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Citing: Setting up your paper

Setting up your paper

To get started, there are some basic formatting guidelines to follow when writing a paper in APA style. Papers such as dissertations and theses may require additional elements not listed here. For more detailed information about formatting, consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (Seventh Edition)

Page Numbers: Page numbers should appear in the header, flush right on every page. 

Line Spacing: Double-spacing is used for the entire document.

Margins: Use 1-inch margins on every side of the page.

Paragraph Alignment: Align text to the left margin.

Indentation: ​Indent the first line of each paragraph of text 0.5 in. from the left margin (use tab key). Do not use the space bar to indent. 

Fonts: Use the same font throughout your paper. Font options include the following:

  • Sans serif fonts such as:

    • 11-point Calibri

    • 11-point Arial

    • 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode

  • Serif fonts such as:

    • 12-point Times New Roman

    • 11-point Georgia

    • Normal (10-point) Computer Modern (the default font for LaTeX)

  1. title page
  2. abstract (only include if requested by your instructor)
  3. main text
  4. references
  5. footnotes 
  6. tables 
  7. figures
  8. appendices

Generally, you should start each section on a new page. For more information, please view Order of Pages on the APA Style page or consult Section 2.17 of the APA Publication Manual, Seventh Edition.

Paper title: Start the title of your paper three to four lines down from the top of the page. Your title should be centered and in bold font. Remember to capitalize major words. 

Author name(s): Place one double-spaced blank line between the paper title and the author name(s). Center author names on their own line. 

Author affiliation: For a student at SUNY Fredonia, your affiliation is the State University of New York at Fredonia. You should also include, if relevant, the name of any department you are affiliated with, separated by a comma. Center the affiliation on the next double-spaced line after the author name(s).

Instructor's name: Include the instructor's name, centered on the next double-spaced line after your affiliation information.

Due date: Include the assignment's due date, centered on the next double-spaced line after your instructor's name.







Paper Title 

Author Name(s) 

English Department, State University of New York at Fredonia 

ENG: 100: English Composition 

Instructor's Name

Assignment Due Date




For additional details, please visit the APA Style: Student Title Page Guide or the APA Style: Title Page Setup, which has both student and professional title page examples.

Headings identify the content within sections of a paper. APA Style has five levels of headings. It is important to make your headings as descriptive and concise as possible. One or two levels of heading are usually enough for most undergraduate papers, though it all depends on the length and complexity of your paper. 




Centered, Bold, Title Case Heading

Text begins as a new paragraph.


Flush left, Bold, Title Case Heading

Text begins as a new paragraph.


Flush Left, Bold Italic, Title Case Heading

Text begins as a new paragraph.


Indented, Bold, Title Case Heading, Ending With a Period. Text begins on the same line and continues as a regular paragraph.


Indented, Bold Italic, Title Case Heading, Ending With a Period. Text begins on the same line and continues as a regular paragraph.

For more information, consult the APA's article on headings.

  • Use appropriate level of specificity when describing individuals:

    Avoid: female doctor, female physician, male nurse
    Use:  doctor, physician, nurse
  • Avoid using combinations such as "he or she, or "he/she," and "(s) he". The "Singular "they" or "their" is now encouraged:

    Avoid: "Nearly every researcher has asked himself or herself whether or not to..."
    Use: "Nearly every researcher has asked themselves whether or not to..."

    Read Welcome, Singular "They" from the APA Style Blog for further explanation.

Hanging Indents

To create a hanging indent in Microsoft Word, click and hold on the bottom triangle at the far left of the ruler.

For display only

Then drag it to the half-inch mark and release it.

For display only

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