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Basic Formatting Hints for Writing an Essay

Formatting is one of the key points in academic writing. Proper formatting and accordance to academic writing style demands are extremely important for a well-written essay. So, if you are determined to receive the highest grades for your paper, you should keep in mind the importance of formatting and its main nuances.

What Essay Formatting Involves

  1. Fonts.
  2. A good font determines the readability of your paper. The majority of academic writing styles recommend choosing Times New Roman as it’s elegant and easily readable from both the screen and a printed page. Georgia and Palatino are quite good, too. Sometimes, you can choose simpler fonts like Arial or Calibri. Don’t use any “creative” fonts and don’t make them smaller than 12pt.

  3. Margins.
  4. Normally, margins are determined by the writing style you choose for your paper. If there are no style recommendations, leave 1 inch at each side. It’s enough to let the readers eyes have some rest during the reading. Don’t even try to make margins bigger to increase the number of pages within your work. It will be too visible.

  5. Intervals (line spacing).
  6. Unless you are given different instructions, double-space the text. It improves the readability and leaves enough room for corrections and comments left by your teacher. If you already have the double spacing, there should be no additional intervals before or after paragraphs.

  7. Indentation.
  8. Normally, the indentation at the left should make about ½ inch. Depending on the writing style and directions your teacher gives you, this space can change. However, you shouldn’t decide on your own. Don’t mix the writing styles and don’t add spaces to the existing indentation.

  9. Alignment.
  10. Academic texts are normally aligned to the left. Although the right side looks rather wavy in this case, there are no reasons to fully align the text unless you are told to do so. Sometimes, full alignment creates too big spaces between words and even symbols because of the stretching and it influences the readability.

Writing Styles in an Essay

If you are told to compose an essay in accordance with certain writing styles, it makes sense to search for effective manuals and guidebooks that can help you. These styles involve numerous formatting details that are quite hard to keep in mind.