APA 7 Style: Formatting Guidelines
Common Guidelines for APA-Format Papers
APA 7 (2020) has introduced new guidelines for student papers that differ from the guidelines for professional papers being submitted for publication. Make sure to check with your professor or teaching assistant on whether they prefer that you use the student or professional format for your work.
Common Guidelines for All APA-Format Papers
- Line Spacing
- Paragraph Alignment and Indentation
- Page Numbers
- Figures and Tables
- References Page
Guidelines Specific to Student Papers
- Title Page
Guidelines Specific to Professional Papers Being Submitted for Publication
- Title Page
- Headers with Running Head and Page Numbers
Guidelines for All APA-Format Papers
APA 7 (2020) accepts the use of a wider range of fonts than previous editions. Use a consistent font throughout the paper. While the size of the font in the text of the paper should confirm to one of the options below, figures may include a smaller or larger font size as needed.
Font options include:
- Times New Roman (12-point)
- Calibri (11-point)
- Arial (11-point)
- Lucinda (10-point)
- Sans Unicode (10-point)
- Georgia (11-point)
- Computer Modern (10-point)
The entire paper, including the title page, body of the paper, references and appendices, should be double-spaced. The bodies of figures and tables are excluded from this rule. Do not add extra line spaces between paragraphs or after a heading.
Use 2.54 CM (1 inch) margins on all sides of the paper.
Paragraph Alignment and Indentation
All paragraphs should be left-aligned (do not full-justify text). For each new paragraph indent five spaces or ½ inch. Use the tab key to indent paragraphs.
All papers should have a page number in the top right corner of the header. Page numbers should be on every page of the paper, with the title page being page 1.
APA 7 (2020) recommends the use of headings in order to clarify the organization of papers. Note that a heading for the introduction is not needed or recommended. The number and level of headings required depend on the length and complexity of the paper.
- Level One headings are centred and bolded and use title case capitalization (all key words capitalized). The text of the paper begins on the next line as a new paragraph.
- Level 2 Headings are left-aligned and bolded and use title case capitalization (all key words capitalized). The text of the paper begins on the next line as a new paragraph.
- Level 3 Headings are left-aligned, bolded, and italicized. They use title case capitalization (all key words capitalized). The text of the paper begins on the next line as a new paragraph.
- Level 4 Headings are indented, bolded and use title case capitalization (all key words capitalized). There is a period at the end of a level 4 heading, and the text of the paragraph begins immediately after the period.
- Level 5 Headings are indented, bolded, and italicized. They use title case capitalization (all key words capitalized). There is a period at the end of a level 5 heading, and the text of the paragraph begins immediately after the period.
Sample Paper with Different Levels of Headers
Tables and Figures
Label both tables and figures, numbering them consecutively in the order that they are discussed in the text.
Tables include a numbered label, such as “Table 1”, and this bolded label is placed above the title. Below the label, insert a table title in italics; this title should briefly identify the data in the table that follows the label.
Figures can include maps, graphs, charts or other images. Place a label, such as "Figure 1", above the figure; this label is in bold. Below the label, insert a figure title using title case and italics. Below the image, place a caption to offer more detailed information on the figure.
Refer to all tables and figures in the text of your paper by their label: “In Table 1, it is clear that . . .” or “. . . area is separated into five geographically distinct sections (see Figure 2).
APA 7 (2020) offers two options for the placement of tables and figures. They can either be integrated into the text of the paper soon after it is first mentioned in the text. Or, tables and figures can be included after the references. If you choose to position tables and figures after the references page, each table should be positioned on a separate page followed by each figure positioned on a separate page.
- APA (2020) recommends that you ask your professor or the editor to which you are submitting a manuscript for publication whether they have a preference as to whether figures and tables be integrated into the text or included on separate pages after the references.
All sources cited in the paper (except for personal communications) should be included in a references list. Begin the references page on a separate page, following the conclusion on the text of the paper. On the top line of the references page, the word References should be centred and bolded. The first reference begins on the next line of the reference page.
For further information on how to format the references page, see APA 7 Style: References.
An appendix includes relevant, supplementary information to the paper. Appendices should be placed after the references page and tables and figures (if relevant).
- Each appendix should begin on a separate page and should have a label and title.
- The appendix label and title should be centred and bolded. Write the label on one line and then the title on the next line.
- If you have only one appendix, label it Appendix.
- If you have more than one appendix, label them Appendix A, Appendix B, or Appendix C etc. in the order that it is discussed in the text of the paper.
- You must refer to all appendices in the text of your paper by their label (see Appendix) or (see Appendix A).