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WAC/Health Sciences

APA Paper Format

There are many things that have to be formatted correctly for an APA paper.  Here are some of the rules for the basic format of each page of your paper.  To see how to do this formatting in Microsoft Word, click on the "MS Word Instructions" link at the end of each point.

  • Use 8 ½” x 11” paper.  Type your paper in Microsoft Word (MS Word) or a similar program, and print your paper one sided. [APA manual 5.01, p. 284]
  • Use a typeface like Times New Roman or Courier New. [APA manual 5.02, p. 285] MS Word Instructions
  • Double-space the entire paper.  This means that the computer will skip every other line, which makes it easier for your teacher to read and write in comments. [APA manual 5.03, p. 286] MS Word Instructions
  • Use 1” margins on all sides (top, bottom, left and right). [APA manual 5.04, p. 286] MS Word Instructions
  • Number all pages in your paper (including title page), beginning with 1, in the upper right-hand corner. [APA manual 5.06, p. 288] MS Word Instructions
  • Insert a header with the first two or three words of your paper title.  Align it right. This will show up at the top right-hand side of every page. [APA manual 5.06, p. 288] MS Word Instructions
  • Use the headings that your instructor asks for.  Headings name the sections of your paper.  You will probably use a heading for the title of your paper, the abstract if you have one, and the reference page.  Headings should be centered, and the first letter of each major word (not prepositions or articles, such as the, a, by, for) and the first letter of the first word (including prepositions or articles) should be capitalized.  If there is a colon (:), capitalize the first letter of the word following it, even if it is not a major word. [APA manual 3.29-3.32, p.111-115; and 5.10, p. 289-290]


Nursing for the Ages: Caring for the Elderly and Children

Wisdom Teeth: The Safe Way


  • If you have a second level of headings (for sub-sections in your paper), they should be italicized and aligned left with the same capitalization as regular headings.


Nursing for the Ages: Caring for the Elderly and Children

The Elderly



  • The order of the sections of your paper should be as follows: [APA manual 5.05, p. 287]
  • Title page (numbered page 1)

    The body of your paper (starting with page 2)

    References (starts on a new page after the end of the body of your paper

Here is an example of what your APA paper should look like.

Image of an APA Paper Format Example

Back to APA Guidelines