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Citing Sources: Formatting Your Paper

This guide provides information on citing sources for research papers.

Using the Formatting Tools in Microsoft Word

Here are some quick tips for working in Microsoft Word to create Word documents for your classes.  

Margins and Line Spacing

When creating a Microsoft Word Document,  the margins are automatically set to 1" on each side.  There is no need to adjust them.

If you do need to change the margins, select the Page Setup group in the Page Layout tab.

To create a document that is double spaced, begin at the Paragragh group on the Home tab.  Select the Line and Paragraph Spacing option and choose 2.0.


Adding Page Numbers

Instructors usually want papers submitted to them to have page numbers at the top right side the the page along with the writer's last name.

Some instructors want this information on the title page, others do not.  Be sure you know which option to use.

Page numbers can be added at any time while you are creating your document.  

Select the Insert tab and the Header & Footer group. Select Page Number,  Then Top of Page, then Plain 3.  The page numbers will automatically appear in the proper place.  

To add a name to the page number, just type your name to the left of the number making sure to leave a space between the name and the page number.

If your instructor does NOT want a page number on the Title Page, follow the same dirctions but selecting Different First Page.

Finish by Selecting Close Header and Footer on the right end of the ribbon.

Hanging Indents on the Works Cited Page

The format of a Works Cited page is just about as important at the paper itself. 

Many, if not most, of the entries in a Works Cited page are cut and pasted from the databases where information as been obtained or from a citation generator like Citation Machine or EasyBib.  The part left to be done is to make sure the entries are in alphabetical order by the first word in the citation.

Additionally, the citations should be double spaced and the first line of each citation should be in "Hanging Indent" format.

Follow these steps to create a perfect Works Cited page.


1.  The words "Works Cited" should be centered at the top of the page.

2.  Copy and paste or create a works cited entry by following your instructor's directions or consulting the Handbook for Writers available at the circulation desk in the library.

3.  Make sure you can see the ruler at the top of the word document.  If you cannot see it, select the View tab and then look for the Show group.  Just check Ruler.

    Highlight all of the citations.  Click and hold your mouse on the lower indent marker (it looks like a triangle pointing up).  Move it to the right five spaces or a half inch.

4.  Finally, with all of the citations still highlighted, return to the Home tab, and the Paragraph group and select the icon that shows A and Z with a downward arrow.  This will alphabetize all of your entries that have an author as the first word.

If there is an entry that starts with a quotation mark - like the last one in the box above -- you may have to individually highlight that entry and drag and drop it into the proper location.


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