Popular essay heading and subheading formats

Heading and formatting is an important part of essay writing and paper writing. There are several ways to present your ideas, but whenever you write a research paper, you have to present it in the format required by your teacher or institute.

You have to understand that your score will depend on these guidelines. These rules are mostly prescribed by the institute. In this article, we will discuss how to write an essay the right way.

What is the difference between APA and MLA?

While MLA refers to the Modern Language Association format, it is used for arts and humanities. Books and kinds of literature are mostly written in this format.

APA refers to American Psychological Association. It is used for technical writing. Most of the journals and scientific reports are based on this format.

What is APA style?

APA style is basically used in the scientific writing and in the writing of social science. Subjects like anthropology, psychology and criminology are written under this style. APA Style was written down in 1929 by a group of scientists (Psychologist, anthropologist and criminologist.) It was done with the purpose to make scientific writing easy for the readers. So that reader may be able to understand these scientific developments without difficulty.

Why do we use APA style?

APA style is used to make the writing more authentic in the eyes of the audience. These writing styles clearifies to the readers how the paper is written.

These small details make the writing more favourable for the readers. It involves a lot of minute details.

APA headings format:

Let’s examine the basic guidelines for each level of headings:

Level 1: Centered, Bold, Title Case, Text to begin on a new line
Level 2: Left-aligned, Bold, Title Case, Text to begin on a new line
Level 3: Left-aligned, Bold, Italic, Title case, Text to begin on a new line
Level 4: Indented, Bold, Title Case, Period, Text to begin on a same line
Level 5: Indented, Bold, Title Case, Period, Italic, Text to begin on a new line

Other Guidelines for headings:

Other than the specific headlines for each headline style, there are several other guidelines issued for general purposes. You’ll have to follow these:

  • You need to have all the text double spaced, including the headings.
  • You have to use the same font for the headings and body text.
  • But do not label the headings with numbers or letters.
  • Do not add extra spaces above or below the headings.

How many heading levels should be used?

It depends on the length of your paper or double spaced essay. Some papers may require you to use all the five levels of headings, and others may require no headings. It all depends on how your topic requires you to write.

However, if one section of your paper goes as deep as five headlines, it does not mean that other sections have to go as deep.

All about the level of headings:

Heading level one can be used for the main section, like Methods, Results, and Discussions.

In the first paragraph, you do not need to write the introduction as the heading. It is understood.

Heading two is used for subheading under the heading one. For example, if level one is a Research Method. Then at level two, you can mention the Method of Sampling and Data. The further heading is also divided in a similar way.

Advantage of using APA style:

APA style is pretty great when it comes to helping the readers understand the text and increase the authority of the writer.

The style is also great for several other reasons:

Preferred style

APA (The American Psychological Association writing style) is the preferred writing style for many scientific subjects. It is recognized by the scientific community, and many Universities follow this format. This makes the writing more relevant.

If you write a scientific report in the APA format, it is more likely that your report will be approved for the journal. However, if it is not written properly in the format, your paper may get rejected instantly. If not, the committee would definitely ask you to rewrite it in the format.


Other than the above-mentioned benefit, if you write your paper in the APA, your original ideas will be more visible.

In an APA style of writing, ideas that are adopted from others have to be labeled. This shows which ideas are original and plagiarism free. It boosts scientific research too.

Naturally, a research paper written in the APA format will be more appealing to the readers.

Connects the citation

In the APA style writing, there needs to be a brief reference to the citation in the body of the text. Whereas, details of the citation are given in a separate reference section.

Easy to identify and reference the text

The APA writing style is designed to make sure that you are giving proper credit to others. You are giving credit to writers for their work. This will allow readers to understand where the idea originally belongs to. This helps the scientific community in two important ways. It helps the researchers that wish to study your sources for their own research. It also helps the scholars to find the origin of the idea or solution and trace its evolution.

Uniformity in font

Adopting the writing style of APA allows your papers to be a strong candidate for approval. Such a paper is consistent and thorough throughout. APA writing style makes sure that your paper is properly structured and presented.

What is MLA?

The heading along with subheading allows the writers to organize and properly structure their MLA paper and essays. But, MLA has not set any specific set of rules for the formatting of the MLA headlines and subheadings. Therefore, MLA heading and subheadings have to be consistent with the general formatting rules and guidelines of the MLA style.

