APA Format: A How-To Style Guide With Examples (2023)

APA format is one of three main citation styles you’re likely to encounter at some point throughout your education.

Specifically in psychology, education, and the sciences, APA format is the preferred citation guide over other popular style guides, like MLA format, which is commonly used in the humanities.

APA format definition

APA format is an academic style guide created by the American Psychological Association. It is most commonly used for scientific papers, especially research-based content.

APA format is preferred among many disciplines due to its clarity and emphasis on highlighting newer source material (i.e. date-focused citations with a preference for ‘recent’ source content). Below are instructions and examples for formatting general components of an APA formatted paper, including how to write a cover page, running head (header), an in-text citation, and a Reference section.

Note: there are some components of this style guide that overlap with MLA format. Thus, you may find that part of this information is restated from the MLA guide; however, there are many components unique to APA alone and neither guide can sufficiently substitute the other.

This is a statement of transparency to eliminate confusion and the risk of self-plagiarism.

General formatting guidelines in APA

  • Your document should be typed in double-space, 12 pt. font. The standard font is Times New Roman, but some scholars prefer Arial.
  • Your document’s margins should be one inch on all sides.
  • You should include a cover page (aka title page) unless otherwise specified.
  • You must include a running head (i.e. a page header) that sits at the top of every page of your document.
  • To create the running head, use the “Insert Header” function on your word processor.
  • Each page should be numbered on the right hand side of the page inside of the auto-created Header. You will also insert the title flush left in all caps.
  • The title should be in title case; every word should not be capitalized.
  • Your first and subsequent paragraphs should be indented one half inch from the left of the document. You should use the TAB button function to indent rather than the space bar.
  • There should only be one space after all marks of punctuation. Because word processing software already accounts for the space after a punctuation mark, adding two spaces is antiquated and inaccurate.

How to format a running head (header) in APA

Running head formatting is specific to APA and should not be used for other citation types. To create the running head and ensure it shows up on every page of your document, use the “Insert Header” function on your word processor and then type the title of your paper flush left using all capital letters.

The running head is a shortened version of your full paper title, meaning that the running head should not exceed more than 50 characters including punctuation marks and character spacing.

General format for non-cover pages:


(Video) How to format your paper in APA style in 2022

The above example is 49 characters long, including spaces and marks of punctuation (for the title).

How to format a cover page in APA

Your cover page should include the following information: title of the paper, author’s name, and institutional affiliation (i.e. the university, college, or academic/professional institution for which you are writing your paper). You must also include a running head flush left with the pagination flush right at the very top of your document.

Note: On the cover page, your running head will look different than it does on all subsequent pages.

General format for cover pages ONLY:


As you can see, you must include the words “Running head” on your title page to indicate that it is the paper’s running head; on all other pages, you need not include these words in addition to your title.

How to format an in-text citation in APA

APA in-text citations are not dependent on container (e.g. book, article). Citations should be in parentheses and placed at the end of a sentence before the period, whether paraphrasing or citing a direct quote.

APA format follows the author-date style: (Last Name, Year) and uses a comma between the two elements. If referencing a specific spot in the text, you are encouraged to use exact page numbers using a lowercase p. + the page number in the parentheses following the year.

All citations, regardless of container, are formatted the same for in-text citations in APA. There is no variance based on container as is true for MLA style.

Note: There are different formatting requirements for short vs. long quotations in APA.

(Video) Citation Style Guides with APA examples

General in-text citation rules:

  • Titles of source material should be capitalized (which is not the case on the References page); all words four letters or longer should also be capitalized (exceptions for pronouns, adjectives, nouns, verbs, adverbs, etc.)
  • Hyphenated compound words in a title are both capitalized, not just the first word
  • The first word directly after a colon or dash is capitalized
  • All longer container titles (e.g. books, films, TV series, music albums) should be italicized

Short quotations

Direct quotes (non-paraphrasing) require the author’s name, year of publication, and page number in (p. #) format. You may either use the author’s last name in the sentence preceding the parenthetical citation or include the author’s last name in the parentheses directly.

General format for short quotations:

According to King (1986), he noted that the little boy who wore “the yellow slicker was George Denbrough,” which we discovered was Bill’s younger brother (p. 3).

Alternate format for short quotations:

He noted that the little boy who wore “the yellow slicker was George Denbrough,” which we discovered was Bill’s younger brother (King, 1986, p. 3).

