Rock Valley College

APA 7th Ed Doc Formatting

APA Format (7th Edition) 

Create a document in APA style 

Designing a document in APA style requires you to adhere to a specific set of formatting guidelines. Following these rules is important because it allows readers to locate essential information, such as your name and paper title, in an established order. Maintaining design consistency throughout the document helps to strengthen your credibility as a writer in this field. For every APA document: 

  • Use 1-inch margins. 
  • Double space the entire document. 
  • Use either 12-point Times New Roman, 11-point Calibri, or 11-point Arial font. Whichever you choose, use the same font throughout the document (page number, titles, subheadings, body, Reference page, etc.). 
  • Leave one space after periods or other punctuation marks. 
  • Italicize any key terms that you introduce or define, rather than using quotation marks. For example: The trash that is produced by homes and businesses, called municipal waste, is the third-largest source of methane emissions created by humans. 
  • Italicize the names of long works (books, journals, films, websites, etc.). 
  • Offset the names of shorter works in quotation marks (poems, webpages, songs, articles, etc.). 

 To format the Cover Page of your document you will need: 

A running head is no longer used in APA style since the 7th edition updates. Instead, right align a simple page number in the heading of the document on every page (without any additional information, like your last name or a title). 

  • To format the running page numbers in Word: Click Insert and then select Top of Page. Select the third option in the dropdown box labeled Plain Number 3. Click below the header area on the body of the document to complete the rest of the title page. 
  • To format the running page numbers in Google Docs: Click Insert and then select Page Numbers from the dropdown menu. Choose the option in which page numbers are shown in the upper-right corner of every page. Click below the header area on the body of the document to complete the rest of the title page. 

From the top line of the first page, hit the Enter key 3-4 times to begin your title a few lines down from the top. Center the title in the middle of the page. Capitalize all the major words in the title and use lowercase on prepositions and articles. Capitalize the first word of the title regardless of the word type. No underlining or italicizing is needed. Highlight your title and select Bold from the Font menu. Leave an empty line after your title by hitting the Enter key twice. Type your name centered on this line (be sure Bold is turned off from the Font menu—only the title should be Bold). Hit Enter once to move to the next line and add your school’s name (Rock Valley College). Hit Enter again and type your course information and section number (i.e., ENG-101-SE323) on this line. Hit Enter again and add your instructor’s name to this line. Click Enter once more and add the date the assignment is due to this final line of your title page (i.e., March 10, 2020). Move the Cursor to the line below the date by hitting the Enter key. Click Insert, and then select Page Break (UNLESS you need to add an Author Note—see next section). 

This section is optional for student essays, so ask your instructor if you need to include it. 

  • If required, hit Enter a few times after the due date to situate the Author Note in the bottom half of the title page. Type the words Author Note in Bold and choose Center from the alignment choices. Click Enter twice to leave an empty line between the Author Note heading and the information you have been asked to include. Align your text at the left margin, hit the Tab key, and begin typing the note—the information here might include items like your email address, phone number, disclaimers about your research or ideas, or acknowledgements. When finished, hit the Enter key to move to the next line below the text of the Author note, click Insert, and select Page Break.

You will then be moved to Page 2 where you will begin writing. 

  • On the first line of the second page, type your title exactly as it appears on the title page (with proper capitalization, centered, and in Bold font—called a Level 1 Heading in APA style). Hit Enter to move to the next line, select Align Left to move the cursor to the left margin, hit the Tab key to indent .5” from the left margin, and begin writing (be sure Bold is turned off at this point). 
  • Tab each subsequent paragraph in the same way.
  • If you have been asked to use subheadings to label each section of your paper after the Introduction, create a Level 2 Heading for each major subtopic. To begin, type a name for each section in a new line along the left margin (with no Indent), capitalize it using the same rules as your main title, highlight the section name you typed, and select Bold from the Font menu. Move down to the next line, turn off the Bold feature, hit the Tab key as you would when beginning any new paragraph, and resume your writing. 
  • No extra spacing is needed between headings, subheadings, or paragraphs (extra spacing is only allowed on the Title page/Page 1). 

For an example of an APA cover page, see the Sample APA Paper by visiting the Writing Center Resource Library at 

Download the APA 7th Ed Doc Formatting Handout here!