnotes. While it obviously adds nothing it does provide the illusion of a lot more going on, especially if it is something you have to print out. Plus you know it looks better, is easier to read, and makes paraphrasing a breeze.

I use the Courier New font. It is by FAR the best font, not only because it looks cool, but because it is MEGA HUGE. It saved me a TON of space on my English Essay. My teacher passes it because it is an “adequate font” and “not a fancy, hand-writing-type font.”

If your essay is to be turned in digitally, there is an extremely underhanded tactic that can be used to increase word/character count. Turn the font color to white, then place random periods in your essay. This will cause the character count to go up, and is almost impossible to detect unless it is being actively searched for.

This man has saved me on around 50 essays and will continue saving me. Tank you Jacob Binstein.

Thx sooo much!!

Thank you so much! This is very helpful:) Xx Ali

THX SO MUCH!!!!

Oh my god thank you so much

Another cool trick is to use the replace all tool to change just the punctuation from size 12 to size 14 fonts.

I have a 2-page essay due in 9 days and I can’t include pictures or sites in the length. This will help a lot. Thanks!

wow this actually really helped with my paper. thanks so much but I wish I found this a few years ago.

this saved my aSS LAST YEARRRR

THANK YOU SO FUCKING MUCH

thIS SAVED ME LAST YEAR THANK YOU SO MUCH BRO

Thank you, so much man you are so amazing btw a really good font that you can use is courier new and it makes it look good and takes up a lot of space just saying think about using it.

Merriweather is bigger than all of your fonts.

Cambria looks exactly like Times New Roman but is slightly larger which will make it still look like it is in MLA format

A G I W Y A (a genius is what you are)

Nice job! thank you!

Thank you!! I am bolding the periods and changing the line spacing!! Helped so much! <3

Thanks, bro. More like Jacob Einstien bro. Heck yeah, man.

Hi, I’m a college instructor, and we know all these tricks. Some of them I deduct points for. Others I will return an essay ungraded for. You know what is an even better idea? Write to the actual demands of the assignment.

Or don’t, but ooh I hope you end up in my class.

Some instructors know some of these tricks. But it would be a far cry to say that all instructors look for all of these.

You know what’s an even better idea than searching out articles which, to you, are apparently irrelevant? Writing assignment instructions which don’t require an exact number of words.

Good Job Jim! Congrats on killing the creativity of the nation and forcing students to suffer through your class by making them meet arbitrary standards that teach them to use fluffy jargon instead of clear concise points! Pat yourself on the back Jim!

You can also hit enter a couple times in the header sections, which effectively makes each page start a couple lines farther down.

Thx this is a great advice. I have to write a paper for civics and i will totally use this!!!!!! 🙂 😉

Lol that professor’s comment cracked me up Thx for the laughs.

Some of the best advice I have ever received on increasing page length of an essay, is to go through each paragraph, and try to find a way to add words so that the last line just barely word-wraps.

What I mean is that the last line of each paragraph should have only 1 or 2 words. This makes a huge difference, especially if you have a lot of paragraphs.

I don’t think I’ll worry about my teacher noticing any of these tricks since when I asked him if he wanted the paper in MLA, he asked what MLA was… Thanks for this!

any one here in 2019?? Oh and thks

Courier New is way bigger that Algerian.

the font “Press Start 2p” is the largest font for Google Docs

I just finished a 20-page paper for a test and this has really helped. One other thing I recommend is adding a space before and after each paragraph. Press Ctrl+A to select everything, then add a space before and after each paragraph to get every paragraph.

I’m on week 8 of procrastinating and have a paper due in 5 days. These tips helped! Thanks so much 🙂

bro your a genius i got a A on my book report

Im on page 9 of a 10 page essay and I was wondering if I change the font size from 12 to 12.5, would it be too noticeable? It adds length, i’m just hoping my professor and TurnItIn won’t detect it.

Thank you so much! Ur a Lifesaver!

This is so funny, looking at all the comments they are either written really late at night or super early in the morning hahaha.

This is genius! They didn’t tell me anything about margins, so I changed it!

fuckin genius, bro

*adds yours name to ‘list of fckin geniuses’*

i just realised one more thing that can help— use the REALLY REALLY long dashes instead of colons or semicolons. It takes more space and though it’ll barely make a difference, im so proud of thinking of that myself

It has been 10 years, and we are all still struggling with essays.

the biggest font is actually roboto mono

My teacher only said 1 page size thirteen and what it had to be about. thank you

Hey! Nice article. I agree with you that choosing the right font and font size is very essential. Your content contains different valid points and is very beneficial for all designers. Thanks.

ooooh thanks for the advice!

don’t forget typing random words and making them white

thanks for the advice

MY ass is saved It’s almost 8pm and i have an english 5 pg essay to write. A Geography 5 page essay to write and presentation. And 20 lessons of calculus to get done before tomorow morning.

Leave a Comment Cancel Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

SEND A MESSAGE

Dr. Mark Womack

What Font Should I Use?

The Modern Language Association (MLA) provides explicit, specific recommendations for the margins and spacing of academic papers. (See: Document Format .) But their advice on font selection is less precise: “Always choose an easily readable typeface (e.g. Times New Roman) in which the regular style contrasts clearly with the italic, and set it to a standard size (e.g. 12 point)” ( MLA Handbook , 7th ed., §4.2).

So which fonts are “easily readable” and have “clearly” contrasting italics? And what exactly is a “standard” size?

For academic papers, an “easily readable typeface” means a serif font, and a “standard” type size is between 10 and 12 point.

Use A Serif Font

Serifs are the tiny strokes at the end of a letter’s main strokes. Serif fonts have these extra strokes; sans serif fonts do not. ( Sans is French for “without.”) Serif fonts also vary the thickness of the letter strokes more than sans serifs, which have more uniform lines.

normal font size for essay

Books, newspapers, and magazines typically set their main text in a serif font because they make paragraphs and long stretches of text easier to read. Sans serifs (Arial, Calibri, Helvetica, Gill Sans, Verdana, and so on) work well for single lines of text, like headings or titles, but they rarely make a good choice for body text.

Moreover, most sans serifs don’t have a true italic style. Their “italics” are really just “obliques,” where the letters slant slightly to the right but keep the same shape and spacing. Most serifs, on the other hand, do have a true italic style, with distinctive letter forms and more compact spacing.

normal font size for essay

Since they’re more readable for long passages and have sharper contrast in their italics, you should always use a serif font for the text of an academic paper.

Use A Readable Type Size

The standard unit for measuring type size is the point . A point is 1 / 72 of an inch, roughly one pixel on a computer screen. The point size of a font tells you the size of the “em square” in which your computer displays each letter of the typeface. How tall or wide any given letter is depends on how the type designer drew it within the em square, thus a font’s height and width can vary greatly depending on the design of the typeface. That’s why if you set two fonts at the same point size, one usually looks bigger than the other.

Compare the following paragraphs, both set at 12 point but in different fonts:

normal font size for essay

For body text in academic papers, type sizes below 10 point are usually too small to read easily, while type sizes above 12 point tend to look oversized and bulky. So keep the text of your paper between 10 and 12 point .

Some teachers may require you to set your whole text at 12 point. Yet virtually every book, magazine, or newspaper ever printed for visually unimpaired grown-ups sets its body type smaller than 12 point. Newspapers use even smaller type sizes. The New York Times , for example, sets its body text in a perfectly legible 8.7 point font. So with proper spacing and margins, type sizes of 11 or 10 point can be quite comfortable to read.

Font Recommendations

I usually ask my students to use Century Schoolbook or Palatino for their papers. If your teacher requires you to submit your papers in a particular font, do so. (Unless they require you to use Arial , in which case drop the class.)

One thing to consider when choosing a font is how you submit your essay. When you submit a hard copy or a PDF, your reader will see the text in whatever typeface you use. Most electronic submission formats, on the other hand, can only use the fonts available on the reader’s computer. So if you submit the paper electronically, be sure to use a font your instructor has.

What follows is a list of some widely available, highly legible serif fonts well-suited for academic papers. I’ve divided them into four categories: Microsoft Word Fonts, Mac OS Fonts, Google Fonts, and Universal Fonts.

Microsoft Word Fonts

Microsoft Word comes with lots of fonts of varying quality. If your teacher asks you to submit your paper in Word format, you can safely assume they have Word and all the fonts that go with it.

normal font size for essay

Morris Fuller Benton designed Century Schoolbook in 1923 for elementary-school textbooks, so it’s a highly readable font. It’s one of the best fonts available with Microsoft Word. Because it’s so legible, U. S. Supreme Court Rule 33.1.b madates that all legal documents submitted to the Court be set in Century Schoolbook or a similar Century-style font.

normal font size for essay

Hermann Zapf designed Palatino in 1948 for titles and headings, but its elegant proportions make it a good font for body text. Named for Renaissance calligrapher Giambattista Palatino, this font has the beauty, harmony, and grace of fine handwriting. Palatino Linotype is the name of the font included with Microsoft Word; Mac OS includes a version of the same typeface called simply Palatino.

Microsoft Word includes several other fonts that can work well for academic essays: Bell MT , Californian FB , Calisto MT , Cambria , Garamond , and Goudy Old Style .

Mac OS Fonts

Apple has a well-deserved reputation for design excellence which extends to its font library. But you can’t count on any of these Mac OS fonts being on a computer that runs Windows.

normal font size for essay

Finding his inspiration in the typography of Pierre Simon Fournier, Matthew Carter designed Charter in 1987 to look good even on crappy mid-80s fax machines and printers. Its ability to hold up even in low resolution makes Charter work superbly well on screen. Bitstream released Charter under an open license, so you can add it to your font arsenal for free. You can download Charter here .

normal font size for essay

In 1991 Apple commissioned Jonathan Hoefler to design a font that could show off the Mac’s ability to handle complex typography. The result was Hoefler Text , included with every Mac since then. The bold weight of Hoefler Text on the Mac is excessively heavy, but otherwise it’s a remarkable font: compact without being cramped, formal without being stuffy, and distinctive without being obtrusive. If you have a Mac, start using it.

Other Mac OS fonts you might consider are Baskerville and Palatino .

Google Fonts

When you submit a paper using Google Docs, you can access Google’s vast library of free fonts knowing that anyone who opens it in Google Docs will have those same fonts. Unfortunately, most of those free fonts are worth exactly what you paid for them, so choose wisely.

normal font size for essay

IBM Plex is a super-family of typefaces designed by Mike Abbink and the Bold Monday type foundry for — you guessed it — IBM. Plex serif is a solid, legible font that borrows features from Janson and Bodoni in its design. Plex is, not surprisingly, a thoroughly corporate font that aims for and achieves a bland neutrality suitable for most research papers.

normal font size for essay

John Baskerville originally designed this typeface in the 1850s, employing new techniques to make sharper contrasts between thin and thick strokes in the letter forms. The crisp, elegant design has inspired dozens of subsequent versions. Libre Baskerville is based on the American Type Founder’s 1941 version, modified to make it better for on-screen reading.

