APA Format for Academic Papers and Essays


If you are not familiar with the APA Format, the formatting rules and guidelines may seem a little daunting at first. Being used to other writing styles like Chicago and MLA, it might take some time for you to getting the hang of writing an APA style paper.

Apart from the guidelines for citation in APA format, there are formats and guidelines for writing academic papers and essays.

Basic Formatting Rule in APA Format

  • Font type – Times New Roman
  • Font size – 12pts
  • Page Margin – 1 inch
  • Paragraph indentation – half an inch
  • The pages in an APA paper or essay must have a running head
  • Line spacing – double spaced
  • Every page must include a page number at the top right corner
  • Leave only one space after a period and any other punctuation marks

Guidelines For Writing Academic Papers and Essays in APA Formats

Academic papers and essays should have the following

pointing handRunning head

Every page of your paper should include a running head containing the title of the paper or the essay. If the title of your paper or essay is longer than 50 characters, the shortened version of the title should be used as the running head. The running head on the title page must be preceded by the words “Running head.” The text in the running should be written in all caps and flushed to the left

For example



pointing handTitle page

The title page in APA format is also referred to as the cover page. It is the first page of your paper that contains the running head, page number, paper’s title, author name, and institutional affiliation. Note the title should be written in title case at the center of the page. The title of the paper can extend to two lines but should not be more than 12 words

For example





O.A Morgan

University of California, Berkeley

pointing handAbstract

An APA paper is expected to have an abstract. An APA abstract is expected to be one paragraph, which should be about 250 words. An abstract it’s a summary of your paper that introduces the objective of the paper, the method, findings, and conclusion of the research. The heading of the abstract should be centered.

The first line of the paragraph of your abstract should not be indented. At the end of the abstract, the keywords that are relevant to the paper. Keywords are important to improve the findability of your paper in a database. The line of the keyword should be indented, starting with the word “keyword:” in italics, followed immediately by the keywords.

pointing handBody

The body of your paper or essay can have as many sections and paragraphs as possible. Each section should have a heading. Each paragraph should have a 5-space indentation. Space should be kept after a period, colon, semicolon, and exclamation mark. All text must be left-aligned and not justified. All periods and commas should be inside the quotation when quoting. For example .” ,”

pointing handReference page

The reference page of an APA paper, which is also called a reference list, is where all the sources used in the paper are listed. The citation style is dependent on the source type, aside from the guidelines for the references, the reference page has its own specific guidelines, they are as follows

  • The entries in the reference list should be listed in alphabetical order according to their last name.
  • The first line of each source should be flushed to the left, while all additional lines should use a hanging indentation.


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Related Articles:

Clear Instructions for APA Title Page

Step-by-Step Instructions for Writing an Abstract in APA Format