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apa format in essay writing

General Format

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Note:  This page reflects the latest version of the APA Publication Manual (i.e., APA 7), which released in October 2019. The equivalent resource for the older APA 6 style  can be found here .

Please use the example at the bottom of this page to cite the Purdue OWL in APA.

You can also watch our APA vidcast series on the Purdue OWL YouTube Channel .


General APA Guidelines

Your essay should be typed and double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5" x 11"), with 1" margins on all sides.   Include a page header (also known as the “ running head ”) at the top of every page. For a professional paper, this includes your paper title and the page number. For a student paper, this only includes the page number. To create a page header/running head , insert page numbers flush right. Then type "TITLE OF YOUR PAPER" in the header flush left using all capital letters. The running head is a shortened version of your paper's title and cannot exceed 50 characters including spacing and punctuation.

The 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual requires that the chosen font be accessible (i.e., legible) to all readers and that it be used consistently throughout the paper. It acknowledges that many font choices are legitimate, and it advises writers to check with their publishers, instructors, or institutions for guidance in cases of uncertainty.

While the APA Manual does not specify a single font or set of  fonts for professional writing, it does recommend a few fonts that are widely available. These include sans serif fonts such as 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, and 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode as well as serif fonts such as 12-point Times New Roman, 11-point Georgia, 10-point Computer Modern.

Major Paper Sections

Your essay should include four major sections: the Title Page , Abstract , Main Body , and References .

Note: APA 7 provides slightly different directions for formatting the title pages of professional papers (e.g., those intended for scholarly publication) and student papers (e.g., those turned in for credit in a high school or college course).

The title page should contain the title of the paper, the author's name , and the institutional affiliation . A professional paper should also include the author note . A student paper should also include the course number and name , instructor name , and assignment due date .

Type your title in upper and lowercase letters centered in the upper half of the page. The title should be centered and written in boldface. APA recommends that your title be focused and succinct and that it should not contain abbreviations or words that serve no purpose. Your title may take up one or two lines. All text on the title page, and throughout your paper, should be double-spaced.

Beneath the title, type the author's name : first name, middle initial(s), and last name. Do not use titles (Dr.) or degrees (PhD).

Beneath the author's name, type the institutional affiliation , which should indicate the location where the author(s) conducted the research.

A professional paper should include the author note beneath the institutional affiliation, in the bottom half of the title page. This should be divided up into several paragraphs, with any paragraphs that are not relevant omitted. The first paragraph should include the author’s name, the symbol for the ORCID iD, and the URL for the ORCID iD. Any authors who do not have an ORCID iD should be omitted. The second paragraph should show any change in affiliation or any deaths of the authors. The third paragraph should include any disclosures or acknowledgements, such as study registration, open practices and data sharing, disclosure of related reports and conflicts of interest, and acknowledgement of financial support and other assistance. The fourth paragraph should include contact information for the corresponding author.

A student paper should not include an author note.

Note again that page headers/page numbers (described above for professional and student papers) also appear at the top of the title page. In other words, a professional paper's title page will include the title of the paper flush left in all capitals and the page number flush right, while a student paper will only contain the page number flush right.

Student APA title page

This image shows the title page for a student APA seventh edition paper.

Title page for a student paper in APA 7 style.

Professional paper APA title page

This image shows the title page for a professional APA seventh edition paper.

Title page for a professional paper in APA 7 style.

Begin a new page. Your abstract page should already include the page header (described above). On the first line of the abstract page, center and bold the word “Abstract” (no italics, underlining, or quotation marks).

Beginning with the next line, write a concise summary of the key points of your research. (Do not indent.) Your abstract should contain at least your research topic, research questions, participants, methods, results, data analysis, and conclusions. You may also include possible implications of your research and future work you see connected with your findings. Your abstract should be a single paragraph, double-spaced. Your abstract should typically be no more than 250 words.

You may also want to list keywords from your paper in your abstract. To do this, indent as you would if you were starting a new paragraph, type Keywords: (italicized), and then list your keywords. Listing your keywords will help researchers find your work in databases.

Abstracts are common in scholarly journal articles and are not typically required for student papers unless advised by an instructor. If you are unsure whether or not your work requires an abstract, consult your instructor for further guidance.

APA Abstract Page

This image shows the title page for a student APA seventh edition paper.

Abstract page for a student paper in APA 7 style.

Please see our Sample APA Paper resource to see an example of an APA paper. You may also visit our Additional Resources page for more examples of APA papers.

How to Cite the Purdue OWL in APA

Individual resources.

The page template for the new OWL site does not include contributors' names or the page's last edited date. However, select pages  still include this information.

In the absence of contributor/edit date information, treat the page as a source with a group author and use the abbreviation "n.d." for "no date":

Purdue Online Writing Lab. (n.d.).  Title of resource.  Purdue Online Writing Lab. http://Web address for OWL resource

Purdue Online Writing Lab. (n.d.).  General Writing FAQs. Purdue Online Writing Lab. https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/general_writing_faqs.html

The generic APA citation for OWL pages, which includes author/edit date information, is this:

Contributors' names. (Last edited date).  Title of resource . Site Name. http://Web address for OWL resource

Essay Writing

apa format in essay writing

The Essay Format (APA)


Formatting your essay has gotten a lot easier with the 7th edition of the APA style guide. No longer do students have to provide a running head or an abstract (unless your instructor asks for it). The result is a more streamlined essay format, so that with just a little bit of attention to the details you can be off to the races!

Note: All detailed instructions refer to Microsoft Word. If you’re using a different word processor, you may have to look for an equivalent setting.

Essay Components

An APA paper has three parts:

If your instructor would like an abstract, you can insert it after the title page. It’s best to separate each section with a page break (Insert > Page Break).

