How To Write An Essay Header: MLA And APA Guidelines


When writing academic papers, you will sometimes need to use headers. A header will generally provide some relevant information relating to your paper as a whole, or to an individual section. They can be useful for organizing your work, as well as providing the reader with an understanding of what they are looking at. Essentially, you can often quickly look at the header on each page, so as to identify roughly what a page might be about.

The actual use of headers can vary, according to the formatting style guide that you are using. For example, the use of headers when using MLA guidelines can differ compared to when using APA guidelines.

  • Finding information about MLA and APA style guidelines
  • In order to get a better understanding of what you should do, it is possible to look through official guidelines for both MLA and APA style. In fact, both guidelines are occasionally updated and, therefore, it is important that you check that you are basing your formatting on the latest instructions.

    Either you can download a copy of the guidelines from the Internet or you can look for printed versions of both APA and MLA guidelines instead.

  • Checking which pages to include your header on
  • Depending upon the specific style guidelines, the specific pages that require a header may vary. For example, with APA style, you should include a header on every single page.

  • Understanding how to present the header
  • Another important thing to consider when writing headers using either APA style or MLA style is how you should present them. For example, with APA style, the header should generally be presented so that it is aligned to the left.

    In order to get a better understanding of what to do, it is advisable to look through the latest official style guidelines, as this will provide you with details of how you should position the header on the page, as well as any relevant details relating to what size the text should be, and potentially what fonts you should use.

  • The details you need to include in your header
  • Finally, the details that you include in your header will largely depend upon the actual work you’re doing. Generally, they will consist of some kind of title; therefore, you need to examine your own work in order to evaluate what details to include.