APA Style Formatting 1
Running head: APA STYLE FORMATTING INSTRUCTIONS FOR MICROSOFT WORD
APA Style Formatting Instructions for Microsoft Word 2003
Community College of Southern Nevada
Instructor’s name (optional)
September 24, 2007 (optional)
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The American Psychological Association (APA) manuscript format is a standardized and
accepted writing style. There are specific requirements for an APA style document. In addition,
there are many versions of Microsoft Word, so this paper will only provide basic instructions to
format an academic APA paper using Microsoft Office Word 2003 (Word 2003). This guide is
not intended to address all aspects of APA style and will only, minimally, instruct how to cite
electronic (Internet) sources on a References page. For more detailed information, refer to the
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th ed. (Washington: APA,
2001). This guide leads one through the steps necessary to create a properly formatted APA
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APA Style Formatting Instructions for Microsoft Word 2003
If you are new to using Word 2003, take the time to locate where each icon or menu item
mentioned in this document is located. If you are using Microsoft Word 2007, obtain a copy of
the MLA Style Formatting Instructions, Version II, For Microsoft Word 2007; it contains step by
step directions to properly setup a page in Word 2007. Then, follow this manual to implement
APA style. It is simple to discover the function of each icon. Simply move the mouse pointer
over each icon and pause for a few seconds. A pop-up text will indicate the function of an icon
the mouse is hovering over. Locate these icons now as they will be used in the step-by-step
procedures which follow.
Quoted words in the “Procedure” section refer to the top horizontal menu or sub-menu in
Word 2003. The underlined letters in a quoted word indicate that the function can also be
selected by pressing and holding the “Ctrl” key, on the lower left corner of the keyboard, and
then pressing and releasing the letter that is underlined to activate that function. The top menu
options: File, Edit, View, Insert, Format, etc. are located at the top of the window. Under the top
menu are the Standard and Formatting toolbars which contains the Font type, Font Size, and
Align icons (As shown in Figures 1, 2, and 3).
Figure 1. Standard toolbar
Figure 2. Formatting toolbar
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Figure 3. Font type, Font Size, Align Left, Center, and Align Right icons (part of Figure 2 above)
Following, are the requirements for an APA paper. The entire paper is to be double
spaced, (a complete blank line between each typed line) as exemplified in this document. The
left and right margins need to be adjusted to one inch (1”). The top and bottom margins are
usually set correctly to one inch as a default by Word 2003. One inch margins on all sides will
be the most common setting for the majority of manuscripts.
The Header and Footer margins should be set to one-half inch (½”), which is usually set
this way as a default by Word 2003. Therefore, it will not be covered in this text. The entire
paper is to be formatted using a serif font such as Time New Roman. The font size is to be set to
12 points. APA documents have latitude in font size from eight points up to fourteen points
depending on the use. Tables and headings may be adjusted to fit more data or to stand out, such
as on the Title page. In addition, there should be only one (1) space after punctuation marks.
For example: after a period, comma, semicolon, colon, and after periods in reference citations.
APA headings will sometimes use italics or bold to stand out. Additional spacing (triple
or even quadruple) is also allowed for readability in an APA manuscript. Additional spacing
may be used before and after tables, examples of equations, or figure displays. This paper is
written using APA style. There are bold first level headings as well as bold and underlined
second-level headings in addition to more line spacing in some areas, as aforementioned, to
guide the reader to particular sections of interest. The general style of this paper can be used as a
guide when creating your own.
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Left justified, on the first line of the Title page should appear a “Running head:” (typed
just as shown, with the colon, inside the quotes), if it is requested by an instructor, followed by
the title of the document which should be all capital letters. The Running head should not
exceed 50 characters in length. In a header, right aligned, should appear the first two or three
words of the title followed by five (5) spaces, then a page number. The page number should start
with one (1) on the Title page and increment for each page thereafter. Word 2003 provides a
way, which will be explained, to accomplish this automatically. Page 1 of this guide is an
example of how an APA Title page should look.