Unfortunately. Google Fonts has few really good serif fonts. Some others you might consider are Crimson Pro and Spectral .

Universal Fonts

Anyone you send your document to will have these fonts because they’re built in to both Windows and Mac OS.

normal font size for essay

Matthew Carter designed Georgia in 1993 for maximum legibility on computer screens. Georgia looks very nice on web sites, but in print it can look a bit clunky, especially when set at 12 point. Like Times New Roman, it’s on every computer and is quite easy to read. The name “Georgia” comes from a tabloid headline: “Alien Heads Found in Georgia.”

normal font size for essay

Times New Roman is, for better or worse, the standard font for academic manuscripts. Many teachers require it because it’s a solid, legible, and universally available font. Stanley Morison designed it in 1931 for The Times newspaper of London, so it’s a very efficient font and legible even at very small sizes. Times New Roman is always a safe choice. But unless your instructor requires it, you should probably use something a bit less overworked.

Essay writing: Formatting

  • Introductions
  • Conclusions
  • Analysing questions
  • Planning & drafting
  • Revising & editing
  • Proofreading
  • Essay writing videos

Jump to content on this page:

Essays are formal documents and should look professional Advice from the Skills Team

Whilst there are no hard rules about how you format essays, there are some conventions and common practices that are best to follow. If you use the settings on this page, you will produce an acceptably formatted essay.

Document layout

Visual display of the information on this page.

Margins - between 2 cm and 2.54 cm (1 inch) all around.

Line spacing - either 1.5 or double-line spacing.

Paragraph spacing - either 1 clear line between or at least 8 pt space after each paragraph (more if double-line spaced)

Alignment - left aligned (fully justified with a straight right-edge is not recommended as this reduces readability and accessibility). Some longer essays may require subheadings which should also be left-aligned.

Indents - no indents on first lines of paragraphs are needed.

It is also good practice to put your student number and module number in the header of the document and a page number at the bottom of the page.

Text formatting

Font - the default font that comes with MS Word (currently Calibri) is fine for academic work. You may see persistent advice in handbooks that suggests you should use Times New Roman or Arial. If you prefer these, you can change it - but this is no longer a requirement.

Font size - fonts should be 11 or 12 point.

Font style - headings and subheadings, if they are required (most essays will not use them), are usually formatted in bold and should be at least 2 point sizes larger than the standard text. Underlining should be avoided as this is seen as rather dated. Some text can be formatted in italics - see our page  Italics, when to use them , for guidance.

Shorter quotations in the text do not need to be italicised and should have double-quotations marks "like this" to indicate they are direct quotations. Longer quotations (what counts as this differs depending on your referencing style) should be created in their own paragraph, single spaced and indented by 1cm from both left and right margins:

For example:

Graduate attributes for employability are described as:

a set of achievements – skills, understandings and personal attributes – that makes graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations, which benefits themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy. (Yorke, 2006)

The main change in this definition compared to the earlier definition of graduate attributes from Bowden (2000) is that that the attributes are no longer ...

UoH Harvard/APA

Your reference list should be in alphabetical order (by author surname) and single line spaced. There should be a clear line space (or at least 6 pt space) between each reference. All references should be left-aligned with no indentation. For information about how to format individual references, see the Harvard Hull Referencing Guide.

UoH Footnotes

Your reference list should be in alphabetical order (by first author surname) and single line spaced.  All references should be left-aligned and have a hanging indent (all but the first line are indented by approx. 1cm). For information about how to format individual references, see the  Footnotes Hull Referencing Guide.

Other referencing styles

Please see your individual departmental guidance.

We provide here a Microsoft Word template that can be used for your essays. It has the correct layout and formatting, including useful styles.

  • Essay template

Download this template to somewhere you can access easily. When you click to open it, it will open a new document based on the template , leaving the original intact.

  • << Previous: Conclusions
  • Next: Analysing questions >>
  • Last Updated: Nov 3, 2023 3:17 PM
  • URL: https://libguides.hull.ac.uk/essays
  • Login to LibApps
  • Library websites Privacy Policy
  • University of Hull privacy policy & cookies
  • Website terms and conditions
  • Accessibility
  • Report a problem

Home

  • Peterborough

A student studying on the floor

APA 7 Style: Formatting Guidelines

Common guidelines for apa-format papers.

APA 7 (2020) has introduced new guidelines for student papers that differ from the guidelines for professional papers being submitted for publication. Make sure to check with your professor or teaching assistant on whether they prefer that you use the student or professional format for your work.

Common Guidelines for All APA-Format Papers

Line Spacing

Paragraph alignment and indentation, page numbers.

  • Figures and Tables

References Page

Guidelines Specific to Student Papers

Guidelines Specific to Professional Papers Being Submitted for Publication

  • Headers with Running Head and Page Numbers

Guidelines for All APA-Format Papers

APA 7 (2020) accepts the use of a wider range of fonts than previous editions. Use a consistent font throughout the paper. While the size of the font in the text of the paper should confirm to one of the options below, figures may include a smaller or larger font size as needed.

Font options include:

  • Times New Roman (12-point)
  • Calibri (11-point)
  • Arial (11-point)
  • Lucinda (10-point)
  • Sans Unicode (10-point)
  • Georgia (11-point)
  • Computer Modern (10-point)

The entire paper, including the title page, body of the paper, references and appendices, should be double-spaced. The bodies of figures and tables are excluded from this rule. Do not add extra line spaces between paragraphs or after a heading. 

Use 2.54 CM (1 inch) margins on all sides of the paper.

All paragraphs should be left-aligned (do not full-justify text). For each new paragraph indent five spaces or ½ inch.  Use the tab key to indent paragraphs.

All papers should have a page number in the top right corner of the header. Page numbers should be on every page of the paper, with the title page being page 1.

APA 7 (2020) recommends the use of headings in order to clarify the organization of papers. Note that a heading for the introduction is not needed or recommended. The number and level of headings required depend on the length and complexity of the paper.

  • Level One headings are centred and bolded and use title case capitalization (all key words capitalized). The text of the paper begins on the next line as a new paragraph.
  • Level 2 Headings are left-aligned and bolded and use title case capitalization (all key words capitalized). The text of the paper begins on the next line as a new paragraph.
  • Level 3 Headings are left-aligned, bolded, and italicized . They use title case capitalization (all key words capitalized). The text of the paper begins on the next line as a new paragraph.
  • Level 4 Headings are indented, bolded and use title case capitalization (all key words capitalized). There is a period at the end of a level 4 heading, and the text of the paragraph begins immediately after the period.
  • Level 5 Headings are indented, bolded, and italicized . They use title case capitalization (all key words capitalized). There is a period at the end of a level 5 heading, and the text of the paragraph begins immediately after the period.

Sample Paper with Different Levels of Headers  

Tables and Figures

Label both tables and figures, numbering them consecutively in the order that they are discussed in the text. 

Tables include a numbered label, such as “Table 1”, and this bolded label is placed above the title. Below the label, insert a table title in italics; this title should briefly identify the data in the table that follows the label.

Figures can include maps, graphs, charts or other images. Place a label, such as "Figure 1", above the figure; this label is in bold. Below the label, insert a figure title using title case and italics. Below the image, place a caption to offer more detailed information on the figure.

Refer to all tables and figures in the text of your paper by their label: “In Table 1, it is clear that . . .” or “. . . area is separated into five geographically distinct sections (see Figure 2).

APA 7 (2020) offers two options for the placement of tables and figures. They can either be integrated into the text of the paper soon after it is first mentioned in the text. Or, tables and figures can be included after the references. If you choose to position tables and figures after the references page, each table should be positioned on a separate page followed by each figure positioned on a separate page.

More advice on figures and tables from the APA Style website

  • APA (2020) recommends that you ask your professor or the editor to which you are submitting a manuscript for publication whether they have a preference as to whether figures and tables be integrated into the text or included on separate pages after the references.

All sources cited in the paper (except for personal communications) should be included in a references list. Begin the references page on a separate page, following the conclusion on the text of the paper. On the top line of the references page, the word References should be centred and bolded. The first reference begins on the next line of the reference page.

For further information on how to format the references page, see APA 7 Style: References . 

Sample References Page

Appendices 

An appendix includes relevant, supplementary information to the paper. Appendices should be placed after the references page and tables and figures (if relevant).

  • Each appendix should begin on a separate page and should have a label and title.
  • The appendix label and title should be centred and bolded. Write the label on one line and then the title on the next line.
  • If you have only one appendix, label it Appendix.
  • If you have more than one appendix, label them Appendix A, Appendix B, or Appendix C etc. in the order that it is discussed in the text of the paper.
  • You must refer to all appendices in the text of your paper by their label (see Appendix) or (see Appendix A).

Sample Appendix 

PrepScholar

Choose Your Test

Sat / act prep online guides and tips, how to format a college essay: 15 expert tips.

author image

College Essays

office-594132_640.jpg

When you're applying to college, even small decisions can feel high-stakes. This is especially true for the college essay, which often feels like the most personal part of the application. You may agonize over your college application essay format: the font, the margins, even the file format. Or maybe you're agonizing over how to organize your thoughts overall. Should you use a narrative structure? Five paragraphs?

In this comprehensive guide, we'll go over the ins and outs of how to format a college essay on both the micro and macro levels. We'll discuss minor formatting issues like headings and fonts, then discuss broad formatting concerns like whether or not to use a five-paragraph essay, and if you should use a college essay template.

How to Format a College Essay: Font, Margins, Etc.

Some of your formatting concerns will depend on whether you will be cutting and pasting your essay into a text box on an online application form or attaching a formatted document. If you aren't sure which you'll need to do, check the application instructions. Note that the Common Application does currently require you to copy and paste your essay into a text box.

Most schools also allow you to send in a paper application, which theoretically gives you increased control over your essay formatting. However, I generally don't advise sending in a paper application (unless you have no other option) for a couple of reasons:

Most schools state that they prefer to receive online applications. While it typically won't affect your chances of admission, it is wise to comply with institutional preferences in the college application process where possible. It tends to make the whole process go much more smoothly.

Paper applications can get lost in the mail. Certainly there can also be problems with online applications, but you'll be aware of the problem much sooner than if your paper application gets diverted somehow and then mailed back to you. By contrast, online applications let you be confident that your materials were received.

Regardless of how you will end up submitting your essay, you should draft it in a word processor. This will help you keep track of word count, let you use spell check, and so on.

Next, I'll go over some of the concerns you might have about the correct college essay application format, whether you're copying and pasting into a text box or attaching a document, plus a few tips that apply either way.

stamp-312609_640.png

Formatting Guidelines That Apply No Matter How You End Up Submitting the Essay:

Unless it's specifically requested, you don't need a title. It will just eat into your word count.

