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APA Style Paper [7th Edition]: Brief Formatting Overview

APA style paper is an often choice for academic writing for students and professional writers. It helps to format an essay, research paper, or any other assignment according to the common rules. These formatting requirements are accepted by most institutions and professors since following such guidelines helps ease paper comprehension.

There are two types of APA paper format that serve different purposes: for scholar publication texts and for students’ assignments in college or university. This article will highlight APA style paper general guidelines regarding both types.

We will show you how to format any paper in this style without getting deep into APA citation. Let’s learn its basics.

Each APA style paper should:

  • Be double-spaced even when we talk about headings
  • Include a header with page’s number throughout your text
  • Have a 0.5 inch indentation at the beginning of each new paragraph
  • Have margins put on 1 inch on all sides
  • Be typed in sans serif standard fonts like Times New Roman, size 12pt or Arial, size 11pt
Example of APA style paper

APA Title Page

APA title page format can vary depending on whether you write for professional scholar publication or for an assignment in college or university. Both versions have a lot in common and serve as an opening page of your APA style paper. Also you can use Cover Page Generator to make the right formatting title page for any types of publications.

As for similarities, both types require including the paper's title, author's name and institutional affiliation. The scholar piece also needs to have an author’s note, which is not needed in an APA title page in regular high school and college papers, and an extended header that includes the paper's title.

Example of APA professional title page

Versions for college or university assignments also should include author’s name and the course number, instructor’s name, and paper’s due date. Learn more on how to create a title page in APA style and get into details.

Example of APA students title page

APA Header Format

The APA style header always has a page number, which is located in this page’s top corner. This rule is acceptable both in students’ works and academic publications. The difference is that the latter’s page header consists of not only a page number but also a running head — capitalized paper’s title.

APA running head is another topic to discuss so feel free to learn more about it in our blog.

Example of APA page header

APA Headings

There are 5 different headings levels in APA style paper. First level goes for the main heading — your title — and subsequent ones are subheadings.

  1. First level is a paper’s title. This heading level should be bold and centered and use a title capitalization. Text under this heading starts with a 0.5 inch indentation.
  2. Second one is left-aligned, bold, and also has title capitalization. First-line that goes under this subheading has a 0.5 inch indentation.
  3. Third level is similar to the second one, plus it should be italicized.
  4. Fourth level has a 0.5 inch indentation. It should be bolded, use title case capitalization, and end with a period. Text starts on the same line.
  5. Fifth level is similar to the fourth one plus it can include italics.

Check our blog to get more information concerning APA style headings.

APA Abstract

An APA abstract format is another important thing to learn. An abstract is a summary of your text. Guidelines require to place it on the next separate page right after the title one. This page starts with a bolded and centered “Abstract” line at the top.

Do not indent abstract first sentence like in general format’s guidelines. It shouldn't be a one-page paragraph either. Usually, abstract word count lies within 150-250 words. Also you can check your abstract length at Words to Pages Converter.

After summarizing, you can list used keywords at the abstract page’s bottom. Type italicized “Keyword” with 0.5 indentation, put a colon, and go through your keywords without any formatting (no italics, bold, underline).

Most likely you will face an abstract page in any APA format paper created for an academic publication. It is also possible to see very page in a thesis for a college or university.

Example of APA abstract page

APA Table of Contents

This format does not require using table of contents in your text so you can stick to general table of contents rules. In case of APA style paper, create a separate page for a table of contents after your title page or an abstract if you have it.

Top of this page should start with a bolded and centered “Contents” label. Then press enter and go through listing your headings with page numbers indented in 0.5 inch. Check our article regarding table of contents format for more information.

APA Reference Page

Reference page in any APA style paper is a final page that includes the list of all cited sources. Traditionally, you need to bold and center the “References” label at the top. After this, list your sources in alphabetical order.

Source itself should include author's name, year of publication, italicized source’s title, unformatted edition in brackets if needed, and publisher’s name. Example of an APA reference page source looks like this:

Salinger, J.D. (1991). The Catcher in the Rye. Little, Brown and Company.

Remember that you need to put all entries to a left side with a 0.5 inch indentation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it important to use APA format?

APA format helps to standardize your text according to the rules accepted in your institution. This gives a room to ease the comprehension of each written piece. It also is a plus because writing paper in a certain way makes your content more understandable and concise.

What is the recommended maximum number of words in the title of an APA style paper?

Try to stick to 12 words or 50 characters in your title. It is quite enough to come up with a catchy and complete title for your academic assignment.

What font should I use in APA style paper?

This format accepts widespread both serif and sans-serif fonts like:

  • Times New Roman, 12 pt.
  • Arial, 11pt.
  • Georgia, 11pt
  • Calibri, 11pt

Keep in mind that you should use the same font throughout your whole paper.

Can APA style paper be single-spaced?

No. These rules are strict and require a writer to use double-spaced format in APA papers.

Emma Flores knows all about formatting standards. She shares with StudyCrumb readers tips on creating academic papers that will meet high-quality standards.

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