You have some options when it comes to choosing a font. Here are some acceptable choices:

Whichever one you choose, make sure you use it throughout your entire essay. Footnotes are typically in size 10 font, and for captions to tables and figures please use a font size between 8 and 14.

Since 2007, the default margin for any Word document has been 1 inch all around. Fortunately, APA format has the same requirement. If for some reason you need to fix the margins, go to Page Layout > Margins > Normal.

All the text in your essay should be double-spaced. To make this change quickly, first press Ctrl + A to highlight all text and then press Home > Line and Paragraph Spacing (symbol) > 2.0. Make sure you also click on “Remove Space After Paragraph.” There’s no need to provide extra spaces between paragraphs or around headings.

Let’s look at the basic layout of an APA title page:

Let’s break down what goes into making a great title page. The first thing you’ll want to do is add a page number in the top right hand corner (Insert > Page Number > Plain #3).

The title of your essay should be about 3-4 double-spaced lines from the top of the page. The text should be centered and in bold font. If your title is quite long, you can split it across two lines (in such cases press Enter after the colon if you’re using a subtitle). Make sure that you capitalize important words, but not prepositions and articles.

Double space all the text on your title page and add an extra space after the title. Then provide your name, the department, course, instructor, and date. Centre all this information and don’t use bold font. The date can be formatted in different ways, but the preference is to spell out the month in full.

If you have co-written an essay, list both authors on the same line, separated by “and.” For 3+ authors, separate the names with a comma and add “and” before the final name.

For student papers, the abstract (max: 250 words) is entirely optional. However, if your instructor does require a summary of your paper, then place the abstract on its own page, right after the title page. Centre the word “Abstract” in bold font and left-align the actual summary. Use a single paragraph and don’t indent the first line.

Essay Start Page

Your essay really begins on the third page. Your title should be in bold font, centered, with key words capitalized:

Note too that (unlike in the abstract) the first line of each paragraph is indented one tab space.

References List

Finally, don’t forget to cite your sources:

For more details, please visit our page on  formatting the reference list .

Section Headings

APA papers are often divided into sections. If you’d like to organize your material with headings, you can choose from a number of different headings. Start by using first level headings and use the others for sub-headings:

First Level Heading (Bold, Centered)

Second Level Heading (Bold, Left Aligned)

Third Level Heading (Bold Italic, Left Aligned)

Fourth Level Heading (Bold, Indented, Ending with a Period).

Fifth Level Heading (Bold Italic, Indented, Ending with a Period).

As you can see, you don’t have to use some complex numbering system (e.g., 3.2.1b) to organize your ideas. The formatting of the heading does the trick.

Finally, don’t add a sub-heading (e.g., Introduction) between the essay title and the first paragraph. Also, don’t forget to capitalize important words in each heading (what’s called title case).

APA Essay Template

Make your life a little easier by downloading one of our APA templates. Enjoy!

APA Essay Template (Without Abstract or Running Head)

APA Essay Template (With Optional Running Head and Abstract)

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How to Write an Essay in APA Format

Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

apa format in essay writing

Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity, Study.com, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.

apa format in essay writing

What Is APA Format?

Apa essay format basics, steps to a successful essay, frequently asked questions.

If your instructor has asked you to write an APA format essay, it might at first seem like a daunting task, especially if you are accustomed to using another style such as MLA or Chicago. But you can master these rules too.

An essay is one type of paper that can be written in APA format; others include lab reports, experimental reports, and case studies. Before you begin, familiarize yourself with some of the basic guidelines of writing a paper in APA format. Of course, it will also be important to follow any other formatting instructions that are part of your assignment.

Whether you’re taking an introductory or graduate-level psychology class, chances are strong that you will have to write at least one paper during the course of the semester. In almost every case, you will need to write your paper in APA format, the official publication style of the American Psychological Association . It is also used for academic journals.

APA format is used in a range of disciplines including psychology , education, and other social sciences. The format dictates presentation elements of your paper including spacing, margins, and how the content is structured.

Most instructors and publication editors have strict guidelines when it comes to how your format your writing. Not only does adhering to APA format allow readers to know what to expect from your paper, but it also means that your work will not lose critical points over minor formatting errors. 

While the formatting requirements for your paper might vary depending upon your instructor's directions, your essay will most likely need to include a title page, abstract, introduction, body, conclusion, and reference sections.

Your essay should have a title page in APA format. This title page should include the title of your paper, your name, and school affiliation. In some instances, your teacher might require additional information such as the course title, instructor name, and the date.

An abstract is a brief summary of your paper that immediately follows the title page. It is not required for student papers, according to APA style. However, your instructor may request one.

If you include an abstract , it should be no more than 100 to 200 words, although this may vary depending upon the instructor requirements.

Your essay should also include a reference list with all of the sources that were cited in your essay,

For an APA-style essay, the text will include the actual essay itself: The introduction, body, and conclusion.

For professional papers (usually not student papers), every page of the essay also includes a running head at the top left. The running head is a shortened form of the title, often the first few words, and should be no more than 50 characters (including spaces).

In addition to ensuring that you cite your sources properly and present information according to the rules of APA style, there are a number of things you can do to make the writing process a little bit easier.

Choose a Topic

Start by choosing a good topic to write about. Ideally, you want to select a subject that is specific enough to let you fully research and explore the topic, but not so specific that you have a hard time finding sources of information.

If you choose something too specific, you may find yourself with not enough to write about. If you choose something too general, you might find yourself overwhelmed with information.

Research Your Topic

Start doing research as early as possible. Begin by looking at some basic books and articles on your topic to help develop it further. What is the question you are going to answer with your essay? What approach will you take to the topic?

Once you are more familiar with the subject, create a preliminary source list of potential books, articles, essays, and studies that you may end up using in your essay.

Remember, any source used in your essay must be included in your reference section. Conversely, any source listed in your references must be cited somewhere in the body of your paper.

Write Your Rough Draft

With research in hand, you are ready to begin. Some people like to create an outline to organize their argument prior to drafting. You may want to start with a very rough outline, and then add details.

Once you have a detailed outline, the next step is to translate it from notes to complete sentences and paragraphs. Remember, this is a first draft. It doesn't have to be perfect.

As you write your essay, be sure to keep careful track of the sources that you cite.

Review and Revise

After you have prepared a rough draft of your essay, it's time to revise, review, and prepare your final draft. In addition to making sure that your writing is cohesive and supported by your sources, you should also check carefully for typos, grammar errors, and possible formatting mistakes.

How do you write an interview essay in APA format?

When citing information or quotations taken from an interview, APA format requires that you cite the source, how the information was collected, and the date of the interview. They should not be included in the reference section, however, because they are not something that can be located by a reader in any published source or searchable database.

Instead, the information should be cited parenthetically in the main body of the text. For example: “There was an increase in the number of college students who screened positive for depression/anxiety” (R. Heathfield, personal communication, May 9, 2021).

How do you cite an essay in APA format?

If the essay is in a chapter of a book, edited collection, or anthology, APA format states that you should cite the last name, first name, title of essay, title of collection, publisher, year, and page range. For example: Smith, John, "The Light House," A Book of Poems , editing by Peter Roberts, Allworth Press, 2005, pp. 20-25.

How do I write a two-part essay in APA format?

According to APA format, a two-part essay is formatted the same as an essay, however, you'll need to create two title pages.

How do I include a direct quote in an APA format essay?

If you're including a short direct quote in your APA-format essay, you will need to cite the author, year of publication, and page number (p.) or page number span (pp.). Quotations longer than 40 words should omit the quotation marks and be put in the text using block quotation formatting, on its own line and indented 1/2 inch from the left margin.

How do I make a cover page for an essay in APA format?

The cover page or "title page" for an essay in APA format should always include the title of your paper, your name, and school affiliation as well as the course title, instructor name, and date, if requested by your teacher.

Nagda S.  How to write a scientific abstract.   J Indian Prosthodont Soc.  2013;13(3):382-383. doi:10.1007/s13191-013-0299-x

American Psychological Association.  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association  (7th ed.). Washington DC: The American Psychological Association; 2019.

By Kendra Cherry Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

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apa format in essay writing

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apa format in essay writing

How To Write an Essay in APA Format – Complete Guide with Examples

Essay in APA Format

Writing a paper in APA format can be challenging if you are unfamiliar with it. Sometimes, you may be accustomed to crafting essays in other styles, and, therefore, switching to another new approach can be an uphill task for you.

In this guide, you will learn a lot about how to compose an essay in APA format. Let us go!

What is the APA style format?

APA ( American Psychological Association ) is one of the most popular academic styles used to cite sources in various disciplines, such as psychology, business, finance, and other social sciences. With APA format, you can craft your documents and consistently convey your message.

The following features characterize the APA style format

Sample of an APA format title page for a student paper:

The title page should occupy the entire first page. Note that on the title page, the phrase ‘Running head’ precedes the title of your essay . Also, note that the title of the essay, your name, and your university’s name are stated on the upper part of the page. Finally, bear in mind that the writer’s notes, such as the supervisor’s name, the course title, and the department are stated at the bottom of the page.

Sample of title page for a professional paper:

To create a running head, choose the “different first-page” option. Next, align to the left the words ‘Running head’ followed by the short version (not exceeding 50 characters) of the paper in caps. Ensure that the page number appears on the right side of the page. Moreover, let the shortened title (running head) appear on other pages, but it should be right-aligned.

Page Title - APA Format

Page numbers

Let the page number appear in the upper-right hand corner with your surname next to it.


Ensure that all paragraphs and block quotations are indented half-inch from the left margin.

APA Format Outlines

An abstract is a summary of your paper, and under APA style, it is usually between 150 to 250 words. Note that the length of an outline varies depending on the requirement of a journal or the university.

APA Format Abstract Example

The main body encompasses the actual paper that is crafted on 8.5 inches by 11 inches. The font type for the body text is Time New Romans size 12. Note that double space is used in the entire document, and there is the presence of a page header.

APA Format Body Sample

You should include the reference list at the end of your essay. A reference list is essential to your readers in providing them with crucial information to enable them to retrieve the sources used in your in-text citations. As a rule, all the cited sources must be included in the reference list, and all entries in the bibliographies must be cited.

Usually, most APA articles are crafted using Times New Roman (font size 12) or Georgia (size 11). Note that footnotes are composed in size 10, and size 8-14 is used for titles to tables and figures. It is crucial to stick to one font size throughout your manuscript.

The APA requirement for word documents’ margin is 1 inch all around. Note that it is advisable to use at least one inch across the bottom, top left, and right of the page.

When writing in APA format, ensure that you double space the content throughout your document, including the quotations of 40 or more words.

APA Style Essay Example

Sometimes, crafting a scientific paper in APA format may require experience and some writing skills. As you go on with the writing process, it is crucial to check and verify whether what you are doing is okay. An essay example can help you a lot when it comes to confirming the level of your conformity with the style.

If you are stuck and don’t know what to do to finish composing your document, visit professional writing companies, such as Peach Essay to familiarize yourself with their APA style essay examples.

What is an APA Style Essay?

The APA style essay is an essential guide that can help you with the formatting of your text, tables, figures, citations, and grammar. According to APA style, you are supposed to indent the beginning of a paragraph half an inch from the left margin. Also, note that block quotations are indented half-inch from the left margin. Most importantly, note that the APA style essay requires that you use a 1-inch margin on the sides of the page and a font size of 12.

APA Format Figure Sample

How to Write an APA Style Essay?

Writing an APA style essay may pose some challenges to you, especially if you are not conversant with its formatting. If you don’t know how to go about it, don’t worry; the following tips will help you come up with an excellent paper.

