How to Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

This reference guide explains how to format your academic documents in Microsoft Word 2020, giving you the fundamental rules for formatting your academic papers as described in most guidelines, such as MLA and APA styles. The rules discussed in this guide apply to most of the academic papers you will submit as college assignments or articles for journals.

24.11.2020

How to Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

This reference guide provides some tips to format academic papers in Microsoft Word. To give you an opportunity to practice proofreading, we have left a few spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors in the text. See if you can spot them! If you spot the errors correctly, you will be entitled to a 10% discount.

This reference guide will explain how to format your academic documents in Microsoft Word 2020, giving you the fundamental rules for formatting your academic papers as described in most guidelines, such as MLA and APA styles. The rules discussed in this guide apply to most of the academic papers you will submit as college assignments or articles for journals; however, keep in mind that some of your professors may want you to follow specific standards that may differ from the rules here. Adopting standard formatting for your academic papers indicates that you comprehend the rules of your college and therefore helps to improve your own credibility.

These rules and instructions can be applied to all versions of Microsoft Word for Mac and Windows. The tools, however, cannot be found at the same place on the toolbar at the top of your document.

Document Margins of Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word documents generally come with the default setting for margins. Check your default setting if it is to have a different left and right margin. If so, change the default setting. Suppose that the paper you need to submit for review or grading should have 3.0 cm margins all around.

Here are the instructions you should follow:

Go to the Format menu at the top, scroll down to Document, change the margins, click on the Default button, and accept the change to the Normal template.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020 

Make sure you leave the gutter set to 0 cm; otherwise, your document formatting will be messed up. 

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

Than, make your selection.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

Indentation of Microsoft Word Documents

Suppose that you want the first line of each paragraph to be automatically indented. Here are the instructions to follow:

To change the indentation format for an academic paper in Microsoft Word, choose Select All from the Edit menu, or press the combinations of A.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

Then go to the Format menu, select Paragraph from the drop-down menu (or press the key combinations of ⌥⌘M).

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

Indents and Spacing menu will be selected automatically.  Under this menu, go to the Special drop-down menu and select First line. This setting automatically indents the first line of the new paragraph of your academic paper so that you do not have to set it manually each time.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

How to Set Font Settings for Academic Papers in Microsoft Word

Guidelines may adopt different font settings for academic papers. For instance, a variety of fonts are permitted in APA Style papers. Font options in APA Style include sans serif fonts, such as 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, or 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode, serif fonts, such as 12-point Times New Roman, 11-point Georgia, or normal (10-point) Computer Modern (the default font for LaTeX).

To change it, go to the Format menu, select Style under the drop-down menu.  

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

Make sure Normal is selected from the list of styles, and click Modify. Choose your preferred font and size from the Formatting menu.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

Click OK to make the change to your default settings. You may name it as you wish.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

How to Change the Default Font of Your Academic Paper

Changing the default font in any template means that the newly set font will be used in every new document that is based on that template. For instance, the default font for new blank documents is based on the Normal template. First, open the template or a document based on the template whose default settings you wish to change. Go to the Format menu at the top of the screen, click the Font tab (or press the key combinations of ⌥⌘D).

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

Make any changes that you want, and then click Default.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

You will have two options here: You can set the default font to the selected option for This document only or All documents based on the Normal template. Then click OK.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

How to Format Page Numbers for Academic Papers

All documents should have automatically inserted page numbers show in the upper right corner on all pages except the first page. Do not insert these page numbers manually. Use Header/Footer tool of Microsoft Word instead. 

Go to the View menu and choose Header and Footer.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

A header box will appear at the top and a footer box at the bottom. Click in the header box; you can type your last name or the title of your document, and make it align to the right or left as you wish.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

Then, select Page Numbers from the Insert menu. 

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

If you want to show the number on the first page of your document, check the box next to Show number on first page. Set your Position and Alignment as you wish.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

For advanced options, click Format, and set other settings, such as your number format, chat numbers, page numbering, etc.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

When you are finished with the settings, click on the Close tab under the Header view. Each page of your document should now display a page number in the upper right corner that updates automatically when you make changes to your document. It will appear as grayed-out text unless you activate the Header and Footer tool to make changes.

If you want to change the setting so that page numbers do not display on the first page of your document, click on Document under the Format drop-down menu and click on the Layout menu.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

Under this menu, check the box next to Different First Page, and click OK. If required, remove the header that appears on the first page, and insert a header on the second page. This will automatically appear on all subsequent pages.

