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Reading Writing Lab

APA Reference: Formatting


  • The first line of the title page should include a running head (shortened title) at the right margin, followed by five spaces and the page number. ½" margin before the header.
  • 1" margins on all other sides.
  • Three lines below the running head, type "Running head:" and the shortened title (in all capital letters) at the left margin. This shortened title must not contain more than 50 characters (including spaces).
  • Center title and capitalize all important words.
  • Type your name below the title, and below type the university's name and/or any other information your instructor requests.
  • Centered information should be centered both horizontally and vertically.
  • See sample title page here.


  • The abstract comes after the title page (page 2).
  • The abstract should include a brief description of major points of the paper, and is generally written after the rest of the paper is complete.
  • Three lines below the header, type "Abstract" in the center. Below is the summarizing paragraph two lines below. This paragraph will usually be between 150 and 250 words.
  • The opening sentence should describe the topic/problem addressed in the paper (a thesis).
  • The abstract paragraph is not indented.


  • The entire paper is aligned left. Do not "justify"—the right margin should be ragged.
  • The header, however, is always in the top right corner of the page.
  • The title is centered.


  • The header is in the top right corner.
  • The title should be centered, three lines below the header.
  • Skip two lines and begin the paper with an indented paragraph.
  • The first line of each paragraph should be indented ½" (usually press "tab" once).


  • 12pt font size
  • Times New Roman or Courier
  • Use a Sans Serif font for drawings and figures.
  • All titles of sources are in italics, not underlined.
  • 12pt, double-spaced throughout, unless otherwise directed (even block quotes).
  • The title will be the same font and size as the rest of the text. Do not underline, italicize, bold, or enclose it in quotation marks.
  • There is no extra space between paragraphs (press "enter" only once).


  • Top right of every page, including the first page and the References page.
  • Type your last name followed by five spaces and the page number.
  • DO NOT put a comma between your name and the page number.
  • DO NOT write "page" or "pg." or "p." before the page number.

    A block quote is any quoted text that is forty words or more. While most quotes can be integrated into paragraphs, these long quotes receive their own special formatting (see the example below):

    • After an introductory phrase, press ENTER to start on a new line.
    • The entire block is indented about a half inch from the margin. The first line is indented an additional half inch.
    • There are no quotation marks at either the beginning or the end of the quote.
    • The quotation is double-spaced.
    • While physically separated from paragraphs, block quotes are still part of paragraphs. After the last line of the block quote, press ENTER to start a new line and resume the text of your paragraph. Because it is still part of the same paragraph from before the block quote, do not indent the line.