Long quotations

Long, direct quotations (40 words or more) should be written in block format without quotation marks. The quotation should begin on a new line indented another half inch inward (where a new paragraph would naturally begin. All subsequent lines should be indented as such. Long quotes should be double-spaced like the rest of your document, and the parenthetical citation begins after the final punctuation mark of the quotation.

General format for long quotations:

King (1986) noted:

A small boy in a yellow slicker and red galoshes ran cheerfully along beside the newspaper boat. The rain had not stopped, but it was finally slackening. It tapped on the yellow hood of the boy’s slicker, sounding to his ears like the rain on the shed roof. (p. 3)

How to format a Reference page in APA

Your APA-formatted Reference page is where the extended, detailed versions of all references used throughout your essay or research paper are.

(Video) APA Formatting and Style Guide

For each container listed below, you will find a general formula for citing the source in your Reference page along with an example.

General Reference page rules:

  • Use hanging indentations for each line that follows the first line (second and subsequent lines in a single reference should be indented
  • Author names should be in Last Name First Initial format (for up to six authors of one given work)
  • All reference entries should be in alphabetical order
  • Any books or materials written by the same author(s) should be listen in chronological order from oldest to most recent
  • Use whatever capitalization and punctuation is used by an original container, even if not ‘standard’
  • Book titles and journal titles should be italicized


General citation formula for books with one author:

Last Name, First Initial. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Location: Publisher.

Example citation for books with one author:

King, S. (1986). It. New York, NY: Viking Press.

Note: Location should be formatted with city and state name (with postal abbreviation) and no period.

Books by two authors

Single books written by two authors should be listed by last names and first initials, connected via an ampersand rather than the word “and.”

General citation formula for a book with two authors:

Last Name, First Initial., & Last Name, First Initial. (Year). Title. Location: Publisher.

Example citation for a book with two authors:

(Video) Introduction to APA Formatting and Style Guide

King, S., & Straub, P. (1984). The Talisman. New York, NY: Viking Press.

Periodicals and electronic sources (articles, print and web)

Periodicals include articles from either web or print sources. You will use Last Name, First Initial format; publication year; sentence-case titles; volume number; and DOI for an article if given (including URL if from a website).

Note: If you are missing information like volume number, issue number, number of pages, or DOI, only include the information you have.

General citation for a periodical:

Last Name, First Initial. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number (issue number), pages. https://doi.org/xx.xxx/yyyy

Example citation for a periodical:

Moeslein, A. (2018). “Why Blake Lively Has Been Wearing So Many Suits Lately: An
Investigation.” Glamour, 1-3. https://www.glamour.com/story/why-blake-lively-has-been-wearing-suits-a-simple-favor.

All-in-all, APA is a no-brainer

The current APA style guide is in its 6th edition, and while this guide is not exhaustive, it overviews key elements of APA to ensure you have the necessary elements for success.

Want to learn more? You're in luck! Find out which document creation software best suits your needs as you get started with writing your next essay or research paper!

APA Format: A How-To Style Guide With Examples (1)

(Video) Basic for Format APA Style References Page Quick Demo


How do you write an answer in APA format? ›

To format questions and answers in APA format:

Use double spacing and one inch margins. Separate the answer from the question by beginning the answer on a new line. Always answer in complete sentences. If your answer is lengthy, it is okay to start a new paragraph.

What is an example of APA style? ›

Basic Format: Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number(issue number), page range.

What is the APA format format? ›

APA is the style of documentation of sources used by the American Psychological Association. This form of writing research papers is used mainly in the social sciences, like psychology, anthropology, sociology, as well as education and other fields.

What is APA 7th edition format example? ›

An APA in-text citation consists of the author's last name and the year of publication (also known as the author-date system). If you're citing a specific part of a source, you should also include a locator such as a page number or timestamp. For example: (Smith, 2020, p. 170).

How do you write best answers? ›

Here are some tips to write the perfect answer that will get you full marks.
  1. Read all questions carefully. ...
  2. Good handwriting. ...
  3. Structure your answer. ...
  4. Use simple language. ...
  5. Don't write everything you know. ...
  6. Review your answers thoroughly. ...
  7. Choose questions wisely. ...
  8. Attempt all the questions.

