Formatting an Essay in APA Style

Your essay should be typed and Double-Spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5″ x 11″), with 1″ margins on all sides. You should use a clear font that is highly readable. APA recommends using 12 pt. Times New Roman font.

Your essay should include four major sections: the Title Page, Abstract, Main Body, and References.

Running Head, and Page Numbers
• A shortened version of your title, flush left, in all capital letters, labeled Running head:
The running head is a shortened version of your paper’s title and cannot exceed 50 characters including spacing and punctuation.
• A page number, flush right

Title Page
The title page should contain the title of the paper, the author’s name, and the institutional affiliation.

Type your title in upper and lowercase letters centered in the upper half of the page.

APA recommends that your title be no more than 12 words in length and that it should not contain abbreviations or words that serve no purpose.

• Your name and college affiliation double-spaced and centered below the title All pages, including the title page, abstract (if required), and References page, should be numbered in the upper-right corner.



Formatting an Essay in APA Style


Institution Affiliation

(Pages after the title page should have a running head that looks like this)


The shortened version of the title appears on all subsequent pages as well, but without the label Running head.

Check out how to Format the Running Head and Page Numbers in Word

If your instructor asks you to omit the title page, then include your name, the class, the instructor, and the date on the top left-hand side of the first page on double-spaced lines.

Center your title on the following double-spaced line, and begin your essay on the next double-spaced line.

Begin a new page. Your abstract page should already include the page header (described above). On the first line of the abstract page, center the word “Abstract” (no bold, formatting, italics, underlining, or quotation marks).

Beginning with the next line, write a concise summary of the key points of your research. (Do not indent.) Your abstract should contain at least your research topic, research questions, participants, methods, results, data analysis, and conclusions. You may also include possible implications of your research and future work you see connected with your findings. Your abstract should be a single paragraph, double-spaced. Your abstract should be between 150 and 250 words.

You may also want to list keywords from your paper in your abstract. To do this, indent as you would if you were starting a new paragraph, type Keywords: (italicized), and then list your keywords. Listing your keywords will help researchers find your work in databases.

Use Times New Roman 12-point font.

Use 1-inch margins. Do not align the right margin. To set the margins in Word, choose Margins in the Page Layout menu.

Line Spacing
Double-space the entire document.

Indent the first line of each paragraph one half-inch by pressing the Tab key once.

Section Headings
If required or encouraged by the instructor, use headings to highlight new sections in the paper.

Many papers will contain sections like Method, Results, and Discussion.

Headings should be centered and in boldface type.

Capitalize all words except articles (a, an, the), conjunctions (and, but, or, etc.) and prepositions (in, on, to, etc.) unless they are the first word of a title or subtitle.

Include a References page if you cited sources in the paper.

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