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New in APA 7th edition
There are now two types of formatting guidelines for APA 7th edition: student papers for course work and professional papers submitted for publication. This guide is geared toward student papers.
A running head, author note, or abstract are not required for student papers. Your instructor may still request these, so please follow their guidelines.
For detailed guidelines for professional papers, see Chapter 2, Section 2.1, p.29.
Paper elements and formatting
Font and spacing
- Use Times New Roman font size 12, Calibri size 11, San Serif size 11, Arial size 11, Georgia size 11, Lucida Sans Unicode size 10, or Computer Modern size 10.
- Double-space your entire paper, including all lines of the reference list.
- Use only one space after a period.
- Ensure margins are at least 1 inch (2.54 cm) on all sides of every page.
- Text should be left aligned, and the first paragraphs should have a 0.5 inch (1.27cm) indentation.
Depending on the assignment requirements, you may need to include your title, name, and institutional affiliation on a title page. See APA's Title page setup for more guidelines and a sample student title page or consult the guide (Section 2.3-2.6, pp.30-33 ).
Include the following elements centred on the page :
- Paper title [bold type]
- Author names [the byline]
- Author affiliation
- Course number and name
- Instructor name
- Assignment due date
Number pages (1, 2, 3…) in the upper right-hand corner of each page in the page header, including the title page. If a title page is required, the title page should start on page 1.
A shortened version of the title of your paper (or the full title if it is short). Not required for student papers, but your instructor may request it.
How to format the running head
The following are guidelines on how to format headings and subheadings. Refer to APA's Headings for detailed descriptions of the 5 levels or consult the guide (Section 2.26–2.27, p. 47).
Text version: APA heading formats
Tables and figures
- Tables and figures are now formatted in parallel—in other words, they use consistent rules for titles, notes, and numbering.
- Tables and figures may now be presented either in the text of the document or after the reference list on separate pages.
Refer to APA's Mechanics of style or consult the guide for further details on punctuation, spelling, capitalization and more (Chapter 6, p.153).
Include a serial comma (also called an Oxford comma, Harvard comma, or series comma) in a series of three or more items.
If one or more items in the series already contain a comma, use semicolons between the items instead of commas.
Place punctuation inside the quotation marks if they are part of the quoted material. Do not include an extra period after the quoted punctuation mark.
Maya Angelou once said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." This quote is particularly poignant...
Place question mark or period outside the quotation mark if it is not part of the quoted material.
Did you know that Maya Angelou once said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel"?
Include commas inside quotation marks.
"I've learned that people will forget what you said," said Maya Angelou, "people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
For phrases that end with a quote and a citation, place the period after the citation. [see Direct quotations for examples]
Use quotation marks around examples rather than italics.
Maya Angelou's most celebrated works include "Still I Rise", "Caged Bird", and "Life Doesn't Frighten Me".
See APA's Quotations for additional formatting, punctuation guidelines, and examples or consult the guide (Sections 8.23–8.36, pp. 269–278).
Short quotations contain fewer than 40 words with double quotation marks placed around the words. See Table 8.2 (p. 272) in the guide for a comparison of correct short quotation examples.
Short quotations examples from print sources or online articles:
- Narrative example, include the author and year in the sentence and place the page number in parentheses after the quotation:
Mooney (2000) found that ..."direct_quotation" (p. 276).
- Parenthetical example, give the author, year, and page number in parentheses immediately after the quotation or at the end of the sentence (Section 8.25, pp. 270-271):
"Direct_quotation"... (Walker, 2000, p. 135).
Use block quotation format for quotes of 40 words or more. Start the quotation on a new line, indent the quotation about ½ an inch, double space the quote and omit the quotation marks. Do not add a period after closing parenthesis (Section 8.27, p. 272).
Prince Edward Island is a curved slice of land from three to thirty-five miles wide and about one hundred and twenty miles long, lying along the southern rim of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and separated from the mainland of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia by the narrow waters of Northumberland Strait.(Ives, 1999, p. 1)
Review APA's how to cite long paraphrases and other guidelines, including examples, in Paraphrasing or consult the guide (Section 8.24, p. 269).
When paraphrasing from a source, or when referring to an idea contained in another work, you are encouraged to provide a page number, or other parts of a source, to help locate the section within such works as a book or video (Section 8.23, p. 269). See the section on Adding location information in Formatting the elements of an in-text citation in the Library's citation guide.
Formatting the reference list
In APA, the list of sources at the end of the paper (bibliography) is called the reference list. The reference list must include all references cited in the text of your paper (Chap. 9, p. 281).
The word References should appear at the top of your reference list, and it should be centred on the page (Section 9.43, p. 303).
Order of references in the reference list is alphabetical, by the last name of the first author (Section 9.44–9.48, pp. 303–306) or, if author is not available - by title.
Alphabetize letter by letter and use the rule "Nothing precedes something". For example: 'Brown, J. R.' comes before 'Browning, A. F.'.
Brown, J. R.
Browning, A. F.
For several works by the same author cite them in your reference list by year of publication with the earliest first: Smith, A. (1999) ... Smith, A. (2002) (Section 9.46, p. 304).
For reference entries of works by the same author and the same year, refer to Citing works with the same author and date or consult the guide (Section 9.47, p. 305) for further details on the two-step process for assigning dates.
Second and subsequent lines of each entry are indented 1/2 inch or 5 spaces. The chosen format should be consistent throughout the references.
Double-space between all lines of your work, including references.
For detailed information on the preparation of the reference list, consult the guide (Chapter 9, pp. 280-309).
For more writing help
Find Writing resources and services available through the Student Learning Commons, on topics such as editing, proofreading, thesis statements, Working with sources, and Inclusive and antiracist writing resources. Consider one-to-one writing consultations or group workshops.