Setting Up and Formatting a Student APA Paper
If your paper will follow strict APA formatting, follow the steps below. Your paper should have three major sections: the title page, main body, and references list. The Publication Manual covers these guidelines in Chapter 2; the APA website also has a Quick Answers--Formatting page.
These guidelines will cover how to set up a student paper in APA format. The 7th edition now has specific formatting for student papers versus a professional paper (i.e. one being submitted for publication). If your instructor has requested a different format or additional elements, use your instructor's preferences.
The margins of the paper should be set to 1" (one inch) all around.
The line spacing for the paper should be set to double (2.0).
Your title should summarize the main topic of your paper. Try not to be too wordy or off-topic. While there is no word limit for titles, "short but sweet" is the goal. The APA Style Blog has further information on titles: Five Steps to a Great Title. Use title case for paper titles.
Insert the page number in the right area of the header. Use the built-in page numbering system; do not attempt to type each page number manually.
On the first page you will include the following information:
This information will be centered, and will be a few lines down from the top.
6. Set Up the References List
The references list should be on a new page, and should be the last section of your paper.
The heading at the top of the reference list should say References at the top (not Bibliography or Works Cited, unless your instructor tells you otherwise) and bolded.
All reference lists should have a hanging indent. An example of a hanging indent is shown below:
George, M. W. (2008). The elements of library research: What every student needs to know. Princeton University Press.
To create a hanging indent in Word, you can press the Control key along with the letter T.
Line spacing in the reference list should be set to double (2.0).
When organizing your references list, you must alphabetize your references. Generally, you will organize by the author's last name. Go letter by letter and ignore spaces, hyphens, punctuation etc.
If a work has no author, use the title to alphabetize. You will use the first significant word to alphabetize; this means you skip words like the, a, and an.
For more information on creating and formatting references, go to the Reference Components page.
Source: Publication Manual, 2.12; 9.44-9.49
APA does not specify a specific font or size, just that it must be legible. Their only guidelines is that the same font should be used throughout the paper. Some suggestions are 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode, 12-point Times New Roman, and 11-point Georgia.
If your instructor has specified a font or font size, follow those guidelines.
Source: Publication Manual, 2.19
Student papers do not need a running head.
Source: Publication Manual, 2.8; 2.18
Figures and Images
If you are using an image that does not require attribution, you may provide a figure number and title prior to the image.
If your image requires attribution, such as those governed by Creative Commons licenses, include the attribution below the image. You will also need to cite the image in your references list.
Animal Diversity Web. (n.d.). Sciurus carolinensis (eastern gray squirrel) [Photograph]. Creative Commons. https://ccsearch.creativecommons.org/photos/4556e4bd-fba4-4b54-b967-3bc912695df4
Source: Clip Art or Stock Image References [APA Style]
APA now has guidelines for an annotated bibliography. Annotations will be a new paragraph directly below the reference, indented 0.5" from the left. Retain the double-spacing.