Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

APA (7th ed.) Citing Guide: Formatting

APA 7th Edition

This guide is representative of the 7th edition Publication Manual of APA and focuses on a student paper structure.

APA examples are not exhaustive and focus on referencing and citations. Assistance from your professor and/or Writing Centre is suggested for clarification.

Users are responsible for interpretation of APA style guidelines and to seek further assistance when necessary.

Effective September 2020.

APA Formatted Student Paper

Follow the instructions provided by your Professor for their specific requirements. Below is the APA overall requirements.

APA formatted paper includes:

  • A cover or title page 
  • The paper itself (body/text) 
  • A references page 
  • Appendices (if necessary)

Title page:

  • Title of paper - title case, bolded, centred, positioned in the upper half of the page
  • Name of author
  • Author affiliation, e.g. Georgian College
  • Course number and name
  • Instructor name
  • Assignment due date
  • Page number (upper right corner)
  • All information centred on the page
  • See Publication Manual Section 2.3 or the APA Style website, Title Page

Text or body of the paper:

  • Text starts on new page after title page
  • Paper title included on 1st page of text: centred, bolded
  • Indent first line of each new paragraph
  • Left-aligned
  • Double-spaced
  • See Publication Manual Section 2.11 or the APA Style website, Paper Format

References page:

  • Start on a new page
  • Label page "References", capitalized, bolded, and centered
  • Double-space all reference list entries
  • Use a hanging indent for all references
  • Order all references in alphabetical order by the author(s)
  • links (URLs) should be "live" or "active" to lead the reader to the content
  • include all authors up to 20
  • See Publication Manual Section 10 for reference list examples up to 20 authors or more than 20 authors
  • See Publication Manual Section 2.12 for reference list requirements.
  • APA Style website, Creating an APA Style Reference list

Appendices:

  • Each appendix is on a separate page
  • Appendices begin after references, footnotes, tables, and figures
  • Label and title each appendix, e.g. Appendix A, Appendix B
  • Appendix label and title in bold, centered and on separate lines at top of the page
  • Title case is used for appendix label and title
  • See Publication Manual Section 2.14

For more information:

APA Style Paper Format 

APA Style Sample Papers 

Student Paper Elements & Format

Student paper elements include:

  • Title page
  • Page numbers (starting on title page, upper right corner)
  • Text (body of paper/report)
  • Reference list
  • May include tables, figures, appendices
  • Do not include a running head, an author note or an abstract

See Publication Manual Sections 2.2-2.15

Student paper format includes:

See Publication Manual Sections 2.16-2.25

APA Style website Student Sample Paper

Capitalization, Fonts, and Italics

What is title case capitalization?

In title case, the following words are capitalized:

  • first word
  • first word of a subtitle
  • first word after a colon
  • words of 4 letters or more
  • e.g. Using Video in the English Language Classroom: Listening and Learning

Use title case for:

  • title of your paper on your title page
  • title of periodicals on the References page
  • title of tables and figures

What is sentence case capitalization?

In sentence case, the following words are capitalized:

  • first word of the title or subtitle
  • first word of a subtitle
  • first word after a colon
  • proper nouns
  • e.g. Using video in the English language classroom: Listening and learning

Use sentence case for:

  • titles of articles, books, reports, webpages, and other works on the References page

Fonts: (always verify with your Professor)

  • use fonts accessible to all
  • use same font throughout your paper text
  • APA recommended fonts are: Calibri 11-pt, Arial 11-pt, Lucida Sans Unicode 10-pt, Times New Roman 12-pt, Georgian 11-pt, Computer Modern 10-pt

Italics are used for:

  • titles of books, reports, webpages, and other standalone works on your References page
  • titles of periodicals on your References page
  • periodical volume number on your Reference List Entry

See APA Style website, Grammar Guidelines and select the Mechanics of Style section.

See Publication Manual Sections 2 and 6.

Tables and Figures in Your Text

Tables and figures are used to:

  • summarize information
  • present results
  • estimate statistics or functions
  • share full trial-level data
  • must have a purpose
  • the image or data source should be listed on the references page

Formatting:

  • consecutively numbered, e.g. Table 1, Table 2, Figure 1, Figure 2
  • label and title are flush left
  • title of table or figure is in title case and italicized
  • tables and figures may be integrated in the body of the paper or after the references page(s)
  • See APA Style Table Setup
  • See APA Style Figure Setup
  • When you are using a secondary source, e.g. data table form Statistics Canada, image from a website, under the table/figure include a copyright attribution statement. Use "Adapted from" if you have made changes or use "From" if you are duplicating the image or data.
  • See Publication Manual Sections 7.7 and 12.18

In-text citation:

  • refer to the table or figure by their number in a paragraph
  • tell reader what to look for in table or figure, e.g. The placement of the fireplace in Figure 2 illustrates...

See Publication Manual Section 7 or APA Style website, Tables and Figures

Shortened Journal Titles

Journal titles may appear abbreviated (shortened), instead of the entire journal title being provided. Most often, the word "journal" will be abbreviated to "J" and other words that are not significant may be omitted, eg. the, or

Some examples of abbreviated journal titles are:

  • J Community Health for Journal of Community Health
  • JAMA for JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association
  • Kidney Med for Kidney Medicine
  • Palliat Care Soc Pract for Palliative care and social practice

Typically, journal titles are abbreviated in science and medical or health fields of study. Check the database's journal listing or the National Library of Medicine's Catalog of Journals.

Proper APA reference list entries require that the full journal title be provided. 

Annotated Bibliographies

Always check your assignment for specifics about your annotated bibliography. Clarify expectations with your professor for best results. Here are a few examples of annotated bibliographies that may help you get started.

Formatting:

  • alphabetical order by author of the resource
  • full reference list entry
  • summary, description, or evaluation of the resource (follow your professor's requirements)
  • paragraph is below the reference
  • entire annotation is indented and double-spaced

Formatting Other Types of Assignments

Some assignments are not in the form of an essay, report or research paper.

Always check with your professor for exact details on how they would like other assignments to be formatted.

Examples of other assignment types:

  • Powerpoint slides
  • Videos or screen casts
  • Websites
  • Blogs & journal entries
  • Portfolios
  • Lab report
  • Poster boards