Lecturers and professors often don’t give precise formatting guidelines to students so they remain confused and unsure about exactly how they should format their essays, assignments, and reports for college. Following the standard academic format for your papers helps to boost your credibility and also increases your chance to get higher grade for your essay.

Poor and unusual formatting call attention to your essay in a negative way and might signal your professor that you are trying to artificially inflate your essay length, which ultimately affects your grades. However, there is a standard academic format you can follow to make your essay look formal. Listed below are some commonly accepted formatting guidelines for academic essays.


The style of your font should be Arial or Times New Roman while composing an essay on Microsoft Word. Avoid using Calibri or Cambria and anything fancy or informal. Even if they appear as the default font on Word, these are not the generally preferred fonts to use for academic purposes. Moreover, the font size should be 11 or 12, and the color or your font should be black.


If your essay or assignment has one to three levels of headings, bold and centralize the heading 1 with font size 14. The heading 2 should be left-aligned and bold with font size 12 and heading 3 should also be left-aligned and can be made bold and italics along with 12 font size.

Line Spacing:

The line space between your essay lines should be at least 1.5. However, double spacing is preferred for academic essays, including headings and bibliography. This gives your grader enough space to make corrections and write comments in the spaces if he is checking on hard copy. However, if they are evaluating electronically, spacing makes your essay easy to read on screen.


There should be no extra spacing between paragraphs. You can either use a line space between each paragraph or use a first-line indent of 1.27 cm at the beginning of each paragraph, but don’t use both. An essay writing service can also write excellent, academically formatted essays for you.

Page Margins:

The essays submitted for grading or reviewing should have margins of 1’’ all around. This should be the default setting for Word. However, you can adjust the margins if your default setting is 1.25’’ for left and right margins, that’s because page length requirements are based on margins of 1’’.

Page Numbers:

Each page of your essay should have automatically inserted page number that is visible in the upper right corner of all the pages except the title page. Use the Header and Footer tool of the Word to insert page numbers. Header and footer are on the top and bottom margins of every page. Any text on the top margin is referred as header and footer if on the bottom one.


The text distribution on the page is determined by alignment. The text of your essay should typically be left-aligned. Left alignment is set by default in Word. You can also justify the text as it appears neatest in the justified alignment.



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