How to Set My Computer Up for APA Format

by Stephanie Ellen
APA formatting is commonly used for papers about economics.

APA formatting is commonly used for papers about economics.

American Psychological Association (APA) formatting is a reference style used for academic and research papers in the social sciences. APA style requires you to format documents in a certain way, including paragraph styles and particular fonts. Setting up your document in APA style every time in your word processor can be time consuming. The solution is to make a template that you can use over and over again for your APA documents.

Open a new document in your word processor.

Set your word processor to double spacing, then set the margins to 1-in. on all sides.

Change the font to Times New Roman, 12-point font.

Create a header for your paper, then add page numbers. At the top left of the header, type "Running head: PAPER NAME" where "PAPER NAME" is in capital letters. Subsequent headers should have PAPER NAME in capital letters; do not include the phrase "running head" on subsequent headers.

Type "Title" on the first page, then on a separate line type "Author name (first, middle initial, last)" and then type "School name" on a third line. Center the information halfway down the title page.

Insert a page break, and type "Abstract." Start a new line. When you use the template at a later date, begin typing your 150-250 word abstract on the second line.

Insert a page break, and type "body of paper." Replace "body of paper" with the beginning of your actual paper when you use the template at a later date.

Save the file to your computer. Name it "APATemplate" so that you can easily find it again.


  • check When you open the template to actually write a paper, immediately save it with a different file name so that you don't overwrite your template.


  • close APA in-text citation and referencing has hundreds of rules; consult a good APA formatting guide as you write your paper.

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About the Author

Stephanie Ellen teaches mathematics and statistics at the university and college level. She coauthored a statistics textbook published by Houghton-Mifflin. She has been writing professionally since 2008. Ellen holds a Bachelor of Science in health science from State University New York, a master's degree in math education from Jacksonville University and a Master of Arts in creative writing from National University.

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