6th Edition APA Basic Formatting bridger-jones.com

Hello academic English writers of the world, many of you are using the APA style to format your papers. It is always a good idea to set your formatting correctly in your word processing software before you start your project. This way you avoid formatting headaches later on when you need to be concentrating on your content. bridger-jones.com has put together this quick guide to formatting in the 6th Edition APA Style.

Running Head

The running head is a shortened title (no more than 50 characters including spaces) that appears on every page of your paper. Use the functions of your word-processing program to create a header containing the running head and the page numbers. The header is located in, and not below, the page’s margin. It is not necessary to set the header a specific distance from the top of the page. The words Running head should precede the running head on the title page only.


Set uniform margins of at least 1 inch (2.54 cm) on the top, bottom, left, and right of every page.

Heading Levels

There are five levels of headings in APA Style. Proceed through the levels in numerical order, starting at Level 1. Do not skip levels.

The number of headings necessary for a paper will vary depending on the paper’s content and complexity. Sections of equal importance have the same level of heading.

Don’t use “Introduction” as your first heading; it’s assumed that the beginning of the paper is the introduction.

Use boldface and/or italics only for headings within the body of your paper.

Regular font formatting (not boldface or italics) should be used for all section titles, such as Abstract, Author Note, Title of Your Paper (on the title page and on the page where the text begins), References, Appendix/Appendices, and Footnotes. These are not headings but labels.


Numbered lists and bulleted lists may be used in the APA Style.

Each item on the list should be punctuated at the end by a period, semicolon, or comma, depending on the grammatical structure of the list.

Numbers of a numbered list should be followed by periods and are not in parentheses.

In running text, a series of items should be designated by letters in parentheses: (a) 1st item, (b) 2nd item, and (c) 3rd item.


Tables needs to be logical and easy for readers to understand.

Place each table on a separate page after the reference list at the end of your paper.

Font size and style should be specified by the organisation for which you are writing.

Margins must be at least 1 inch. (2.54 cm).

Tables may use single-spacing or one-and-a-half spacing.

Information necessary for understanding the table and definitions of terms and abbreviations used in the table appear in a table note.


Figures can include graphs, charts, maps, drawings, and photographs. A useful figure is easy to read with elements large enough to be read easily. Here are some guidelines on creating figures.

Place each figure on a separate page at the end of your manuscript, after any tables (or after the reference list, if there are no tables).

Place a caption below each figure describing its contents and defining any terms and abbreviations used in the figure.

Title Page

The title page includes five elements: title, running head, author, byline, institutional affiliation, and author note (including grant/funding information and a correspondence address). The title page is page 1.

Serial Comma

Use a comma between elements in a series of three or more items.

blue, black, and green


Material quoted directly from another source must always provide the author, year, and specific page(s) in the text citation and include a comprehensive entry in the reference list.

When the quotation includes fewer than 40 words, include it in the block of text and enclose it with double quotation marks. If the quotation includes more than 40 words, it is to be treated as a block quotation, meaning that it is presented in a freestanding block of text without quotation marks.

If material is paraphrased, always provide the author and date in the in-text citation. It is unnecessary to include the page number in the citation.

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