APA Style Format: The Most Important Aspects You Should Know

APA Style Format: The Most Important Aspects You Should Know

As usual, during the course or the semester study, the students are tasked to complete big numbers of assignments. Each of them, be it a research paper or a coursework, must be formatted using a specific referencing style. In general, there are several formatting styles which authors usually follow, including MLA, APA, Harvard, and Chicago among others. Some of them have similar general features.

Nowadays, APA style is one of the most useful, and a teacher may ask to follow its rules while writing the paper. Moreover, the authors of official publications also follow it. Therefore, it is very essential and useful for every writer to study the specific information, rules, guidelines, peculiarities, and helpful examples of the latest APA 6th edition formatting guide.

For sure, you may find much more information on different online resources. Each of the styles has an own website with general rules, examples, data, tips, and even sample papers. You may find it using popular online search engines. Moreover, you may even use Facebook or WhatsApp to search for the information and find the essential data. Numbers of students have created multiple groups to discuss resources, tips, examples, and different information. Do you know what a margin is? Do all the paragraphs require indent for the first line? How you should cite a direct quotation? How to format the titles of sources like book, journal, website etc.? The answers on these and other questions you will find below.

What is APA Style Format?

First of all, it will be helpful to study a brief definition. What is APA style format? Who uses its guidelines? The abbreviation ‘APA’ is for American Psychological Association. It depicts the main purpose this format was created for. The general goal of APA style format is to cite sources in social sciences. There were several editions of the APA sample guidelines. With time, the demands and rules to follow have been changing, and now, the Psychological Association recommends using the 6th edition to format the text.

Basics of APA Style Format

Here are few specific general features of APA style text:

  • One-inch margins at all four sides of your paper (keep in mind that Word sets a one-inch margin automatically).
  • The text of the paper in APA style format should be written using double spacing between the lines. Moreover, the sample APA paper reflects 12 pt. Times New Roman font.
  • There should be a running header at the top left corner of each page of your paper, including the abstract page and bibliography, reflecting a brief version of the paper’s title. Not more than fifty characters are allowed for a page header text, and it must be all in capital letters.
  • The pages should have page numbers at the top right corner. The page numbers should start from “1” on the title page.
  • The title page is very important for APA style format, and it should include the title of your paper, author’s name, and school title that must be centered. Moreover, you should place this information in the upper half of the page. Tutor’s name, date, and the course data go per the specific request of the teacher.
  • The second part that identifies APA style text is the reference page or bibliography, which is a list of all sources you have used in your article. Traditionally it can be found at the very end of the paper. For it, a centered “References” heading must be used. After it, create a double-spaced list including all the sources cited in the text in an alphabetical order by the name of the authors. Every new reading must be indented; however, you should use a hanging indent each time. Authors’ names must be inverted. Journal titles must be present in full, and all major words should be capitalized. Moreover, book and journals titles must be in italics. For multiple entries by the same writer, list the articles according to the time they were written, from the earliest to the new ones. Try to include only necessary and relevant information about the source.

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APA Format Guide

Typical APA paper considers four main components:

  • Title Page
  • Abstract
  • Main Body
  • Reference page/Bibliography

Title Page

Each component of APA style paper has its subcomponents. There are four main components in Title Page:

  • Title
  • Header
  • The name of the author
  • Some notes from the writer.

A student should know that it is prohibited to use abbreviations without a clear purpose. The font on this page should be 12 pt. Times New Roman. You should place the main title in the middle line of the page. The titles must not be bold/underlined/in italics.

The title of your paper should consist of 12 words max with double-spaced content in any other part of the paper.


This formatting style does not provide any special requirements for outline. However, there is an APA style formatting abstract. You must place the word “Abstract” at the middle top side of the page. It should not be bold. The first line of the text must not have an indent. In the text of the abstract itself, you must introduce several aspects including brief description of your research and information about its purpose, goals, and achievements. The complete abstract should contain no more than 250 words.

The Body

No matter if you complete a simple five paragraph essay or a research paper, the biggest part of your paper is the body, and you may find some specific requirements regarding it in APA format guide:

  • The first part is introduction. It should start with a brief information about the topic presenting its main purpose and goal.
  • Next part of the body explains the topic and describes your research with all the necessary details.
  • To describe your research more, you should create the method. This part is just to describe the process of researching and its results.
  • To describe the results of your research, there is a separate section provided. The next part is a discussion which ends with a summary regarding the entire research.


This format provides some of the clearest requirements regarding its reference page. To make the creation of a proper bibliography easier using this guideline, one needs to follow the next steps:

  • Each new source should be present on a separate line. It also must be indented, but you should use a hanging indentation.
  • Place the word “References” on the top of the page in the middle.
  • Each reading must have at least one corresponding quotation in the text.
  • Organize all references in alphabetical order regarding the last names of the authors.
  • Do not forget to mention the exact page numbers for articles or book chapters.
  • Remember that there are various kinds of sources that can be cited in the text. Among them are web or online readings, articles in periodicals, books etc. Each kind must be referenced in a distinct way. For example, in case you cited the information from the book, you should study the main tips. For example, the title of the book must be in sentence case in the list of references, while in the text, the first letters of major words must be capitalized.
  • Among the web sources may be online resources, information from media platforms such as Facebook, or online encyclopedias. You may even cite the whole website.

APA Style Format Example of Citation

The main difference between two most popular formats, APA and MLA guides, is the organization of citations. APA style citation format is very clear about in-text citations. As we mentioned before, all citations and their sources should be listed in the reference list on a special page. The citation of American psychological association starts with the name of the author and continues with a year of publication and source title. Here is a sample APA style format example of citation:

Bach, S. (2010). My Passion and Love for Comics Art.