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Purdue Owl: APA Formatting & Style Guide

Developed by Purdue's Online Writing Lab. Contains resources on in-text citation and the references page, as well as APA sample papers, slide presentations, and the APA classroom poster.

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APA Style Help & Tools

{{page_title}}, best bet: apa's academic writer.

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Academic Writer is the only authoritative and complete online environment for teaching, writing, and publishing in APA Style®, now updated to the 7th Edition. Designed to help users develop their writing and professional research skills, Academic Writer combines sophisticated learning and teaching tools, advanced writing and content management technology, and full integration of APA’s best-selling Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association® to create an unparalleled web-based suite of integrated services and tools.

Access Academic Writer anytime with this link:

library.purdueglobal.edu/academicwriter

Academic Writer Documentation & Tips

The below links lead to more information, tips, and training about the basics of using Academic Writer.

  • Library Guide to Academic Writer
  • Getting Started Guide (PDF)
  • Creating Academic Writer Accounts (PDF)
  • Accessing the Publication Manual (PDF)
  • Technical Requirements

Using Academic Writer's Writing Tools

Academic Writer contains a Writing section where you can create and write a full APA-formatted paper.  You can write the entire paper in Academic Writer or just use it to setup the title page, headings, and references.  Export your work at any time to a Microsoft Word document.  Below are documents from Academic Writer about the essential features of their Writing tools.  

  • Setting up the Title Page
  • Adding References to Papers (PDF)
  • Adding In-Text Citations (PDF)
  • Adding Tables (PDF)
  • Exporting Papers (PDF)

Featured Items from Academic Writer

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Basics of APA Style

Learn the basics of APA Style, including how to format a manuscript, understand the form and function of common manuscript parts, organize and express your thoughts clearly and precisely, employ the mechanics of style, use graphic elements effectively, credit sources and acknowledge the contributions of others, and construct a comprehensive and reliable reference list.

Academic Writer

© 2020 American Psychological Association.

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How to Avoid Plagiarism and Self-Plagiarism

Learn how to avoid plagiarism and self-plagiarism, including how to identify plagiarism, understand its risks and consequences, cite sources properly, and develop sound writing practices.

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Learn how to set up the title page of an APA Style paper, including the page header and running head, title, author name and affiliation, and author note.

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Paper Template: ("Merenda" Sample Student Paper)

This sample response paper presents a university student's personal reaction to an article about whether medication is prescribed too often to young children to treat psychological disorders. The title page demonstrates the simple default layout for a student paper. The paper has a simple setup with only a title page, body of text, and references. No "running head"! Response papers typically do not include author notes or abstracts, though this may vary by assignment.

Visit the Writing Center

Need writing help?  Visit the Writing Center to contact a tutor, submit your paper for review and feedback, or ask APA Style-related questions, as well as access dozens of writing tutorials, videos, webinars, and other instructional resources.

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PG Writing Center's Top APA Links

  • Common Citations in APA Format
  • APA Title Page and Running Head Video
  • APA (7th Edition) Demystified in 5 Minutes Video
  • Formatting an APA Style (7th Edition) Reference List Video
  • Writing With Integrity (APA Style 7th Ed.)

eBook on APA Style 7th Edition

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Zotero: Free Reference Management Tool

Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources. This tool is especially popular for heavy researchers at the grad level and above.

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Generate accurate APA citations for free

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APA Formatting and Citation (7th Ed.) | Generator, Template, Examples

Published on November 6, 2020 by Raimo Streefkerk . Revised on January 17, 2024.

The 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual provides guidelines for clear communication , citing sources , and formatting documents. This article focuses on paper formatting.

Generate accurate APA citations with Scribbr

Throughout your paper, you need to apply the following APA format guidelines:

  • Set page margins to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Double-space all text, including headings.
  • Indent the first line of every paragraph 0.5 inches.
  • Use an accessible font (e.g., Times New Roman 12pt., Arial 11pt., or Georgia 11pt.).
  • Include a page number on every page.

