The APA formatting style may be unfamiliar. If this is the case, never fear! Many of the basics are the same as MLA. The entire paper should be double-spaced, be written in 12 pt. font, and have 1” margins. Every page should have a header (the title, in ALL CAPS, on the left hand side) and a page number (on the right hand side). To do this, double-click on the space above the body of the document. A tab should appear, and you can type in that space. You can also click on the “Insert” menu or tab and click “Header” or “Page Number.” As always, the font you choose should be easy to read, like Times New Roman.

Cover Page

In APA format, unlike MLA, a cover page is required. The title, your name, and the organization/university where you are writing this is centered in the middle of the page. The header (for the cover page only) has the words “Running head” before the title. So the cover page header will look like “Running head: TITLE.” In order for the document to allow you to create a different header than other pages, you need to double-click on the header, click the “Design” tab, and select the “Different First Page” box. You will need to manually enter the title and page number. On the second page you can insert your header for the rest of the paper, which is what is already on the cover page, but without starting out as “Running head.” Since the cover page starts at page 1, you will need to start the second page as page 2, and in order to do this you click the “Page Number” button and select the one to at the top right of the page. After this you click on “Page Number” again, go to “Format Page Number,” and select the page number you want the page to start with.


Generally, an abstract is required for APA papers. Your professor may or may not require one. If (s)he does, it is very easy to format. At the top of the page, center the word “Abstract.” Do not bold, italicize, or underline it. On the next line, begin your paragraph flush with the left margin (do NOT indent). Your entire abstract should be about 150-250 words and be a brief overview of the entire essay. At the end of the abstract, the next line denotes keywords. It should look like “Keywords: _____, _____, _____.” These few keywords specify the focal points of the entire essay.


Please see other APA Style Handouts for details on in-text citations, writing style, or idea generation.

Reference Page

Instead of a “Works Cited” page, as in MLA format, APA features the infamous “References” page. The entire page should be double-spaced. The word “References” should appear, centered, at the top of the page. Individual citations should be alphabetical, include every site or reference used, and should have a hanging indent. If references have the same author, they should be listed by year. For more specifications, refer to other handouts or The Little Seagull Handbook.

Appendix Page(s)

This page is normally used for graphs, etc. and not always needed. Every page should be labeled (“Appendix A,” “Appendix B,” etc.), and the first line should not be indented.

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