However, not all students are required to set the research papers or essay papers in accordance with the MLA style. So students should ask their teachers regarding the assignment guidelines before attempting the paper in any format.

However, if you are required by your teacher to add section headings, then follow the below guidelines:

MLA basic guidelines:


You can select any font that is readable. However, Times New Roman is generally preferred by most students and teachers alike.

Font size:

Like any other recognized writing style, MLA also prefers 12 pts font for essay writing. The standard set by this size of font allows the readers to easily read through the whole passage.

Line spacing:

Like any other good style, MLA also requires double spacing between the lines. They require double space because it is each for the writers to worry about the work. But if upon a page being filled, the writer usually gets some encouragement.

Paragraph indentation:

In the MLA style, every new paragraph should have at least half an inch of indent. How to do that on docs. Try pressing the Tab button on the computer.

Indenture helps the readers understand where the idea breaks and where a new idea comes in. It also helps in the clarification of the structure and plan for the whole 500 word essay.

Title case:

Under the MLA style, all heading and subheading are required to be written in the title case.

No period or full stop at the end of headings:

This is important. Writers are not allowed to place periods after the headings. In an MLA format, you have to write the essay headings without such marks because headings are not the same as sentences. Headings are generic and mostly incomplete sentences.

Setting the title page

Under the MLA format, you are not required to create a title page for the essay and the paper. However, writers are required to write the title on the first page of the heading. Moreover, the title comes strictly after your information, your instructor’s information, and the due date.

How should the title be like?

  • Center align. The title should be aligned to the center or center-aligned.
  • Written in 12 pts fonts. The font size, like the size of the other pages, should be written in the 12 pts fonts.
  • Double spaced. The paper should be written with double space. It helps the whole paper to be more readable.
  • Written in sentence case. The title has to be written in the sentence case.
  • However, a title should not be. We, as humans, like commonplace writing styles -changing writing to something new makes us confused.
  • Italicized. It is not allowed to italicize your essay, it may get you in trouble.
  • Bold. The paper should not be bold either.
  • Underlined. It should not be underlined.


Level one of the headings in the MLA paper is called heading. Whereas other levels of heading are called subsequent levels or subheadings.
This level of heading is usually the chapter title.

The heading should be:

  • Centre alignment is a must.
  • Written in the 12 Pts fonts
  • Double spacing.


The subheading of MLA style also has five levels like the MLA.

Tips on writing a great essay or paper with subheadings

Writing an essay and paper is not difficult if you know who to present your ideas and do research. Consider the fact that if you write an essay without proper research and proper sketch of what you want to write on the topic, you will end up writing something not good for anybody. Meanwhile, it is also important to write a relevant essay without plagiarism.

Here are some tips that will help you write a great essay with proper subheadings:

Tip #1: Brainstorm

Always brainstorm your topic before you start writing on it. By brainstorming, you will be able to know what information can be included in the essay.

This will allow you to write a comprehensive all-in-one essay. If your essay is not comprehensive, that means you may be hiding something. Brainstorming further allows you to write the essay on relevant topics.

Tip #2: Outline your essay

It is also important to write an outline for your essay. The outline will make your essay relevant and to the point. Always remember, readers are not looking for filler. You need to have relevant quality content.

An outline should start with an introduction and end with a conclusion. The mid part of the outline refers to the body of the essay.

Tip #3: Write each point in a way that expresses the idea

Each point of your essay outline can be a heading. Take these topics from there and make them a heading when you write on the topic.

Add some value to the essay outline and headings.

Tip #4: Use adjectives to express power in your topic headlines

Good headings need to have powerful adjectives. Follow the MLA patter or APA pattern; however, whenever you write headings, try using an adjective. Because an adjective makes your headings more readable and interesting.

If you write interesting headings, your material and ideas will be read more than you think. It will demand to increase your product’s readability.

Tip #5: Add a thesis statement

Always add a thesis statement to your essay. If you want your essay to be properly written and understood, you need to write a good thesis statement. Always remember the thesis statement is the single most important statement of your whole essay. If you write a good thesis statement, people will appreciate your essay. Because without a thesis statement, an essay seems to be directionless.


Writing a good essay requires effort on your part. I hope that, in this article you understood, have a thing about an essay format, MLA and APA. However, if you have any questions or what to add something, please inform us by comments or messages. We will really appreciate that.

So here’s the final tip for you, stay creative, practice more and be a solution to your problems.

So until next time, bet of luck for your future.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments