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APA Citation Guide for the 7th ed: Paper Format

Order of Paper Sections

NOTE:  These are the recommendations made by the APA Style Guide for student papers. Each section should begin on a new page. Please follow the format guidelines set out by your professors. 

Title page

  • Title pages must include 7 elements: title, author names, author affiliation, course number and name for which the paper is being submitted, instructor name, assignment due date, and page number

  • A title should be focused and succinct and it should not contain abbreviations or words that serve no purpose. Your title may take up one or two lines. It should appear in the upper half of the page, centered between the side margins.

  • A student paper no longer needs a running head, unless requested by the professor. The only thing needed in the page header is the page number on the top right-hand side. 

  • Authors names should appear in the format: John Q. Researcher. Institutional affiliation, on the next line, should be formatted as: Johnson & Wales University, Providence, Rhode Island.

  • Student papers do not require an author note.

See the Following Example: 



  • The abstract begins on page 2. Abstracts should briefly and comprehensively summarize the article contents. Do not indent the first line of an abstract. For details on what must be included in an abstract for different types of papers (empirical studies, literature reviews, etc.), see the APA Manual, section 2.9.

Text/Main Body

  • The text of the paper starts on page 3.


  • The References page should have the word References, centered, at the top. References should be double-spaced, hanging-indented, and alphabetized by the last name of the first author.


  • Number footnotes consecutively. Use superscript numbers, and place them after any punctuation. Footnotes should appear at the bottom of the page on which they appear or in a separate footnotes page after the references.

  • Content footnotes should be included only if they offer substantive, necessary information. Each should contain only 1 idea. In general, incorporating footnote content into the paper is preferred over using footnotes.

  • Copyright permission footnotes acknowledge reprinted figures, lengthy quotations, etc.

Tables and Figures

  • These sections follow the text. Each should begin on a separate page. Use a separate page for each figure, and be sure to include a caption. For more details see and examples see Chapter 7 in the APA Manual.


  • Each appendix should appear on a separate page. The word Appendix and an identifying letter (A, B, C, etc.) should appear, centered, at the top of each page. Underneath, center the appendix title using upper and lowercase letters, and begin appendix text all the way to the left. Subsequent paragraphs should be indented. Appendices should be presented in the order in which they are mentioned in the text. See section 2.14 in the APA Manual for more information.

Paper Format

Margins and alignment:

Margins should be at least 1" on all sides. Align text to the left. Do not justify lines.


Acceptable fonts have expanded, depending on whether the text will be read on a screen or in physical copy. Check with your professor. Default font is considered Times New Roman, 12 point.  Be consistent with your font type and size throughout your paper. 

Sans-serif fonts for reading on a screen

  • Calibri 11 pt.
  • Arial 11 pt.
  • Lucida Sans Unicode 10pt.

Serif fonts for reading in physical copy

  • Times New Roman 12pt.
  • Georgia 11pt.
  • Computer Modern 10pt.


Double-space all line of text, including the abstract; text; block quotations; table and figure numbers, titles, and notes; and reference list (including between and within entries). Do not add extra space before or after paragraphs. Single or 1.5 spacing is acceptable for tables and figures.


Indent the first line of paragraphs and footnotes. Use the tab key. Exceptions: abstract, block quotations, titles, headings, table titles and notes, and figure captions.


Heading formats in APA are very specific. Consult the APA manual section 2.27 for details and examples.

Page numbers:

The title page is page 1; all pages are then numbered consecutively beginning with 2. Place a page number on every page. Use the Page Number function in Word; make sure numbers are placed in the top right corner of each page.

Removing text formatting from copy & paste

If you are copying and pasting a citation -- or a direct quote, or any other text, really -- you may notice that when you paste it into Microsoft Word or a Google Doc, it carries formatting with it, including background colors. There are several ways to avoid this:

  1. Before you paste, right click in the place you would like to paste the text. From the menu that comes up, click "Keep text only" in MS Word or "Paste without formatting" in Google Doc.
  2. If you have already pasted your text, highlight the text.
    • In MS Word, go to the Styles part of the Home toolbar, then click on the bottom-most arrow on that window. Once you click on that, some new options should come up. Click "Clear formatting" to get rid of all the extra formatting from the web.
    • In Google Doc, click on the Format tab, then go down the menu and click "Clear formatting" to get rid of any extra formatting.