APA format (7th edition)

Let an expert format your paper

Our APA formatting experts can help you to format your paper according to APA guidelines. They can help you with:

  • Margins, line spacing, and indentation
  • Font and headings
  • Running head and page numbering

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Table of contents

How to set up apa format (with template), apa alphabetization guidelines, apa format template [free download], page header, headings and subheadings, reference page, tables and figures, frequently asked questions about apa format.

Are your APA in-text citations flawless?

The AI-powered APA Citation Checker points out every error, tells you exactly what’s wrong, and explains how to fix it. Say goodbye to losing marks on your assignment!

Get started!

apa format owl

References are ordered alphabetically by the first author’s last name. If the author is unknown, order the reference entry by the first meaningful word of the title (ignoring articles: “the”, “a”, or “an”).

Why set up APA format from scratch if you can download Scribbr’s template for free?

Student papers and professional papers have slightly different guidelines regarding the title page, abstract, and running head. Our template is available in Word and Google Docs format for both versions.

  • Student paper: Word | Google Docs
  • Professional paper: Word | Google Docs

In an APA Style paper, every page has a page header. For student papers, the page header usually consists of just a page number in the page’s top-right corner. For professional papers intended for publication, it also includes a running head .

A running head is simply the paper’s title in all capital letters. It is left-aligned and can be up to 50 characters in length. Longer titles are abbreviated .

APA running head (7th edition)

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

APA headings have five possible levels. Heading level 1 is used for main sections such as “ Methods ” or “ Results ”. Heading levels 2 to 5 are used for subheadings. Each heading level is formatted differently.

Want to know how many heading levels you should use, when to use which heading level, and how to set up heading styles in Word or Google Docs? Then check out our in-depth article on APA headings .

APA headings (7th edition)

The title page is the first page of an APA Style paper. There are different guidelines for student and professional papers.

Both versions include the paper title and author’s name and affiliation. The student version includes the course number and name, instructor name, and due date of the assignment. The professional version includes an author note and running head .

For more information on writing a striking title, crediting multiple authors (with different affiliations), and writing the author note, check out our in-depth article on the APA title page .

APA title page - student version (7th edition)

The abstract is a 150–250 word summary of your paper. An abstract is usually required in professional papers, but it’s rare to include one in student papers (except for longer texts like theses and dissertations).

The abstract is placed on a separate page after the title page . At the top of the page, write the section label “Abstract” (bold and centered). The contents of the abstract appear directly under the label. Unlike regular paragraphs, the first line is not indented. Abstracts are usually written as a single paragraph without headings or blank lines.

Directly below the abstract, you may list three to five relevant keywords . On a new line, write the label “Keywords:” (italicized and indented), followed by the keywords in lowercase letters, separated by commas.

APA abstract (7th edition)

APA Style does not provide guidelines for formatting the table of contents . It’s also not a required paper element in either professional or student papers. If your instructor wants you to include a table of contents, it’s best to follow the general guidelines.

Place the table of contents on a separate page between the abstract and introduction. Write the section label “Contents” at the top (bold and centered), press “Enter” once, and list the important headings with corresponding page numbers.

The APA reference page is placed after the main body of your paper but before any appendices . Here you list all sources that you’ve cited in your paper (through APA in-text citations ). APA provides guidelines for formatting the references as well as the page itself.

Creating APA Style references

Play around with the Scribbr Citation Example Generator below to learn about the APA reference format of the most common source types or generate APA citations for free with Scribbr’s APA Citation Generator .

Formatting the reference page

Write the section label “References” at the top of a new page (bold and centered). Place the reference entries directly under the label in alphabetical order.

Finally, apply a hanging indent , meaning the first line of each reference is left-aligned, and all subsequent lines are indented 0.5 inches.

APA reference page (7th edition)

Tables and figures are presented in a similar format. They’re preceded by a number and title and followed by explanatory notes (if necessary).

Use bold styling for the word “Table” or “Figure” and the number, and place the title on a separate line directly below it (in italics and title case). Try to keep tables clean; don’t use any vertical lines, use as few horizontal lines as possible, and keep row and column labels concise.