Next, about halfway down the page vertically, you will add a horizontally centered title,
student name, and college name. If the title is long, break it up into two centered lines. After the
title, on the next double spaced line, add the student name. Following the student name, on
another double spaced line, type the college or university name for which the paper is being
written. A Running head, instructor’s name, and date are optional according to each instructor’s
preferences. Obtain clear instructions on how the Title page should appear for a given class
before you begin any APA paper. Often, this information is indicated on a syllabus.
The 2 nd page should always contain the Abstract. The best way to add an Abstract page
is to use a page break. The page break allows the Abstract page to remain autonomous from the
Title page, so it is not affected by the addition or removal of lines which precede it. Instructions
to create a page break are provided in the “Procedure” section of this guide.
“Abstract” (note the capitalization) should be centered on the first line of the page. The
Abstract should not exceed 120 words. A page break should be used at the end of the Abstract
page so the addition or removal of lines does not affect the pages which follow.
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Begin the next page (page 3) with the title of the paper centered on the first line of the
page. Remember to capitalize each word of the title except two-letter words such as “of”. Start
writing the body of the paper on the next double spaced line. Indent each paragraph one tab,
using the “Tab” key (located on the left side of the keyboard). APA manuscripts are to be left
justified with no justification at the end of each line. Moreover, APA style does not allow for
hyphenation. Rather, keep the line short and write the entire word on the next line. Word 2003
usually defaults the Tab to one-half inch (½”). APA dictates that a period (.) or comma (,) must
be inside the quotes (not outside) if quotation marks end a sentence. This is true, even if quotes
are used only for emphasis. Following, is the procedure to format an academic APA paper using
Word 2003. Read and follow each step carefully in the order presented.
Double space the paper:
1. Select “Format” from the top menu bar.
2. Select “Paragraph” from the drop-down menu box.
3. Now, locate the “Line spacing:” box in the paragraph pop-up window (As shown in
4. Locate the small arrow, on the right side of the “Line Spacing:” box.
5. Click the left mouse button on the small arrow.
6. Select “Double” from the drop-down menu.
7. Click “OK”, to save the line spacing change.
Alternatively, you can double space the paper this way (much quicker):
Press and hold “Ctrl” and then press and release “2” (Ctrl-2). This is pronounced as
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Remember to press and hold the Control (Ctrl) key first, then press and release the “2”
If your paper is already typed, but it is not double spaced, it can be converted to double
space easily by following the directions below.
1. Select (highlight) all the text in the essay by pressing and holding the “Ctrl” key and
then press and release the “A” key (Ctrl-A). The text and background will become
inverted to white text on black.
DO NOT TYPE ANYTHING OTHER THAN INSTRUCTED OR YOUR DATA
WILL BE OVERWRITTEN BY WHAT YOU TYPE!
2. Press and hold “Ctrl” and then press and release “2” (Ctrl-2).
3. Deselect the text by momentarily left-clicking the mouse one time anywhere on the
The highlight should be gone and the entire paper should now be double spaced.
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Figure 4. Paragraph pop-up window
Set the margins to one inch (1”):
1. Select “File.”
2. Select “Page Setup” (about ½ way down the menu) from the drop-down menu.
3. Change the Left, and Right margins to one inch (1”).
The Top and Bottom margins are usually defaulted to one inch (1”) unless they were
changed by someone. If so, correct them to one inch (1”).
4. Select “OK” when finished.
Set “Font” and “Font Size” to “Times New Roman” and “12” point:
You will use the Font and Font Size settings on the Formatting toolbar (As shown in Figure 3).
1. Move the mouse to the small, down-arrow just to the right of the “Font” or “Font
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2. From the drop-down menus, select “Times New Roman” font and “12” point size
respectively. These are usually Word 2003 defaults, unless they have been changed
Alternatively, it can be done this way:
1. Select “Format” from the top menu.
2. Select “Font” (1st option) from the drop-down menu.
3. Change “Latin text font” and “Font”, (if not already set) to “Times New Roman.”
3. Make sure the “Font Style” is set to “Regular.”
4. Change “Size” (if not already set) to “12” points.
Do not change anything else in this screen unless you fully understand the function
you intend to change.
