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Basic APA Formatting Guidelines

The American Psychological Association (APA) developed a standard writing style, typically referred to as the APA style. There are different formatting techniques to help standardize academic and professional writing. Review the following resources to learn more about the APA style. 

APA Format Essay Templates

Below are two APA formatted essay templates. You can download the template to Google Docs and use it to help you write your essay. The essay template without headings is typically used for academic papers. The essay template with headings is typically used for professional and business papers.

APA Rules

Mastering APA Style Student Workbook, Seventh Edition (2021)

Learn the official rules of APA style writing through this interactive guide

Paper Formatting

There are a few general things you need to remember when writing an APA-style paper; general paper formatting and how to properly format the 3 major sections of your paper. The 3 Major sections we will be formatting are:

Title page, Main Body page, References page

Review the diagrams below to learn more about APA formatting. 

Note: These are the general sections for an APA formatted paper. However, you may not be required to complete all four sections for every paper. For example, if you do not make any citations in the paper, you do not have to submit a References Page. 

Title Page

This diagram shows the basic formatting of the title page of an APA 7 paper. The following sections are centered on the page with one of the following: 12 pt. Times New Roman font, 11 pt. Georgia, Calibri, or Arial font, or 10 pt. Lucida Sans font. The following information should be listed: Title, Student Name, Institution, Instructor Name, and Date.


This diagram shows the formatting for an abstract in an APA 7 paper. An abstract is usually 250 words or less, and is not always required for student papers. The title is centered and bolded and is a level 1 heading. The paragraph is a brief summary of the paper including any findings. Keywords are sometimes required at the end of the paragraph, and they are words, phrases, or any other important aspects of your paper. If needed, add 3-5 keywords for your paper. Page numbers are located in the top right of the paper.

Main Body

This diagram shows formatting for the body of an APA 7 paper. The title is capitalized correctly, centered, and bolded on the first page of the body of the paper. The paragraphs are double spaced and the paper has one inch margins. Paragraphs are indented by one half inch.
Block citations are quotes of more than 40 words. They start on a new line, each line is indented by one half inch, and there are no quotation marks required. The page number or other identifying citation information is required at the end of the quote. For author citations, quotation marks are required, and identifying author information is required at the end of the quote. Include the last name of the author or authors if there are two authors and the year it was published. If there are more than 3 authors, you can use the term (author 1's last name, et. al) denote that.


For tables, include the title, appropriate headings, and any notes needed to improve reader understanding. This diagram shows a completed table with appropriate headings.

Reference Page

This diagram shows the references page for an APA paper. References is the title and it will be centered and bolded. The APA citation will be listed in alphabetical order for each reference included in the paper. If the reference is longer than one line, you will indent any subsequent lines by one half inch.


Abstracts are short (about one paragraph) summaries of the entire paper. This can include an initial problem or issue, findings, results, recommendations, and conclusion. The abstract should be concise and written clearly. Readers should be able to get a basic summary of the entire paper by reading the abstract.

Executive Summary

Executive summaries are typically used for papers that are published or business papers. The executive summary is a short summary that outlines the most important points of your paper. This can include a summary of the problem or purpose, the results or recommendation, and a conclusion. The executive summary should be about 5-10% of the entire paper length, therefore, a few paragraphs at most. Usually, they do not exceed one page.