Keep the design of figures as simple as possible. Include labels and a legend if needed, and only use color when necessary (not to make it look more appealing).

Check out our in-depth article about table and figure notes to learn when to use notes and how to format them.

APA table (7th edition)

The easiest way to set up APA format in Word is to download Scribbr’s free APA format template for student papers or professional papers.

Alternatively, you can watch Scribbr’s 5-minute step-by-step tutorial or check out our APA format guide with examples.

APA Style papers should be written in a font that is legible and widely accessible. For example:

  • Times New Roman (12pt.)
  • Arial (11pt.)
  • Calibri (11pt.)
  • Georgia (11pt.)

The same font and font size is used throughout the document, including the running head , page numbers, headings , and the reference page . Text in footnotes and figure images may be smaller and use single line spacing.

You need an APA in-text citation and reference entry . Each source type has its own format; for example, a webpage citation is different from a book citation .

Use Scribbr’s free APA Citation Generator to generate flawless citations in seconds or take a look at our APA citation examples .

Yes, page numbers are included on all pages, including the title page , table of contents , and reference page . Page numbers should be right-aligned in the page header.

To insert page numbers in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, click ‘Insert’ and then ‘Page number’.

APA format is widely used by professionals, researchers, and students in the social and behavioral sciences, including fields like education, psychology, and business.

Be sure to check the guidelines of your university or the journal you want to be published in to double-check which style you should be using.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Streefkerk, R. (2024, January 17). APA Formatting and Citation (7th Ed.) | Generator, Template, Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved February 19, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/apa-style/format/

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Other students also liked, apa title page (7th edition) | template for students & professionals, creating apa reference entries, beginner's guide to apa in-text citation, scribbr apa citation checker.

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Purdue OWL: APA

  • APA Guidlines
  • Videos on the Basics of APA
  • General Format
  • In-Text Citations: The Basics
  • Reference List: The Basics
  • Types of APA Papers
  • APA Changes 6th Edition
  • General APA Facts
  • APA Sample Paper
  • APA Formatting - The Basics
  • APA Formatting: Reference List Basics
  • APA References List: Complex Authors
  • APA References: Periodicals
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Purdue OWL: Writing Tips

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Citation Management

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Citation management tools help you track and organize the articles you are gathering for your research.  Citation management tools also generate in-text citations, import records from databases, and reference pages.   NOTE : Errors do occasionally occur with citation managers, so always check your citations and references.

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APA Style (7th Edition)

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  1. General Format

    Please use the example at the bottom of this page to cite the Purdue OWL in APA. You can also watch our APA vidcast series on the Purdue OWL YouTube Channel.. General APA Guidelines. Your essay should be typed and double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5" x 11"), with 1" margins on all sides.Include a

  2. APA Formatting and Style Guide (7th Edition)

    Basic guidelines for formatting the reference list at the end of a standard APA research paper Author/Authors Rules for handling works by a single author or multiple authors that apply to all APA-style references in your reference list, regardless of the type of work (book, article, electronic resource, etc.)

  3. APA Style Introduction

    These OWL resources will help you learn how to use the American Psychological Association (APA) citation and format style. ... This resource, revised according to the 7 th edition of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page.

  4. APA Style

    Learn how to format your paper in APA style with this guide that covers the 7th and 6th editions of the APA style manual. Find interactive PDF files, links to resources, and tips for referencing sources and avoiding plagiarism.

  5. APA Style

    Learn how to cite and integrate sources in APA style, the format designed for use within the field of psychology and other disciplines. Find out the elements of an APA paper, the rules for in-text citations and references, and the APA website for more information.

  6. APA Formatting and Style Guide

    This resource was written by David Neyhart and Erin Karper. Last full revision by Jodi Wagner. Last edited by Dana Lynn Driscoll on May 17th 2007 at 3:24PM. Summary: APA (American Psychological Association) is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 5th edition of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA ...

