Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

APA Citation Style 7th edition


Always - Check with your instructor for specific requirements.

APA Papers typically contain four major sections: 

  • Title page
  • Abstract
  • Main Body
  • References

Font - use same font throughout

Check with your instructor for preferences. APA recommends the following:

  • Sans serif fonts - 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, or 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode
  • Serif font - 12-point Times News Roman or 11-point Georgia

Spacing - Double-space entire paper, including Reference list and block quotes.

Margins - use 1 in. (2.54 cm) margins on all sides (Bound dissertations have different requirements for binding)

Parenthetical References - used in text of paper for all sources of information/data, whether paraphrased or direct quote

Page Numbers - Added once paper complete to top right-hand corner, number pages consecutively, beginning with title page .

APA 7th edition provides different formatting instructions for title pages of student and professional (scholarly publications/thesis/dissertation). Information provided from APA Manual of Style, 7th ed. sections 2.1 thru 2.8

Titles should appear:

  • In both upper and lower case centered in the upper half of the page (three to four lines down from top margin of the page.)
  • Centered and written in boldface

Student Title page should contain:

  • Title
  • Name of each author
  • Affiliation (Department/Division, University
  • Course #; Course name for which paper being submitted
  • Instructor's Name [check with instructor for preferred form; e.g. "Dr." "Professor," name with credentials (PhD, RN)]
  • Assignment due date (Month date, year)
  • Page number (flush right in page header)

Professional Title page should contain:

  • Title of Paper
  • Name of each author
  • Affiliation (Department/Division, University
  • Author Note (see section 2.7 for details)
  • Running Head
    • (abbreviated version of paper title [Included on all pages, see section 2.8])
    • Only required for manuscripts being submitted for publication.
    • Maximum of 50 characters
    • Flush left in page header
  • Page number (flush right in page header)

Refer to the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) General Format website for examples:


APA recognizes 4 elements of a Reference

  • Author (Who is responsible for the work?)
  • Date (When was the work published?)
  • Title (What is the work called?)
  • Source (Where can I retrieve the work?)

Key guidelines for each of the elements is provided below. For more specific and detailed guidelines, please refer a print copy of the manual.

General Reference Format:

Author, A. A. (Date). Title of work: Capital letter also first word of subtitleSource.  DOI (https://...)


  • Invert all individual authors' names with surname first followed by coma and initials separated by one space.
  • Separate each author name with a coma
  • When there are two to 20 authors, use an ampersand (&) before the final author's name
  • Provide surname and initials for up to and including 20 authors
  • When there are more than 20 authors, List first 19 authors' names, insert an ellipsis and the final author's name.
  • Use author name exactly as it appears in the published work


  • Books - use the copyright date shown on the work's copyright page
  • Journal - use the year of the volume
  • Website
    • Do not use the copyright date from the website footer as it may be not be the date of the content you are using as a reference. If date of publication is not provide for reference, treat it as having no date.
    • Provide a retrieval date in the source reference when citing an unarchived work that is likely to change.


  • For works like journal articles and edited book chapters, do not italicize titles or use quotation marks and capitalize first word and proper nouns only
  • Italicize title item that can stand alone such as books, reports, webpages and websites
  • For works without a title, include description of work in square brackets


  • Indicates where the readers can retrieve the cited work
  • For journal articles the source is the journal; for edited book chapters the source is the edited book
  • For stand alone items (such as books, report, webpage, dissertation/thesis, report, film, etc) the source is the publisher plus any DOI or URL
  • Format
    • Print book (without DOI) has only book publisher
    • Journal article (with DOI) has journal title, volume, issue and page numbers AND DOI
  • DOIs and URLs
    • Final component of the reference entry, presented as a hyperlink
    • Include a DOI for all works that have a DOI, regardless if you used the online or print version
    • For online source with both URL and DOI, use only the DOI
    • Include a URL in the reference when there is no DOI
    • For works from most academic research databases, do not include a URL or database information because these are widely available. Reference should be same a print version of work. 
    • For works from databases with original material only in the particular database (Visible Body, ERIC, Value Line, DynaMed Plus, &  Rehabilitation Reference Center) include the name of database and the URL for the database.



American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). 


  • Begin on new page after the text. Center heading, "References" at top of page
  • Order references alphabetically by author
  • Entire list is double-spaced
  • Hanging indent of 0.5 to each entry (first line flush with left margin; all other entry lines are indented 0.5 in from margin.


  • Entries entered in alphabetical order by surname of first author.
  • When ordering multiple works by one author, include author's name in each entry. Order according to year of publication, earliest first.
  • Multiple author entries with same first author and different additional authors should be ordered alphabetically by surname of second author
  • When multiple works have same author(s) and date, put a lowercase letter after the year in both text citation and reference. Compare dates (only year comes before specific date; specific dates in chronological order)
  • Order of works with No Author/Anonymous Author
    • Consider if group/organization is the author
    • Only begin an entry with "Anonymous," when work is signed with word "Anonymous"
    • If there is no author and it is not signed "Anonymous" the reference begins with source title. Alphabetize by first significant word.
    • Alphabetize numbers at the start of a source as if they were spelled out.