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APA Style Guide: Formatting & Organization

Formatting Documents

The APA style provides specific rules regarding the format and layout of papers.

A general list of basic formatting requirements is provided below:

  • Your paper should be typed, double-spaced on standard-sized paper (8.5” x 11”).
  • Margins: 1” margins on all sides.
  • Font: 12 pt (size) Times New Roman is recommended.
  • Include a page header (also called a "running head") at the top of every page.
    • The page header cannot exceed 50 characters (this includes punctuation and spacing!).
    • The page header should always be capitalized, and it should represent some form of the title of your paper.
    • The header on the first page of your paper should read, "Running head: TITLE OF YOUR PAPER".
    • All subsequent headers should simply read, "TITLE OF YOUR PAPER".

For more information on how to format the Title Page and Reference Page specifically, as well as for examples of sample title and reference pages, visit the Title Page and Reference Page tabs.


The APA style guide states that every paper should contain four main sections:

  • Title Page
  • Abstract
  • Main Body
  • References