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Ready, Set, Cite (APA, 7th)

Become an expert using the 7th edition of the APA manual

Formatting Your Paper

Formatting Your Paper

The Rules

For help on all aspects of formatting your paper in APA Style, see The Essentials page on the APA Style website.

  • FontAPA recommends you use:
    • sans serif fonts such as 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, or 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode, or
    • serif fonts such as 12-point Times New Roman, 11-point Georgia, or normal (10-point) Computer Modern (the default font for LaTeX)
  • Line SpacingIn general, double-space all parts of an APA Style paper, including the abstract, text, block quotations, table and figure numbers, titles, and notes, and reference list (including between and within entries). Do not add extra space before or after paragraphs.
    • There are exceptions for the title pagetablesfiguresfootnotes, and displayed equations.
  • MarginsUse 1-in. margins on every side of the page.
  • Paragraph Alignment and Indentation:
    • Align the text of an APA Style paper to the left margin. Leave the right margin uneven, or “ragged.”
    • Do not use full justification for student papers.
    • Do not insert hyphens (manual breaks) in words at the end of line. However, it is acceptable if your word-processing program automatically inserts breaks in long hyperlinks (such as in a DOI or URL in a reference list entry).
    • Indent the first line of each paragraph of text 0.5 in. from the left margin. Use the tab key or the automatic paragraph-formatting function of your word-processing program to achieve the indentation (the default setting is likely already 0.5 in.). Do not use the space bar to create indentation. 
    • There are exceptions for the title pagesection labelsabstractblock quotationsheadingstables and figuresreference list, and appendices.

Paper Elements

Student papers generally include, at a minimum: 

Student papers may include additional elements such as tables and figures depending on the assignment. So, please check with your teacher!

Student papers generally DO NOT include the following unless your teacher specifically requests it:

  • Running head
  • Abstract
  • Author note

Page Order

For complete information on the order of pages, see the APA Style website.

Number your pages consecutively starting with page 1. Each section begins on a new page. Put the pages in the following order:

  • Page 1: Title page
  • Page 2: Abstract (if your teacher requires an abstract)
  • Page 3: Text 
  • References begin on a new page after the last page of text
  • Footnotes begin on a new page after the references (if your teacher requires footnotes)
  • Tables begin each on a new page after the footnotes (if your teacher requires tables) 
  • Figures begin on a new page after the tables (if your teacher requires figures)
  • Appendices begin on a new page after the tables and/or figures (if your teacher requires appendices)

Sample Papers With Built-In Instructions

To see what your paper should look like, check out these sample papers with built-in instructions.

Headings Organize Your Paper (2.27)

APA Style uses five (5) levels of headings to help you organize your paper and allow your audience to identify its key points easily. Levels of headings establish the hierarchy of your sections just like you did in your paper outline.

APA tells us to use "only the number of headings necessary to differentiate distinct section in your paper." Therefore, the number of heading levels you create depends on the length and complexity of your paper.

See the chart below for instructions on formatting your headings:

Levels of Headings


Video Tutorials

Use Word to Format Your Paper:

Use Google Docs to Format Your Paper: