MLA formatted running headers and block headers may seem tricky sometimes, but they’re not nearly as difficult as you might think. The big challenge is knowing what belongs in each, and how the information should be arranged.

MLA Formatted Running Header:

An MLA formatted running header appears in the top right hand corner of every page, within Word’s predefined header space. (If you use another program such as Scrivener or Pages, the concepts are the same, but the execution is slightly different. We’ll address them another time.)

What information belongs in an MLA formatted running header? Two things: your last name, and the page number. That’s it. This only seems a little tricky because these items go in the header space of your document and because you want to use automatic page numbering. Why? This is to ensure that your name is added to every page, and the page number automatically changes on every page, too.

This is what a properly formatted running header looks like in MLA:

MLA Running Header

But Banger, how do you put that there?

Actually, it’s not that hard. First, move your mouse over the header area, which is just below the top of the paper. Your pointer won’t change–you have to trust the Force that it’s there. Then double click, and it should look like below:

Enter the Header

Now you’re in the header space. Congratulations! Once you’re there, on a PC, hit ctrl-r. On a Mac, hit command-r. That will right-justify your text. Type your last name to see it in position.

Then, you’ll need to insert a page number. Don’t just type one–if you do, it won’t change on every page! Instead, click on Insert, then Page Numbers:

Inserting the Page NumberOnce you do so, you’ll see this:

Insert Page Number 2

Click on OK, and it will insert a page number.

Now all you need to do is exit the header space, either by double clicking in the regular (lower) part of the paper, or by clicking on Close:

Close Header

That’s all it takes to make an MLA formatted running header!

Making an MLA formatted block header is even easier. Because the block header only goes on the first page of your document, you don’t need to type it in the header space. Instead, start on the first line of your paper, and type the following information:

Your Name

Professor’s Name

Course Name


That’s all there is to it. However, pay attention to that date format. In DD Month YYYY format, today’s date (Friday, April 17, 2015) would be 17 April 2015. No commas, and in that order. And yes, it needs to be double-spaced, and no, you do not need any additional lines between that and the title of your paper.

Need to know how to double-space a paper? We’ll cover that shortly.




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