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APA Style (7th ed.)

Format Your Paper

Download and use the editable templates for student papers below: 

Or, view the directions for specific sections below:

Order of Sections Title Page References
Margins & Page Numbers Body Appendices with Tables, Figures, & Illustrations
Text Format Headings Annotated Bibliography
  Quotations  Optional: Running Head & Abstract


Order of Sections (section 2.17)

  1. Title page including Title, Author, University and Department, Class, Instructor, and Date
  2. Body (including introduction, literature review or background, discussion, and conclusion)
  3. References
  4. Appendices (including tables & figures)

 


Margins & Page Numbers (sections 2.22-2.24)

  • 1 inch at top, bottom, and both sides
  • Left aligned paragraphs and leave the right edge ragged (not "right justified")
  • Indent first line of each paragraph 1/2 inch from left margin
  • Use page numbers, including on the title page, 1/2 inch from top and flush with right margin

 


Text Format (section 2.19)

  • Use one of these highly readable fonts: 
    • Times New Roman, 12 point
    • Calibri, 11 point
    • Arial, 11 point
    • Lucinda Sans Unicode, 10 point
    • Georgia, 11 point
  • Double-space and align text to the left
  • Use active voice
  • Don't overuse technical jargon
  • No periods after a web address or DOI in the References list.

 


Tables and Figures In-Text (chapter 7)

  • Label tables and figures numerically (ex. Table 1)
  • Give each table column a heading and use separating lines only when necessary
  • Design the table and figure so that it can be understood on its own, i.e. it does not require reference to the surrounding text to understand it
  • Notes go below tables and figures


Title Page (section 2.3)

  • Include the title, your name, the class name, and the college's name
  • Title should be 12 words or less and summarize the paper's main idea
  • No periods or abbreviations
  • Do not italicize or underline
  • No quotation marks, all capital letters, or bold
  • Center horizontally in upper half of the page

 

 


Body (section 2.11)

  • Align the text to the left with a 1/2-inch left indent on the first line
  • Double-space
  • As long as there is no Abstract, at the top of the first page, type the title of the paper, centered, in bold, and in Sentence Case Capitalization
  • Usually, include sections like these: introduction, literature review or background, discussion, and conclusion -- but the specific organization will depend on the paper type
  • Spell out long organization names and add the abbreviation in parenthesis, then just use the abbreviation
  • Spell out numbers one through nine and use a number for 10 or more
  • Use a number for units of measurement, in tables, to represent statistical or math functions, and dates or times

 

 


Headings (section 2.26-2.27)

  • Level 1: Center, bold, Title Case 
  • Level 2: Align left, bold, Title Case
  • Level 3: Alight left, bold italics, Title Case
  • Level 4: Indented 1/2", bold, Title Case, end with a period. Follow with text. 
  • Level 5: Indented 1/2", bold italics, Title Case, end with a period. Follow with text. 

an illustration of the headings -- same detail as is given directly above this image

 


Quotations (sections 8.26-8.33)

  • Include short quotations (40 words or less) in-text with quotation marks
  • For quotes more than 40 words, indent the entire quote a half inch from the left margin and double-space it with no quotation marks
  • When quoting two or more paragraphs from an original source, indent the first line of each paragraph a half inch from the left margin
  • Use ellipsis (...) when omitting sections from a quote and use four periods (....) if omitting the end section of a quote

 


References (section 2.12)

Begins on a new page following the text of your paper and includes complete citations for the resources you've used in your writing.

  • References should be centered and bolded at the top of a new page
  • Double-space and use hanging indents (where the first line is on the left margin and the following lines are indented a half inch from the left)
  • List authors' last name first followed by the first and middle initials (ex. Skinner, B. F.)
  • Alphabetize the list by the first author's last name of of each citation (see sections 9.44-9.49)
  • Capitalize only the first word, the first after a colon or em dash, and proper nouns
  • Don't capitalize the second word of a hyphenated compound
  • No quotation marks around titles of articles

 


Appendices with Tables, Figures, & Illustrations (section 2.14, and chapter 7)

  • Include appendices only to help the reader understand, evaluate, or replicate the study or argument
  • Put each appendix on a separate page and align left
  • For text, do not indent the first paragraph, but do indent the rest
  • If you have only one appendix, label it "Appendix"
  • If you have two or more appendices, label them "Appendix A", "Appendix B" and so forth as they appear in the body of your paper
  • Label tables and figures numerically (ex. Table 1, or Table B1 and Table B2 if Appendix B has two tables) and describe them within the text of the appendix
  • Give each table column a heading and use separating lines only when necessary
  • Notes go below tables and figures (see samples on p. 210-226)

 


Annotated Bibliography

  • Double-space the entire bibliography. Give each entry a hanging indent. In the following annotation, indent the entire paragraph a half inch from the left margin and give the first line of each paragraph a half inch indent. See the template document at the top of this page.

  • Check with your professor for the length of the annotation and which elements you should evaluate.

 


These elements are optional, if your professor or field requires them, but they are not required for student papers: 

 


Abstract (section 2.9)

  • Abstract gets its own page
  • Center "Abstract" heading and do not indent the first line of the text
  • Summarize the main points and purpose of the paper in 150-250 words maximum
  • Define abbreviations and acronyms used in the paper


Running Head (section 2.8)

  • Shorten title to 50 characters or less (counting spaces and punctuation) for the running head
  • In the top margin, the running head is aligned left, with the page number aligned on the right
  • On every page, put (without the brackets): [SHORTENED TITLE OF YOUR PAPER IN ALL CAPS] [page number] 

More questions? Check out the authoritative source: APA style blog