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Useful Information on APA Paper Writing

September 20, 2017

The APA paper writing style is widely used in formatting academic papers. Due to the development of computer technologies, several alterations have been made to this style to adjust it to modern standards. If you need to produce a paper in APA, the following prompts will be of great help to you.

When organizing papers in APA, follow the general APA formatting rules:

  • Margins. For a long time, it has been required to set 1 ½-inch margins when formatting academic texts in APA. However, today, it is necessary to set 1-inch margins on all sides.
  • Font Type and Size. It is necessary to apply Times New Roman 12 pt. to your work.
  • Spaces. The whole paper has to be double-spaced. Tables, appendices, figures, and footnotes are not an exception. As to the punctuation marks, you need to make a single space after semicolons, commas and colons. Double spacing is to be used after the punctuation marks that finish the sentence.
  • Indents and Alignments. The alignments have to be left aligned. In this case, the right margin will be uneven.
  • Short Title and Running Head. According to the APA heading format directions, a running head is placed at the top of all pages throughout the paper. A short title derives from that of your paper and includes two or three words. It is essential to differentiate between the running head and a short title. The former should be left aligned and located at the top of each page, while the latter should be aligned to the right.

High school essay or college papers do not usually require a running head unless it is demanded by your professor. Running heads are obligatory for the papers one intends to publish. The running head should be no more than 50 characters long, spacing and punctuation marks included.

  • Active Voice Constructions. According to the APA formatting rules, one should not use such personal pronouns as “I” and “We” in academic papers written in this style. However, at present, the situation is quite different. No matter the subject, it is necessary to use the Active Voice. For example, instead of saying “as research indicates,” one should say, “As our research indicates.”
  • Pagination and Page Order. Mind the following order when writing an APA paper:

Title Page – Abstract – Main Body – Reference List – Appendix – Footnotes – Tables – Figures

Page numbers should be flush right at 1 inch at the top of the page on the first line of all pages. A cover page is considered the first page of your work.

Title Page

It should present the title of your work, your name (and those of co-authors), your institutional affiliation and the author note if required. You need to mention your city and state (country) if there is no institutional affiliation.

The text on the title page should be centered. Apply double spacing between the lines if demanded by the instructions. Your name should be also double-spaced and located under the title of your project.

The author note provides data about the department the writer belongs to, acknowledgements and the mailing address so that it is possible to contact the writer in the future.


What is the style of writing a good abstract? This question bothers many students. First, an abstract succinctly summarizes your work. The word count should range between 150 and 250 words organized in a block format. This section should start on a new page right after the title page. The numbers are to be presented as digits.

Main Body

Start this section on a new page. According to the APA style paragraph formatting standards, the text has to be left-aligned. The first line of each paragraph has to be indented at 5-7 lines from the left margin. No hyphenation is to be used at the end of lines.
References and Citations

Make citations to avoid plagiarism. In order to make a proper essay format, the dates mentioned in the source and its authors(s) have to be cited in the paper body.

The Reference Page should include the sources cited in your work. It should present the author, publication date, source title, and web data, in case the source has been found on the web.


This section should describe the tools used for preparing the paper.


This element is used to support your ideas. The footnotes have to be centered and placed on the first line below the page header. Number footnotes according to the way they are presented in the text.

Figures and Tables

Tables present statistical data such as age, birth rate, etc. You may use an online APA format essay template to understand how to format an essay appropriately.

Figures illustrate the data presented in the form of charts, graphs, etc. The aim of figures is to demonstrate the direction a specific issue develops in or compare the research findings in relation to constants and variables.

By following the instructions provided above, you will understand how to arrange APA section headings, as well as other paper elements. Still, every time you need to produce an academic work, you should stick to the guidelines provided by your professor. It is better to clarify the points concerning the use of the active and passive voice and other issues. Remember that our writing an APA paper for dummies guide is always available online. Thus, you can refer to it anytime.

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