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Macdonald DeWitt Library at SUNY Ulster

APA Style: APA Basic Format

A brief introduction to APA Style adapted from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition.


Note: This guide reflects the APA Style 6th edition, which is now out of date. For information on the 7th Edition, please consult the Purdue OWL.

APA Style Links

APA Style: the Basics

The American Psychological Association (APA) Style is a set of rules for citing sources and formatting papers. The purpose of this guide is to serve as a ready reference tool for formatting your papers and citations in APA Style.

In general, APA Style is used in the Social Sciences.

Check with your professor to be sure you are using the correct Style.

APA Style: Format Your Paper

General Format

  • Margin: One inch on all sides
  • Font size: 12 point
  • Typeface: Times New Roman
  • Spacing: Double-space throughout the entire paper
  • Alignment: Flush left, uneven on right
  • Indentation: Use the tab key, or indent 5-7 spaces the first line of every paragraph
  • Pagination: Page numbers in page header flush right starting with the title page
  • Running head: A brief title of your paper in all caps (different from Title Page)
    . See sample paper for clarification
  • Order: Title page, abstract, body of text, references

Title Page:

  • Running head: abbreviated title with all capital letters, in page header, flush left
    • Example: Running head: TITLE OF YOUR PAPER
  • Title: centered, upper & lower case
  • Author name (byline): new line under the title, upper & lower case
  • Institutional affiliation: after author on a new line, upper & lower case


One paragraph, comprehensive summary of the paper, starts on page 2, no more than 120 words.

Body of Text:

Begins on page 3, usually starting with an Introduction.

To format your paper using Microsoft Word, see the guide below:

Publication Manual of the APA

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