Choose an exciting topic

An exciting topic is the one you feel that you have adequate content, and you can craft it without challenges. Also, ensure that the item you choose is neither too broad nor too narrow.

Conduct thorough research on the topic

To craft an excellent paper, you need adequate and relevant information. Therefore, review any related literature to the topic you have chosen, and summarize crucial points.

Early preparation

If you want to compose a high-quality paper, start researching and crafting the essay early before the submission date.

Citations and referencing

Ensure that all the quotations and citations that you use in the text must appear in the reference list.

Sample reference page for a student paper:

Draft your APA essay

Once you have prepared everything, you can go ahead and draft the document. After that, proofread and edit to correct grammar mistakes.

APA Format Essay Example

APA format is usually used by students undertaking studies, especially in behavioral and social sciences. Before you craft any paper, it is advisable to familiarize yourself with essential requirements regarding APA styles.

If it is your first time writing a paper in APA and you don’t know how to do it, it is vital to refer to APA essay samples on the websites of professional writing companies, such as Peachy Essay . Note that, through the help of an example, you can quickly compose a paper without challenges.

visual APA format template for levels of headings

Here is an example of APA citation in an essay

Entrepreneurial orientation refers to the behaviors of business people, and it can affect their performance (Lumpkin and Dess, 1996).

The above-cited source can appear in the reference list, as indicated below.

Lumpkin, G.T. & Dess, G.G. 1996. Clarifying the entrepreneurial orientation construct and linking it to performance. Academy of Management Review , 21(1), 135–173.

What are the Major Sections in an APA Style Essay?

An APA style article has four major components, as highlighted below

The title page

The title page encompasses the paper’s topic, the author’s name, and the institution’s name. Ensure that all these are centered and double spaced. The title of your essay is the main idea of your paper and shouldn’t exceed 12 words.

The abstract

An abstract is a summary of your essay, and it should not be more than 250 words. In the abstract, highlight crucial aspects, such as the purpose of the paper, the methods, results, and conclusions

The main body

Knowing how to write the main body is critical for your successful research. The following guidelines can help you craft an excellent piece.

Title of the paper

Use a running head to type the title of the essay on the first line of the page.


Introduce your topic and highlight details regarding the problem

Literature review

Review and include relevant literature to support your argument.

Read More About Examples of Literature Review

How to Format an Essay in APA

APA style format can be used to craft papers in various subjects, such as education, psychology, and social sciences.

The following tips can help you in formatting your essay in APA style

How to Create an APA Style Essay Outline

Crafting an essay in an APA format can be overwhelming work for many students. If you want to compose an excellent paper, you must pick the right topic and then research relevant information to write about it.

APA Format Table Example

Formatting your paper in APA style can be a challenge if it is the first time you are doing it. Fortunately, creating an outline can help you overcome these obstacles.

The following steps can help you outline your paper in APA

Select your topic

Ensure that you choose an exciting topic that can enable you to craft a compelling piece. Once you choose, develop a thesis statement and then research its content.

Start Writing

Begin writing your introduction by giving a summary of your primary ideas and background information. Also, craft the thesis statement and write the main body of your essay based on the outline.

If you want to enhance your writing, you must follow your instructor’s guidelines for crafting a paper based on the structure recommended structure. It is crucial to start with your strongest points and then support them with researched facts.

Compose your conclusion

Your conclusion should include a summary of your main points and any suggestions for further studies.

Update your outline

A completed outline is a reflection of your draft paper. Once you have crafted a framework, review and edit your document.

As you craft your essay, it is advisable to keep track of the sources you use because you will have to include them in your reference list. Also, note that all sources used in the bibliography must be cited in the text.

How to Handle In-Text Citations in APA Format

Citing your text confirms to your readers the authenticity of your information, and it is also the best way of acknowledging other researchers’ work.

Citation in APA requires that you use the author’s name, followed by the date of publication. The example below can help you get a clear perspective on to cite text in APA.

Entrepreneurial orientation comprises of five dimensions, such as proactiveness, risk-taking propensity, innovativeness, autonomy, and competitive aggressiveness (Lumpkin and Dess, 1991).

The following tips can help you cite your essay as per the APA guidelines

Final Thoughts on How to Write an Essay in APA Format

Writing an essay in APA format can be intimidating if you lack writing skills and experience. It is vital to note that APA format requires that you craft a paper with the following features: font size 12, a margin of at least one inch on all sides of the paper, use of double space, paragraphs indented half an inch from the left margin and many more.

The majority of students find it hard to compose their essays in APA style because they lack the time and experience to handle such tasks. If you are not conversant with crafting pieces in APA style, you can use essay samples as your guide. Besides, you can contact professional writing companies , such as Peachy Essay, for assistance.

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Generate accurate APA citations for free

The Scribbr Citation Generator will automatically create a flawless APA citation

APA Formatting and Citation (7th Ed.) | Generator, Template, Examples

Published on November 6, 2020 by Raimo Streefkerk . Revised on August 23, 2022.

The 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual provides guidelines for clear communication , citing sources , and formatting documents. This article focuses on paper formatting.

Generate accurate APA citations with Scribbr

Throughout your paper, you need to apply the following APA format guidelines:

APA format (7th edition)

Let an expert format your paper

Our APA formatting experts can help you to format your paper according to APA guidelines. They can help you with:

apa format in essay writing

Table of contents

How to set up apa format (with template), apa alphabetization guidelines, apa format template [free download], page header, headings and subheadings, reference page, tables and figures, frequently asked questions about apa format.

References are ordered alphabetically by the first author’s last name. If the author is unknown, order the reference entry by the first meaningful word of the title (ignoring articles: “the”, “a”, or “an”).

Why set up APA format from scratch if you can download Scribbr’s template for free?

Student papers and professional papers have slightly different guidelines regarding the title page, abstract, and running head. Our template is available in Word and Google Docs format for both versions.

