How to Set My Computer Up for APA Format

by Stephanie Ellen

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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