What is question and answer format? ›

This means that instead of writing an essay, you will write out the questions from the assignment within your document, and then write your answers below.

What is APA-style method? ›

The methods section of an APA style paper is where you report in detail how you performed your study. Research papers in the social and natural sciences often follow APA style.

How do you write APA 7th style? ›

Your manuscript should be typed, double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5 X 11 inches), with 1 inch margins on all sides. Do not align the right margin. Double-space text throughout the paper, and indent all paragraphs one tab (½ inch). Put one space between sentences (see APA 6.1).

What does APA 7 reference list look like? ›

The reference list is double spaced (between each reference AND within the reference). A reference list is arranged alphabetically by author last name. Each reference appears on a new line. Each item in the reference list is required to have a hanging indent.

How do you write a full sentence answer? ›

What elements must a construction have for it to be a complete sentence? Answer: It must have a subject and a predicate. An example of a simple, complete sentence is “She sleeps.” She is the subject; sleeps is the predicate. In this instance, the complete predicate is the verb sleeps.

How do you write an answer in a complete sentence? ›

What does it mean to answer a question in a complete sentence? ➢ Answer using the same words used in the question. ➢ Avoid one-word answers. ➢ Avoid sentence fragments (sentences must include a subject and predicate).

How do you write full marks in answers? ›

Here are some tips and strategies that will help you attempt your exam in the best possible way.
  1. Use of the Additional 15 Minutes Judiciously. ...
  2. Set the Priority. ...
  3. Write Brief, to the Point Answers. ...
  4. Choose Questions Wisely. ...
  5. Attempt all the Questions. ...
  6. Don't Decorate the Answer Sheet. ...
  7. Space out Each word Properly.
20 Apr 2022

What are the 4 question types? ›

The 4 Main Types of Questions in English + Examples
  • General or Yes/No Questions.
  • Special or Wh-Questions.
  • Choice Questions.
  • Disjunctive or Tag Questions.
24 Sept 2022

What are the 3 question types? ›

THREE TYPES OF QUESTIONS: 1. Factual 2. Interpretive 3. Evaluative Page 5 FACTUAL QUESTIONS Page 6 FACTUAL QUESTIONS Everyone will eventually agree on the answer.

How do you put a question in a sentence in APA? ›

Punctuation Junction: Question Marks and Quotation Marks
  1. When the quotation itself is a question, put the question mark inside the quotation marks. ...
  2. When the sentence as a whole is a question, but the quoted material is not, put the question mark outside the quotation marks.
18 Apr 2013

How many sentences should be in a paragraph APA? ›

There is no minimum or maximum sentence or paragraph length. Vary sentence and paragraph length, and avoid sentences and paragraphs that are too long. Paragraphs longer than one double-spaced page should be reorganized or broken up. Paragraphs with one sentence should be kept to a minimum as they seem abrupt.

What is the most common APA format? ›

There are two common types of papers written in fields using APA Style: the literature review and the experimental report (also known as a "research report"). Each has unique requirements concerning the sections that must be included in the paper.

How do you make a APA? ›

Throughout your paper, you need to apply the following APA format guidelines:
  1. Set page margins to 1 inch on all sides.
  2. Double-space all text, including headings.
  3. Indent the first line of every paragraph 0.5 inches.
  4. Use an accessible font (e.g., Times New Roman 12pt., Arial 11pt., or Georgia 11pt.).
6 Nov 2020

How do you write a method example? ›

How to write a methodology
  1. Restate your thesis or research problem. ...
  2. Explain the approach you chose. ...
  3. Explain any uncommon methodology you use. ...
  4. Describe how you collected the data you used. ...
  5. Explain the methods you used to analyze the data you collected. ...
  6. Evaluate and justify the methodological choices you made.
5 Nov 2020

Why is APA formatting used? ›

APA Style provides clarity to papers on often complex topics. It makes papers easier to read and understand. When sources are cited the same way each time and the paper is written in a uniform format, it gives it better flow and helps keep the focus on the content of the paper.

What is the current APA format 2022? ›

All SoE UWISTA students from 2022-2023 onward are to use APA Style 7th. ed.

What is the latest APA style? ›

The 7th edition APA Manual, published in October 2019, is the most current edition. However, the 6th edition, published in 2009, is still used by many universities and journals.