In an APA Style paper, every page has a page header. For student papers, the page header usually consists of just a page number in the page’s top-right corner. For professional papers intended for publication, it also includes a running head .

A running head is simply the paper’s title in all capital letters. It is left-aligned and can be up to 50 characters in length. Longer titles are abbreviated .

APA running head (7th edition)

APA headings have five possible levels. Heading level 1 is used for main sections such as “ Methods ” or “ Results ”. Heading levels 2 to 5 are used for subheadings. Each heading level is formatted differently.

Want to know how many heading levels you should use, when to use which heading level, and how to set up heading styles in Word or Google Docs? Then check out our in-depth article on APA headings .

APA headings (7th edition)

The title page is the first page of an APA Style paper. There are different guidelines for student and professional papers.

Both versions include the paper title and author’s name and affiliation. The student version includes the course number and name, instructor name, and due date of the assignment. The professional version includes an author note and running head .

For more information on writing a striking title, crediting multiple authors (with different affiliations), and writing the author note, check out our in-depth article on the APA title page .

APA title page - student version (7th edition)

The abstract is a 150–250 word summary of your paper. An abstract is usually required in professional papers, but it’s rare to include one in student papers (except for longer texts like theses and dissertations).

The abstract is placed on a separate page after the title page . At the top of the page, write the section label “Abstract” (bold and centered). The contents of the abstract appear directly under the label. Unlike regular paragraphs, the first line is not indented. Abstracts are usually written as a single paragraph without headings or blank lines.

Directly below the abstract, you may list three to five relevant keywords . On a new line, write the label “Keywords:” (italicized and indented), followed by the keywords in lowercase letters, separated by commas.

APA abstract (7th edition)

APA Style does not provide guidelines for formatting the table of contents . It’s also not a required paper element in either professional or student papers. If your instructor wants you to include a table of contents, it’s best to follow the general guidelines.

Place the table of contents on a separate page between the abstract and introduction. Write the section label “Contents” at the top (bold and centered), press “Enter” once, and list the important headings with corresponding page numbers.

The APA reference page is placed after the main body of your paper but before any appendices . Here you list all sources that you’ve cited in your paper (through APA in-text citations ). APA provides guidelines for formatting the references as well as the page itself.

Creating APA Style references

Play around with the Scribbr Citation Example Generator below to learn about the APA reference format of the most common source types or generate APA citations for free with Scribbr’s APA Citation Generator .

Formatting the reference page

Write the section label “References” at the top of a new page (bold and centered). Place the reference entries directly under the label in alphabetical order.

Finally, apply a hanging indent , meaning the first line of each reference is left-aligned, and all subsequent lines are indented 0.5 inches.

APA reference page (7th edition)

Tables and figures are presented in a similar format. They’re preceded by a number and title and followed by explanatory notes (if necessary).

Use bold styling for the word “Table” or “Figure” and the number, and place the title on a separate line directly below it (in italics and title case). Try to keep tables clean; don’t use any vertical lines, use as few horizontal lines as possible, and keep row and column labels concise.

Keep the design of figures as simple as possible. Include labels and a legend if needed, and only use color when necessary (not to make it look more appealing).

Check out our in-depth article about table and figure notes to learn when to use notes and how to format them.

APA table (7th edition)

The easiest way to set up APA format in Word is to download Scribbr’s free APA format template for student papers or professional papers.

Alternatively, you can watch Scribbr’s 5-minute step-by-step tutorial or check out our APA format guide with examples.

APA Style papers should be written in a font that is legible and widely accessible. For example:

The same font and font size is used throughout the document, including the running head , page numbers, headings , and the reference page . Text in footnotes and figure images may be smaller and use single line spacing.

You need an APA in-text citation and reference entry . Each source type has its own format; for example, a webpage citation is different from a book citation .

Use Scribbr’s free APA Citation Generator to generate flawless citations in seconds or take a look at our APA citation examples .

Yes, page numbers are included on all pages, including the title page , table of contents , and reference page . Page numbers should be right-aligned in the page header.

To insert page numbers in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, click ‘Insert’ and then ‘Page number’.

APA format is widely used by professionals, researchers, and students in the social and behavioral sciences, including fields like education, psychology, and business.

Be sure to check the guidelines of your university or the journal you want to be published in to double-check which style you should be using.

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Streefkerk, R. (2022, August 23). APA Formatting and Citation (7th Ed.) | Generator, Template, Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved March 2, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/apa-style/format/

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Other students also liked, apa title page (7th edition) | template for students & professionals, creating apa reference entries, beginner's guide to apa in-text citation, scribbr apa citation checker.

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apa format in essay writing

Academic Writing Style Guide: How to Format an APA Paper

apa format in essay writing

What is “Referencing Style” and Why You Need It?

Good academic writing involves proper formatting and citing of the works and thoughts of other reputable authors and researchers. In order to do that, a specific style of referencing is assigned that should be followed consistently throughout the whole academic paper. This style then defines the format for other components of the text. Every student knows that proper academic referencing is the key to obtaining a high grade for a paper or an essay.

APA style format was developed by the American Psychological Association and it is one of the academic referencing styles — along with MLA, Vancouver, and Chicago/Turabian styles. It is also known as the “author-date” system, meaning that the APA format guide requires a brief reference to the author and the date of publication to be included in the main body of the text, and also the full reference list at the end.

This article from our admission essay writing services team contains a wide array of information and tips that answer the question “What is APA format?”. However, as a student, you should always follow the requirements provided by the school/professor and not hesitate to ask for specific citing instructions before starting to write your essay.

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Everything You Need to Know About APA Format

First of all, APA writing format is not something that has been set in stone for ages – it is a current referencing style that is being constantly updated by the American Psychological Association. The most recent requirements can be found in the 6th edition of the APA's Publication Manual.