Avoid cutesy, overly colloquial formatting choices like ALL CAPS or ~unnecessary symbols~ or, heaven forbid, emoji and #hashtags. Your college essay should be professional, and anything too cutesy or casual will come off as immature.

emoji-653309_640.jpg

Mmm, delicious essay...I mean sandwich.

Why College Essay Templates Are a Bad Idea

You might see college essay templates online that offer guidelines on how to structure your essay and what to say in each paragraph. I strongly advise against using a template. It will make your essay sound canned and bland—two of the worst things a college essay can be. It's much better to think about what you want to say, and then talk through how to best structure it with someone else and/or make your own practice outlines before you sit down to write.

You can also find tons of successful sample essays online. Looking at these to get an idea of different styles and topics is fine, but again, I don't advise closely patterning your essay after a sample essay. You will do the best if your essay really reflects your own original voice and the experiences that are most meaningful to you.

College Application Essay Format: Key Takeaways

There are two levels of formatting you might be worried about: the micro (fonts, headings, margins, etc) and the macro (the overall structure of your essay).

Tips for the micro level of your college application essay format:

  • Always draft your essay in a word processing software, even if you'll be copy-and-pasting it over into a text box.
  • If you are copy-and-pasting it into a text box, make sure your formatting transfers properly, your paragraphs are clearly delineated, and your essay isn't cut off.
  • If you are attaching a document, make sure your font is easily readable, your margins are standard 1-inch, your essay is 1.5 or double-spaced, and your file format is compatible with the application specs.
  • There's no need for a title unless otherwise specified—it will just eat into your word count.

Tips for the macro level of your college application essay format :

  • There is no super-secret college essay format that will guarantee success.
  • In terms of structure, it's most important that you have an introduction that makes it clear where you're going and a conclusion that wraps up with a main point. For the middle of your essay, you have lots of freedom, just so long as it flows logically!
  • I advise against using an essay template, as it will make your essay sound stilted and unoriginal.

scroll-32626_640.png

Plus, if you use a college essay template, how will you get rid of these medieval weirdos?

What's Next?

Still feeling lost? Check out our total guide to the personal statement , or see our step-by-step guide to writing the perfect essay .

If you're not sure where to start, consider these tips for attention-grabbing first sentences to college essays!

And be sure to avoid these 10 college essay mistakes .

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points?   We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download them for free now:

Ellen has extensive education mentorship experience and is deeply committed to helping students succeed in all areas of life. She received a BA from Harvard in Folklore and Mythology and is currently pursuing graduate studies at Columbia University.

Ask a Question Below

Have any questions about this article or other topics? Ask below and we'll reply!

Improve With Our Famous Guides

  • For All Students

The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 160+ SAT Points

How to Get a Perfect 1600, by a Perfect Scorer

Series: How to Get 800 on Each SAT Section:

Score 800 on SAT Math

Score 800 on SAT Reading

Score 800 on SAT Writing

Series: How to Get to 600 on Each SAT Section:

Score 600 on SAT Math

Score 600 on SAT Reading

Score 600 on SAT Writing

Free Complete Official SAT Practice Tests

What SAT Target Score Should You Be Aiming For?

15 Strategies to Improve Your SAT Essay

The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 4+ ACT Points

How to Get a Perfect 36 ACT, by a Perfect Scorer

Series: How to Get 36 on Each ACT Section:

36 on ACT English

36 on ACT Math

36 on ACT Reading

36 on ACT Science

Series: How to Get to 24 on Each ACT Section:

24 on ACT English

24 on ACT Math

24 on ACT Reading

24 on ACT Science

What ACT target score should you be aiming for?

ACT Vocabulary You Must Know

ACT Writing: 15 Tips to Raise Your Essay Score

How to Get Into Harvard and the Ivy League

How to Get a Perfect 4.0 GPA

How to Write an Amazing College Essay

What Exactly Are Colleges Looking For?

Is the ACT easier than the SAT? A Comprehensive Guide

Should you retake your SAT or ACT?

When should you take the SAT or ACT?

Stay Informed

Follow us on Facebook (icon)

Get the latest articles and test prep tips!

Looking for Graduate School Test Prep?

Check out our top-rated graduate blogs here:

GRE Online Prep Blog

GMAT Online Prep Blog

TOEFL Online Prep Blog

Holly R. "I am absolutely overjoyed and cannot thank you enough for helping me!”

Calculate for all schools

Your chance of acceptance, your chancing factors, extracurriculars, what's the proper format for a college essay.

Hi all, I'm beginning to work on my college essays, and I'm wondering what the correct format or layout should be. Is there a specific guideline? Any dos or don'ts I should be aware of before starting? Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

Hello! Formatting your college essay can vary slightly depending on the application platform (Common App, Coalition, individual college application), but in general, there are some standard guidelines you can follow.

1. Font and size: It's best to use a legible, professional font like Times New Roman or Arial in size 11 or 12.

2. Line spacing: Use double spacing for your entire essay.

3. Margins: Set the margins to 1 inch on all sides.

4. Alignment: Align the text to the left. Avoid center or right alignment.

5. Indentation: Indent the first line of each paragraph. Typically, you can use the tab key or set a 0.5-inch indentation.

6. Header: Since some colleges might print out your essay, include a header with your name, the title of your essay (if you have one), and the page number on the top right corner of each page.

7. Word count: Be sure to adhere to the specific word count limit set by the application platform or college. For the Common App, the personal statement has a limit of 650 words. Individual colleges may have their own essay prompts with varying word count limits.

8. Proofread: Check for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and clarity. It's always helpful to have someone else review your essay as well.

Here are some content dos and don'ts to keep in mind:

1. Do start with a strong hook: An engaging opening line or paragraph can captivate your reader and set the tone for the rest of your essay.

2. Do stay focused: Address the essay prompt directly. Share details that reveal your unique personality, skills, and perspectives, but avoid going off on tangents.

3. Don't use clichés: Steer clear of clichéd topics, and aim to provide a fresh take on the chosen theme by using your unique experiences and insights. This is your chance to showcase your individuality.

4. Avoid overly formal language: Write the way you speak, but ensure your essay is clear and coherent. Colleges want to hear your genuine voice.

Lastly, remember that your college essay is an opportunity to share your personality, values, and experiences with the admissions committee in a way that isn't readily apparent from the rest of your application. Take your time and write a thoughtful and engaging essay, as it can play a significant role in your admissions decision.

Best of luck!

About CollegeVine’s Expert FAQ

CollegeVine’s Q&A seeks to offer informed perspectives on commonly asked admissions questions. Every answer is refined and validated by our team of admissions experts to ensure it resonates with trusted knowledge in the field.

Popular Posts

  • Contact Amy ==>

HOW TO – Format papers in standard academic format (using Microsoft Word)

This guide explains how to format your documents in Microsoft Word so that they follow the standard rules for formatting academic papers as described in most MLA and APA style books for undergraduate writing. These rules apply to most of the papers you will submit in your college classes, but in some cases your professors will want you to follow specific guidelines that may differ from those below. Always clarify with your professor which set of guidelines he or she wants you to follow before you submit a paper.

Using standard formatting for academic papers shows that you understand the customs of the university community and therefore helps to boost your own credibility. Using unusual or highly distinctive formatting, on the other hand, suggests that your previous schooling did not adequately prepare you for university work. Consider the impact of unusual formatting: not only does it call attention to your paper in a way that might not be positive, professors might also see it as a sign that you’re trying to artificially inflate page length.

Note: These instructions apply to all versions of Word for Mac and for the 2003 version of Word for Windows. I haven’t yet updated them to include instructions for the 2007 version of Word for Windows, but the tools should nevertheless be easy to find if you look around on the toolbar at the top.

  • 2 DOCUMENT MARGINS
  • 3 INDENTATION
  • 5 ALIGNMENT
  • 6.1 Heading
  • 6.3 Sample First Page
  • 7 PAGE NUMBERS
  • 8.1 Document Spacing
  • 8.2 Paragraph Spacing
  • 9 CREATE NEW PAGE
  • 10 BLOCKED QUOTATIONS
  • 11 RESOURCES

DOCUMENT MARGINS

Rule : Papers submitted for review or grading should have 1” margins all around. This should be the default for Word, but if your default setting is to have left and right margins of 1.25”, change your default. Page length requirements are based on 1” margins.

Instructions : Go to the Format menu, drag down to Document, change the margins, and the click on the Default button and accept the change to the Normal template. Make sure you leave the gutter set to 0” or you’ll mess up your document formatting.

INDENTATION

Rule : The first line of each paragraph should be automatically indented.

Instructions : This should be the default for Word, but if not, you might want to change your Normal style, as described above. To change the indentation format for a document, choose Select All from the Edit menu. Then go to the Format menu, drag down to Paragraph, look under the “Special” drop-down menu in the Indentation section, and select “First Line.” This setting automatically indents the first line of a new paragraph so that you don’t have to do it manually.

Rule : College papers should be in a standard academic font: either Times New Roman or Cambria, in 12pt size. (If you submit a paper in another font, I will change it on the file I download.)

Instructions : Times New Roman or Cambria 12pt should be the default for Word, but if yours is different then change your default. Go to the Format menu, drag down to Style, make sure “Normal” is selected from the list of styles, and click “modify.” Choose the correct font and size from the Formatting menu. Click “OK” to make the change to your default settings.

Rule : The text of your paper should be left aligned, NOT justified, as justified text is hard to read if it hasn’t been professionally typeset. The default in Word is left alignment, so don’t change it.

FIRST PAGE FORMAT

Rule : In the upper left corner of the first page of your document, type your name, the date, the course number and section (or topic), and the version of the paper (such as Paper 1 Second Draft), each on a separate line. Be sure to change the date and paper version when you submit revisions and final versions. See the sample below.

DO NOT use the “headers” feature from the header/footer menu to create this full heading as that will make it appear on every page, which is not customary in academic writing. Also do NOT use a title page unless the assignment specifically asks for one.

Rule : Skip a line after the heading and center an original title that conveys the topic of your paper. Do not use underlining or italics in the heading (unless you’re referring to the title of a book or periodical). Do not use bold text or ALL CAPS.

Sample First Page

Page numbers.

Rule : All papers should have automatically inserted page numbers that show in the upper right corner on all pages except the first. Do not insert these page numbers by hand. Instead, use Word’s Header/Footer tool.

For documents following MLA format, put your last name and page number in the upper right corner. For documents following APA format, put a short version of your title (instead of your last name) and the page number in the upper right corner.

Instructions : Go to the View menu and choose “Header and Footer.” You’ll see a header box appear at the top and a footer box at the bottom. Click in the header box, type your last name (or title), make it align to the right, and then select Page Numbers from the Insert menu.

When you’re finished, click on the “Close” tab under the Header view. Each page of your document should now display a page number at the upper right that updates automatically when you make changes to the document. It will appear as grayed out text unless you active the Header and Footer tool to make changes.

