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APA Style Guide: Formatting Your Paper

Typography

APA recommends using 12-point Times New Roman font. If you are not using Times New Roman, then use another serif typeface for readability. Only use a different typeface in figure descriptions to add style to the paper (section 8.03).

Line Spacing & Margins

Use double-spacing throughout the entire paper. To add double-spacing in Microsoft Word, highlight all the text you want double-spaced, and then click on Page Layout. Next to the word Paragraph, click on the arrow. Under Spacing, Line Spacing, select Double and then click OK.

Put one space after the period for each sentence in the body of the paper unless you are specifically instructed otherwise (section 4.01). Do not insert a space after internal periods in abbreviations (e.g., a.m., i.e., U.S.).

Leave 1-inch margins from top to bottom and side to side. Microsoft Word usually is set to 1-inch margins. You can check this by clicking on Page Layout; then click on Margins. The margin you are using is highlighted; select Normal if it is not already selected. 

Step by Step Instructions for Formatting your APA Style Research Paper

Video How-To for Other Popular Applications

Sample Paper

APA Title Page

The title page of an APA paper includes a shortened version of your title in the header, with the words:

Running head:

before it. The shortened title needs to make sense, it is not simply the first 50 characters of the longer title. The running head is on the left, on the right is the page number, starting with 1. Centered on the page is the full title of the paper, the author's name is on the next line, and the institutional affiliation (your school) is on the third line.

Abstract

If your professor requires an abstract, you will include a summary of your paper on the second page. Start the abstract on a new page. Type the word Abstract on the center top of the page. Include page number and shortened title in the header. You no longer need to type the words

Running head:

before the title. The abstract is typed without any indentation.

Body of Paper

Finally, we begin to type the paper! The full title starts it off at the top center of a new page. For the rest of the paper, you only need the title and page numbers in the header. Remember to cite your sources.

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