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How to Do a Running Head: APA Style 7th Edition with Examples

APA format running heads have nothing to do with sport or body parts. They refer to a small section that repeats at the top of every document page. Read our article to discover what it includes and how you can easily make it work!

What Is a Running Head in APA Style?

An APA style is used to design works related to Social Studies. This paper style requires a running head. Basically, it’s a short version of an article’s title that appears at the top of each page. And usually this top line contains just two things:

  1. Page number
  2. Shorten title name

These small sections are mainly used in professional manuscripts. However, a student version may go without it, unless required.

What Does APA Headers Format Require?

Specific requirements to APA format running heads may vary. In general, you should keep them concise and to the point. Note that this referencing style is one of the most common formats in Psychology, Sociology, Business, etc. It may be pretty challenging to grasp all APA requirements right away, but with our tips below, you can easily prepare your running head!

1. APA Running Head Font and Size

American Psychological Association (APA) recommends that font for your running head should preferably be Times New Roman, 12 pt. size. But any well-readable font can be used in this section. Don't forget that all APA documents should be typed with double spacing, starting with a title page and ending with a list of sources used.

2. "Running Head:" Is Only on the First Page

APA format needs a caption on every page. Note that you should write "Running head" before your title on the first page. But after the title page, these two words do not need to be written. You should only add the abbreviated title of your work. Place it on the front sheet using this format:

Running head is only on the first page

Just like any other section of your paper, including section headings and APA table of contents, your header should be concise. Only a shortened version of your title should appear on the consecutive pages just like in this example below.

Shortened version of a title on the consecutive pages

3. Left and Right Tops in APA Headers Format

If your document has page numbers, this is a perfect place to put them in. Insert the page number in the right top corner. Your running head should be left-aligned.

4. APA Running Head: Capitalized

APA running heads are written in all capital letters on every page of your document. "NAME OF DOCUMENT" is printed without indentation at the left side in capital letters. This rule covers both all-important context words of four letters or more, and minor words of three letters or fewer.

5. Don't Make APA Running Head Too Long

A top of each page should be placed with a shortened version of your document title. Pay attention that it cannot exceed 50 characters, including spaces and punctuation. If your article's title exceeds this limit, you need to create a separate phrase that follows the exact style specified below.

First, define the body of your title. Here is an APA running head example, if your document is titled.

APA running head example “Effects of Running on Heart Health in Elderly Patients, Running and Heart Health in Elderly Patients”

Consider using only the first or second part:

APA running head example “Effects of Running on Heart Health, Heart Health in Elderly Patients

Make your choice based on which ideas and concepts are most relevant to your article. If it doesn't make sense to use part of your title, try to make a few changes or even rephrasing the whole name.

Second, exclude words such as "the" or "a". Here are incorrect and correct APA running head examples:

Incorrect and correct APA running head examples “The Literary Traditions in Ancient China, Literary Traditions in Ancient China”

In this case, simply removing "the" from your title creates a perfect fit within limits of 50 characters.

Practical Tips for APA Headers in Microsoft Word and Google Docs

How should you add an APA running head to every page? Below you will find useful tips on how to format these small sections in Microsoft Word or Google Docs.

In Microsoft Word

  1. Choose “Insert” and click “Header or Footer”.
  2. Select “Different First Page”.
  3. Type "Running head", followed by your article’s title.
  4. Now go to page 2 and print your title without "Running head:."
  5. Then go to “Insert”, click “Page Number” and align it to the right.
  6. Now it's ready! To exit, close “Header and Footer”.

In Google Docs

  1. Choose “Insert” and click “Header or Footer”.
  2. Select "Different First Page".
  3. Type "Running head", followed by your article’s title.
  4. Insert page number by clicking on "Header and Page Number."
  5. Use “Tab” to align “Page Number” to the right.
  6. Now go to page 2 and print your title without "Running head:"
  7. Repeat step 5.
  8. Now it's ready! You can exit “Header and Footer”.

Bottom Line

APA running heads are requested for practical reasons. Each page should be clearly marked as part of your article. If your piece is printed on paper and different pages fall to the floor they will be messed up. But a top line on each sheet will help any reader get all pages back in the right order. Even readers viewing an electronic version of an article can appreciate clear labelings, especially if they are sorting many documents simultaneously.

The APA style is considered one of the most popular when writing works on social and psychological topics. Therefore, mistakes made in this referencing style will immediately attract attention.

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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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