APA Formatting and Style GuideLast updated: 06-29-2020

General APA Guidelines

These paper-formatting guidelines apply to student paper. The word processing program will allow you to create default settings to write in APA style. Please use the following video to set the word processing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9hXY1xiZjo

1.1 Fonts

The 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual allows the use of a variety of fonts.

The permitted fonts are as follows

  • Sans serif fonts such as 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, or 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode
  • Serif fonts such as 12-point Times New Roman, 11-point Georgia, or normal (10-point) Computer Modern (the default font for LaTeX)


CMU wants its students to use 12 point Times New Roman for all APA style work.

1.2 Spacing

Double Spacing throughout the paper. No extra lines between paragraphs.

1.3 Margins

Set 1 inch page margin

1.4 Running Head

The running head is not required for student papers. It is only required for professional papers.

1.5 Page header

The page header consists of the page number in the top right corner of the page.

1.6 Order of Pages

Arrange the pages of an APA Style paper in the following order:

  • title page
  • abstract
  • text
  • references
  • footnotes
  • tables
  • figures
  • appendices


CMU requires students to add the Table of Content Page whenever required by the instructor.

Start each section on a new page. However, the order of pages is flexible in the following cases:

Tables and figures:Embed tables and figures within the text after they are first mentioned, or place each table and then each figure on separate pages after the references. If an embedded table or figure appears on the same page as text, place it at either the top or the bottom of the page, and insert a blank double-spaced line to separate the table or figure from the adjacent text.

Footnotes:Use the footnotes function of your word-processing program to insert a footnote at the bottom of the page of text.

1.61 Student Title Page Set Up

The title page for the student paper consists of the title of the paper, author name, Authors department affiliation, course number, Course name, instructor and due date. On the top right corner, the page number should be added.

1.611 Paper Title

Type the title in the center in boldface. There is no maximum length for the title.

1.612 Author Name

Author name follows the title. Center author name double space away from title. If there are two authors, separate by ‘and’. If more than two authors than separate by comma and ‘and’ before the last name.

1.613 Course Number and name

Provide the course number as shown on instructional materials, followed by a colon and the course name. Center the course number and name on the next double-spaced line after the author affiliation.

1.614 Instructor Name

Center it on the next double spaced line after course name and number.

1.615 Assignment Due Date

Add the due date for assignment on the next double spaced line after course name and number.

1.616 Page Number

Use the page number 1 on the title page. Use the automatic page-numbering function of your word processing program to insert page numbers in the top right corner of the page header.

Sample Paper 1

1.617 Paragraph Alignment

Align the paper to the left margin. Do not insert hyphens (manual breaks) in words at the end of line

1.618 Paragraph Indentations

Indent the first line of each paragraph of text 0.5 in. from the left margin.

1.619 Headings

The title at the head of the page or paper is heading. They identify the content within the section of the page.

APA 7th edition has five levels of heading. Level 1 is the main heading. Level 2 is the subheading of Level 1, Level 3 is subheading of Level 2 and so on and so forth.

The levels of heading are used to differentiate the different sections of the paper. Avoid the following errors while formatting the heading.

  • Do not label headings with numbers or letters.
  • Do not add blank lines above or below headings, even if a heading falls at the end of a page

The Levels of headings are as follows.

Format of Headings

The following table demonstrates how to format headings in APA Style.

Level Format

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.

Headings in the Introduction

Do not begin a paper with an “Introduction” heading; the paper title at the top of the first page of text acts as a de facto Level 1 heading. You can have sublevel headings to the paragraph

Writers who use APA Style may use the automatic headings function of their word-processing program to create headings.

1.62 Abstract

It is a brief summary of the content of the paper. The abstract contains 150 to 250 words. The label ‘Abstract’ is centered and bold.


CMU requires all the papers to have abstract

1.63 Text Body

This part contains the content of the paper. Start it on a new page after the abstract. The text is organized in different ways depending on the purpose of the paper. In general, the text is an organized introduction of the importance of the work, history of the work in literature and the aim of the work. After this comes, the method used to gather data, results or findings and then discussion.

Text body should have paragraphs with headings and subheading.

However, some student papers may not require subject headings.


CMU requires all students final paper follow the introduction, context to the literature, importance and aim of the work, method, findings and discussion. The headings and subheadings are not required for case papers.

1.64 Reference List

This list provides the readers with the location details of the work cited by the author. It also provides the credit to the person who has originally written it.

  • The reference list is always starts in a new page after the end of the main body text but before appendices, tables and figures.
  • ‘Reference’ is centered and bold
  • Use hanging indent for references with double spaces
  • Reference is alphabetized by the last name of the first author.
  • More details under reference column

1.65 Footnotes

It is a brief note that can contain additional information and copyright acknowledgement.

1.66 Appendices

It is the supplemental material that the author would like to include in their paper but would be distracting if added in the actual body of the paper.

This contains brief material which the authors deems useful but distracting in the text so add at the end of the paper. Begin the appendices on a separate page after references. Each appendix should be given a label and title. The appendix may consist of text, tables, figures or any combination of these.

1.67 Tables & Figures

The tables and figures can be embedded within the text after they are first mentioned or place each table and then each figure on separate pages after the references.