  7. Purdue Owl: APA Formatting & Style Guide

    Purdue Owl: APA Formatting & Style Guide /citations/purdue-owl-apa-formatting-style-guide Developed by Purdue's Online Writing Lab. Contains resources on in-text citation and the references page, as well as APA sample papers, slide presentations, and the APA classroom poster.

  8. APA Style Guide

    Purdue's OWL (Online Writing Lab) provides instruction on how to use APA 7th. Below are a few topics covered by the OWL. APA Style Introduction APA 7th. APA Overview and Workshop APA 7th. General Formatting APA 7th. In-Text Citation: Authors APA 7th. Foot Notes and Appendices APA 7th. Changes in the 7th Edition APA 7th << Previous: Purdue ...

  9. Purdue OWL: APA Formatting

    This vidcast discusses how to format a paper using Microsoft Word according to APA style. To learn more about APA style, please visit the following resource ...

  10. Library: Purdue Global Library: APA Style Help & Tools

    Learn the basics of APA Style, including how to format a manuscript, understand the form and function of common manuscript parts, organize and express your thoughts clearly and precisely, employ the mechanics of style, use graphic elements effectively, credit sources and acknowledge the contributions of others, and construct a comprehensive and reliable reference list.

  11. APA: Overview of Purdue's Online Writing Lab (OWL)

    This tutorial will get you familiarized with the Purdue OWL Formatting and Style Guide. A resource for applying APA formatting to your papers, citations, ref...

  12. APA Citation Style

    Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) tutorials ... Download the Guidelines for APA Writing Style and Format file. Using APA to Cite Sources. Avoiding plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and other questionable writing practices: A guide to ethical writing. Frequently Asked Questions about APA Style® From APA Style®, these FAQs will help clarify frequent ...

  13. APA Style

    The authority on APA Style and the 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual. Find tutorials, the APA Style Blog, how to format papers in APA Style, and other resources to help you improve your writing, master APA Style, and learn the conventions of scholarly publishing.

  14. APA Citation Format

    APA 7th Edition Citation Format instructions--Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) APA Style Manual. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed. by American Psychological Association. Call Number: BF76.7 .P83 2020 (three copies at HSSE reference desk, one in HICKS)

  15. Sample papers

    These sample papers demonstrate APA Style formatting standards for different student paper types. Students may write the same types of papers as professional authors (e.g., quantitative studies, literature reviews) or other types of papers for course assignments (e.g., reaction or response papers, discussion posts), dissertations, and theses.

  16. Paper format

    To format a paper in APA Style, writers can typically use the default settings and automatic formatting tools of their word-processing program or make only minor adjustments. The guidelines for paper format apply to both student assignments and manuscripts being submitted for publication to a journal. If you are using APA Style to create ...

  17. APA Formatting and Citation (7th Ed.)

    Throughout your paper, you need to apply the following APA format guidelines: Set page margins to 1 inch on all sides. Double-space all text, including headings. Indent the first line of every paragraph 0.5 inches. Use an accessible font (e.g., Times New Roman 12pt., Arial 11pt., or Georgia 11pt.).

  18. APA

    Purdue OWL: APA. APA Guidlines; Videos on the Basics of APA; General Format. In-Text Citations: The Basics. Reference List: The Basics. Types of APA Papers. APA Changes 6th Edition. General APA Facts. APA Sample Paper. APA Formatting - The Basics. APA Formatting: Reference List Basics. APA References List: Complex Authors. APA References ...

  19. APA Style (7th Edition)

    APA Style Workshop; APA Formatting and Style Guide (7th Edition) General Format; In-Text Citations: The Basics; In-Text Citations: Author/Authors; Reference List: Basic Rules; ... Welcome to the Purdue OWL. This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice. ...

  20. PDF Student Paper Setup Guide, APA Style 7th Edition

    Indent the first line of every paragraph of text 0.5 in. using the tab key or the paragraph-formatting function of your word-processing program. Page numbers: Put a page number in the top right corner of every page, including the title page or cover page, which is page 1. Student papers do not require a running head on any page.