How do I set up APA formatting in Word?
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Basics of formatting an APA paper in Word include:
Make sure the Home tab is selected. In the Font Group, select one of the recommended fonts : 12 pt. Times New Roman, 11 pt. Calibri, or 11 pt. Arial.
In the Home tab, look for the Paragraph group, and click on the bottom right hand arrow.
In the Spacing section, change the Line Spacing to Double and be sure to set the before and after spacing to 0pt. Click in the box next to Don't add space between paragraphs. Click OK.
Go to the top of the ribbon and click on Insert. Then click on Page Number and select Top of Page.
Select the third option, which places the page numbers in the upper right corner.
See the APA Citation Guide for more information on APA format.
- APA Paper Format (official APA Style and Grammar Guidelines)
- APA Sample Papers (official APA Style and Grammar Guidelines)
- APA Title Page Setup (official APA Style and Grammar Guidelines)
- How do I set up an APA title page?
- Citing Sources
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How to Format APA Style in Microsoft Word
Academic documents often need to follow certain style rules, such as MLA or APA. If you want to set up an APA style document in Word, follow this guide.
The APA document format is the official style of the American Psychological Association (APA). APA, like the MLA format , is a specific type of document formatting used in certain types of academic documents.
APA is often used in academic documents, specifically those that relate to psychology, education, and other social sciences. If you’ve never created a Word document in the APA style, you may have difficulty figuring it out, but it’s easy once you know the rules.
If you want to know how to format APA style in Microsoft Word, here’s what you’ll need to do.
APA is like other academic document styles—it’s all about the rules your document needs to follow. Thankfully, Microsoft Word makes it easy to set up a document to follow the APA format.
To write a document in APA style in Microsoft Word:
- Set your font to Times New Roman in the Home tab.
Configure Your Document Header
At this point, your document should be nearly formatted for APA, but you’ll need to make some additional changes to your header to insert page numbers.
To configure your document header for APA:
- Press the Insert tab on the ribbon bar.
- Press Page Number , then hover over Top of Page .
- After typing your title, hit the Space key once to create a space between the title and the page number.
- The title is now aligned to the left, but so is the page number. To fix that, make sure the blinking cursor is direct to the left of the page number.
- Click the Header & Footer tab, and select Insert Alignment Tab .
Set Up a Title Page
Your document is now ready for APA formatting with Times New Roman and 12-point font sizing across the body and header. The next step is to set up a title page.
To add a title page to Word:
- Click an open area on your first page.
- Press E nter to move to a new line and type your name.
- Make further style changes to your document as required, making sure they follow the APA style .
Writing Academic Documents in Microsoft Word
The steps above will help you to set up APA style formatting in a Microsoft Word document. Of course, the context and citations are up to you. Your instructor may require additional information on the title page, like your student number and current date, so make sure to check in with them before writing your paper.
In addition to APA style, you can also use MLA format in Word . Other neat things you can do is transcribe an audio format or see the word count in Microsoft Word .
In addition to setting up APA or MLA format in Word, you can insert custom headers and footers and insert and format a text box in Word .
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APA, MLA, Chicago – automatically format bibliographies
Word automatically generates a bibliography from the sources you used to write your paper. Each time you add a new citation to your document, Word adds that source so that it appears in the bibliography in the proper format, such as MLA , APA , and Chicago-style .
Add a citation after a quote
On the References tab , in the Citations & Bibliography group, click the arrow next to Style .
Click the style that you want to use for the citation and source.
Click at the end of the sentence or phrase that you want to cite.
Click Insert Citation and then select Add New Source .
In the Create Source box, type in the citation details, and then click OK .
When you've completed these steps, the citation is added to the list of available citations. The next time you quote this reference, you don't have to type it all out again, just click Insert Citation and select the citation you want to use.
Important: APA and MLA can change their formats, so you’ll want to ensure that these format versions meet your requirements. You can create your own updated version of a style or build custom styles. For more information see Bibliography & Citations 102 – Building Custom styles .
Create a bibliography from your sources
If you want to create a bibliography from your sources, do the following:
Click where you want to insert a bibliography. Typically, they are at the end of a document.
On the References tab, in the Citations & Bibliography group , click Bibliography .
Similar to the Table of Contents builder in Word, you can select a predesigned bibliography format that includes a title, or you can just click Insert Bibliography to add the citation without a title.
If you want to learn more about using citation placeholders and editing sources, take a look at Create a bibliography . Or, if you want to export your bibliography sources to another computer, check out this post on the Microsoft Word blog .
APA 6th Edition citation style fix procedure.
APA style uses the author's name and publication date. If you have multiple citations from the same author, there is a known Word bug where the citation generator fills in the publication title when it's not supposed to. If this happens to you, here's how to fix the problem:
In the Word document, click the citation.
Click the down-arrow, and then click Edit Citation .
Click the Title checkbox, and then click OK .
APA and MLA can change their formats, so you’ll want to ensure that these format versions meet your requirements. You can create your own updated version of a style or build custom styles. For more information see Bibliography & Citations 102 – Building Custom styles .