To change the setting so that page numbers do not display on the first page, go to the Format men, drag down to Document, and click on the Layout button. Then check the box next to “Different First Page.” Click OK. If necessary, remove the header that appears on the first page and insert a header on the second page, which will automatically appear on all subsequent pages as well.

Document Spacing

Rule : The entire paper should be double-spaced, including the heading and bibliography.

Instructions : Choose “Select All” from the Edit menu, go to the Format menu and drag down to Paragraph, and choose “double” from the “line spacing” menu in the Spacing section. Or you can use these keyboard shortcuts. On a Mac, use Cmd-A to select all and Cmd-2 to double-space. On a PC, use Ctrl-A to select all and Ctrl-2 to double space.

Paragraph Spacing

Rule : Papers should have no extra spacing after paragraphs. This should be the default for Word, but if your default setting is to have 10pt spacing after paragraphs, change your default.

Instructions : Go to the Format menu, drag down to Style, make sure “Normal” is selected from the list of styles, and click “modify.” In the lower left corner, select the dropdown menu that starts with “Format” and drag down to Paragraph. In the paragraph settings menu that pops up, change the settings for Spacing After to 0pt.

CREATE NEW PAGE

Instead of using a lot of returns before starting your bibliography, create a new page for it following these instructions.

Go to the Insert menu, drag down to Break, and then drag over to Page Break.

BLOCKED QUOTATIONS

Rule : If a quotation will exceed four lines within a paragraph, you should separate it out by blocking and indenting it. As with any quotation, a blocked quotation should be clearly introduced by the sentence that leads up to it and it should also be properly cited, but the rules for blocked quotations are somewhat different. The blocking take the place of quotation marks, and unlike in a regular in-paragraph quotation, the parenthetical citation goes outside of the final period instead of inside of it (given that the blocked quote might contain several sentences.)

Instructions : Type the quotation in its own paragraph, without quotation marks, and remove the indent from the first line. Type the source in parentheses after the last period of the last sentence. With your cursor, select the quotation, from the first word to the end of the parenthetical citation, and click the Increase Indent button from the Paragraph Formatting menu.

  • MLA Formatting Guidelines for College Papers
  • APA Formatting Guidelines for College Papers
  • Search for:

WHAT IS THIS SITE? See the About tab in the top menu.

UNDER PERPETUAL REVISION : All materials on this site are subject to ongoing revision and improvement!

© 2017 - Amy Goodloe - All Rights Reserved

HELP & HOW-TO

  • HOW TO: Capture & Edit Video (18)
  • HOW TO: Find & Edit Images (13)
  • HOW TO: Make Screen Recordings (7)
  • HOW TO: Record & Edit Audio (16)
  • HOW TO: Use Google Drive (19)
  • HOW TO: Use iMovie (13)
  • HOW TO: Use Social Media Tools for Class (3)
  • HOW TO: Use the Class Blog (Wordpress) (35)
  • HOW TO: Use Your WordPress.com Blog (12)
  • INSPIRATIONS & FYI'S (21)
  • NIFTY APPS & TOOLS (7)
  • PLANNING & DRAFTING New Media Projects (23)
  • RESOURCES: About New Media Writing (7)
  • RESOURCES: Animations & Comics (9)
  • RESOURCES: Apps for Creating New Media Projects (22)
  • RESOURCES: Digital Storytelling (17)
  • RESOURCES: Presentations & Information Design (6)
  • RESOURCES: Storytelling Prompts (14)
  • RESOURCES: Writing for the Web (4)
  • TECH TIPS (28)

STUDENT SAMPLES

  • SAMPLES – Academic Analyses (9)
  • SAMPLES – Audio Narratives & Essays (16)
  • SAMPLES – CDS-Style Digital Storytelling (30)
  • SAMPLES – Educational Presentations & Web Sites (9)
  • SAMPLES – Educational Visuals (14)
  • SAMPLES – Graphic Storytelling (16)
  • SAMPLES – Mini-Documentary (15)
  • SAMPLES – Multimedia Commentary (8)
  • SAMPLES – Pop Culture Artifact Analyses (13)
  • SAMPLES – Turning Points & Epiphanies (7)
  • SAMPLES – WRTG 3020: Rhetoric of G&S (96)
  • SAMPLES – WRTG 3090: New Media Storytelling (33)
  • HOW TO – Format papers in standard academic format (using Microsoft Word) 118,204 views
  • HOW TO – Put your file into a shared folder on Google Drive 85,097 views
  • HOW TO – Make Preview the Default PDF Reader on a Mac 52,498 views
  • HOW TO – Create a Hyperlink (Turn a Word into a Link) 42,916 views
  • HOW TO – Export an mp3 out of GarageBand 29,446 views
  • HOW TO – Add a shortcut to a shared folder to My Drive (for easy access) 22,365 views
  • Creative non-fiction writing exercises 19,160 views
  • TROUBLESHOOTING – Audio problems when recording with QuickTime X 12,247 views
  • TIPS – Camera Angles and Shooting Tips for Digital Storytelling 9,993 views
  • HOW TO – Save a Google Docs document 9,927 views

web analytics

Logo for M Libraries Publishing

Want to create or adapt books like this? Learn more about how Pressbooks supports open publishing practices.

13.1 Formatting a Research Paper

Learning objectives.

  • Identify the major components of a research paper written using American Psychological Association (APA) style.
  • Apply general APA style and formatting conventions in a research paper.

In this chapter, you will learn how to use APA style , the documentation and formatting style followed by the American Psychological Association, as well as MLA style , from the Modern Language Association. There are a few major formatting styles used in academic texts, including AMA, Chicago, and Turabian:

  • AMA (American Medical Association) for medicine, health, and biological sciences
  • APA (American Psychological Association) for education, psychology, and the social sciences
  • Chicago—a common style used in everyday publications like magazines, newspapers, and books
  • MLA (Modern Language Association) for English, literature, arts, and humanities
  • Turabian—another common style designed for its universal application across all subjects and disciplines

While all the formatting and citation styles have their own use and applications, in this chapter we focus our attention on the two styles you are most likely to use in your academic studies: APA and MLA.

If you find that the rules of proper source documentation are difficult to keep straight, you are not alone. Writing a good research paper is, in and of itself, a major intellectual challenge. Having to follow detailed citation and formatting guidelines as well may seem like just one more task to add to an already-too-long list of requirements.

Following these guidelines, however, serves several important purposes. First, it signals to your readers that your paper should be taken seriously as a student’s contribution to a given academic or professional field; it is the literary equivalent of wearing a tailored suit to a job interview. Second, it shows that you respect other people’s work enough to give them proper credit for it. Finally, it helps your reader find additional materials if he or she wishes to learn more about your topic.

Furthermore, producing a letter-perfect APA-style paper need not be burdensome. Yes, it requires careful attention to detail. However, you can simplify the process if you keep these broad guidelines in mind:

  • Work ahead whenever you can. Chapter 11 “Writing from Research: What Will I Learn?” includes tips for keeping track of your sources early in the research process, which will save time later on.
  • Get it right the first time. Apply APA guidelines as you write, so you will not have much to correct during the editing stage. Again, putting in a little extra time early on can save time later.
  • Use the resources available to you. In addition to the guidelines provided in this chapter, you may wish to consult the APA website at http://www.apa.org or the Purdue University Online Writing lab at http://owl.english.purdue.edu , which regularly updates its online style guidelines.

General Formatting Guidelines

This chapter provides detailed guidelines for using the citation and formatting conventions developed by the American Psychological Association, or APA. Writers in disciplines as diverse as astrophysics, biology, psychology, and education follow APA style. The major components of a paper written in APA style are listed in the following box.

These are the major components of an APA-style paper:

Body, which includes the following:

  • Headings and, if necessary, subheadings to organize the content
  • In-text citations of research sources
  • References page

All these components must be saved in one document, not as separate documents.

The title page of your paper includes the following information:

  • Title of the paper
  • Author’s name
  • Name of the institution with which the author is affiliated
  • Header at the top of the page with the paper title (in capital letters) and the page number (If the title is lengthy, you may use a shortened form of it in the header.)

List the first three elements in the order given in the previous list, centered about one third of the way down from the top of the page. Use the headers and footers tool of your word-processing program to add the header, with the title text at the left and the page number in the upper-right corner. Your title page should look like the following example.

Beyond the Hype: Evaluating Low-Carb Diets cover page

The next page of your paper provides an abstract , or brief summary of your findings. An abstract does not need to be provided in every paper, but an abstract should be used in papers that include a hypothesis. A good abstract is concise—about one hundred fifty to two hundred fifty words—and is written in an objective, impersonal style. Your writing voice will not be as apparent here as in the body of your paper. When writing the abstract, take a just-the-facts approach, and summarize your research question and your findings in a few sentences.

In Chapter 12 “Writing a Research Paper” , you read a paper written by a student named Jorge, who researched the effectiveness of low-carbohydrate diets. Read Jorge’s abstract. Note how it sums up the major ideas in his paper without going into excessive detail.

Beyond the Hype: Abstract

Write an abstract summarizing your paper. Briefly introduce the topic, state your findings, and sum up what conclusions you can draw from your research. Use the word count feature of your word-processing program to make sure your abstract does not exceed one hundred fifty words.

Depending on your field of study, you may sometimes write research papers that present extensive primary research, such as your own experiment or survey. In your abstract, summarize your research question and your findings, and briefly indicate how your study relates to prior research in the field.

Margins, Pagination, and Headings

APA style requirements also address specific formatting concerns, such as margins, pagination, and heading styles, within the body of the paper. Review the following APA guidelines.

Use these general guidelines to format the paper:

  • Set the top, bottom, and side margins of your paper at 1 inch.
  • Use double-spaced text throughout your paper.
  • Use a standard font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, in a legible size (10- to 12-point).
  • Use continuous pagination throughout the paper, including the title page and the references section. Page numbers appear flush right within your header.
  • Section headings and subsection headings within the body of your paper use different types of formatting depending on the level of information you are presenting. Additional details from Jorge’s paper are provided.

Cover Page

Begin formatting the final draft of your paper according to APA guidelines. You may work with an existing document or set up a new document if you choose. Include the following:

  • Your title page
  • The abstract you created in Note 13.8 “Exercise 1”
  • Correct headers and page numbers for your title page and abstract

APA style uses section headings to organize information, making it easy for the reader to follow the writer’s train of thought and to know immediately what major topics are covered. Depending on the length and complexity of the paper, its major sections may also be divided into subsections, sub-subsections, and so on. These smaller sections, in turn, use different heading styles to indicate different levels of information. In essence, you are using headings to create a hierarchy of information.

The following heading styles used in APA formatting are listed in order of greatest to least importance:

  • Section headings use centered, boldface type. Headings use title case, with important words in the heading capitalized.
  • Subsection headings use left-aligned, boldface type. Headings use title case.
  • The third level uses left-aligned, indented, boldface type. Headings use a capital letter only for the first word, and they end in a period.
  • The fourth level follows the same style used for the previous level, but the headings are boldfaced and italicized.
  • The fifth level follows the same style used for the previous level, but the headings are italicized and not boldfaced.

