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Citations: APA Style (7th ed.)

How to create a document and cite using the most recent edition of APA.

Professional Template

APA professional manuscript components: title page, abstract, paper, references


  • Variety of font choices are permitted as long as it is the same font throughout the text of the paper. 
  • Font shouldn't be smaller than 11.
  • Some suggestions are 12-point Times New Roman, 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode, and 11-point Georgia.

Line Spacing

  • Double-spaced - including title, headings, footnotes, quotations, references, and figure captions, an all text lines of the paper


  • 1-inch margins all the way around:  this is probably the default


  • Do not justify the right margin (i.e. make the right margin even); for text use flush left

Page Order

  1. Title page
  2. Abstract
  3. Text
  4. References
  5. Footnotes
  6. Tables
  7. Figures
  8. Appendices

1. Title Page Formatting

Inside the Top Margin (Running Head)

  • Running head: abbreviated title IN CAPS LOCK inside the top-left margin of the document and should be no longer than 50 characters (including spaces and punctuation)
    • If the full title of your paper is lengthy, this abbreviated version should be like a summary. Don't just insert the first 50 characters of the full title. It does not have to perfectly mirror or match the full title.
  • Page number: on the title page, it will be 1, inside the top-right margin.

In the Body of the Title Page

  • Title: bold, centered. Skip a line afterwards before including your name as author.
  • Author byline: your name (first, middle initial, last); if writing with other students, their names as well
  • Institutional affiliation: Lone Star College-University Park

Bottom of the Title Page

  • Author Note: Additional information about authors, study registration, data sharing, disclaimers, funding or disclaimers.

How to Create the Running Head and Page Number in Microsoft Word 

  1. Click on the Insert tab.
  2. Click on Header in the Header & Footer bar.
  3. Choose the Blank (Three Columns) header.
  4. Right-click on the middle header "Type Text" and click Delete.
  5. In the left-hand column of the header, type in a shortened version of your paper title in ALL CAPS. i.e., TITLE TITLE TITLE
  6. In the right-hand column, insert the page number with no other information (that is, leave out page, p., etc.) by clicking on the page number button (upper-left on the screen) and choosing Current Position and then Plain Number.

2. Abstract Formatting

Title this page Abstract (centered, bold), then start writing your summary without tabbing over the first line of your paragraph.

An abstract is simply a summary of the paper it precedes. It should be about 150-250 words and cover all parts of your paper (not just what you investigated but also what you ultimately concluded).

We suggest setting up a placeholder and coming back to do this last, as it's easier to summarize what your paper is about after you've actually written it.

3. Paper Content

  • Include your paper title at the top of the first page of text (page 2 of your overall document), bold and centered.
  • When you start each new paragraph, hit the Tab key once to indent the first line.

Now, you'll start writing whatever it is you're supposed to address, which will depend on your professor's specifications for the assignment.

Always include in-text citations whenever you're doing a research paper, as close to the referenced information as you can get it (typically at the end of the same sentence). Refer to the page in this guide about In-Text Citations for more information and examples.

Headings & Sub-Headings

You probably won't use these frequently, if at all, but if you do, APA has a stylistic hierarchy. "Levels" nest inside each other: subsections under a level 1 heading would be formatted as level 2.

Level Format

Centered, Bold, Headline Capitalization

Begin writing the text as a new paragraph.


Flush Left, Bold, Headline Capitalization

Begin writing the text as a new paragraph.


Flush Left, Bold Italic, Headline Capitalization

Begin writing the text as a new paragraph.


Indented, Bold, Headline Capitalization, Ending With a Period. Begin writing the text on the same line and continue as a regular paragraph.


Indented, Bold Italic, Headline Capitalization, Ending With a Period. Begin writing the text on the same line and continue as a regular paragraph.


4. References Formatting

References should be listed in alphabetical order by whatever the first name or word is. A work without an author will be alphabetized by the first word of the article title.

All references will be double-spaced, just like everything else. They will also use a hanging indent -- not a list, not the normal paragraph indent.


  • Authors names are always given last name first.
  • Do not write the author's first name! Only use the first initial and, if provided, their middle initial, e.g. Smith, J. A. not Smith, John.

Publish Date

  • Publication years are written with the year first, followed by the month (not abbreviated) and day, if available. E.g. 2014, January 29.

Source Titles

  • Article titles are always written like sentences. Capitalize the first word of the title and, if used, the subtitle, as well as any proper nouns. Everything else will be lower case.
  • Website names and magazine/newspaper/journal names, however, will be properly capitalized.

Location Info

  • DOI is preferred to URL
  • Place of publication is not commonly needed. If you have to include a place of publication (movies, TV shows), include....
    • just the city and state for United States locations.
    • For international cities, also include the country.


The other pages of this guide will help you create the References themselves. If you need additional help, please get in touch with a librarian!