Skip to Main Content

Citing Sources: Formatting your paper in APA style

A guide to citing sources in MLA, APA, and Chicago format.

Formatting papers

APA has recommended journal article reporting standards that specify the formatting and structure of papers submitted for publication in journals.  Your instructor may or may not want you to use this format for assignements so it is always a good idea to check to see if you instructor has any special instructions.

Papers written in APA format have the following recommended features (see right for examples):


  • Preferred typeface in Times New Roman with a 12-point font size
  • One inch margins at top, bottom, and sides of paper
  • Use double-spacing throughout the paper.
    • In Microsoft Word:  Select all text > click Home tab > in Paragraph box, click Line Spacing icon > select 2.0
  • Indent the first line of every paragraph, with the exception of the abstract, block quotations, and titles and headings.
  • Each section (e.g. abstract, references, tables, figures, and appendices) should start on a separate page


  • The title page includes the following elements
    • Running head - abbreviated title placed in the top left corner in the header of every page
    • Page number - placed in the top right corner in the header of every page  
    • Title - centered on top half of page
    • Author of paper
    • Institution
    • Author note - this may include the course, instructor, and date.

ABSTRACT PAGE (ask your instructor if he/she requires and Abstract page)

  • This includes the following elements
    • Running head - consistent with title and abstract pages
    • Page number
    • Abstract heading - centered at top of page
    • Abstract text


  • This includes the following elements
    • Running head - consistent with title and abstract pages
    • Page number
    • Title - full title should be centered at the top of the first page of the body of the paper.

Example of the title page


         Running head:  FAST FOOD                                                      1 


Fast Food and Childhood Obesity

Peter Bright

Pima Community College








Author Note:

This paper was prepared for Psychology 289,

taught by Claire Wise for the Spring 2019 semester.




See more sample papers:

Sample APA paper from OWL
Sample paper from the APA Style website (PDF)

Example of abstract page



FAST FOOD                                                                            2



Childhood obesity is the result of eating too many calories and

not getting enough physical activity.  In the United States, 17%

of all children and adolescents are obese (“Overweight and

Obesity,” 2012).  This is triple the rate from just one generation

ago.  Recent studies have also indicated that childhood

consumption of fast food is up fivefold from the 1970s (Lin,

Guthrie, and Frazao, 2001). This paper will use recent studies to

determine if there is a link between increased consumption of

fast food and childhood obesity.