Visually, the hierarchy of information is organized as indicated in Table 13.1 “Section Headings” .

Table 13.1 Section Headings

A college research paper may not use all the heading levels shown in Table 13.1 “Section Headings” , but you are likely to encounter them in academic journal articles that use APA style. For a brief paper, you may find that level 1 headings suffice. Longer or more complex papers may need level 2 headings or other lower-level headings to organize information clearly. Use your outline to craft your major section headings and determine whether any subtopics are substantial enough to require additional levels of headings.

Working with the document you developed in Note 13.11 “Exercise 2” , begin setting up the heading structure of the final draft of your research paper according to APA guidelines. Include your title and at least two to three major section headings, and follow the formatting guidelines provided above. If your major sections should be broken into subsections, add those headings as well. Use your outline to help you.

Because Jorge used only level 1 headings, his Exercise 3 would look like the following:

Citation Guidelines

In-text citations.

Throughout the body of your paper, include a citation whenever you quote or paraphrase material from your research sources. As you learned in Chapter 11 “Writing from Research: What Will I Learn?” , the purpose of citations is twofold: to give credit to others for their ideas and to allow your reader to follow up and learn more about the topic if desired. Your in-text citations provide basic information about your source; each source you cite will have a longer entry in the references section that provides more detailed information.

In-text citations must provide the name of the author or authors and the year the source was published. (When a given source does not list an individual author, you may provide the source title or the name of the organization that published the material instead.) When directly quoting a source, it is also required that you include the page number where the quote appears in your citation.

This information may be included within the sentence or in a parenthetical reference at the end of the sentence, as in these examples.

Epstein (2010) points out that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (p. 137).

Here, the writer names the source author when introducing the quote and provides the publication date in parentheses after the author’s name. The page number appears in parentheses after the closing quotation marks and before the period that ends the sentence.

Addiction researchers caution that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (Epstein, 2010, p. 137).

Here, the writer provides a parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence that includes the author’s name, the year of publication, and the page number separated by commas. Again, the parenthetical citation is placed after the closing quotation marks and before the period at the end of the sentence.

As noted in the book Junk Food, Junk Science (Epstein, 2010, p. 137), “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive.”

Here, the writer chose to mention the source title in the sentence (an optional piece of information to include) and followed the title with a parenthetical citation. Note that the parenthetical citation is placed before the comma that signals the end of the introductory phrase.

David Epstein’s book Junk Food, Junk Science (2010) pointed out that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (p. 137).

Another variation is to introduce the author and the source title in your sentence and include the publication date and page number in parentheses within the sentence or at the end of the sentence. As long as you have included the essential information, you can choose the option that works best for that particular sentence and source.

Citing a book with a single author is usually a straightforward task. Of course, your research may require that you cite many other types of sources, such as books or articles with more than one author or sources with no individual author listed. You may also need to cite sources available in both print and online and nonprint sources, such as websites and personal interviews. Chapter 13 “APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting” , Section 13.2 “Citing and Referencing Techniques” and Section 13.3 “Creating a References Section” provide extensive guidelines for citing a variety of source types.

Writing at Work

APA is just one of several different styles with its own guidelines for documentation, formatting, and language usage. Depending on your field of interest, you may be exposed to additional styles, such as the following:

  • MLA style. Determined by the Modern Languages Association and used for papers in literature, languages, and other disciplines in the humanities.
  • Chicago style. Outlined in the Chicago Manual of Style and sometimes used for papers in the humanities and the sciences; many professional organizations use this style for publications as well.
  • Associated Press (AP) style. Used by professional journalists.

References List

The brief citations included in the body of your paper correspond to the more detailed citations provided at the end of the paper in the references section. In-text citations provide basic information—the author’s name, the publication date, and the page number if necessary—while the references section provides more extensive bibliographical information. Again, this information allows your reader to follow up on the sources you cited and do additional reading about the topic if desired.

The specific format of entries in the list of references varies slightly for different source types, but the entries generally include the following information:

  • The name(s) of the author(s) or institution that wrote the source
  • The year of publication and, where applicable, the exact date of publication
  • The full title of the source
  • For books, the city of publication
  • For articles or essays, the name of the periodical or book in which the article or essay appears
  • For magazine and journal articles, the volume number, issue number, and pages where the article appears
  • For sources on the web, the URL where the source is located

The references page is double spaced and lists entries in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. If an entry continues for more than one line, the second line and each subsequent line are indented five spaces. Review the following example. ( Chapter 13 “APA and MLA Documentation and Formatting” , Section 13.3 “Creating a References Section” provides extensive guidelines for formatting reference entries for different types of sources.)

References Section

In APA style, book and article titles are formatted in sentence case, not title case. Sentence case means that only the first word is capitalized, along with any proper nouns.

Key Takeaways

  • Following proper citation and formatting guidelines helps writers ensure that their work will be taken seriously, give proper credit to other authors for their work, and provide valuable information to readers.
  • Working ahead and taking care to cite sources correctly the first time are ways writers can save time during the editing stage of writing a research paper.
  • APA papers usually include an abstract that concisely summarizes the paper.
  • APA papers use a specific headings structure to provide a clear hierarchy of information.
  • In APA papers, in-text citations usually include the name(s) of the author(s) and the year of publication.
  • In-text citations correspond to entries in the references section, which provide detailed bibliographical information about a source.

Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

normal font size for essay

Learn the Standard Essay Format: MLA, APA, Chicago Styles

normal font size for essay

Being able to write an essay is a vital part of any student's education. However, it's not just about linearly listing ideas. A lot of institutions will require a certain format that your paper must follow; prime examples would be one of a basic essay format like MLA, the APA, and the Chicago formats. This article will explain the differences between the MLA format, the APA format, and the Chicago format. The application of these could range from high school to college essays, and they stand as the standard of college essay formatting. EssayPro — dissertation services , that will help to make a difference!

What is an Essay Format: Structure

Be it an academic, informative or a specific extended essay - structure is essential. For example, the IB extended essay has very strict requirements that are followed by an assigned academic style of writing (primarily MLA, APA, or Chicago):

This outline format for an extended essay is a great example to follow when writing a research essay, and sustaining a proper research essay format - especially if it is based on the MLA guidelines. It is vital to remember that the student must keep track of their resources to apply them to each step outlined above easily. And check out some tips on how to write an essay introduction .

Lost in the Labyrinth of Essay Formatting?

Navigate the complexities of essay structures with ease. Let our experts guide your paper to the format it deserves!

How to Format an Essay (MLA)

mla format

To write an essay in MLA format, one must follow a basic set of guidelines and instructions. This is a step by step from our business essay writing service.

Essay in MLA Format Example

Mla vs. apa.

Before we move on to the APA essay format, it is important to distinguish the two types of formatting. Let’s go through the similarities first:

  • The formatting styles are similar: spacing, citation, indentation.
  • All of the information that is used within the essay must be present within the works cited page (in APA, that’s called a reference page)
  • Both use the parenthetical citations within the body of the paper, usually to show a certain quote or calculation.
  • Citations are listed alphabetically on the works cited / reference page.

What you need to know about the differences is not extensive, thankfully:

  • MLA style is mostly used in humanities, while APA style is focused more on social sciences. The list of sources has a different name (works cited - MLA / references - APA)
  • Works cited differ on the way they display the name of the original content (MLA -> Yorke, Thom / APA -> Yorke T.)
  • When using an in-text citation, and the author’s name is listed within the sentence, place the page number found at the end: “Yorke believes that Creep was Radiohead’s worst song. (4).” APA, on the other hand, requires that a year is to be inserted: “According to Yorke (2013), Creep was a mess.”

Alright, let’s carry over to the APA style specifics.

Order an Essay Now & and We Will Cite and Format It For Free :

How to format an essay (apa).

The APA scheme is one of the most common college essay formats, so being familiar with its requirements is crucial. In a basic APA format structure, we can apply a similar list of guidelines as we did in the MLA section:

If you ask yourself how to format an essay, you can always turn to us and request to write or rewrite essay in APA format if you find it difficult or don't have time.

Note that some teachers and professors may request deviations from some of the characteristics that the APA format originally requires, such as those listed above.

apa format

If you think: 'I want someone write a research paper for me ', you can do it at Essaypro.

Essay in APA Format Example

Apa format chronobiology, chicago style.

The usage of Chicago style is prevalent in academic writing that focuses on the source of origin. This means that precise citations and footnotes are key to a successful paper.

Chicago Style Essay Format

The same bullet point structure can be applied to the Chicago essay format.

chicago style

Tips for Writing an Academic Paper

There isn’t one proper way of writing a paper, but there are solid guidelines to sustain a consistent workflow. Be it a college application essay, a research paper, informative essay, etc. There is a standard essay format that you should follow. For easier access, the following outline will be divided into steps:

Choose a Good Topic

A lot of students struggle with picking a good topic for their essays. The topic you choose should be specific enough so you can explore it in its entirety and hit your word limit if that’s a variable you worry about. With a good topic that should not be a problem. On the other hand, it should not be so broad that some resources would outweigh the information you could squeeze into one paper. Don’t be too specific, or you will find that there is a shortage of information, but don’t be too broad or you will feel overwhelmed. Don’t hesitate to ask your instructor for help with your essay writing.

Start Research as Soon as Possible

Before you even begin writing, make sure that you are acquainted with the information that you are working with. Find compelling arguments and counterpoints, trivia, facts, etc. The sky is the limit when it comes to gathering information.

Pick out Specific, Compelling Resources

When you feel acquainted with the subject, you should be able to have a basic conversation on the matter. Pick out resources that have been bookmarked, saved or are very informative and start extracting information. You will need all you can get to put into the citations at the end of your paper. Stash books, websites, articles and have them ready to cite. See if you can subtract or expand your scope of research.

Create an Outline

Always have a plan. This might be the most important phase of the process. If you have a strong essay outline and you have a particular goal in mind, it’ll be easy to refer to it when you might get stuck somewhere in the middle of the paper. And since you have direct links from the research you’ve done beforehand, the progress is guaranteed to be swift. Having a list of keywords, if applicable, will surely boost the informational scope. With keywords specific to the subject matter of each section, it should be much easier to identify its direction and possible informational criteria.

Write a Draft

Before you jot anything down into the body of your essay, make sure that the outline has enough information to back up whatever statement you choose to explore. Do not be afraid of letting creativity into your paper (within reason, of course) and explore the possibilities. Start with a standard 5 paragraph structure, and the content will come with time.

Ask for a Peer Review of Your Academic Paper

Before you know it, the draft is done, and it’s ready to be sent out for peer review. Ask a classmate, a relative or even a specialist if they are willing to contribute. Get as much feedback as you possibly can and work on it.

