APA General Guidelines Your essay should be double-spaced and typed on standard-sized paper (8.5" x 11"), with 1 inch margins on both sides. You should select a clean, easily visible typeface. The APA recommends 12 point Times New Roman typeface. However, any font up to 10 points can be used.
When writing your essay, follow these simple steps: Start with the title page. Include the page number in the heading -- this tells readers where they can find information if they need to refer back to it. Write your essay in a clear, concise style that is easy to read. Use proper grammar and punctuation. Avoid using too many quotations or references. End with a summary statement indicating the main ideas of your essay.
Does your institution require you to use APA format in your essays? If so, then you must follow the guidelines specified by the APA. Your instructor may have additional instructions for formatting your work. If you are unsure about any aspect of APA formatting, feel free to check out our resource page!
Every page should have a page header (also known as a "running head"). This contains your paper title and page number for a professional paper. Use Times New Roman or another serif typeface; if using sans-serif typefaces, be sure to set them in italic mode.
Use these guidelines when writing an effective abstract: concise but detailed; relevant and accurate information; clear and easy to read.
An abstract is a brief summary of the contents of a book, article, or thesis. An abstract may include not only the main ideas but also conclusions drawn from the material covered in the source. Abstracts are often used by librarians to provide readers with a general idea of what the book or article is about before they decide to purchase or borrow it.
Effective abstracts use plain language that is easy to understand. They should be no longer than 250 words without using abbreviations. Try to relate the topic of your work directly to people's lives. For example, an abstract for a book review could read "The rise of soccer in America". The sentence is short and straightforward, and it makes reference to something most people know how to identify: soccer balls!
Abstracts are usually included with the full text of articles when they are published.
You must follow the APA format requirements listed below throughout your paper:
How to Format an APA Paper
APA Style papers should be written in a readable and generally accessible typeface. For instance, Times New Roman (12 point) Arial (11pt.) or Helvetica (9 point) are all good choices.
Accessibility is also important; if you have difficulty reading small print, consider using larger typefaces or fonts with additional spacing. Avoid using ALL CAPS as this can be difficult to read for some people.
Finally, stick to one font style (bold, italic, regular), otherwise your paper will look messy.
These are the minimum font requirements in APA Style.
For recommendations on what else to include or exclude based on content and purpose, see our article on how to format research papers in APA Style.
We recommend that you pick one of the six acceptable typefaces when creating an outline in APA style. There is double spacing. 1 inch margins are preferred on all sides of the page.
Because there is no particular APA structure for outlines, simply use Times New Roman font. Double spaced 12 point font is the most common spacing in academic writing.
In an APA Style paper, align the text to the left margin. Allow the right margin to be irregular, or "ragged." When submitting student papers or articles for publication, do not use complete justification. Insert no hyphens (manual breaks) at the end of a line. Use quotes as close as possible to the word they contain.
Align by choosing one of these methods:
• Place your text flush against the side of the page and mark it off with boxes or other symbols. As you write, keep in mind what kind of paper it is and how it should look. You can change the size of the text and font used if there's something about them that doesn't work well with your style of writing.
• Put your text on its own paragraph indent. Start each new paragraph with a tab or space key. Avoid ending sentences with periods or exclamation points!
• Write in blocks of paragraphs with blank lines between them. Think of ways to break up long sentences so readers can follow what you're saying more easily.
Just because you're using plain English instead of Latin grammar doesn't mean you can get away with sloppy spelling and punctuation. Even if you believe your audience will understand you better without correct spelling and sentence structure, they still need to be able to read what you write. They need to be able to understand you.