If you are using the APA 5th Edition citation style, there’s one issue you should be aware of. APA style uses the author's name and publication date. If you have multiple citations from the same author, there is a known Word 2010 bug where the citation generator fills in the publication title when it's not supposed to. If this happens to you, see the section entitled, ‘ APA 5th Edition citation style fix procedure below.
Click where you want to insert a bibliography. Typically they are at the end of a document.
On the References tab, in the Citations & Bibliography group, click Bibliography .
If you want to learn more about using citation placeholders and editing sources, take a look at Creating a bibliography in Word 2010 . Or if you want to export your bibliography sources to another computer, check out this post on the Microsoft Word blog .
APA 5th Edition citation style fix procedure
APA style uses the author's name and publication date. If you have multiple citations from the same author, there is a known Word 2010 bug where the citation generator fills in the publication title when it's not supposed to. If this happens to you, here's how to fix the problem:
You can't automatically generate citations in Word Online. Word Online preserves the bibliography in your document, but it doesn’t provide a way to create one.
Instead, if you have the desktop version of Word, select Open in Word to open the document.
Then follow the steps for Word desktop .
When you’re done and you save the document in Word, you’ll see the table of contents when you reopen the doc in Word Online.
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APA Style (7th ed.)
- Cite: Why? When?
- Book, eBook, Dissertation
- Article or Report
- Business Sources
- In-Text Citation
- Format Your Paper
Format Your Paper
Download and use the editable templates for student papers below: .
- APA 7th ed. Template Document This is an APA format template document in Google Docs. Click on the link -- it will ask for you to make a new copy of the document, which you can save in your own Google Drive with your preferred privacy settings.
- APA 7th ed. Template Document A Microsoft Word document formatted correctly according to APA 7th edition.
- APA 7th ed. Annotated Bibliography template A Microsoft Word document formatted correctly for an annotated bibliography.
Or, view the directions for specific sections below:
Order of sections (section 2.17).
- Title page including Title, Author, University and Department, Class, Instructor, and Date
- Body (including introduction, literature review or background, discussion, and conclusion)
- Appendices (including tables & figures)
Margins & Page Numbers (sections 2.22-2.24)
- 1 inch at top, bottom, and both sides
- Left aligned paragraphs and leave the right edge ragged (not "right justified")
- Indent first line of each paragraph 1/2 inch from left margin
- Use page numbers, including on the title page, 1/2 inch from top and flush with right margin
Text Format (section 2.19)
- Times New Roman, 12 point
- Calibri, 11 point
- Arial, 11 point
- Lucinda Sans Unicode, 10 point
- Georgia, 11 point
- Double-space and align text to the left
- Use active voice
- Don't overuse technical jargon
- No periods after a web address or DOI in the References list.
Tables and Figures In-Text (chapter 7)
- Label tables and figures numerically (ex. Table 1)
- Give each table column a heading and use separating lines only when necessary
- Design the table and figure so that it can be understood on its own, i.e. it does not require reference to the surrounding text to understand it
- Notes go below tables and figures
Title Page (section 2.3)
- Include the title, your name, the class name , and the college's name
- Title should be 12 words or less and summarize the paper's main idea
- No periods or abbreviations
- Do not italicize or underline
- No quotation marks, all capital letters, or bold
- Center horizontally in upper half of the page
Body (section 2.11)
- Align the text to the left with a 1/2-inch left indent on the first line
- As long as there is no Abstract, at the top of the first page, type the title of the paper, centered, in bold , and in Sentence Case Capitalization
- Usually, include sections like these: introduction, literature review or background, discussion, and conclusion -- but the specific organization will depend on the paper type
- Spell out long organization names and add the abbreviation in parenthesis, then just use the abbreviation
- Spell out numbers one through nine and use a number for 10 or more
- Use a number for units of measurement, in tables, to represent statistical or math functions, and dates or times
Headings (section 2.26-2.27)
- Level 1: Center, bold , Title Case
- Level 2: Align left, bold , Title Case
- Level 3: Alight left, bold italics , Title Case
- Level 4: Indented 1/2", bold , Title Case, end with a period. Follow with text.
- Level 5: Indented 1/2", bold italics , Title Case, end with a period. Follow with text.
Quotations (sections 8.26-8.33)
- Include short quotations (40 words or less) in-text with quotation marks
- For quotes more than 40 words, indent the entire quote a half inch from the left margin and double-space it with no quotation marks
- When quoting two or more paragraphs from an original source, indent the first line of each paragraph a half inch from the left margin
- Use ellipsis (...) when omitting sections from a quote and use four periods (....) if omitting the end section of a quote
References (section 2.12)
Begins on a new page following the text of your paper and includes complete citations for the resources you've used in your writing.
- References should be centered and bolded at the top of a new page
- Double-space and use hanging indents (where the first line is on the left margin and the following lines are indented a half inch from the left)
- List authors' last name first followed by the first and middle initials (ex. Skinner, B. F.)