Final Draft

Before handing in the final draft, go over it at least one more time, focusing on smaller mistakes like grammar and punctuation. Make sure that what you wrote follows proper essay structure. Learn more about argumentative essay structure on our blog. If you need a second pair of eyes, get help from our service.

Want Your Essay to Stand Out in Structure and Style?

Don't let poor formatting overshadow your ideas. Find your essay on sale and ensure your paper gets the professional polish it deserves!

What Is Essay Format?

How to format a college essay, how to write an essay in mla format.

Adam Jason

is an expert in nursing and healthcare, with a strong background in history, law, and literature. Holding advanced degrees in nursing and public health, his analytical approach and comprehensive knowledge help students navigate complex topics. On EssayPro blog, Adam provides insightful articles on everything from historical analysis to the intricacies of healthcare policies. In his downtime, he enjoys historical documentaries and volunteering at local clinics.

normal font size for essay

Related Articles

bluebook

FontSaga

How To Choose Standard Font Size For Essays

Writing an essay is never an easy task. Creating a well-written and well-formatted piece requires a lot of effort and consideration. One of the most essential elements of an essay is the font size.

The right font size can greatly impact the readability of your essay and make it easier for your audience. Choosing the right font size is crucial, and deciding which size is the best fit for your essay is quite challenging.

While there are no strict rules when selecting the font size for your essay, there are some guidelines you should consider before making your decision. We will guide you on choosing the standard font size for essays. We will give you some steps to help you choose this essay font.

Standard Font Size For Essays

Table of Contents

Tips For Choose Standard Font Size For Essays

Standard font size for essays is an important consideration when it comes to written communication. This refers to the size of the letters that make up the words in a document or piece of writing. The standard font -size typically ranges between 10 and 12 points, with 11 points being the most commonly used size. This size provides a good balance between readability and space efficiency.

Choosing the right font size is important because it affects how easily readers consume the content. If the font size is too small, it can strain the eyes and make the text difficult to read. On the other hand, if the font size is too large, it can take up too much space and make the document appear unprofessional. Here are 6 steps to help you choose this font.

Step01.Use A Standard Font

When writing essays, it’s important to use a standard font to ensure that your work is easy to read and professional-looking. Choosing the right font size is also important, as it can affect both the readability and the length of your essay.

Most academic institutions require students to use a standard font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, in size 12. These fonts have been widely accept as they are easy to read and are generally serif fonts, which means that they have few lines or flourishes.

Step02.Consider The Default Size

When writing essays, choosing the right font and font size is crucial. Many students often consider the default font size of 12 and stick to it without giving it much thought. However, it’s important to remember that font size can significantly impact the readability and overall appearance of your essay. Choosing the right font size is key to ensuring that your essay looks professional and is easy to read.

Step03.Adjust Based On Guidelines

When writing essays, it is important to follow specific guidelines to ensure that your work meets the expected standards. One of the guidelines that must follow is selecting the appropriate font size.

Choosing the right font size is crucial because it affects your essay’s readability and overall appearance. The standard font- size for academic essays is 12, which is easily readable and accepted by most educational institutions.

However, some guidelines may require a different font size, so it is essential to adjust your font size based on the instructions provided. You can easily adjust your font size by accessing the font menu in your word processor software. When selecting the font size, it is important to consider the readability of your essay, as well as the formatting requirements.

Step04.Optimize Readability

Optimize Readability

When writing essays, one crucial aspect that should not be overlooked is the readability of your work. Choosing a font size that will make your essay easy to read and comprehend is crucial. There are several factors to consider when selecting the right font size. Firstly, the font size should be standard, so it should not be too small or too big.

The standard font -size for essays is between 10 and 12 points. The font size should be large enough to be easily readable but not so large that it looks unprofessional. It’s also essential to consider the font style, as some fonts are more readable than others.

Step05.Consider The Font Style

When writing essays, choosing the right font style and size can greatly impact the readability and overall presentation of the document. It’s important to consider the font style that will best suit the purpose of your essay. For academic essays, it’s recommended to stick to standard fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri, as they are easily readable and professional-looking.

However, if you’re writing a creative essay or one that requires a specific tone, you may want to consider using a unique font style that reflects your writing style or enhances the overall theme of your essay.

Step06.Print A Sample Page

When writing essays, one of the most important things to consider is the font size. The standard font- size for academic writing is 12-point, the default font size in most word processing programs. Some instructors may have different preferences, so checking the assignment guidelines is always a good idea. You can print a sample page and check the font size to ensure your essay is formatted correctly.

Choosing the right font size for your essay is crucial for ensuring that your work is legible, professional, and easy to read. By considering the intended audience, your essay’s purpose, and your instructor’s or publisher’s formatting requirements, you can select a font size that is appropriate and effective.

Remember to exercise sound judgment and review your work carefully before submission to ensure that your essay is polished and ready to impress. With these tips in mind, you can confidently tackle any writing assignment with a clear understanding of selecting the right font size for your needs. If you read the above outline correctly, we hope you now understand How to choose standard font size for essays.

Can I Adjust The Font Size If The Default Size Doesn’t Suit Me?

You can make minor adjustments if the default font size feels too small or too large for your comfort. However, avoid extreme changes, as excessively small or large font sizes can make your essay difficult to read. Aim for a font size within the range of 10 to 12 points.

Should I Consider The Font Style When Selecting The Font Size?

Yes, different fonts have different proportions and spacing, which can. Affect how they appear in a given font size. For example, a 12-point Arial font may look slightly larger than a 12-point Times New Roman font. Keep this in mind when selecting a font size to maintain consistency and readability.

Is It Acceptable To Deviate From The Default Font Size?

While the default font size is generally accepted, it’s important to adhere to any specific guidelines or instructions provided. If your instructor or institution requests a different font size, follow their requirements to ensure consistency across all submitted essays.

How Can I Assess The Readability Of My Chosen Font Size?

To assess the readability of your chosen font size, consider printing a sample page and reviewing it. This will give you a better sense of how the text appears on paper and whether it is easily readable.

Is Font Size The Only Formatting Consideration For Essays?

No, font size is just one aspect of essay formatting. You should also pay attention to line spacing (often set at 1.5 or double spacing), margins (usually 1 inch on all sides), indentation (typically half an inch or 5 spaces for paragraphs), and any other specific formatting guidelines provided by your instructor or institution.

David Egee

David Egee, the visionary Founder of FontSaga, is renowned for his font expertise and mentorship in online communities. With over 12 years of formal font review experience and study of 400+ fonts, David blends reviews with educational content and scripting skills. Armed with a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design and a Master’s in Typography and Type Design from California State University, David’s journey from freelance lettering artist to font Specialist and then the FontSaga’s inception reflects his commitment to typography excellence.

In the context of font reviews, David specializes in creative typography for logo design and lettering. He aims to provide a diverse range of content and resources to cater to a broad audience. His passion for typography shines through in every aspect of FontSaga, inspiring creativity and fostering a deeper appreciation for the art of lettering and calligraphy.

Related posts:

  • Unlocking The Guideline For Standard Font Size For Letters When writing letters, font size may not be the first thing that comes to mind. The standard font size for letters is usually 12-point, which balances readability and a professional appearance. If space is limited, you can opt for slightly...
  • Best Font For Reports: An Informative Guide The font choice plays a crucial role in reports’ readability and overall effectiveness. Various factors must be considered when selecting the best font for reports, including readability, professionalism, and aesthetic appeal. The font can significantly impact how information is conveyed,...
  • Best Font For Social Security Card: A Easy Guide  A Social Security card is a crucial piece of identification for American citizens. It contains sensitive information used to verify your identity when applying for government benefits, filing taxes, and opening bank accounts. However, few people pay attention to the...
  • Best Font For Proposal: A Comprehensive Guide In the world of business, proposals are crucial. They are the documents that can make or break a deal and represent your company’s professionalism and expertise. Every aspect of a proposal needs to be perfect, including the font you choose....

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

normal font size for essay

ENG 1002 Writing Resources | R. Rambo Home Page

English Composition 2

The proper format for essays.

Below are guidelines for the formatting of essays based on recommendations from the MLA (the Modern Language Association).

  • Fonts : Your essay should be word processed in 12-point Times New Roman fonts.
  • Double space : Your entire essay should be double spaced, with no single spacing anywhere and no extra spacing anywhere. There should not be extra spaces between paragraphs.
  • Heading : In the upper left corner of the first page of your essay, you should type your name, the instructor's name, your class, and the date, as follows: Your Name Mr. Rambo ENG 1002-100 24 February 2017
  • Margins : According to the MLA, your essay should have a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, left, and right. However, for this course, just keep the default margins in Word.
  • Page Numbers : Your last name and the page number should appear in the upper right corner of each page of your essay, including the first page, as in Jones 3 . Insert your name and the page number as a "header." Do not type this information where the text of your essay should be.
  • Title : Your essay should include a title. The title should be centered and should appear under the heading information on the first page and above the first line of your essay. The title should be in the same fonts as the rest of your essay, with no quotation marks, no underlining, no italics, and no bold.
  • Indentation : The first line of each paragraph should be indented. According to the MLA, this indentation should be 1/2 inch or five spaces, but pressing [Tab] once should give you the correct indentation.

Putting all of the above together, you should have a first page that looks like the following:

Essay Format

Copyright Randy Rambo , 2019.

How Should I Format My University Essay ?

A person typing on a laptop with a pile of books, a pen, a mobile phone and eye-glasses next to him

Share this article

How should i format my university essay.

Students are often unsure of exactly how they should format their essays, assignments and reports for university if they haven’t been given specific or precise guidelines by their lecturers or tutors.

Luckily, there is a standard way to format essays for university that is generally accepted across Australian and New Zealand universities. This article will explain what you need to do to follow those most commonly accepted guidelines.

Your font should be Times New Roman or Arial. Don’t use anything fancy, and avoid Calibri and Cambria. Even though Word has set these as the default fonts, they are generally not the preferred font to use at university.

Your essay should be at least 1.5 line spaced, and often double spacing is preferred. This is to give your grader enough room to make corrections or write comments for you in the spaces in between, if they are grading on hard copy. If they are grading electronically, that spacing just makes the document easier to read on screen.

For an essay or assignment, in which you might only have one to three levels of headings, you might follow these guidelines:

Heading 1 (Centred, bold, size 14)

Heading 2 (left aligned, bold, size 12)

Heading 3 (left aligned, bold and italics, size 12)

Paragraphing

You can either use a first-line indent of 1.27 cm at the start of each paragraph or you can use a line space between each paragraph, but don’t use both.

Page Margins

Keep your margins set as the default used by Word, or at a minimum 2.54 cm all around. If your tutor or lecturer is grading on paper, they might appreciate a 4 cm left-hand margin so they have more room to write comments for you in the margins.

If you need any further assistance with essay editing, you can read more about our professional editing service . Capstone Editing is always here to help.

Capstone Editing

Recent articles.

