Answered By: Vicki Sciuk
Last Updated: Apr 03, 2020     Views: 565

APA Style is based on the instructions to format a paper and cite references included in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association: the official guide to APA style. There is a new 7th edition of this manual that was published right at the end of 2019, and colleges are slowly switching the new edition. Some of your professors may ask you to use APA 7th edition, although many may be still using the 6th edition. Some of the library databases have their Cite tools updated to the 7th edition, but some don't yet. As of March 2020, the CAS (Center for Academic Success) writing tutors, brochures and online tutorials were still using the 6th edition, but they plan to switch to the new edition next semester.

However the old and new versions are very similar for the type of references most students will be using. The main changes are:

APA Format

  • Font: APA now allows other fonts besides Times New Roman 12. It recommends 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode, 12-point Times New Roman, 11-point Georgia, or 10-point Computer Modern.
  • Cover Page: "Running Head" is no longer used in the header of APA papers. For Student papers, APA now says only the page number is needed in the right hand corner of the header.
  • Titles: Your paper's title on the cover page and first page is now Bold, and written in Title Case. So are most section headings.


  • Online links: Most web addresses (URLs) at the end of a full reference no longer start with "Retrieved from". Just put the complete link, including http://, as the last item in your complete reference.
  • DOIs: If the citation uses a DOI instead of an URL, turn it into a link by placing before the numbers, like this:
  • Books/EBooks: The publisher location (City, State) is no longer required for print books or DVDs, just the name of the publisher. For EBooks, you don't need to put the version, such as [Kindle edition], just the URL.
  • In-text citations: For articles with more than 3 authors, you should put the first author’s surname and “et al.”, like: (Williams et al., 2018). But list up to 20 authors on the References page.


  • Singular “They”: APA now requires the use of the singular “they” or “their” as a generic pronoun to refer to someone if their gender is unknown or not relevant to what you are writing about. Also use “they” or “their” to refer to individuals who use those as their gender pronouns.

See the links below for more information on the changes; an example of a Student's APA Paper with annotations explaining everything; and a Handout of these changes.

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