APA Page Format


  1. 1” margins
  2. Acceptable fonts and sizes: Size 12-point Times New Roman;11-point Arial, Calibri, and Georgia; or 10-point Lucida.
  3. Body of paper is aligned left
  4. Running head (by instructor preference) in header, left aligned
  5. Page number in header right aligned
  6. Line Spacing – double throughout
  7. Tab in the first line of a paragraph ½” or .5
  8. Title is bolded, centered with proper capitalization
  9. Level 1 heading on 2nd page of paper, centered and bolded and is usually the title of the paper, never the word Introduction.
  10. References is the last page of the paper


  1. 1” margins – top, bottom, left, right.
  2. Word margins are set in Layout or in File/Page Setup/Margins.


  1. Acceptable fonts and sizes: Size 12-point Times New Roman; 11-point Arial, Calibri, and Georgia;10-point Lucida; or other legible font as approved by instructor.
  2. Font and font size are important for readability.
  3. Do not use bold except for section headings if section headings are used.
  4. Do not use all caps except for the title of the paper in the Header or an acronym (NATO, AIDS).
  5. Do not use italics or underlining unless there is a rule that says to use them.


  1. Left align – this is the usual default setting.
  2. Do not block or justify where the right margin is uneven.
  3. Alignment can be set in the Paragraph box if the icon is not visible.

Line Spacing

  1. Double space –throughout the entire document.
  2. Check default settings in the Paragraph box and reset per instructions under Paragraph setting (see below).

Paragraph Settings

Some programs such as Word 2007 and later have defaults in the Paragraph box which interferes with proper double spacing. The settings in the Paragraph dialogue box should be as follows to have proper double spacing.

  1. Indentation (on top) should be set at 0 left and 0 right.
  2. Spacing (on the lower left) should be set to 0 Before and 0 After.
  3. Line Spacing (on the lower right) should be set to double.
  4. Check the box that says “Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style.”
  5. Click Default (at the bottom) and select Yes to change defaults.

In Google docs, you can change Paragraph settings under Spacing to 0 next to Before and 0 next to After by going into the double spacing tool and clicking Custom Settings.  You will have to select (highlight) the entire paper including the heading in the upper left before making the change once the paper is typed.

In Pages, you can change the Paragraph settings by clicking on Format on the top navigation bar and then Paragraph. Remember that you have to highlight (select) the entire paper including the heading in the upper left before making change in Paragraph once the paper is typed.

First Line of a Paragraph

  1. Indent the first word of a paragraph 1/2” or .5 from the left margin.
  2. The Tab default is usually at this setting.  If not, reset defaults.

Spacing after a Period or Other End Punctuation

In the 7th edition of APA, only one space is used after the end of a sentence.

Page Number and Running Head

  1. In Word, click on the Insert tab and then click on Page Number in the menu bar. It will give you the option of where to insert the page number.
  2. Choose to insert the page number at the top of the page, right aligned.
  3. The page number appears on every page of the document, including the title page.
  4. Place the cursor left of the number and type in the running head.
  5. Total length of the running head is 50 characters and spaces.
  6. The running head is in all caps.
  7. After you typed click tab until the running head is left aligned in the header.
  8. Use a plain header format.
  9. Do not use bold, underlining, quotation marks, or a different font or color for the title.
  10. Do not use the word page or any abbreviation of the word page such as pg. or p. between the running head and the actual page number.

Heading Levels

There are five possible heading levels in APA style.

  • Level 1 headings are used for top-level or main sections – they are bolded and in the center of the page.
  • Level 2 and Level 3 headings are subsections of Level 1 – they are also bolded, but they are left aligned.
  • Levels 4 and 5 headings are bolded, italicized, indented, and followed by a period.

APA does not use the word Introduction. The Level 1 heading at the beginning of an APA paper is the bolded and centered title of the paper, typed on the first page of the paper after the title page.

See pages 47 - 49 in the APA Publication Manual for more detailed information.

Title Page

The student paper must include a title page. The following items are included on the student title page unless otherwise indicated by the instructor:

  1. The running head is an abbreviation of the title, written in all-caps, left aligned in the header up to 50 character and spaces long (if less than 50 character and spaces long then the entire title can be in the header)
  2. Page number is right aligned in the header
  3. The running head and page numbers appear on every page of the paper.
  4. All the text on the title page is centered and double spaced with proper capitalization (except for the header)
  5. Title is a maximum of three to four spaces below the header
  6. Directly below the title is the student author’s first and last name
  7. On the next line is the college/institution’s name, fully spelled out with proper capitalization
  8. Below the institution name is the course number and course name, ex:  COU 1234: Introduction to APA Usage
  9. On the next line is the instructor name, ex: Prof. I. Knowalot
  10. On the last line is the assignment due date, ex: February 29, 2028


If you are asked to prepare an abstract for your research paper, click Insert/Page Break to get to the top of a new page, and center the word Abstract in bold on the first line. Abstracts are typically no more than 250 words. They are usually a single paragraph with no indentation at the start of the paragraph. Otherwise, they follow the same formatting rules including double spacing.

Reference Page

  1. After the last section of your paper insert a page break.
  2. Type the word References, bolded, centered with proper capitalization
  3. The References page is double spaced.
  4. Each reference entry is left-aligned and formatted with a hanging indent.
  5. To create the hanging indent, highlight the reference entries and go into the Paragraph box.
  6. Under Special, select Hanging from the drop down menu. Once selected, the default under By should be .5’.
  7. Remember that your list has to be alphabetized by author. If there is no author or group author, use the title.
  8. There are no extra spaces in between entries.
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