The requirement of what referencing style to use is often attributed by a specific discipline. APA paper format is commonly used for subjects such as Psychology, Social Sciences, Education, Economics, and Business studies.

Another question every student keeps asking while struggling to come to terms with his or her APA format essay is: why do people use referencing styles at all? There are at least three reasons why your professors require you to use the APA referencing guide:

1. To make your work more presentable. Can you sense how all the articles you read for class have a professional and serious tone when they cite all their references and give credit to ideas published by previous authors? That’s exactly the kind of professionalism your essay will acquire when you engage with literature and use a defined referencing style.

2. To speak the same language as your reader. APA citation format allows you to save your word count and communicate what sources you used for the essay by using special formats for journals, books, or online articles.

3. To avoid being penalized for plagiarism. When a student cites an author or uses ideas that were developed by another scholar, he or she must give credit to that person. Otherwise, those essay parts will be marked as plagiarism and the grade will be substantially reduced. Some school penalties for plagiarism go as far as reducing the grade by 50%, or even failing you from the course — thus, giving you no credit. If you are struggling with the uniqueness of the article, you can buy essay writing at our service.

As you can see, avoiding plagiarism penalties and supporting essay arguments with references to credible sources are the key benefits a student will get once he or she learns how to write a paper in APA format.

General APA Format Rules: From Formatting to Making Proper References

The basics of APA formatting include giving the paper a proper look so that your professor is impressed at first sight. After reading hundreds of papers throughout their careers, professors can recognize it when the APA format is not followed properly. That’s why it is of crucial importance to make sure you follow the requirements for line spacing, page margins, font sizes, and APA format headings.

First of all, the text should be typed double-spaced with sufficient margins on each side of the page (at least 1 inch or more). Wide margins are important for professors to make notes and leave feedback while reading the paper. The preferred font is Times New Roman in size 12.

The APA outline format, or, in other words, the structure of any academic paper, should include these main parts:

The topics and individual university requirements will affect what sections should be present in the essay or paper. The sections will also be affected by the arguments that a student wants to make in the essay and how these are developed in the main body of the text. But, not a single APA format essay can be written without these five crucial components. We will now examine the requirements for each of these parts in more detail.

apa format in essay writing

Cover Page for an APA Style Essay

The cover page is the “face” of an essay or a paper and it is the first thing that the examiner or reader will see. It has to be impeccable. Some universities or colleges will have their own sample title page (or cover page) that should be added to each essay submission. Make sure to clarify this with your department before submitting your essay.

Normally, an APA format cover page is expected to include a running head, title of the essay or paper, name of the person who submitted the work, institution to which the work was submitted, and a page number.


What is the Running Head and Where Should It Be Included in an APA Style Essay?

Very often, colleges or universities require each page to have a running head (or page header) which includes certain information. The running head contains the title of the paper, and is also supposed to be present on the title page — a mistake many beginner students make all too often is omitting it.

Just like with everything in academic writing, knowing how to make the text shorter is a golden talent. The same applies to the APA format running head: it should not exceed 50 characters (including spaces). That’s why authors (e.g. persuasive essay writer ) often take their time to come up with shortened versions of their titles specifically for their page headers.

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Different Levels of APA Headings and Subheadings

The APA heading format requires a clear division of the text into logical parts that are separated among each other with headings. Normally, there are 5 format types for headings, whereas the author uses the same heading styles to paragraphs with equal importance.

The subheadings help the writer to logically divide one section into subsections. For example, in a section about the possible consequences of performance-based management, subsections can present the benefits and costs of such an approach.

Tips for Using Heading Levels When Writing an APA Essay

Heading levels are the navigation signs that help guide the reader through the text. They denote when an important chapter begins and when an additional idea is added to the same argument that was announced in the previous heading. The general rule is that there are no requirements to use all five styles of headings. The author should only use headings for the sections present in his or her text. Here is how the different levels of headings and their formats look like.

Some Examples for APA Headings

Assuming this article is an academic text for the principles of APA usage in colleges and universities, here is what APA format headings would look like in this context.

Preparing a Proper APA Outline

The outline is a short structure of the text that serves two purposes:

Writing outlines is a life-saving skill for beginner writers – they help keep thoughts organized and guide the mind through a defined roadmap, decreasing the chance of becoming lost in one’s thoughts or endless research. So, if we were to prepare an outline for this article, it would look like this.

After developing the outline, it becomes clear what the author has to cover in the readings, or preparatory materials, for writing the article. Once the text is ready, the outline then serves as a guide for the reader to show which sections the text will cover.

What Is a Good Abstract in APA format?

The abstract is a very condensed and informative paragraph that contains the main information the reader should know about the text before even reading it. Writing abstracts is an art on its own. In a short abstract that is just 200 words (or more if the text is longer — usually it's about 10% of the essay word count), a writer should clearly state the main idea of the text, its objectives, research question, methods, and key conclusions.

In terms of formatting, the abstract is formatted as a separate part of the text that stands out both contextually and visually from the rest of the main text. Usually, it is written in plain text, with no formatting and a simple "Abstract" title on the top. In the end, many scholars like to put a couple of keywords that identify the essence of the paper’s content.

Writing the Main Section of the Text in APA Format

The main section is the juice of the article. It contains all the thoughts, ideas, and arguments of the writer. It follows right after the abstract page, and has a running head on top with a shortened title written in capital letters. Each page should be numbered, with the abstract page being page 2 (the title page is counted as page 1, but the number doesn’t appear there).

The main body is broken down into a couple of sections. The main ones are the introduction, methods, arguments/discussions, and conclusions. Depending on the department or subject requirements, the arguments also have specific sections – always remember to check with the professor about what should be covered in the main body of the text. For example, for a policy report, the arguments should include a framework review, an analysis of the organization or policy challenges, and recommendations based on the academic literature.

