How to format and insert the APA running head

Every paper following the APA formatting requirements must include a running head. The running head is shown at the top of every page in your paper. It is the same as the title of your paper unless that title is longer than 50 characters, in which case you use a shortened version.

On the title page, the running head is preceded by the words “Running head:.” On subsequent pages, only the (shortened) title of your paper is shown.

Running head example – title page

Running head example title page

Running head example – subsequent pages

Running head example second page

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APA formatting checklist

The APA style has guidelines on how to format the running head. We made a checklist so you can easily meet the criteria. The running head examples above show the required formatting for the title page and subsequent pages.

  • 12-pt Times New Roman font
  • Only include “Running head:” on the first page
  • Running head is left-aligned
  • Title is all capitalized
  • Maximum 50 characters including spaces (without the words “running head”)
  • Plain text (not bolded italicized)
  • Page number is aligned to the right

Running head in Word and Google Docs

Adding the running head to your Word or Google Docs file is easy — simply follow the steps below.

Important: The words ‘Running head’ should only be shown on the first page. Therefore, you should tick the ‘different first page’ box as shown in the GIF.

Inserting the running head in Word:

  1. Double click at the top of the page to edit the header area.
  2. Check “Different First Page” to only show the words “running head:” on the first page.
  3. Type “Running head:” followed by your research title in capital letters (12-pt Times New Roman).
  4. Insert the page number and align it to the right.
  5. Now go to page 2 and paste only your research title without “Running head:.”
  6. Also insert the page number on page two.
  7. Everything is set! You can now close the header area.

APA Running head Word

Inserting the running head in Google Docs:

  1. Click at the top of the page to edit the header area.
  2. Check “Different First Page” to only show “running head:” on the first page.
  3. Type “Running head:” followed by your title in capital letters (12-pt Times New Roman).
  4. Insert the page number by clicking on “insert,” “Header and page number.”
  5. Use the ‘tab’ button to right-align the page number.
  6. Go to page 2 and only type your research title without “Running head:.”
  7. Use the ‘tab’ button to right-align the page number
  8. Everything is set! You can now close the header area.

APA Running head Google Docs

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Raimo

Raimo has a bachelor's and master's degree and has written several papers and theses. He likes to share his knowledge by writing helpful articles.

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