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APA Cheat Sheet for Page Formatting

SNHU Online Writing Center

APA specifies that all papers follow these rules for page layout. The margins, the font and font
size, the layout of the title page, the placement of your information on the first page, even the
line spacing and how you indent your paragraphs: all of these need to be set up according to
APA standards. When they are, you will have a professional-looking paper. Get to know these
tools from the start, and get in the good habit of setting up your paper to fit the criteria.

You may need to do a quick Google search to find the formatting tools that fit your Word
program. These instructions are for Word 2013.

Font and Font Size


1. APA recommends that you use a clear and readable font, such as Times New Roman,
which is a standard academic font that is universally accepted as looking clean and
professional. DO NOT use decorative or fun fonts, such as Comic Sans.
2. Use 12-point font.

Line Spacing
1. Before you start typing ANYTHING, set your line spacing to DOUBLE.
2. To do this, select the Paragraph pop-out from the formatting menu, then

3. Select Double from the Line Spacing drop-down menu.


Paragraph Spacing
1. From the same menu, click on Dont add space between paragraphs of the same style.

Title
1. Your papers title will be centered at the top of the first body text page, and will be in the
same font/size as your text. It will not be in bold. You will not use any extra line spaces
after this title.

Paragraph Indents
1. Indent each paragraph by hitting the Tab key once.
Page Breaks
1. Between the title page and the abstract (if you have one); between the abstract and the
first essay page; and between the end of your essay and the Works Cited page, you will
insert a page break. This ensures that the next section of the paper is always aligned at
the top of the following page. You can insert a page break in Word by:
a. Setting your curser at the end of your last page of text
b. From the Insert menu, click on Page Break
References page
1. Your References page will have the heading References centered at the top, with no
additional line spaces following. All text will be in the same font and size as the rest of
your paper.
2. Your sources will be listed alphabetically by first word.
3. You will use a hanging indent for your sources. To format this, highlight your entire
source list, then go to the Home or Page Layout menu and click the pop-out box next
to Paragraph (See Line Spacing). Under Indentation youll see a drop-down box
marked Special. Select Hanging from the drop-down box.
Headers
1. Headers are required, and must be formatted from within the header bar, NOT in the
body of the text. They must be in the same font and size as your body text. The following
instructions are for the current version of Word. If you have a different program, you
may need to do a quick Google search for an appropriate guide.
a. Double click near the top of your title page. The Header will open.
b. Place your cursor in the header box and type Running Head: YOUR TITLE IN
CAPS.
c. At the end of your title, hit the tab key twice. This will bring your cursor to the right
margin.
d. Click on Page Number from the icons in the Home tab.
e. Select Current Position
f. Select Plain Number. Page number 1 should appear.
g. From the Header and Footer menu, check the box that says Different First Page
h. Scroll down to page two. The header should be empty. Place your cursor at the left
margin of the page two header and type YOUR TITLE IN CAPS.
i. Follow steps c f above to insert the page number. Your page number should appear
as a 2 here, and each subsequent page should be numbered.
j. Double click on your essay text to close the header.
At no time is it allowable to use decorative templates for your paper.

Avoid using the auto-formatting features included with word processors. They average 3 errors
per paper, and they disallow your full learning and understanding of the purpose of APA. This
means that when you are required to fix your error, you will not understand how to do so.
Instead, find a current style manual (APA 7th edition) or use the APA Style Website as a guide.
Once you understand how APA works, it will be a fairly simple matter to write strong,
professional papers using this citation style.

If you have any trouble, please email us at writingcenter@snhu.edu.