Essay Format

The essay format is the way you write your academic paper. It makes your work more logical and consistent. Moreover, don’t forget about formatting styles!

The essay is one of the most common and popular papers throughout the studying. Nevertheless, you can’t just describe your thoughts and that’s it. It is necessary to follow a certain well-structured plan and sequence to make your work effective. To write a successful essay, you must follow the formatting.

The majority of educational institutions require to use the following standard formats – MLA, APA, and Chicago. They will give your paper a more structured look.

In this article you will learn more about:

  • what essay formating is;
  • what formats exist and what features characterize them;
  • what is the outline of a standard essay and how it should be drawn up

What is an Essay Format?

The Essay format is a clearly drawn up set of rules that help to organize your paper. This format includes the structure of the essay, citation, title page, bibliography,  etc. It makes your paper easier to understand and read.

During formatting you should pay close attention to some details, especially references and sources. The authors of always carefully check these parts of the essay to avoid any shortcomings and will be happy to help you arrange your work as well.

To begin with, let’s take a closer look at a Standard Essay Format.

Recommendations for a Standard Essay Format.

What are the standard guidelines for the essay format that you should necessarily follow?

  • Determined font style and size
  • The one-inch margin (all sides of the page)
  • Line spacing
  • Headings and subheadings
  • Page headers
  • Pages numbers

Template for a Basic Essay Format.

Now let’s take look at the standard template for a Basic Essay Format, which you can later use while creating your own academic papers.

MLA Style Guidelines for Essay Format.

MLA stands for «Modern Language Association». That format style is quite wide-spread, mostly it is used in the humanities spheres, when you need to quote humanities sources or liberal arts.

The basic formatting style requirements are the following:

  • The font size and style – Times New Roman 12pt.
  • 1 inch margin (on both sides of the paper).
  • Double spacing (no extra space between the new paragraphs).
  • In the header: page numbers and Last name.
  • The essay title in the center of the page; your name, instructor’s name, class and date are in the upper left-hand corner.
  • The “work cited” – sources used in the paper.

APA Style Guideline for Essay Format.

In comparison with MLA, the APA style (“American Psychological Association”) is used in the science fields. That format style is direct and clear.

The basic formatting style requirements are the following:

  • The font size and style – Times New Roman 12pt.
  • 1 inch margin (on both sides of the paper).
  • Double spacing (no extra space between the new paragraphs).
  • In the header of every page: page numbers (at the top right) and a shortened title (at the top left).
  • On the title – the author’s name, institution affiliation, the instructor’s name and date.
  • The “reference page” – sources and citations used in the paper.

Chicago Style Guidelines for Essay Format.

Chicago style is typically used for academic papers that will be published. In this style of formatting, it is necessary to pay close attention to the registration of the sources, citations and references (as this is a key to successful writing).

The basic formatting style requirements are the following:

  • The font size and style – Times New Roman 12pt.
  • 1 inch margin (on all sides of the paper).
  • Double spacing.
  • In the header: page numbers and Last name.
  • Footnotes on quoted and paraphrased passages
  • The “Bibliography” – sources and citations used in the paper.

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Basic Outline Of An Essay Format.

The standard and generally accepted outline of any type of the academic essay is quite simple. Below, we will take a look at the key parts of the paper and you can order an essay.

In order to write a successful work, it is necessary to think over thoroughly and effectively compose each of the parts. Let’s analyze them in details in order to understand how to make a convenient plan for your essay.

Essay Format Outline


The Title Page

The title page indicates the topic of your academic paper. Also, usually the title page contains information about the name of the author, the name of the professor, educational institution, course, date.


An Abstract

In this section, you briefly outline the topic, theses, purpose and necessity of your academic paper – the standard abstract includes no more than 300 words.


The Table Of Content

If necessary (while writing sufficiently long papers) the table of contents is being compiled. It contains headings and subheadings together with the pages (this helps readers of your work to navigate).



The introduction is the first full-fledged section of your academic work. A properly written introduction is a very important part – it reveals the main theme and idea of your work. Often the introduction asks a question that needs to be answered.  The introduction should motivate and arouse interest. Also, in this part of the paper, the author formulates the essence of the work – theses. And throughout the academic paper either refutes or confirms it.


Main Body

The main body is the key part of your essay. In that part it is necessary to specify and emphasize all the necessary information. In this part you will refute or confirm your theses. The main body should be logically and competently built and be able to convince the reader of the correctness of your arguments and judgments. Remove all unnecessary information – only the key facts.



The final part of the academic paper is the conclusion. The conclusion is the final word of the author, it is a confirmation of his plans. The conclusion is the result of the author’s entire monologue – you summarize, re-emphasize the theses and briefly state the key ideas and conclusions. At the very end, you encourage readers to take some action.



If any terms or unfamiliar words were used in the work, then the author makes an appendix that includes all this information and briefly describes and characterizes them.



When writing a paper, you will definitely turn to various sources. Therefore, at the end, a bibliography is necessarily compiled – a list of cited sources and literature (as well as the links to them should be provided).

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How to Format an Essay properly.

The essay structure is the most important thing in formatting. All elements of the paper should be compiled in accordance with your format – it is especially necessary to check the title page, footnotes and the bibliography.

Format of the Title Page.

As the first thing your instructor will see, is the title page, it is necessary to properly and carefully arrange it.

Using MLA style, the title page must be written according to the following standards:

  • The font size and style – Times New Roman 12pt.
  • Title of the paper.
  • In the top center of a page – the author’s name, the instructor’s name, institute, course, date.
  • Double spacing.

Using APA style, the title page must be written according to the following standards:

  • The font size and style – Times New Roman 12pt.
  • Title written in all caps.
  • The author’s name and institute
  • 1 inch margin (on both sides of the paper).

An Essay’s First Page.

To begin with, you need to format the first page – add a header with your last name and page number (on the right-hand corner of the page) and your and instructor’s names, course and date (on the left upper corner) – this way all the pages of the essay should be done, except the bibliography.

Cite Your Sources By using Essay Format.

When writing academic papers, it is very important to refer to the source correctly. If you cite incorrectly, you will be accused of plagiarism. Therefore, even when you paraphrase the words, they need to be quoted. The citation depends on the format you use.

In APA format, the citation should be done the following manner:

  • The author’s last name – the publication date – the paragraph number of the original work.

In MLA format:

  • The author’s last name – the page number of the publication the words were taken from.

The Bibliography Formatting.

On the last page of your paper, you indicate the sources and citations. This page is called differently, depending on the used formatting style. But nevertheless, there are some general formatting style requirements:

  • Double interval.
  • The sources are arranged in alphabetical order.
  • Hanging indentation.
Essay Format Bibliography
academic paper author Nadiia K

Article was written by Nadiia K

Hi, I’m Nadiia! I am professional academic writer and researcher, with almost 20 years of experience. I always do my best when working on any order, approach the writing of each work as if it were my own research, apply multidisciplinary method if appropriate. The highest quality and originality of papers is guaranteed.

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