Formatting Styles & Examples | What is Formatting? Awesome Tips
December 27, 2022
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In this article, we will discuss what a formatting style is, the popular types of formatting styles🔥, how to get help when stuck on any formatting style, and frequently asked questions about different formatting styles in academic papers.
Table of Contents
What is a Formatting Style?
A formatting style is a standard approach used in academic paper writing giving it a recognizable appearance. The formatting styles are important since they provide consistency and information on sources used in the document.
The formatting styles include the following:
- Where the paper’s title and author’s name will go,
- The spacing between lines,
- And how sources are cited in-text, among others.
The Three Popular Formatting Styles | APA, MLA, CMOS
The different recognizable formatting styles that are commonly used in academic papers are the American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), Harvard style, and Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS). Each style has a specific set of guidelines that an academic paper should follow giving it a whole different appearance.
Let’s look into the three popular formatting styles and the guidelines that bring in the differences between them when handling academic papers.
1. MLA formatting style
MLA style was first developed by Modern Language Association (and thus the abbreviation MLA) for students and researchers specifically in the literature field.
Its most distinguishing factors are the “author-page number” citation, the “Works Cited” reference page, and the lack of a title page.
Usually, the MLA style is used to organize lengthy papers with the aim to improve on their readability. It demonstrates the student’s ability to conduct research without any form of plagiarism. It makes your paper authentic and credible enabling easy access to information by whoever reads your paper.
What are some of the key features of MLA writing format?
- The titles of the MLA style are always in Italics.
- Put your title at the center
- Font type applied Times New Roman with a font size of 12.
- Set Margins with one-inch space on all sides.
- The essay is always double-spaced in MLA.
- Paragraph indentation, one and a half-inch for each new paragraph.
MLA style title page
Steps to create a good MLA title page:
The title page of an MLA paper has a header section and just below the header section is the title of the paper. The paper immediately begins after the title.
Here are the components of the header section of an MLA header:
- Writer’s name
- Instructor’s name
- Course title
Example of an MLA title page with header and title of the paper
2. APA Formatting Style
APA style is applied when citing sources in social sciences, or business and nursing courses, developed by the American Psychological Association.
It makes the job easier for journal editors by ensuring uniform usage of elements like headings, tone length, abbreviations, and citing references. This way the readers also have an easy time reading through the text, currently, the 7th edition has been introduced by the American Psychological Association and is quite different from the 6th edition.
Here are some of the key features of the APA writing format:
- The one-inch paper margin on all sides.
- Use one space after most punctuation marks.
- For APA style, all text is double-spaced.
- Using a 12-point font is preferable in APA style.
- All paragraphs in the body end with intended lines.
- Make sure that the title is centered on the page with your name and institution or school.
- The page number should be in the upper right-hand corner.
APA style title page
Steps to create a good APA title page
- Keep your title in bold.
- Ensure your title page is double-spaced.
- Do not include any titles in the Author’s name
- Only use suitable words for your title.
- Keep your title centered.
- The main title should not be underlined
3. Chicago Manual of Style
Was specifically developed to help authors cite different sources. Usually, it’s comprised of two different referencing systems including:
- Author-date system
- Notes-bibliography system
The main differennce between the Author-date system and and the Notes-Bibliography system is that the former is very similar to APA style as it used parenthetical citations with the sources’s author and year of publication while the latter uses numbered footnotes. The numbered footnotes directs the reader to a shortened citation at the bottom of the page.
See our Chicago sample papers below:
- Chicago Paper Sample– in the NB system
- Chicago Paper Sample – in the Author-Date System
Here are some of the key features of CMS writing format:
- Double-space the text.
- Place page numbers in the top right or bottom center.
- Use 1 inch margins or larger.
- Use a standard font like 12 pt. Times New Roman.
- Indent new paragraphs by ½ inch.
CMS style title page
Steps to create a good CMS title page
- The title should be in the middle of the page, in the headline, and in bold text.
- The title page should be double-spaced and center-aligned.
- The page title is written in the same font as the rest of your text.
- If you have subtitles, use them after the main title ends with a colon.
- The subtitle should be bold and as same size as the main title
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Frequently Asked Questions
What are formatting styles in a document?
They’re standardized approaches used in academic paper writing giving it a recognizable appearance. The formatting styles are important since they provide consistency and information on sources used in the document.
What are the 4 types of formatting?
The four formatting styles include:
- Chicago or CMA style,
- APA style,
- MLA style,
- Turabian style.
What are the main writing formats?
The main writing formats are:
- And descriptive.
What are the 4 common citation styles?
- APA (American Psychological Association) is used by Education, Psychology, and Sciences
- MLA (Modern Language Association) style is used by the Humanities
- Chicago style is generally used by Business, History, and the Fine Arts
- Turabian is also used in Business, History, and arts