Given the individuality and uniqueness of every person, some things in life have to be unified. White collars are to dress in the classic style to work, while pupils wear school uniform on a daily basis. This allows for consistency and accuracy in their respective institutions just like the formatting does in writing. For clear and digestible expression of ideas, essays follow a certain structure, consist of particular elements, and have a special layout. 

Basics of Academic Formatting 
Even though formatting is only a small part of work on the written assignment, it accounts for approximately 10-15% of the total grade. Therefore, for some students it is easier to hand such task over to company or other essay writing services, which consult on formatting. Others, though, have to get acquainted with formatting peculiarities on their own. Main elements of the formatting are as follows: 

Title page. It contains name of a student, number, question title, due date, unit coordinator,  and word count. 
Margins. These can range from 2.5 cm to maximum 3 cm all around. 
Paragraphs. Any essay shall be divided into paragraphs each explaining one point. The paragraphs shall be doubled or 1.5 spaced. Usually, paragraphs vary depending on the referencing style.
Font. It is typical to use a plain serif (e.g. Times New Roman) or sans serif (e.g. Arial) font as it is easier to read. The most appropriate size is 12 for the main text and 14 for headings. The whole paper shall be written with the same font size. 
Appendices. Appendices usually follow the reference list and incorporate graphs, tables or pictures which were too large to be inserted into the main body of text. Each appendix starts on a new page. 

Formatting Styles 
Apart from the general rules on the formatting of the scholarly text, there are also special citation styles to which one should adhere. Yale academics have explained the reasons for having a number of citation styles with varying expectations that different academic disciplines have. The most commonly used citation styles include:
APA (American Psychological Association),
MLA (Modern Language Association),
APA style is one of the two “in-text” citation styles meaning that piece of the information about the source is given  directly after the quotation while the rest is put on the list of References. APA style is used primarily for publications in the field of social sciences. The in-text citation usually includes the author’s name followed by the year of the publication. Thus, a reader may quickly see the way research on the topic has evolved over time. 

MLA style is another “in-text” citation style, which, however, is usually used for the works in the humanities. Given that research in the humanities illustrate how one piece of writing influences another, MLA style includes not only the author’s name but also the page in the original text cited. This way scholars can easily find the cited sentence in the original text. 

Apart from in-text citation, one may also use footnotes as under the Chicago Style. The information as to sources is given at the bottom of the page. This formatting is primarily applied to historical researches. Since historical publications need to keep reader’s attention all the way, when information providing an evidence comes from multiple resources it is better to be cited in the footnotes instead of the parenthesis. 

Harvard citation style was developed by the Harvard University itself for convenience and is used in many disciplines. This is an author-date citation style similar to the APA one, though with minor differences as to punctuation. As regards the reference list in Harvard style, this has to be arranged alphabetically by author. 

Even though writing seems to be a creative process with individual approach, there is a need for certain formatting in the scholar setting. Formatting has to do with structure as well as citation styles, as these determine the way information in the paper is laid out. Elements of structure include specifications as to margins, fonts, and appendices. Citation formatting establishes the way information on the used sources is provided in the text and how reader comprehends it.