- Alphabetize the list by the first author's last name of of each citation (see sections 9.44-9.49)
- Capitalize only the first word, the first after a colon or em dash, and proper nouns
- Don't capitalize the second word of a hyphenated compound
- No quotation marks around titles of articles
Appendices with Tables, Figures, & Illustrations (section 2.14, and chapter 7)
- Include appendices only to help the reader understand, evaluate, or replicate the study or argument
- Put each appendix on a separate page and align left
- For text, do not indent the first paragraph, but do indent the rest
- If you have only one appendix, label it "Appendix"
- If you have two or more appendices, label them "Appendix A", "Appendix B" and so forth as they appear in the body of your paper
- Label tables and figures numerically (ex. Table 1, or Table B1 and Table B2 if Appendix B has two tables) and describe them within the text of the appendix
- Notes go below tables and figures (see samples on p. 210-226)
Double-space the entire bibliography. give each entry a hanging indent. in the following annotation, indent the entire paragraph a half inch from the left margin and give the first line of each paragraph a half inch indent. see the template document at the top of this page..
- Check with your professor for the length of the annotation and which elements you should evaluate.
These elements are optional, if your professor or field requires them, but they are not required for student papers:
Abstract (section 2.9).
- Abstract gets its own page
- Center "Abstract" heading and do not indent the first line of the text
- Summarize the main points and purpose of the paper in 150-250 words maximum
- Define abbreviations and acronyms used in the paper
Running Head (section 2.8 )
- Shorten title to 50 characters or less (counting spaces and punctuation) for the running head
- In the top margin, the running head is aligned left, with the page number aligned on the right
- On every page, put (without the brackets): [SHORTENED TITLE OF YOUR PAPER IN ALL CAPS] [page number]
More questions? Check out the authoritative source: APA style blog
- << Previous: In-Text Citation
- Last Updated: Nov 23, 2022 12:53 PM
- URL: https://libguides.uww.edu/apa
How to Format Your Essay in APA Style Using Microsoft Word 2021
by Mel Beasley | Jan 6, 2022 | Academic Writing
Information is taken from the American Psychological Association, 7th Edition, latest version, 2022.
Here’s your guide to setting up your APA essay in Microsoft Word. Keep in mind that there are a few changes to APA style found in the 7th edition. Here’s what you should know:
Changes in APA, 7th Edition, Latest Version:
- Running heads are no longer required. If you choose to use one, it only has to include the page number and abbreviated version of your title.
- Use one space after a period unless instructed otherwise.
- The first in-text citation of a work by more than two authors may list only the first author, followed by “et al,” without any further explanation.
- The term “they” is now acceptable for singular usage.
Reference Changes Include:
- “Retrieved from” is no longer required before URLs unless a retrieval date is needed.
- A website’s name is included (unless it’s the same as an author), and webpage titles are italicized.
- Book references no longer need the publisher’s location.
Format Your Essay in APA Style Using Microsoft Word
This guide will show you exactly how to format your essay properly in APA style using Microsoft Word. This guide only covers the basics of formatting such as margins, spacing, etc., so please see our other resources for further APA formatting guidelines.
1. Set the Page Number
APA style papers require that you have a title page. You should also have page numbers in the top right of every page. Follow these instructions to set up your title page and page numbers.
How to Set the Page Number
- Open a blank document in Microsoft Word and select INSERT .
- Select PAGE NUMBER .
- Select TOP OF PAGE .
- Select PLAIN NUMBER 3 .
- Using your mouse, double click anywhere on the document to hold the page number in place.
2. Set the Font Style, Size, and Spacing
- From the HOME tab, set your font to Times New Roman size 12 .
- Select the paragraph settings icon to open the menu.
- Set your body text as double spaced .
Note that you can also change the spacing this way:
3. Set Margins
According to APA style, your margins should be 1 inch all the way around.
- Navigate to LAYOUT .
- Select MARGINS .
- Choose the NORMAL option in the dropdown.
3. How to Set Your Title Page
- Center your title page information.
- Hit ENTER at least 3 times so your title info displays slightly toward the middle of the page.
- Type the title of your essay in Bold, but keep the size at 12.
- Hit ENTER twice before typing the next lines.
- You should enter your first and last name.
- Type your university’s name.
- Type your course code.
- Enter your instructor’s name.
- Enter the date. For example: January 1, 2022 .
After you’ve finished your title page information, go ahead and hit ENTER until you’ve reached page two. This is where you can begin typing your essay. Hopefully this helps you out!
Mel Beasley has a bachelor’s in creative writing and journalism from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He brings 9+ years of digital marketing and writing experience to the table by writing for publications such as Lumina News and Encore Magazine. He spent 2 years as a college-level writing tutor, and is a certified writing tutor through the CRLA, which is a prestigious cert recognized by the Association for the Coaching & Tutoring Profession. He is a professional SEO blogger with experience writing for brands such as Boardworks Education and The Greater Wilmington Business Journal. One of his latest website and marketing projects has been building the website for the now New York Times Bestselling author, Nina de Gramont .
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Follow the steps below to correctly format your document in current APA style using Microsoft Word. For additional help in formatting your UAGC papers
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This section describes how to use MS-Word to format the references page in APA style. Check any freshman composition textbook or the APA handbook (6th edition