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How to add an MLA header to a Google Doc

Google DocsfaviconOne of the worst things about Google Docs is that the header is useless for students because pagination does not work.

Update, September 2011: At long last, Google Docs now has pagination! This means that it’s now possible to do a correct MLA header. But it’s available only on regular Google Docs, not Apps. This means teachers and students will have to wait a little longer.

Unlike Microsoft Word, you can’t tell the computer to display the current page number. This means that students can’t follow MLA format.

Good thing I just found a tip from Google Operating System. There’s a bit of html code you can add at the top of your document to make your header work perfectly.

You just have to click on “Edit HTML” under the “Edit” menu. (Update: This applies only to the old version of Google Docs. Please see comment below.)

The problem is, the code offered by Google Operating System is not in proper MLA format. So I changed it. Here is the new and improved version (that includes my last name).

<div style=”text-align: right;” class=”google_header”>  Isero <span class=”google_pagenumber”>1</span></div>

Now I’m wondering if it’s worth it to show this to my students and teach them how to insert this code (with their last name) into their Google Doc. Maybe it’s just too tedious. On the other hand, it might be nice to teach them a little html and the importance of getting things perfectly formatted when turning in a formal essay. favicon


  1. Mark Isero

    Update: With the new Google Docs, where you can’t edit HTML, this solution no longer works. Actually, there are many things I don’t like about the new Google Docs, like how you can’t create default settings anymore.

  2. Mark Isero

    Update, Sept 2011: For some weird reason, this is one of the most popular posts on Iserotope! So I want to make sure everyone knows that Google Docs now has pagination (see the blue update in the post). Rejoice.

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