  • New ways to pick our expert brains
  • 2023 Winner of the Capstone Editing Laptop Grant for Postgrad Coursework Students
  • Winner of the 2023 Early Career Academic Research Grant for Women
  • How to Use Conditional Sentences Correctly

Subscribe to our Blog

To receive informative articles and tailored advice for academics and students, as well as updates about our exciting grant and scholarship opportunities, please subscribe to our blog.

normal font size for essay

Times Newer Roman is a sneaky font designed to make your essays look longer

For when you need to hit that five-page minimum, but you’ve run out of things to say.

By Chaim Gartenberg

Share this story

normal font size for essay

As someone who is ostensibly a professional writer, I can say with some authority that sometimes, writing is hard. And when you’re staring at page three of an essay that your professor has insisted should be at least five pages, single-spaced, in size 12 Times New Roman font ... sometimes, you need a little help.

Any skiving student worth their salt knows the usual tricks to make an essay look longer: use larger punctuation marks and spaces, mess around with the margins, maybe even try to creep up to a larger font size. But now, there’s an easier solution: Times Newer Roman , a font from internet marketing firm MSCHF (which you may remember from the Tabagotchi Chrome extension ). Times Newer Roman looks a lot like the go-to academic font, but each character is subtly altered to be 5 to 10 percent wider, making your essays look longer without having to actually make them longer.

Please note: The Verge does not actually condone cheating on your essays

According to Times Newer Roman’s website, a 15-page, single-spaced document in 12 point type only requires 5,833 words, compared to 6,680 for the standard Times New Roman. (That’s 847 words you don’t need to write, which is more than twice the length of this post!)

normal font size for essay

To get around things like the fact that actual Times New Roman is a licensed font, Times Newer Roman is actually “an altered version of Nimbus Roman No.9 L (1), a free and open-source font meant to mimic the size and look of the original Times New Roman typeface.” All the changes that MSCHF has made simply make the Nimbus Roman No.9 L characters wider, leaving the vertical heights untouched. So, hopefully, it’s tougher to notice the difference.

Of course, it’s the digital age, so there are some downsides: Times Newer Roman will only work for assignments you have to submit by hand or in a PDF. If you’re sending in a Word document using a custom font that professors almost certainly don’t have installed won’t help. Similarly, Times Newer Roman is only useful for hitting larger page counts; if you have a strict word count limit, you’re out of luck.

Times Newer Roman is available now as a free download. (Please note that The Verge does not actually condone cheating on your essays.)

New Teslas might lose Steam

Reddit brings back its old award system — ‘we messed up’, the delta emulator is changing its logo after adobe threatened it, rei’s anniversary sale is slashing prices on some of the best garmin watches, twitter is officially x.com now.

Sponsor logo

More from TL;DR

Image of a Pilot refillable pen on a yellow background.

Why can’t I buy a refillable version of my favorite pen in the US?

Polestar badge

Car-tech breakup fever is heating up

2017 Chevy Volt

GM should just bring back the Chevy Volt

Food Shortages Pop Up On Supply-Chain Woe

Hey Gen Z, I promise you aren’t aging like milk

Formatting your work

General advice.

The format of your assignment (eg margin size, font size, word count, line spacing) will vary module by module. Please consult your module handbook (via Blackboard ) or ask your module tutor for advice.

Library staff have produced a sample essay in the UWE Harvard style (PDF)  you can refer to and guidance for using figures and tables (PDF) in your work.

Formatting Appendices

What is it.

An appendix includes additional information that provides useful background and context for your topic. This must be relevant and aid the reader in understanding your work. This could include your own research data or information from other sources. If you are using more than one appendix, you would refer to them as appendices.

What to include in your appendices

Supporting information for your work from other sources, for example data or diagrams. If you have conducted your own research, it is a good idea to include your raw data for example: interview transcripts, surveys, correspondence (emails, letters etc.), statistics. Additionally, consider putting images or graphs in an appendix, whether your own or from another source.

Where are they?

They are located at the end of your work after your reference list or bibliography.

What do they look like?

  • To make it clearer for your reader, consider breaking down long appendix into separate ones.
  • Keep information in a single appendix within a particular focus area, for instance interviews on a topic with participants.
  • Label each new appendix alphabetically, for example appendix A, appendix B.
  • Give each appendix a meaningful title.
  • Start each appendix on a new page.
  • Refer to individual tables or sources within the appendix as numbered items. This ensures you can easily refer to these individual sources within your body of work. Order the appendices as they are referred to within the main body of the text for the first time. If your work includes a contents page, add appendices to the table of contents.
  • Continue page numbers from the end of your main body of work.

How to refer to appendices in your work

All appendices should be mentioned in your work.  You could do this in the following ways: The data I gathered on this topic suggests there’s a correlation (see appendix A). Appendix B suggests … If your appendix contains more than one information source, refer to it in the following way: (see appendix A1) As shown in appendix B3 … If your appendix refers to your own research or data you do not need to provide a reference. However, if your appendix refers to the work of others, provide an-text citation in the appendix and add the full reference to your reference list. For instance, if you’ve created a table using someone else’s work, underneath the table it could look like this: (Table author’s own, data from Greig, 2021.)

Quoting other works in your assignment

You are expected to acknowledge the books, journal articles and other sources of information that you use when preparing and completing your university work. This is known as referencing .

You will often find you need to quote  from your sources of information. Use your own judgement to make sure that the layout and flow of your writing is logical, and that use of quotations is clear and easy to follow as well as being consistent throughout your assignment.

(The following guidance applies when referencing using the UWE Bristol Harvard  style only.)

Quoting one or two lines

Put quotation marks around the quote and include within a standard-format paragraph of your text. Include any italics and errors of spelling or punctuation found in the original. Example: As Pearson et al . state (2007, p.72), "The basis of evidence-based practice is, of course, evidence".

Quoting more than two lines

Indent the quotation in its own paragraph and leave out the quotation marks. Include any italics and errors of spelling or punctuation found in the original. Example: Pearson et al . (2007, p.74) summarise the issue as follows:

Critical appraisal is a difficult component of the systematic review process, and a good understanding of research design is required. The major aim of critical appraisal of any type of evidence is to establish the validity of the evidence for practice. Validity refers to the soundness of the evidence; in other words, it is about the degree to which we can accept the evidence as trustworthy and believable.

Editing a quote

You can make minor changes to a direct quotation as long as you don't change the meaning and indicate where you have made changes:

  • If you insert your own words, or different words, into a quotation, put them in square brackets [ ]
  • To draw attention to an error in a quotation (for example a spelling mistake) do not correct it, but write [sic] after the error
  • To emphasise something in a quotation, put the emphasised words in italics, and state that the emphasis is your own

"Mobile-learning (m-learning) is learning in which mobile technologies play a central role" (Davis, 2011, p.125, my italics)

Omitting text within a quote

If you wish to omit part of a quote, indicate the omission by inserting a space, three full-stops, and another space. Example: Pearson et al . (2007. p.74) conclude that "Critical appraisal is a difficult component of the systematic review process ... The major aim of critical appraisal of any type of evidence is to establish the validity of the evidence for practice."

Single or double quotation marks

When quoting from other works you can use single or double quotation marks. If your source of information is quoting direct speech, use the two types of quotation marks to differentiate them. Check with your module tutor if you need advice and be consistent with the use of single or double quotation marks throughout your piece of work.

  • In-text citations and quotations are included in your assignment's word count.
  • References, bibliographies and footnotes containing references are not included in the word count, unless it is clearly stated in the coursework instructions that the module is an exception to this rule.

Please consult the UWE Bristol Policies  for further advice (includes the Assessment Content Limit policy).

Library study skills support

There are a number of ways you can get support from the library, such as talking to us at helpdesks, using our online chat service, booking 1:1s or attending workshops.

Get feedback on your writing

Find out different ways to get feedback on your writing before you submit your work.

Get feedback

You may also be interested in

Students studying together in the Library

Academic information

Advice on academic-related issues and what to do if something happens which affects your studies.

Group of students working and talking together in Glenside Library lounge

College study support

College-specific online study support and one-to-one help tailored for your subject.

Student working on a desktop computer

Research skills

Online advice and tutorials to help you develop your research skills.

How to Select a Professional Letter Font and Font Size

  • Letters & Emails
  • Skills & Keywords
  • Salary & Benefits
  • Job Listings
  • Job Interviews
  • Cover Letters
  • Career Advice
  • Work-From-Home Jobs
  • Internships

The Best Font to Choose

What size font to use, tips on font style, how to select a font, proofread your letter carefully.

What's the best font to use for a business letter? When writing formal letters, of course, it's important to make sure the content of your letter is clear and easy to understand. However, you should also think carefully about the font and font size.

The font is the style of the text you use in your letter or email message. It's important to make sure the font you choose for your professional correspondence, both printed and emailed, is clear and easy to read. Otherwise, your reader might not take the time to read your letter.

This is particularly important when writing job application letters, such as cover letters . If an employer cannot easily read your letter because the font is too small or too difficult to read, they may not bother to look at your resume .

Your best bet is to keep your font and font size simple and professional . Make sure your message—not your font—stands out.

It's important to select a font that is easy to read. You should select a font that is large enough so that the reader doesn't have to squint to read your letter, but not so big that your letter doesn't fit well on a single page.

Using a simple font will ensure that your message is clear. Basic fonts like Arial, Cambria, Calibri, Verdana, Courier New, and Times New Roman work well. Avoid novelty fonts like Comic Sans, or fonts in script or handwriting style.

Once you have selected your font style, select a 10- or 12-point font size. The size will depend on how much content you have; it's best if you can format your letter so it fits on one page.

If your letter has a heading (such as a heading with your name and contact information), you might choose to make the heading font slightly larger (14 or 16). However, this is not necessary.

In addition, avoid writing in all capital letters when you format your letter. Letters and email messages in all caps make it seem as if you are yelling. Also avoid underlining, bolding, and italicizing; these can make text difficult to read.

You may need to try a few font styles and size variations so your letter fits on a single page with enough white space that it's not crowded.

Below are steps to take when writing a letter and selecting a font size and style:

  • Select a font from the list at the top of your document before you start writing your letter, or:
  • Type your letter.
  • Highlight the content of your letter.
  • Either select the font from the pop-up window or select the font from the list at the top of the document.
  • Select the font size you want to use the same way. Try some different fonts and font sizes until the letter fits onto one page. Again, make sure there is white space in your letter. Consider playing with the spacing and margins as well.
  • Proofread your letter.

After completing and proofreading your draft, print your letter (even if you are going to upload it online or email it) to make sure that it is formatted, properly spaced, and looks the way you want it to.

Include Plenty of White Space

Regardless of the font and font size you select, there should be white space at the top, bottom, and sides of your letter. You also want to leave some white space between each paragraph, after the body of the letter and before your closing, and between the closing and your signature. A squished letter without enough spacing is hard to read.

