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Course Documents

Formatting Guidelines for Written Work

I may seem like an easygoing person but I am a stickler when it comes to formatting documents. Beware!

You should take pride in the appearance of your written work. Make it look nice. If your paper is a job interview, then the formatting is your clothing. Just as you wouldn’t show up to a job interview in ripped jeans and a T-shirt, you shouldn’t hand in written work with weird font and spacing or other signs of carelessness. You want the person reading your written work to focus on the writing itself and not be distracted by sloppy or unusual formatting.

To ensure that your document looks professional, please follow these rules.

The Basics

  • Font: Times New Roman

  • Size: 12 point

  • Spacing: Double spaced (2.0). Not 1.5, not 1.15 – 2.0 please.

  • Margins: A standard-sized margin—usually 1 inch or 2 centimeters or thereabouts. Use your word processor’s default margin size.

  • Word count: Please include the word count in parentheses at the end of the paper.


Indent your paragraphs, and do not leave an extra space between the paragraphs. Use the Tab key to indent your paragraphs, not the space bar. Know the difference between online format and print format—online format has spaces between paragraphs and no indentation, while print format has indentation and no spaces between paragraphs. For papers and other written work, you want to use print format.

Heading and title

In the upper right corner of the first page of your document, include a heading with this information:

  • your full name 

  • your section number

  • the assignment (for example, "Writing Exercise #1" or "Midterm Paper, Draft 1")

If there is a title, do not put your name and section number under your title. Put them above it. Type it – don’t write it on at the last minute with your pen.

Your title, if your paper has a title, should be centered and not in a weird gigantic font. 12-point Times New Roman is fine. Leave a space (blank line) between the title and the first paragraph.

For documents with more than one page

Include page numbers. If your document consists of more than one sheet of paper, staple the pages with one staple in the upper left hand corner. No paper clips, no corners of the pages folded over.

You can print double-sided or single-sided; I don’t care. Just make sure you staple your pages.


Click here to download an example of a correctly formatted assignment.