How do you start a sentence with APA 7? ›

If the author's name is stated in the sentence, always place the year in parentheses immediately after the name. (Clark, 2019). Give both names separated by the word and when including the names in the text of a sentence. For citations in parentheses use an ampersand (&).

How do you check if my references are correct? ›

Reference checking made easy

Very simply, Recite checks that your in text citations match the reference list at the end of your work. First, Recite checks that the authors and dates in the body of your work match up with the references at the end. Then Recite tells you where it finds errors.

What is correct formatting for a reference list? ›

Your references should begin on a new page separate from the text of the essay; label this page "References" in bold, centered at the top of the page (do NOT underline or use quotation marks for the title). All text should be double-spaced just like the rest of your essay.

How do you cite an answer? ›

When referring to information from a source in your own text, per APA guidelines, you will include the author, the year of publication, and sometimes the page number of the source. (The page number is required only with direct quotations.) This list of information is called an in-text citation.

How do you write a professional answer? ›

Writing a good answer is a skill not everybody has but with the steps mentioned below, it shouldn't be that difficult.
  1. Answer questions from previous years. ...
  2. Writing a blog. ...
  3. Sharpen your vocabulary. ...
  4. Develop the habit of writing notes yourself. ...
  5. Use your own content. ...
  6. Refer to multiple resources. ...
  7. Create answers out of notes.
20 Jan 2021

How do you start an answer in an essay? ›

Write your answer as quickly and legibly as possible. Don't plan on rewriting your essay – there is rarely enough time to do anything but proof your answer. Start your answer by rewriting the question as a thesis statement. A well‐written thesis statement answers the question directly.

How do you cite correctly example? ›

APA in-text citation style uses the author's last name and the year of publication, for example: (Field, 2005). For direct quotations, include the page number as well, for example: (Field, 2005, p. 14). For sources such as websites and e-books that have no page numbers, use a paragraph number.

How do you cite examples? ›

Elements to include:
  1. Authors.
  2. Year of publication (in round brackets)
  3. Article title (in single quotation marks)
  4. Journal title (in italics, capitalise the first letter of each word except linking words)
  5. Volume number.
  6. Issue number (if present, in round brackets)

What does cite your answers mean? ›

If you cite something, you quote it or mention it, especially as an example or proof of what you are saying. [formal]

How do you list questions in a sentence example? ›

How to List Questions in a Sentence: FAQs
  1. Add a Number within a Parenthesis.
  2. Drop the Question Mark.
  3. Place them After a Colon.

How do you write a question in a sentence example? ›

Direct question: Do you like coffee? This is an interrogative sentence, with the usual word order for direct questions: auxiliary verb + subject + main verb... Indirect question: She asked me if I was hungry. This is a declarative sentence (and it contains an indirect question with no question mark).

What is an example of a question in a sentence? ›

With “HAVE”
I have studied English.Have I studied English?
He has finished his homework.Has he finished his homework?
The film had started.Had the film started?
We had locked the door.Had we locked the door?
1 more row

How do you write a smart answer? ›

5 Tips On How To Write The Perfect Answer In Board Exams
  1. Prioritize Questions. ...
  2. Precise Answer. ...
  3. Do Not Turn Answer Sheet Into Drawing Book. ...
  4. Must Attempt All The Questions. ...
  5. Revision Of Answer Sheet.

How do I make my answer sheet presentable? ›

Use diagrams/flowcharts/graphs wherever possible

Make your sheet appealing and attractive. Use pictorial presentation wherever required. This helps the examiner to predict the content of your answer before even reading it.

What words can I use to start my essay? ›

17 academic words and phrases to use in your essay
  • Words to use in your introduction. ...
  • Firstly, secondly, thirdly. ...
  • In view of; in light of; considering. ...
  • According to X; X stated that; referring to the views of X. ...
  • Adding information and flow. ...
  • Moreover; furthermore; in addition; what's more. ...
  • In order to; to that end; to this end.
7 Jan 2019

What are the first words to start an essay? ›

Below is a list of possible sentence starters, transitional and other words that may be useful. This essay discusses … … is explored … … is defined … The definition of … will be given … is briefly outlined … … is explored … The issue focused on …. … is demonstrated ... … is included …

What is the most important thing to do when answering an essay question? ›

If you simply answer each question as you encounter it, you may give certain information or evidence to one question that is more suitable for another. Be sure to identify all parts of the question. Formulate a thesis that answers the question.


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