More Tips on Spacing Your Letter:

  • Keep your letter to one page or less, if possible. Email letters should be a few paragraphs long and be easy to scan.
  • Align your cover to the left.
  • For email letters, use your formatted email signature to close the message.

Try a variety of font types and sizes to see which one allows you to fit your letter on one page, while still leaving some white space.

You might also adjust the margins of the page to be slightly bigger or smaller to keep some white space while making the letter fit on one page. As a general rule, margins should be no wider than 1” and no narrower than .7”.

Be sure to thoroughly proofread your letter for grammar and spelling errors. Even if your font and font size are easy to read, errors will make you look unprofessional. If this is a cover letter, an error might even cost you a job offer. More proofreading tips:

  • Read your letter out loud . You’ll find any typos and might also spot opportunities to improve your word choice and sentence structure.
  • Check and double-check the spelling of all company and personal names.
  • Take a break before you review your final document . You may find errors with fresh eyes that you wouldn’t have found right after writing the letter.
  • Ask an eagle-eyed friend to review your letter before you send it.
  • For email letters, be sure to send yourself a test message before emailing the document to a hiring manager. You might uncover spacing oddities and formatting errors that you wouldn’t have seen without a test.

Once it's set, send the letter and cc: yourself so you have a copy for your records.

Adobe Kis Variable

Designed by robert slimbach . from adobe originals ., unlock the power of variable fonts.

Learn more about variable font technology and how variable fonts can optimize your projects

  • Similar to {{variation['original_font']['name']}}

Adobe Kis (pronounced “Kish”) is the latest revival of a classical book type to be offered by Adobe. Designer Robert Slimbach has sought to capture the vitality and nuance of the original types, while adapting them to the evolving demands of the digital medium.

Adobe Kis is a sturdy, versatile text typeface in the style of 17th-century Dutch types, although its creator Nicholas Kis was Hungarian. It is well suited for use in books: novels, history, popular science, essays, travel books, cookbooks, and reference books. It can function well in both reports and publication designs.

As a variable font, it is adaptable to the shifting requirements of changing page layouts with an optical size axis!

Adobe Originals

The Adobe Originals program started in 1989 as an in-house type foundry at Adobe, brought together to create original typefaces of exemplary design quality, technical fidelity, and aesthetic longevity.

Today the Type team’s mission is to make sophisticated and even experimental typefaces that explore the possibilities of design and technology. Typefaces released as Adobe Originals are the result of years of work and study, regarded as industry standards for the ambition and quality of their development.

Visit foundry page

As with everything from Adobe Fonts, you can use these fonts for:

Design projects, create images or vector artwork, including logos, website publishing, create a web project to add any font from our service to your website, embed fonts in pdfs for viewing and printing, video and broadcast, use fonts to create in-house or commercial video content, visit the adobe fonts licensing   faq for full details.

You may encounter slight variations in the name of this font, depending on where you use it. Here’s what to look for.

In application font menus, this font will display:

To use this font on your website, use the following CSS:

Glyph Support & Stylistic Filters

Fonts in the Adobe Fonts library include support for many different languages, OpenType features, and typographic styles.

Learn more about language support

Learn more about OpenType features

Language Support

IMAGES

  1. Stunning Essay Font Size ~ Thatsnotus

    normal font size for essay

  2. Font Size For Essay Writing

    normal font size for essay

  3. formatting an essay margins font

    normal font size for essay

  4. Essay Font Size

    normal font size for essay

  5. Stunning Essay Font Size ~ Thatsnotus

    normal font size for essay

  6. Essay Size

    normal font size for essay

VIDEO

  1. SpongeBob when I use me as distraction, so you had to do USA

  2. Font size increase and discrease in msword #computer @Computerworld824 #windows

  3. Break few my limits

  4. How to change text font size in google docs

  5. Open World Games Are Way Too Big

  6. [HowTo] Zoom in/out Easily using mouse on Firefox

COMMENTS

  1. How to Make an Essay Look Longer

    First, font or font size is a fairly easy way to make an essay longer. Some teachers demand that Times New Roman size 12 be used. However, when they forget to add that to the rules, you can change it to whatever you want (assuming there's no blanket statement about it on the syllabus). You want to choose a font that maximizes height.

  2. Font

    A variety of fonts are permitted in APA Style papers. Font options include the following: sans serif fonts such as 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, or 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode; serif fonts such as 12-point Times New Roman, 11-point Georgia, or normal (10-point) Computer Modern (the default font for LaTeX); We recommend these fonts because they are legible and widely available and because ...

  3. Essay Font Size

    The standard font size for an essay is typically 12 points, ensuring readers' readability. It's important to follow any formatting guidelines your instructor or institution provides. Adjustments to the font size may be needed if there are requirements for page limits or word counts.

  4. What is the standard/recommended font to use in papers?

    20. If there's no template, then the choice is yours. However, you should make sure to pick a font that's easy to read. The usual standards in academia tend to be the Times, Helvetica/Arial, and Computer Modern families. This doesn't restrict you from using fonts like Book Antiqua, Myriad Pro, Goudy Old Style, or Garamond, but they're ...

  5. Proper Essay Format Guide (Updated for 2021)

    A scholarship essay should be tailored to the specific fund you are applying for, and it is best to avoid a generalized essay. The main components of the scholarship essay format are similar to those in a standard college essay: 12-point font (Times New Roman or Arial) First line indent. Double-spacing. 1-inch margins.

  6. Standard Font Size For Papers

    July 4, 2023 by David Egee. The standard font size for academic papers is typically 12-point. Still, it's essential to consider the specific formatting style required (like APA or MLA) and any guidelines from journals or publishers. Always follow the instructions given by your instructor, institution, or publisher.

  7. What Font Should I Use?

    The Modern Language Association (MLA) provides explicit, specific recommendations for the margins and spacing of academic papers. (See: Document Format.)But their advice on font selection is less precise: "Always choose an easily readable typeface (e.g. Times New Roman) in which the regular style contrasts clearly with the italic, and set it to a standard size (e.g. 12 point)" (MLA ...

  8. Formatting

    Font size - fonts should be 11 or 12 point. Font style - headings and subheadings, if they are required (most essays will not use them), are usually formatted in bold and should be at least 2 point sizes larger than the standard text. Underlining should be avoided as this is seen as rather dated.

  9. APA 7 Style: Formatting Guidelines

    APA 7 (2020) accepts the use of a wider range of fonts than previous editions. Use a consistent font throughout the paper. While the size of the font in the text of the paper should confirm to one of the options below, figures may include a smaller or larger font size as needed. Font options include: Times New Roman (12-point) Calibri (11-point ...

  10. How to Format A College Essay: 15 Expert Tips

    While single-spaced essays are usually acceptable, your essay will be easier to read if it's 1.5 or double-spaced. Clearly delineate your paragraphs. A single tab at the beginning is fine. Use a font that's easy to read, like Times, Arial, Calibri, Cambria, etc. Avoid fonts like Papyrus and Curlz. And use 12 pt font.

  11. What's the proper format for a college essay?

    1. Font and size: It's best to use a legible, professional font like Times New Roman or Arial in size 11 or 12. 2. Line spacing: Use double spacing for your entire essay. 3. Margins: Set the margins to 1 inch on all sides. 4. Alignment: Align the text to the left. Avoid center or right alignment.

  12. HOW TO

    FONT. Rule: College papers should be in a standard academic font: either Times New Roman or Cambria, in 12pt size. (If you submit a paper in another font, I will change it on the file I download.) Instructions: Times New Roman or Cambria 12pt should be the default for Word, but if yours is different then change your default. Go to the Format ...

  13. PDF Formatting an Academic Paper

    Font Academic papers should be written in an academic font: either Times New Roman or Cambria. All papers should also be written with 12-point font. (Note: Times New Roman and Cambria are the default fonts for Microsoft Word, and 12-point font is also the default setting for font size). Alignment

  14. What font should I use for a college essay?

    The Common App essay is your primary writing sample within the Common Application, a college application portal accepted by more than 900 schools. All your prospective schools that accept the Common App will read this essay to understand your character, background, and value as a potential student.

  15. 13.1 Formatting a Research Paper

    Set the top, bottom, and side margins of your paper at 1 inch. Use double-spaced text throughout your paper. Use a standard font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, in a legible size (10- to 12-point). Use continuous pagination throughout the paper, including the title page and the references section.

  16. What font and font size is used in APA format?

    APA Style papers should be written in a font that is legible and widely accessible. For example: Times New Roman (12pt.) Arial (11pt.) Calibri (11pt.) Georgia (11pt.) The same font and font size is used throughout the document, including the running head, page numbers, headings, and the reference page. Text in footnotes and figure images may be ...

  17. How to Format an Essay

    Otherwise, it would go in place of the text. Title. There needs to be a proper essay title format, centered and above the first line of the essay of the same font and size as the essay itself. Indentation. Just press tab (1/2 inch, just in case) Align. Align to the left-hand side, and make sure it is aligned evenly.

  18. Standard Font Size For Essays

    Standard font size for essays is an important consideration when it comes to written communication. This refers to the size of the letters that make up the words in a document or piece of writing. The standard font -size typically ranges between 10 and 12 points, with 11 points being the most commonly used size. ...

  19. ENG 1002 Online: The Proper Format for Essays

    Heading: In the upper left corner of the first page of your essay, you should type your name, the instructor's name, your class, and the date, as follows: Your Name. Mr. Rambo. ENG 1002-100. 24 February 2017. Margins: According to the MLA, your essay should have a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, left, and right.

  20. Learn how to correctly format your essay for university

    Font. Your font should be Times New Roman or Arial. Don't use anything fancy, and avoid Calibri and Cambria. Even though Word has set these as the default fonts, they are generally not the preferred font to use at university. Spacing. Your essay should be at least 1.5 line spaced, and often double spacing is preferred.

  21. Times Newer Roman is a sneaky font designed to make your essays look

    Times Newer Roman looks a lot like the go-to academic font, but each character is subtly altered to be 5 to 10 percent wider, making your essays look longer without having to actually make them ...

  22. Formatting your work

    The format of your assignment (eg margin size, font size, word count, line spacing) will vary module by module. Please consult your module handbook (via Blackboard) or ask your module tutor for advice. Library staff have produced a sample essay in the UWE Harvard style (PDF) you can refer to and guidance for using figures and tables (PDF) in ...

  23. How to Select a Professional Letter Font and Font Size

    Type your letter. Highlight the content of your letter. Either select the font from the pop-up window or select the font from the list at the top of the document. Select the font size you want to use the same way. Try some different fonts and font sizes until the letter fits onto one page. Again, make sure there is white space in your letter.

  24. Adobe Kis Variable

    Adobe Kis is a sturdy, versatile text typeface in the style of 17th-century Dutch types, although its creator Nicholas Kis was Hungarian. It is well suited for use in books: novels, history, popular science, essays, travel books, cookbooks, and reference books. It can function well in both reports and publication designs.