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APA 7th Edition Guide

This guide provides an overview of the APA citation style and provides students with basic information to begin learning and applying this style in their academic writing.

Components of an APA Paper

Setting Up Your Paper: Formatting Rules


APA Style has specific rules about the format of your paper.  Be sure to select one of the six approved font styles, and set margins and line spacing as follows:

  • Typeface: APA 7th edition allows six type faces:
    • Calibri, 11 point
    • Arial, 11 point
    • Lucida Sans Unicode, 10 point
    • Times New Roman, 12 point
    • Georgia, 11 point
    • Computer Modern, 10 point
  • Line Spacing:       
    • Double space entire document including cover page and References list
  • Margins:                
    • One inch margins at top, bottom, left, and right of page (Word default setting)
  • Paragraphs
    • First line in paragraphs indented 1/2 inch (one stroke of the tab key)
  • Page Numbers:     
    • Pages are numbered in the header, flush right, beginning with the title page


APA Paper Template


Download a copy of the pre-formatted APA paper template to use for all of your APA assignments. Watch the companion video!


Order of Pages


Pages of an APA paper appear in the following order:

NOTE: Sections appearing in bold font are always included in an APA paper; other sections are included if needed.

View this helpful guide created by the APA Style Experts to help you set up your paper:

Title Page


The title page of a student paper includes the page number in header and lists the following information centered in the top half of the page:

  • Title of Paper, bolded
  • Student Name
  • Rasmussen University
  • Course Number: Course Title
  • Instructor's Name
  • Assignment Due Date   (Note: For CBE courses, please use the assignment submission date.)

Note that there is a blank double-spaced line between the title and student's name.


Body of the Paper


Formatting Basics

  • Title centered and bolded at top of page
  • One inch margins (Word default margins)
  • Text double spaced
  • Paragraphs begin with 1/2 inch indent (one stroke of the tab key)
  • One space between sentences

Components of a Research Paper

  • Introduction
    • Introduces the topic covered in the paper 
    • States the thesis or position to be supported in the body of the paper
    • Usually one or two paragraphs in length
  • Body
    • Main part of paper
    • Points presented in logical order to support thesis, one point per paragraph
    • length of this section varies; usually a minimum of three paragraphs
  • Conclusion
    • Restates the thesis 
    • Reinforces major points made in the body of the paper
    • Usually one or two paragraphs in length


One of the goals of the APA Style is to present information in a clear, concise, and logical manner.  One way to achieve this is by organizing content through the use of Headings.  APA utilizes five levels of headings within the text of the paper:

Level of Heading Format
1. Centered and Bolded, Title Capitalization
2. Bolded and Aligned Left, Title Capitalization
3. Bolded Italics and Aligned Left , Title Capitalization
4.          Indented and bolded, Title Capitalization, end with period.
5.           Indented and bolded italics, Title Capitalization, end with period.


The References List


In academic writing, resources found through the research process are used to support positions, claims, and points made in a paper or essay.  All sources cited within the text of the paper are listed alphabetically in the reference list.  References provide the reader with information needed to access the source material.  The reference list is its own page and appears at the end of the paper.  

An APA reference is composed of four elements:

Author. (Date). Title. Source Information.

View example references on the Reference page in this Guide.

Reference List Example