APA headings and subheadings (6th edition)

This article reflects the APA 6th edition guidelines. Click here for APA 7th edition guidelines.

A paper is usually divided into chapters and subsections. Each chapter or section has its own heading, and these headings provide structure to a document. As well as many other APA format requirements, there are specific guidelines for formatting headings to ensure that all papers are uniform and easy to read.

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APA headings and subheadings

This article reflects the APA 7th edition guidelines. Click here for APA 6th edition guidelines.

Headings and subheadings provide structure to a document. They signal what each section
is about and allow for easy navigation of the document.

APA headings have five possible levels. Each heading level is formatted differently.

APA headings (7th edition)

Note: Title case simply means that you should capitalize the first word, words with four or more letters, and all “major words” (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns).

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How to format and insert the APA running head (6th edition)

This article reflects the APA 6th edition guidelines. Click here for APA 7th edition guidelines.

The apa running head (i.e. page header) consists of the title of your paper (maximum 50 characters, left-aligned, all capitals) and the page number (right-aligned). On the title page, your paper title is preceded by the words “Running head:”.

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APA title page (6th edition)

This article reflects the APA 6th edition guidelines. Click here for APA 7th edition guidelines.

An APA title page must include:

  • A running head (including page number)
  • The title of your paper (one or two lines long)
  • The full name of the author(s)
  • Your university or institution

Additional information, such as a course number or an author’s note, should be placed on a separate line below the institution.

APA title page template

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APA format for academic papers (6th edition)

This article reflects the APA 6th edition guidelines. Click here for APA 7th edition guidelines.

In addition to guidelines for APA citations, there are format guidelines for academic papers and essays. They’re widely used by professionals, researchers and students.

Scribbr APA Citation Generator

The most important APA format guidelines in the 6th edition are:

  • Use 12 pt Times New Roman
  • Set 1 inch page margins
  • Apply double line spacing
  • Insert a running head on every page
  • Indent every new paragraph ½ inch

APA format

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APA format for academic papers and essays

This article reflects the APA 7th edition guidelines. Click here for APA 6th edition guidelines.
Scribbr APA Citation Generator

The 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual provides guidelines for clear communication, citing sources, and formatting documents. This article focuses on paper formatting.

Throughout your paper, you need to apply the following APA format guidelines:

  • Set page margins to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Double-space all text, including headings.
  • Indent the first line of every paragraph 0.5 inches.
  • Use an accessible font (e.g., Times New Roman 12pt., Arial 11pt., or Georgia 11pt.).
  • Include a page number on every page.

APA format (7th edition)

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APA title page (cover page)

This article reflects the APA 7th edition guidelines. Click here for APA 6th edition guidelines.

APA provides different guidelines for student and professional papers. The student version of the APA title page should include the following information (double spaced and centered):

  • Paper title
  • Author name
  • Department and university name
  • Course number and name
  • Instructor name
  • Due date of the assignment

The professional title page also includes an author note (flushed left), but not a course name, instructor name, or due date.

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APA running head

This article reflects the APA 7th edition guidelines. Click here for APA 6th edition guidelines.

A running head is an abbreviated version of your paper’s title. It’s placed in the page header of your document, together with a page number. The running head is only required for professional manuscripts intended for publication, not student papers (unless instructed otherwise).

An APA running head can be up to 50 characters (including spaces) and is written in all capital letters. It’s left-aligned and appears on all pages, including the title page. It’s not necessary to put the label “Running head” in front of the title (as was the case in APA 6).

APA running head (7th edition)

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How to write and format an APA abstract

This article reflects the APA 7th edition guidelines. Click here for APA 6th edition guidelines.

An APA abstract is a comprehensive summary of your paper in which you briefly address the research problem, hypotheses, methods, results, and implications of your research. It’s placed on a separate page right after the title page and is usually no longer than 250 words.

Most professional papers that are submitted for publication require an abstract. Student papers typically don’t need an abstract, unless instructed otherwise.

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APA references: the core components

This article reflects the 7th edition guidelines of the APA Publication Manual.

APA reference entries provide detailed information about a source. They’re listed on the reference page at the end of your paper and correspond to in-text citations in the body text.

You can easily generate APA references (and in-text citations) with a citation generator, but it’s helpful to have a general understanding of the composition of an APA reference. It enables you to review your own work and that of any tool you might be using.

Scribbr APA Citation Generator

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