Each section (methods, conclusions, and discussions) should begin with a new paragraph and have a title. It can be something as simple as “Methodology”, or something more elaborative like “Results of Analysis How Sanitation Affects Literacy”. Discussions or arguments should be the largest part of the text, that is why the main body is often divided into subsections – to present and elaborate on results in a structured manner.

Depending on the area and specific requirements put forth by the course, here are two APA main body examples in terms of what sections they should cover.

APA main body example 1: quantitative discipline/research results

‍ Introduction: higher contraceptive prevalence is known to reduce HIV Methods: regression analysis of HIV and contraception prevalence in lower middle-income countries Results: statistically significant negative effect of contraception on HIV Discussion: Why contraception lowers HIV; In what conditions it works better/worse; Case study Conclusion: use of contraception can reduce HIV in countries where current contraceptive prevalence is lower than 20%

APA main body example 2: political science policy report

‍ ‍ Introduction: high alcohol consumption is a threat to public health Framework for analysis: a review of different country policies to lower alcohol consumption Application of framework: Which policy can work best for country X and why; Context of country X; Benefits of using approaches A, B, C; Costs of using approaches A, B, C Recommendations: given country’s X political situation and national economic status, it can employ approach A to reduce alcohol consumption Conclusion: country X should consider doing A and expect the following results within 5 years

You might also be interested in reading Beowulf summary essay .

Detailed Video Guide

If you percept visual information better, watch the detailed video guide on APA formatting and citation below:

Examples of Essays in APA Style

Below are real examples of some essays formatted according to APA style requirements that can serve as a good basis for you to start writing your own essay. These samples were written by our service according to the specific requirements provided by their corresponding professors or universities and can differ in some ways from what is required from you. So, don’t forget to check with the department or course convener for specific details for the paper that you are expected to produce.

Read also our process analysis essay outline . It can broaden your understanding in writing the essay.

Need Help with APA Formatting?

This article outlines all the key principles of APA style for academic writing. However, writing is a practical skill that doesn’t improve solely by reading about it – it only improves with practice. If you don’t feel like a pro in essay writing yet and the deadline is fast approaching, have no worries. Our essay service will make sure that the results meet all the stylistic requirements.

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Step by Step Guide on Essay Format in APA For Beginners

You are working hard on your essay, Right! But don’t get good grades because of formatting issues. Don’t worry! Why suffer in getting grades because of improper formatting? We are here for your help.

Writing a college essay or paper requires in-depth research, proper planning or organization, and devotion. Students make sure that their essays must be logical, well-written. They should also follow the format according to the university guidelines.

The essay format in APA style is a tedious task for students to deal with. They don’t know how to follow the formatting rules. Therefore, we are here to help you with the same. 

             So, let’s not waste a single minute and start working on it.

Understand APA format-

The full form of APA is an American psychological association. It was established in 1929 for the authors. The main purpose is to generate an original style for citation and quotation. Also, it is used to grip the reader’s attention and provide the information with proper headlines. 

APA is used for scientific records, written records, lab papers, etc. This language also has notable importance in academics.

Some common rule of APA- 

So students have to be acquainted with the reference rules of American psychological association to produce a quality essay. Most of the students face problem in writing an essay in APA format. In this blog, we will give you the information about the most effective essay format in APA style.

  Step by step instructions to write an Essay Format in APA:

Table of Contents

Before writing the essay format in APA, you have to understand what are you going to manage. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA for short) is the style guide distributed by the American Psychological Association.

It is explicitly intended for social and behavioral sciences, yet it is additionally generally utilized in different orders, especially nursing. Like other style guides, it covers a broad scope of topics, including research paper organizing, tables, and figures, references, and grammar questions.

Here are a few points that are typically viewed as when you manage essay format in APA style:

Utilize 1″ margins on each of the four sides of the page. 

Indent the beginning of a section ½ inch from the left margin; indent square citations 1/2 inch from the left edge also.

  Textual style or font

 Pick a standard and simple-to-read text style like Times New Roman. Likewise, the APA requires the utilization of text styles without serifs. (Serifs are the little bars put toward the end of the strokes of a letter. For instance, Times New Roman has serifs; however, Arial does not.) 

Utilize 12 point text style.

Page numbers

Number pages sequentially in the upper right-hand corner beginning with the title sheet. Try not to incorporate your name by the page number. 

Double-space the whole paper, including quotes (quotes longer than 40 words) and the references.

Title sheet

The APA style essay title page ought to incorporate the title of the essay focused on the page, trailed by your name and school alliance, additionally centered and double-spaced.

At the base of the page (likewise focused), you can incorporate a creator’s note that gives specific data about the class or affirmations.

Running heads

APA designing requires a running head on each page. The running head is a short (under 12 words) summary of your title that shows up at the top of each page adjusted left.

The header on the title sheet should pursue “Running head: TITLE.” All following pages should list the running head in all tops aligned left.

Now we will discuss the APA writing style essay , and it includes various rules through which you can improve your essay format. It facilitates your process of writing.

The initial step is to pick an interesting topic for the essay. You ought to be sure that it will draw the consideration or attention of the group of audience, and you will most likely pass on and investigate it in detail.

Approach the research procedure carefully. If your topic is very explicit, then you have to make sure that you can discover all the essential and appropriate material. It will help you to ground your thoughts and proof well.

Remember that your topic shouldn’t be excessively wide or limited. Else, you will overpower the data or won’t discover enough of it.

Start your essay ahead of time. Maybe you should search for specific books, articles, intriguing materials, and their preparation can require a great deal of time.

If you utilize any immediate citations, you are to design them properly and remember to refer to every one of them (the source) in your References part.

Draft your APA essay. It will enable you to stay away from any potential missteps. You will have a chance to edit your content and make any modifications quickly without the danger of getting a poor grade.

It is critical to see whether every part is similarly informative, profitable, and consistently organized as per the rules.

