Harvard - Paper Format Guide

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Harvard style is amongst the most commonly used formatting styles in academic writing. Harvard style formatting is most popularly used in humanities and philosophy. However, it is also used in writing academic papers in other fields. It is extensively used in behavioral sciences. This format layout general guideline for the formatting of Harvard papers. That includes the font size, margins, indents, and such guidelines. It also has rules about the citation of sources. If you are a student in a philosophy related field, you must consider learning the Harvard format, it might come handy.

General Harvard formatting guidelines

  • The preferred font is Times New Romans or Arial with a font size of 12pt.
  • Set margins to one inch on all four sides of the paper.
  • Use double-spacing throughout the whole text of the paper.
  • Each paragraph should begin with an indent of 0.5” space
  • All the text of the paper should be left-aligned.
  • The title of the paper should be in the middle of the page.
  • Use page number in the top right corner in the header.

Title and Header

In your Harvard paper, you should place the title of your paper before the text. It should be centrally aligned. The initial alphabet of all words except the conjunctions and prepositions should be capitalized. The page number should be included in the header in the top right corner. And before the page number, you should place your last name in the header.

Formatting the title page

It is the first and foremost page of your paper. It is also known as the cover page. According to the Harvard Citation and formatting guidelines, certain rules should be followed while composing the cover page

  • The title of your paper written in all capital letters must be written at around 1/3 way down the page.
  • Your name should be placed around a halfway down the page
  • Write the title of your course or course id around 2/3 way down the title page.
  • Thereafter add the name of your supervisor in the next line.
  • On the following lines, you should add the name of the department or that of the university and date of submission.


These are used to divide your paper into different sections. The level 1 heading is used to divide your paper into different parts and then level 2 headings further divides them into subsections.

  • Level1 heading: Like the title of your paper, level 1 headings are capitalized and centrally aligned. They are not italicized or underscored or boldfaced or intended. After a level 1 heading you should start your paragraph with an indent from a new line.
  • Level 2 headings: these are also capitalized like the level 1 headings. However, they are left-aligned and are also italicized.

General rules about In-text citations

  • Cite all your resources: This is a universal rule that the essay writer should cite all the resources that they have used in their paper.
  • Parenthetical in-text citation: The sources are directly cited by providing the last name of the author and date of its publication, along with the page number on which the given information was found.
  • Direct quotation: For citing quotes you are to use quotation marks and cite it by providing the author name along with the date of publication and the page number and paragraph number from which the quotation was taken.
  • No author: When the author of a document is unknown, you can proceed by using the name of the document instead of the author’s name in parenthesis.
  • No date: In the case of the unavailability of the date of publication of the document, you can simply write "n.d.” in place of the date.

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