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        How to Write an Essay Header: MLA and APA Essay Headers

        • calenderApr 11, 2023
        • calender 5 min read

        A header for an essay is an important part of APA or MLA formatting guidelines. In this article, we’ll find out the purpose of an essay header, how to format it, and the APA and MLA essay header variations.

        A properly formatted header helps your professor quickly and easily identify your essay. In APA format, the essay header also carries a gist of your larger topic, providing the reader with basic information about your essay in one glance.

        Let’s take a more detailed look at how to write a header for an essay.

        Ensure top-notch essay formatting!

        What is a header in an essay?

        A header for an essay is a line of text typically included at the top of the page. The content of the header depends on your essay header format. The MLA essay header includes your last name whereas the APA essay header includes a shortened title of your essay.

        The use of a header is especially important in longer essays, as it helps professors navigate the document with ease. The page number helps them locate specific information quickly and the author’s name helps them associate each essay with the student who wrote it. 

        MLA essay header

        The Modern Language Association (MLA), often used in literature and humanities essays, requires a specific type of header. It consists of your last name, followed by a space and then the page number. Thus, the MLA essay header helps the instructor easily associate your work with you amidst a sea of other assignments.

        The header for an MLA format essay is typically placed in the top right-hand corner of each page of the document. The information is right-aligned, double-spaced, and is usually preceded by a 0.5-inch margin. 

        Here’s an essay header example to help you understand:

        MLA header with a last name and page number included on the top right corner of the page.

        It is important to note that the MLA essay header is not the same as a title page. The title page is a separate page that includes the essay title, your name, the course title, and the date of submission. The MLA format essay header is simply a standardized way to format page numbers and your personal information within the document itself.

        APA essay header

        The American Psychological Association (APA) usually requires a header to be included in both student and professional essays. The APA essay header includes an abbreviated title of the essay along with the page number.

        The title should be in all capital letters and should not be more than 50 characters long. It should be included on the top left corner of the page. The page number should be included opposite the title, in the top right corner of the page.

        Take a look at this essay header example:

        APA header with the title at the top left corner of the page and page number at the top right corner of the page.

        It is important to note that running head in an APA essay header is optional for students but compulsory for professionals. While the header must be present in both types of APA essays, the elements differ.

        How to write a header for an essay

        1. To activate the header for an essay, double-right-click on the top of the page.

        First step of the essay header formatting. Double right-click on the top of the page2. Select the “Insert” option at the top of your window.

        Second step of the essay header formatting. Click on the “insert” option3. Click “Page Number”.

        Third step of essay header formatting. Click on the “page number” tab under the “insert” option

        4. Hover over “Top of Page” and select “Plain Number 3”.
        Fourth step in essay formatting. Click on “top of the page” option under the page number tab5. For the MLA header, enter your last name along with the page number, both right-aligned. For the APA header, input the abbreviated version of the title in all capital letters and press the “Tab” key.

        Features an MLA header example with the last name of the student and page number mentioned at the top.
        MLA essay header example


        Features an APA header example which the title at the top left and page number at the top right of the page
        APA essay header example

        If you need additional help with headers and other formatting guidelines, you can also consider working with a professional essay editing service. 

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        Nandita Linkedin

        Nandita is a budding writer with a background in Psychology. She adores mysterious movies with unusual plots, cozy coffee houses, and any conversation involving Agatha Christie!

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