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Everything You Need to Know About Essay Formatting

Monday - April 8, 2019

Many students are prepared with great ideas for essays and many are fantastic writers. However, it’s easy to get caught up in the details of the layout. You don’t have to worry too much because here, we are going to take a look at some paper formatting tips that will ensure that the next assignment is picture perfect.

Do a Little Reseach

The initial thing to do is to get familiar with the style that you’re working in. From APA to MLA to Chicago, they do tend to have their discrepancies. Luckily, there are plenty of resources online to help students learn a new essay format. The most useful sources for this task are essay writing services. These services have skilled authors who can aid in a variety of genres and styles.

Aside from official guidelines, your professor may have personal preferences as well. It’s best to try to get familiar with those idiosyncrasies.

Choosing a Font

A font is generally standard or close to standard for most genres. The most commonly used is a 12 point, Times New Roman font. Some professors and styles to allow for the use of Arial font, but it’s usually not preferred.

It’s a good rule of thumb to keep fonts simple at the very least. Don’t try to be flowery here. Times New Roman is also generally preferred to Arial because it’s a serif font, making it easier to read. Serif means that the letters have slight marks on the ends.

Setting Margins

Margins are the distance of words on a page are from the edges of that page. Most essays require 1-inch margins all around. The good news is that this is the default on most word processors. But, it’s never a bad idea to double check.

Paragraph Spacing

Paragraphs need to be spaced out properly for neatness and readability. For one, never single space your paper. Instead, always use double spacing to make sure the paper isn’t too cramped or dense.

A practice that some fall into is hitting the “enter” key to leave additional space between paragraphs. While this is sometimes okay, it should be avoided in an academic setting.

Start Strong

No matter what kind of writing you’re working on, it’s important to start strong. This means that within the first section, there needs to be something which will catch a reader’s eye. This could be an interesting statistic, an anecdote, or a shocking fact. Be sure not to be misleading with this statement, though. It still needs to work alongside the content you follow with.

Tie It All Together in the End

Just as your beginning needs something strong, the end has a generic blueprint as well. Take the points discussed in the body and show how they come together. From there, guide the audience back towards the original thesis. This is the point at which you should call them to action – even if that’s just to agree with a point of view. The worst thing you can do is leave readers hanging or not sure what to do with the information just given to them.

Citing Sources

Between styles, there are differences in how to create citations. Once again, do some research on this. An agreed upon rule of thumb across the board is to put these sources in alphabetical order.


Formulating thoughts in an organized manner can seem intimidating. After all, you have to ensure your thoughts look cohesive on the page. With the tips we’ve discussed here today, you’ll be able to make your next essay look professional with no stress.