Answered By: Vicki Sciuk
Last Updated: Nov 20, 2020     Views: 210

When you write a college paper, your professor may ask you to use the APA Style. This is a standard way to format the look of your paper and your references. These instructions refer to the new 7th edition of the APA Style manual (2020). 

► If your course is using the older 6th edition of APA to format your paper and cite your references, please use the APA 6th formatting directions here: 

Here's a snapshot of what the cover page, first page of the paper, and last page with your references might look like in the new APA, 7th edition.

The Basic APA 7th edition paper format (below) tells you briefly how to set it up so it looks like this. There is also a workshop and brochure on APA 7th in the CAS Writing & Citing guideFor more detailed instructions, please see the Complete Student Paper Setup Guide, 7th ed. from APA.

If you need more help working with Word documents, there is also a new simplified Basic APA 7th template Word document which you can download and save under your own name, and type your paper into. Click the fourth link below, then download the APA 7 Basic Paper Template and save it to your computer or cloud storage so you don't lose your work. It is already formatted following the guidelines below:

Basic APA 7th edition format

General Guidelines for Whole Paper - often these are the default settings 

  • Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides, left-justified.
  • Use a legible font, such as Calibri, 11-point font size; Arial, 11 pt.; Times New Roman, 12 pt.; Georgia, 11 pt.
  • For student papers, the only thing needed in the header is the page number on the right.
  • Double-space the whole paper – that is not the default and will need to be changed.

Formatting the Cover Sheet/ Title Page of Your Paper

  • Center everything on the title page.
  • Hit Enter key a few times to move down the page, then type the title of your paper there, in bold; the title should be in Title Case (capitalize the first letter of most words), not in all upper or lower-case letters.
  • Hit Enter again to add an extra blank line between the title and the rest of the info on this page.
  • Add your name, then the College, then the number & name of the course, the professor’s name, and the date due, all on separate lines and double-spaced, not bold.

Formatting the Body of Your Paper 

  • Ask your instructor if you need an “Abstract” page for your paper - APA does not require them for student papers.
  • On the first full page of the body of the paper, bold and center the title of your paper, in Title Case.
  • Hit Enter once to double space between the title and the first line of the paper’s text, which should be left-justified.
  • Indent the first line of each paragraph one half-inch from the left margin, using the Tab key on your keyboard.

References Page

  • Full citations go on a separate page at the end, called References (centered and bold).
  • Alphabetize them by the author’s last name or first word that begins each citation.
  • Format them as hanging indents, using the tool in the your document writing software (MS Word, Google Docs, Mac Pages, etc.)

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