The Complete Guide to APA Format in 2020

APA Format is the official writing style of the American Psychological Association, and is primarily used in subjects such as psychology, education, and the social sciences.

It specifies how to format academic papers and citations for publication in journals, periodicals, and bulletins.

This guide will show you how to prepare and format a document to be fully compliant with APA Format in 2020.

Note: The American Psychological Association has just announced a new version of APA style: the 7th edition! If this is the version your teacher or professor wants you to use, see the APA Style 7th Edition changes.

Before You Start Writing...

There are several steps you must take to prepare a new document for APA style before you start writing your paper:

  • Make sure the paper size is 8.5" x 11" (known as 'Letter' in most word processors).
  • Set the margin size to 1" on all sides (2.54cm).
  • Change the line spacing to double-spaced.
  • Add page numbers to the top-right corner of every page.
  • Add a running head to the top-left corner of every page.
💡 A running head is the title of your paper in full uppercase letters shortened to 50 characters (including spacing and punctuation) -- if your title is longer than this you can cut it short with the ellipsis character: …
💡 An ellipsis is 3 periods next to each other. You can insert an ellipsis by pressing the period key three times, or copying and pasting the following ellipsis character into your document: …

We have a pre-made APA style template document you can download to be sure you are ready to start writing. You can download it below:

When your document is ready, proceed to writing the title page.