How To Format A Harvard Essay

Now that you have been asked to format your essay in Harvard Style, it is important to have a clear understanding of the different elements that must be fully accounted for. Essay format is part of the elements considered in the grading process, hence the need to get everything right. In order to fully understand the Harvard format style, the following elements should be amply accounted for: the title page, the header, line-spacing and indentation, margins, in-text references, and the list of references. Let’s take a closer look on each of them:

Title Page

This is basically the page that provides the identification details. In this case, you will be required to include all the identification details in the first page. This means that your essay should begin in the second page.

First, the title page should be in center-text and should be placed halfway down the page. Write the title, go three lines down, and write the name of the author in lowercase. After this, you should go four lines down and write the name of the class. This should be followed by the name of the professor one line down. The next line should provide the name of the school. In some cases, you will be required to provide other details, including the city and state.


The header, according to Harvard referencing style, should be positioned at the top right of every page. In this case, you should open the header section using the ‘insert’ option in your Word Processor. Begin by inserting the page number followed by a space and then the author’s surname. Note that the author’s surname should be in uppercase. It is also important to note that there should be consistency in all pages; hence, none of the pages should have different header details.

Line Spacing and Indentation

This is an important element as far as Harvard formatting is concerned. In this case, you are expected to apply double-spacing between one line and the other. Aside from that, you are required to indent the first line of each paragraph half an inch towards the right. It is important to note that the first line indentation and double spacing applies for the content of your essay and not the title page. It is, however, notable that the list of references adopts the double-spacing aspect, but with a hanging indentation.


Just like most other formatting styles, you are expected to apply 1-inch margins at the top, bottom, and both sides of each page. This is the standard size of the margins, unless in special occasions whereby your instructor may request otherwise. Any Word Processor has the feature that allows you to format the margins in such a manner that the configuration cuts across all pages. Remember that indentation on paragraphs should be half an inch to the right.

In-text Citations

The standard rule for in-text citations in Harvard style is that there should be the name of the author, followed by the year of publication, and the exact page number in which the cited facts can be found. It is, however, notable that sources may be different; hence, exact page numbers may not be required always. For example, websites do not feature page numbers. Hence the standard rule would include providing the author’s surname and the year of publication only. The type of source should guide you in applying citations.

List of References

This comes in the final section of your Harvard essay. The list of references should be in a separate last page. Note that the references should be double-spaced with hanging indentation. All sources applied in in-text citations should feature fully in the list of references.