How to Create an MLA Outline in Microsoft Word 2007

by Contributor

The guidelines for an MLA outline are very specific, and Microsoft Word 2007 doesn't make it easy to follow those guidelines! The outline-creating function can be confusing to navigate, but by following these steps, you'll have an MLA outline in no time.

Open a new document and make sure you are looking at the "Home" tab on the toolbar. Above the alignment buttons, there are "list" buttons. The furthest left is for "Bullets," the middle is for "Numbering," and the furthest right is for "Multilevel List." Click the furthest right so you can make a multilevel list. A drop-down menu with different outline styles appears. None of these styles are MLA, you must click "Define New Multilevel List" to create an MLA outline.

On the left, where it says "Click level to modify," 1 should be highlighted. Under "Number Style for this Level," open the drop-down list and select "I, II, III..." Under "Enter Formatting for Number," erase the ")" after the I and replace it with a period (.), to follow MLA Format

Highlight level 2 under "Click level to modify" Repeat steps 2, but select "A, B, C..." under "Number Style for this Level." Don't forget to change the ")" to a period! Repeat for level 3, selecting "1, 2, 3..." and repeat for level 4, selecting "a. b, c..." Click "OK"

If your outline automatically starts on the wrong level (like A instead of I) then look up at the buttons next to the bullets, numbering, and multilevel list buttons. The two buttons to the right are "Decrease Indent" or "Increase Indent." Click "Decrease Indent" to move back a level in the outline, and "Increase Indent" to move up a level.


  • check Remember to check your MLA guide an put in your header (LastName pg#), The word "Outline", the title of your paper, your thesis, and the words "Introduction" and "Conclusion" at the beginning and end of the outline itself.
  • check Make sure to double space! Highlight it all and use the spacing button next to the alignment buttons (and while you're there, hit "Remove space after paragraph" as well!)

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