Skip to Main Content

APA Style Guide

Sample Papers

Basic Paper Formatting

Formatting for all pages:

  • Double space everything except:
    • Footnotes are always single spaced
    • Words within a table or describing a table or image can be single, one-and-a-half, or double spaced, whichever creates the most effective presentation. 
    • The lines before and after an equation can be triple or quadruple spaced. 
  • All pages have the page number in the header with right justification (last name is NOT included with the page number in APA). Use automatic page-numbering:
  • A running head (abbreviated paper title in capital letters at the top left of the page) is NOT required for student papers unless requested by the instructor. 
  • Font
    • Any font is allowed as long as it is accessible to your readers. 
    • Size of font depends on font type being used. 
    • Recommended fonts and sizes: Times New Roman (12 point), Calibri (11 point), Arial (11 point), Lucida Sans Unicode (10 point), or Georgia (11 point). 
    • Use the same font and size throughout the paper, except for footnotes, which are usually size 10. 
  • Use letter-sized paper (8.5" x 11") 
  • Margins are 1-inch on all sides.
  • Indent the first line of a new paragraph by 0.5" (this is usually the default setting for hitting the tab key once).  
  • Do not hyphenate words in order to separate them onto two lines. 
  • Footnotes can be located at the bottom of the page in which the reference occurs or at the end of the paper in their own section after the reference list (often called "endnotes"); do not put footnotes in both places in the same paper. 

Paper Order

Order of Pages:

  • Title Page
    • Starts on page 1
    • The following are centered on the page and start 1/4 (three or four lines) down from the top:
      • Title (bold)
      • [Blank line]
      • Author(s) (e.g. Thomas A. Anderson and John Shaft I)
      • Department, University (e.g. English, Sacramento State University)
      • Course number and title (e.g. ENGL 5: Accelerated Academic Literacies)
      • Name of instructor (e.g. Dr. Jane Goodall)
      • Due date written month day, year (e.g. April 1, 2020)
  • Abstract
    • Not required for a student paper unless requested by your instructor.
    • An abstract is a summary of the content and findings that will be presented in the paper. 
    • Start on a new page with the word "Abstract" centered and in bold at the top.
    • Single paragraph of less than 250 words.
    • Do not indent the first (or any) line of the paragraph. 
  • Text
    • Start on new page with title of paper centered and in bold before the first paragraph
    • The organization and sections will depend on the type of paper; however, all papers should include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion or discussion. 
    • The sections in a brief student paper do not need to be labeled with headings. If your paper is longer and/or headings are required, use proper APA formatting. 
  • Reference List
    • Start on new page with the word "References" centered and in bold at the top.
    • List full citations in alphabetical order with hanging indents.
  • Footnotes
    • Not required unless requested by instructor.
    • Start on a new page with the word "Footnotes" centered and in bold at the top. 
  • Tables
    • Not required unless requested by instructor.
    • Start on a new page with the word "Table A" centered and in bold at the top; subsequent tables start on a new page and are titled "Table B," etc. 
    • May also be embedded within the text. 
  • Figures
    • Not required unless requested by instructor.
    • Start on a new page with the word "Figures" centered and in bold at the top; subsequent figures start on a new page and are titled "Table B," etc. 
    • May also be embedded within the text. 
  • Appendices
    • Not required unless requested by instructor.
    • Appendices provide supplemental data supporting the content presented in paper. 
    • Start on a new page with the title "Appendix A" centered and in bold at the top; subsequent appendices start on a new page and are titled "Appendix B," etc.
Last Updated: Aug 29, 2021 2:36 PM