Formatting Your APA Paper

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Get Ready

This tutorial walks you through the correct way to format your paper in APA style using Office 2013. You will need to work in Microsoft Word throughout this tutorial. Get ready now by pulling this browser window to one side of your screen and opening Microsoft Word. Position Microsoft Word on the other half of your screen so that you can view this tutorial and work in Word at the same time.

Once you have completed the steps on a page, click the arrow to move to the next page of the tutorial.

Browser tutorial on the left and Word on the right

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Margins

APA style requires 1" margins all around. In your open Word document, click the Page Layout tab on the ribbon. Select the Margins menu and choose Normal margins (1" at the top, bottom, left, and right).

Select 1 inch margins all around

Font

APA style requires Times New Roman 12 point font. In the font section of the Home tab on the ribbon, choose Times New Roman from the font drop down menu and font size 12 from the drop down menu just to the right of that.

Times New Roman 12 point font

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Setting Up the Header

You will need a header with the title of your paper and the page number. The header on the first page is a little different from the other pages. Click the Insert tab on the ribbon then click Header & Footer, then Footer. Choose the first option called Blank. In the Header & Footer Tools Design tab, check the box next to Different First Page.

Check the box next to Different First Page

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Header Text for the Title Page

Click in your header to begin typing there. Check to make sure your font is still Times New Roman 12 inside the header. Type the words "Running head" (no quotation marks) followed by a colon and a space then the shortened version of your paper title. The shortened title should be 50 characters or less but it needs to mean something to your readers so choose an abbreviated title that relates to your longer title. Type this in all caps after Running head, the colon, and a space.

Next, insert page numbers. Press the Tab key until your cursor is on the right edge of the header. Click the Design tab in the ribbon, click Page Number on the left side and choose Current Position then Plain Number. Double click in the body of the paper or click Close Header and Footer to begin working in the body of the paper.

Running head and page number

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Double Spacing

The title page, body of the paper, and References should all be double-spaced. Click the small box with an arrow in it at the bottom right corner of the Paragraph section on the Home tab of the ribbon. A dialog box opens. In the Line spacing drop down menu, choose Double. Make sure the Before and After selections under Spacing are set to 0 pt. Click OK.

Double space the entire paper

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Title Page

In the Paragraph section on the Home tab of the ribbon, select Center. Press the Enter key several times to get to the center of the page. Here you will type the full title of the paper in proper title case format, meaning you will be capitalizing only the major words (not prepositions) and the first word of the title and subtitle (so the first word after the colon). Press the Enter key to go to the next line. Type your name. Press the Enter key to go to the next line. Type the name of the institution/school you attend.

Centered Title Page

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Header for the Rest of the Pages

Click the Insert tab on the ribbon, then select Pages and Page Break to get to the second page of the paper where you will begin the body of the paper.

Because the heading is different on the remaining pages of the paper, double click the heading area on the second page. Make sure it is set to Times New Roman 12 point font. Type the shortened title in all caps (without "Running head:" this time).

Next, add the page numbers on the right edge of the header again, as you did before. Press the Tab key until your cursor is on the right edge of the header. Click the Design tab in the ribbon, click Page Number on the left side and choose Current Position then Plain Number. Double click in the body of the paper or click Close Header and Footer to begin working in the body of the paper.

Second Header

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Paper Title and the Rest of the Paper

Before you begin typing the text of your paper, center the text by clicking on the Center button in the Paragraph section on the Home tab of the ribbon. Type the full title of your paper in proper title case format here. Press the Enter key to go to the next line.

Click Align Left in the Paragraph section of the Home tab on the ribbon. Press the Tab key once to indent to begin typing the first paragraph of your paper. Press the Enter key after the paragraph is over to start a new paragraph. It should indent one tab automatically. Continue typing the rest of your paper in this way.

Paper Title and First Paragraph

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Headings

If your paper is divided into sections, you may want to use APA headings. Headings are hierarchical, meaning they are arranged in order of rank and the lower headings are nested inside of the headings preceding them. The title of your paper listed at the top of page 2 does not count as a heading.

Levels of Headings

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Level 1 Headings

First level headings should be centered, bold, and in proper title case format (the first letter of the first word and proper nouns/important words are capitalized while small words and prepositions are not).

To do this, click the Center button in the Paragraph section of the Home tab. Next, click the Bold button in the Font section of the Home tab. Finally, type your heading in proper title case. Press the Enter key, deselect the Bold button, and change the alignment back to Align Left. Press the Tab key to indent the first paragraph and begin writing the text of the first paragraph for that section.

Example of a Level 1 Heading

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Level 2 Headings

Level two headings should be aligned left, bold, and in proper title case. To do this, press Backspace once to delete the indentation for a new paragraph in order to place your cursor all the way to left. Next, click the Bold button in the Font section of the Home tab. Finally, type your heading in proper title case. The text for your first paragraph in this section will begin on the next line with an indentation.

Level 2 Heading

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Level 3 Headings

Level three headings should be indented a half inch (one tab), bold, and use lowercase letters except for the first letter of the first word and any proper nouns included in the heading title. End the level 3 heading title with a period. Press the space bar once, deselect Bold, and begin typing the first paragraph of this section on the same line as the heading. If there are additional paragraphs in this section, begin them normally by pressing the Enter key to start a new paragraph with an indentation at the beginning.

Level 3 Headings

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References

When you are finished with the text of your paper, click the Insert tab on the ribbon then select Pages and Page Break to get to the final page of the paper where you will begin listing the references for the sources you used in writing your paper.

Click the Center button in the Paragraph section on the Home tab of the ribbon. Type the word "References" (without quotation marks).

Press the Enter key to go to the next line. Click the Align Left button in the Paragraph section. Type your references in alphabetical order. These should be double-spaced.

Hanging Indent

Once all of your references are listed in alphabetical order, select them all. Click the small box with an arrow in it at the bottom right corner of the Paragraph section on the Home tab of the ribbon. A dialog box opens. Under Indentation, in the Special drop down menu, choose Hanging. Click OK. Your references should now each have a hanging indent which means the first line of each reference is left justified and each subsequent line of each reference is indented a half an inch.

References page with hanging indent

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