APA Writing Format
Clarity in Communication

The APA writing format is a set of rules developed by the American Psychological Association to assist in reading comprehension in the social and behavioral sciences, and designed to ensure clarity of communication.

The rules are to insure that ideas move forward, with little white noise or distraction and are clear and easy to understand.

These rules are maintained by and amended by the American Psychological Association. Over time, the standards for this style have been used in the field of social sciences and education but have now expanded into the business world as well.

Whatever writing goals your working on, whether it be narrative writing, descriptive writing, writing scholarships, or writing a bibliography, there are online writing courses that can help you learn the format. Anyone that wants to improve their educational writing as well as business writing can benefit from learning it. 


General Document Guidelines - The APA Writing Format

  • Margins - One inch on all sides (top, bottom, left, right).
  • Font Size and Type - 12-pt. Times New Roman font.
  • Line Spacing - Double-space throughout the paper, including the title page, abstract, body of the document, references, appendixes, footnotes, tables, and figures.
  • Spacing after Punctuation - Space once after commas, colons, and semicolons within sentences. Insert two spaces after punctuation marks that end sentences.
  • Alignment - Flush left (creating uneven right margin).
  • Paragraph Indentation - use 5-7 spaces.
  • Pagination - The page number appears one inch from the right edge of the paper on the first line of every page.
  • Running Head - The running head is a short title that appears at the top of the pages of a paper or published article. It's typed flush left at the top of all pages and should not exceed 50 characters, including punctuation and spacing. Using most word processors, the page number can be inserted into a header, which then automatically appears on all pages.
  • Active voice As a general rule, the active voice should be used rather than the passive voice. For example, use "We told you ..." rather than "It was told to you ..."
  • Order of Pages - Title Page, Abstract, Body, References, Footnotes, Tables, Figures, Appendixes.

This style is used for many styles of writing, not just in academia or journalism. In using it you really can't go wrong.

  • The term APA style does not suggest a writing style, it actually means editorial style covering things like:
  • punctuation and abbreviations
  • selection of headings
  • citation of references
  • presentation of statistics
  • construction of tables
  • as well as many other elements that are a part of this format.


When you have a lot of writing to do your writing must be well-organized, so that it is easy to understand by the reader.

StyleEase software can help with writing academic papers, a thesis, and dissertations in APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, and Seminary styles and automates everything from the title page to the bibliography, and makes it easy to focus on content!


Return from apa writing format to academic writing

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