Assignment help

Bonus point-

Kinds of papers on which you assign essay format in APA style-

Now we mention the type of paper you are about to create an essay on it-

To generate research reports, it uses data from experiments and observations. It is distinct from other studies because it is not based on theories or ideas but on actual data.

These articles examine other individual’s work. The objective is to collect data about a current problem and to describe where we are now. It puts light on problems and tries to fulfill those gaps with suggestions for future research.

These papers are slightly similar to literature studies. In this, the author gets, analyzes, and shares data about a current problem by utilizing others’ research. It is distinct from literature reviews. In this, a writer tries to describe or explain a problem by giving a new theory. This theory is supported by strong evidence.

Case studies show data related to an individual or group. These subjects are examined for a particular reason, and the writer arrives at the method and outcomes from their research. The writer may also suggest future analysis, form possible theories, and explain a solution to a problem.

APA format essay example

Firstly, it might sound difficult yet when you see the APA essay format model everything turns out to be clear. You may know the golden rule of seeing once is superior to hearing twice.

This visual case of appropriate formatting may prove to be useful if you need to look at the example. And your very own content and check the accuracy of the essay format.

If you need to discover how to write an essay in APA format. Then at that point, pursue the rule for the in-content citation. Also, consider the points mentioned above.

Quick Links

If you want to have a high-quality essay format in APA style, we will help you. At Calltutors, we provide the best essay format in APA to the students at nominal charges. We have skilled and experienced editors to check the content. They also discover that your paper is perfect, from the essay format on the APA page to the References page. Please submit your requirements with us to get the best essay writing help now!

1 . Why is citation important?

Importance of Citation- 1. Provide information about your research to your readers. 2. The reason for citation is to make your reader know of the sources you used by referencing them properly in your writing by way of a reference list or a bibliography. 3. It is used to give credit to other authors by using their ideas.

2 . How is APA different from MLA?

There are so many differences between them. One of them is that APA formatting is utilized for writing sciences and social sciences papers. In contrast, MLA formatting is designed more generally for humanities/liberal arts papers.

3. Who applies APA style?

APA format broadly used by- Professionals Students Researchers They all are pursuing fields like education, psychology, and business.

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How to Write An Essay in APA Format?

Jason Burrey

Table of Contents

Every academic paper calls for proper formatting according to the specific style guide. Pro essay writing websites point out a discrepancy between the standard and the text arrangement completed by the student leads to the inevitable decrease of the grade. If you do not want to lose points for your work because of the faulty formatting, then arm yourself with the tips on how to write in APA format.

What is APA essay format?

The APA essay format is widely used in the fields that are closely connected to:

The list of the disciplines that usually implicate usage of the APA citation rules includes such subjects like Sociology, Political Science, Linguistics, Nursing, etc. Still, it is advisable to consult your teacher in the case if the necessary essay writing format is not specified in the task.

Why is it so important to arrange the paper following the specific rules? It is not the additional possibility for the teacher to mark the paper down. This is the way to acknowledge the thoughts and results of the researches conducted by the eminent personalities of the chosen field. If to ignore the rules of APA citation in essay then any cited line will be considered plagiarism and the whole paper will be rejected with all that it implies.

Here are some general tips on how to meet the requirements of the APA style.

Basic rules on how to write in APA format

The fundamental truth of APA writing is “less is more”. There is no place for waxing eloquent on a subject so all thoughts and ideas should be expressed in the most logical, simple, and clear manner.

How to write descriptive statistics in APA format? Certain themes require the usage of statistical data, charts, and diagrams as a piece of evidence to support the argument. APA style has several rules on how to arrange such data. For example, use numerals for all numbers above 10, otherwise, write a word. Number all charts, tables, and images with Arabic numerals. And, once again, use charts, images and so on only if there is no other way to present the necessary information in the written form.

APA essay heading essentials

If you want to make the text more readable then headings are the best back stoppers.  There are five types of headings:

In order to get a clear vision of the heading arrangement, check the APA format essay template, provided below.

Basic APA essay outline

The run-up to writing APA texts is no different from the preparation for writing any other academic text.

Preparing an outline on this stage will streamline the whole process and save a lot of time and efforts in the future. Follow this generalized outline when planning your paper:

APA format essay example

At first, it may sound a bit complicated but when you see the APA format essay example it all becomes clear: seeing once is better than hearing twice.  This visual example of proper formatting may come in handy if you want to compare the sample and your own text and check the correctness of the arrangement.

If you want to find out how to write an interview in APA format’ example, then follow the guideline for the in-text citations. Bring into notice, you should never use interviews in the APA texts if there are alternate sources of the information as interviews are frowned upon this style.

How to write references in APA format

Here comes the most exciting part of the guideline. Students usually are free to use information taken from a huge variety of sources – and each and every source should be cited properly be it a book, tweet or music recording. The APA guideline gives special consideration to the citation rules.

So how to write references in APA format?

The general rule of the citation format is Contributors. (Date).  Title . Publication Information.

All the additional guidelines are based on this rule: the author (main contributor, names of several authors), date and title. It is crucial to cite the name and authors exactly as it is mentioned in the source that is why it is advisable to jot down the source info on the stage of collecting research data.

In the case, if the source does not provide the information about the contributor then the order of words changes Title . (Date) Publication information.

When you make in-text citations, the general rule requires mentioning the last name of the author and the date, like this: Quote (Author, Date). Also, it is possible to mention the author in the text and then add (Date) at the end of the sentence.

Why is it important?

The official guideline provides many templates on how to arrange all types of sources, both in print and online. It is essential to follow them if you do not want your work to be treated as a plagiarized paper.

If you want to make sure that your paper is arranged properly, or want to entrust this task to professionals, buy argumentative essay from us. Skilled and experienced editors can check the text to ascertain that your paper is flawless from the APA essay cover page to the References page.

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