Research Paper Basics

Formatting the Works Cited page

Good news: The physical layout (but not the content of the items) of an APA References page is identical to the layout of an MLA Works Cited page, so once you master this technique, you can use it in APA papers as well.



  1. Start a new page. Yes, you can just hit the "Enter/Return" key a lot to force a new page, but that's unreliable. If you ever edit anything or if someone prints it out on a different computer, your Works Cited page might land in the middle of the sheet or some other weird place. Do this instead. After your last page of real content:
    • Apple Pages: Drop down the "Insert" menu and click "Page break."
    • Microsoft Word (online version): Click "Insert" menu and choose "Page Break" (on the left).
    • Google Docs: Drop the "Insert" menu down to "Break" and choose "Page break." (On Windows, you can simply type Ctrl+Enter; Apple, type Command+Enter.)
  2. Type the title. At the top of the new page type Works Cited and center it. (All word processors have a slick, one-click way to center things. If you are still hitting the "Tab" key or the spacebar a lot and eyeballing it, you need to learn this little trick.) If you type "Works Cited" and center it, the next paragraph will be centered too, so you have to change the alignment back to "Left" before you type the individual items.
  3. Format the hanging indent. It's probably easiest to do them all at once, so type all your Works Cited entries, highlight them, then:
    • Apple Pages:
      • Open the format menu by clicking the format paintbrush on the right hand menu.
      • Click on Layout in the menu.
      • Under indents, change first to 0 in and left to 0.5 in. (Hint: You can define a new paragraph style for a hanging indent so you can do this in one click on future papers.)
    • Microsoft Word (online version):
      • Click the "Home" menu and choose "More Options." It's a box with three dots on the right: | … |
      • Click "Special Indent."
      • Choose "Hanging."
    • Google Docs:
      • Drop the "Format" menu down. Choose "Align & Indent."
      • Choose "Indentation options."
      • Under "Special indent" choose "Hanging."

Noodletools messes up

The citations that Noodletools puts out are just plain ugly. They are always in Courier type and they fake a hanging indent with spaces, so they look like this if you just copy and paste:

Douglass, Frederick. "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass an American Slave. Written by MMMMMHimself." Free eBooks - Project Gutenberg, 4 Nov. 2012, MMMMM23-h.htm. Accessed 22 May 2019.

Here's how to fix them. Keep Noodletools open because you will need to remember what got italicized. All the options below will match the font and size of your main paper, but will remove the italics; because Noodletools faked a hanging indent by putting in hard returns and a lot of spaces, you will need to take them out too.

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Revised 11/23/21 • Page author: Curtis Allen • e-mail: