Formatting a Paper for APA 6th Edition
This guide outlines formatting a paper to follow APA style including setting the margins, font
type and size, line spacing, title page, and references page using Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010.
Margins, Font, and Line Spacing Settings
Margins should be 1 inch.
Go to the Page Layout tab >
click on Margins > Normal.
This is the default setting, but
double check that this is selected.
The font should be Times New
Roman at 12 points. Go to the
Home tab > choose the Font dialog
box in the corner > select Times
New Roman and 12 points.
In Word 2007, you will see
the Default button (shown
here) and in Word 2010, the
button says Set as Default.
You can use this option to
make the Times New Roman
font at 12 points the default
for every time you use
Word. Or just click OK to
only change the font for your
After right-clicking, choose Modify. Under Formatting, click the Double Space button
and then OK.
The entire paper should be double spaced. On the Home tab > Right click on Normal in Styles.
The Title Page, Running Head, and Page Numbers
To create the header, on the Insert tab > click the Header button > choose Blank.
In the Header area, you will type the running head in the following format:
Running head: SHORTENED TITLE OF YOUR PAPER IN ALL CAPS
The title in the running head should be no more than 50 characters (including spaces). On your
title page, you will provide the full title of your paper. If your title is under 50 characters, you
will not need to worry about shortening it for the running head. To quickly calculate the number
of characters in your title, highlight your title > click on Word Count box at the bottom of the
page > the Word Count dialog box will open and provide the character count with spaces.
After typing the title in the header, press the tab key to place your cursor in the right margin. In
the Header & Footer group, click on the Page Number button > choose Current Position >
click on Plain Number.
Close the Header by double clicking under the dotted line or clicking on the Close Header and
Press the Enter button six times to get to the upper middle of
the page. Choose the Center Text button on the Home tab in
the Paragraph group.
Type your title page information. You will include your essay
title, your name, and university. Your instructor may also require you to include the course code
Header for Pages after the Title Page
After you type in
your title page
your cursor still
on the title page
(and below your
title page text), go
to the Page
Layout tab >
Group > click on
Breaks > under
click on Next
Page. You will
then be on page 2.
On page 2, you will modify the header so that the phrase “Running head” only appears on the
title page header. Go to the Insert tab > Header & Footer group > click on the Header button >
click on Edit Header. On the Header Design tab in the Navigation group, click on Link to
Previous button to turn off this option.
Be sure to first turn off Link to Previous
before deleting “Running head:” After
deleting “Running head:” close the
Header & Footer window. The remainder
of your pages will now only contain your
essay title and page number. You can
now type the body of your essay.
The First Page of the Essay
After editing the header to remove “Running head:,” you will need to type in your full essay title
once more. You will center this title at the top of the first page of the essay (numbered page 2
because the title page is page 1).
After your essay title, click the Enter button and go to the
Paragraph group on the Home tab > select the Align Text
Left button. Then open the Paragraph dialog box. Under
Indentation, select First line under Special. Click OK. Now
every paragraph will be indented a half inch automatically
and you are ready to type the body of your essay.
The References Page
After you complete the final paragraph of your essay, you will
insert a page break. For APA style, the References list always
starts on a separate page after the essay text. Go to the Insert
tab, in the Pages group, and click on Page Break.
Enter the word References and center it at the top of the page. Do not use bold or underlined text.
Click the Enter key once and then align the text left again (as you had done for the body of your
essay). Type your list of references. Press the Enter key only at the end of each reference. Before
setting the hanging indent, the References page will appear like this:
Once you have typed all of your references, you will need to highlight all of them. Only
highlight the references—not the title of the page References. Go to the Home tab > chose the
Paragraph dialog box > choose Hanging from the dropdown under Special for Indentation.
Now your references will be formatted with the hanging indent. Your essay now follows APA
style for formatting.
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