8. Select “OK” when finished.
Create a header for the document:
1. Select “View” from the top menu.
2. Select “Header and Footer” (¾ the way down) from the drop-down menu (As shown
in Figure 5).
3. Type the first few words of the title of the paper (Capitalize the first letter) and add 5
spaces (as seen on the cover page of this manual).
4. Select “Insert Page Number” icon (to the right of Insert AutoText button) from
the pop-up window (As shown in Figure 6). The number sign (Insert Page Number )
icon will add an automated page number to the document and increment it for every
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Figure 5. View Menu - Header and Footer option
Figure 6. Header and Footer pop-up window
Align the header to the right margin:
1. Select “Align Right” icon from the Formatting Toolbar. This will move the
header to the right margin of the page. Do not use the Tab key or spacebar.
2. Select “Close” from the pop-up toolbar, when finished.
Set Word 2003 to disable hyperlinks:
1. Select “Tools”
2. Select “AutoCorrect Options” from the drop-down menu.
3. Select the “AutoFormat As You Type” tab from the pop-up menu.
4. Uncheck the “Internet and network paths with hyperlinks” checkbox, under the
“Replace as you type” heading and select “OK”.
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Create a References page:
The References page should not be on the same page as any part of the body. The best
way to add a References page is to use a page break. The page break allows the References page
to remain autonomous from the last page of the essay before it. Thus, it is not affected by the
addition or removal of lines on the page which precede it. Page 13 is an example of how the
page should be formatted.
Adding a page break for a References page:
1. Select Insert from the top menu.
2. Select Break (1st option) from the drop-down menu.
3. Select Page break (1st choice). Page break is usually pre-selected as the default
4. Select “OK” when finished. A new page is created from wherever the cursor was last.
Create a References heading - centered on the page:
1. On the first line of the new page, type “References” (note the capitalization).
2. Select the “Center” icon from the formatting toolbar, while the cursor is still on
the References line.
3. Press Enter to add a double spaced line.
4. Select the “Align Left” icon from the formatting toolbar.
5. Enter the first Reference.
Following the References line, will be added the appropriate citations for your document.
Each citation should be left justified on the first line. If there is more than one line for a citation,
indent each additional line (1 Tab) in that citation. For more information regarding the
appropriate methods of citations, refer to the APA Publication Manual (Washington: APA, 2001).
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Citing Documents from Web Sites
If electronic citations will be used from the Internet, such as a specific webpage, the
electronic web address citing must always begin with “http://” (only what is inside the quotes”)
No underlines or hyperlinks (underlined blue text) should appear under any electronic citing.
And, there should be no period at the end of any web address in an APA document.
The 6 Elements of electronic APA Citation:
There are six specific elements required when citing electronic documents in APA style.
They are, in order: author, date of document , document title, web site title or more specific area
of web site the document can be found, access date (the date you looked up the information), and
the specific web address of the document (URL – Uniform Resource Locator).
Directions to manually remove hyperlinks from web addresses:
1. Right-click on a (usually a blue color in Word 2003) hyperlink,
2. Select “Remove hyperlink” from the drop-down menu.
The underline and blue text should have been removed.
See the References (last) page for an example of how this should look.
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You have just put together an academic paper using APA style. APA is a standardized
writing format used to create academic journals, essays, reports and manuscripts in many
disciplines. There are a number of requirements one must follow when writing an APA essay. It
is important to carefully implement all aspects of an APA paper. More importantly, attention to
detail and using the APA style indicates that the writer is paying due diligence to understand how
to write a professional paper while avoiding plagiarism. APA Style Formatting Instructions for
Microsoft Word 2003 provides step-by-step directions to create a generic APA manuscript.
Refer to the layout of this guide and the Publication Manual of the American Psychological
Association, 5th ed. (Washington: APA, 2001), or other source, for more detailed information
regarding how the margins, header, Title page, Abstract page, body, and References page, are
constructed and should appear.
For more information regarding the APA style or to see a color copy of these directions, visit
ADZ: rev. 24 September 2007
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Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. (2001). 5th ed. Washington, DC:
American Psychological Association.