Document Spacing of Academic Papers in Microsoft Word

Choose Select All from the Edit menu. Select Paragraph under the Format drop-down menu. Choose your desired spacing from the Line spacing menu under the Spacing section. Alternatively, you can use keyboard shortcuts.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

How to Format Paragraph Spacing for Academic Papers

Select the Style from the Format drop-down menu. Make sure that Normal is selected from the list of styles, and click Modify. In the lower-left corner, select the Paragraph under the Format drop-down menu.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

In the Paragraph settings menu that pops up, change the settings for After to 0 pt under the Spacing menu.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

How to Create a New Page or Insert a Page Break in Microsoft Word

If you wish to create a new page, instead of using numerous returns before starting your bibliography, go to the Insert menu at the top of the screen. Select Page Break under the Break drop-down menu. Alternatively, you can press ⌘+Enter to insert a page break.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

If you need help with formatting your academic papers, contact us!

Best Edit & Proof expert editors aim to provide your manuscripts with proper scholarly and academic tone and style. They will significantly improve the chances of having your research manuscript accepted for publishing. They provide subject-area proofreading and editing services in several fields categorized under various disciplines. With our extensive knowledge and expertise, we will help you find the right tone and style for your manuscript.

If you need our subject-area editors to format your manuscripts, giving you the fundamental rules for formatting your manuscripts as described in your guidelines, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago/Turabian styles, then contact us. At Best Edit & Proof, our proofreaders and editors edit every type of academic paper. We have a user-friendly website, and a simplified ordering process. 

If you would like our subject-area editors and language experts to work on your project for the improvement of its academic tone and style, then please visit the order page. It is easy! It takes only a few minutes to submit your paper and complete the process. Click here to see how it works.

We have flat-rate pricing based on our type of service (editing or proofreading), word count, and turnaround time. Enter your word count or copy and paste your document into our pricing calculator to get an instant quote.

Format Academic Papers in Microsoft Word 2020

If you need support for academic editing and proofreading, contact us. You can also e-mail us or use the 24/7 live chat module to get direct support. Our doctorally qualified editors will polish and fine-tune your projects.

Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn,  Facebook, Instagram, and Medium.

For more posts, click here.

They Also Read

Academic Writing
How to Write a Perfect Coursework
24.11.2020

Some students find it difficult to understand and write error-free coursework papers. So, it requires pouring multiple skills, attention, and energy to frame impressive coursework. Here we present few such tips for flawless coursework.

Continue Reading
Formatting Microsoft Tools
How to Show Revisions Inline or in Balloons in Track Changes Function of Microsoft Word
24.11.2020

Turning on Track Changes function of your Microsoft Word document gives you an option to make changes that are easy to follow. The changes and revisions are like suggestions that one can review, and then remove by rejecting them or make them permanent by accepting them. This handout discusses how to show revisions inline or balloons in Tracked Changes.

Continue Reading
Editing & Proofreading Academic Writing Editing
5 Essential Information Your Editor Needs
24.11.2020

After writing your manuscript, you may likely decide on an editor to perform the final checks on your document. Mostly, authors make the mistake of sending their manuscripts to their editors, without providing adequate information about specifications on the service they seek. With such limited information, your editor may produce an unsatisfactory job with limited information at his/her disposal. Thus, to ensure that your editors provide the best possible service, which will prevent journals from rejecting your manuscripts on the grounds of noncompliance to journal requirements, the following information should be provided beforehand.

Continue Reading
APA Style Citation Styles Academic Writing
How to Format DOI in APA Style (APA 7th Edition Update)
24.11.2020

The American Psychological Association (APA) introduced the 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual in October 2019. This edition replaced the previous one, the 6th edition of the manual. Since then, several things have changed. The latest edition also updated the formatting of digital object identifiers (DOI) in APA Style. This article addresses when to include DOIs and uniform resource locators (URLs) in APA Style references.

Continue Reading
Academic Writing
How to Write the Best Theoretical Framework for Your Dissertation
24.11.2020

A theoretical framework primarily supports the idea of a research study. It bears all the theories that prove the essence and importance of any research. In a nutshell, it is developed to explain the research and comprehend its circumstances. It may involve all the theory-based logic behind the importance and existence of your research in academics. This step-by-step guide discusses how to build a theoretical framework for a dissertation.

Continue Reading