APA Essay Format: Everything You Need to Know

Read Time:
Posted on:
May 2, 2024
Updated on:
May 16, 2024
Share this article
APA Essay Format

For academic work, it’s very important to use the right formatting and citations. You must use a certain way of referencing throughout the document. A lot of college students want to know how to write an APA essay format because using correct citations is important for getting good grades. This article gives you the rules and best practices for the APA 7th version.

What is APA Format for an Essay?

APA format essay is what you should use almost every time you write something for an academic magazine or for a project in Education, Economics, Psychology, Social Sciences, or Business Studies. The American Psychological Association came up with this type of formatting. It is one of the citation styles used in academic writing, alongside Chicago/Turabian, Vancouver, and MLA.

The APA 7th essay format tells you how to present your paper, including the margins, spacing, and structure of the text. It also has an “author-date” method, which means that you need to give a short note to the author and the date of publication in the actual text body. Also at the end, you should give a complete list of references.

Common Requirements for APA Essay Format

Certain rules should be followed to ensure that an APA-style essay is formatted correctly. Each line of text should be double-spaced, and there must be at least 1 inch of space on each page’s side. You can leave comments and make notes while reading the paper, which is why it’s important. When writing in APA essay format, you should use Times New Roman (12 points), Arial (11 points), or Georgia (11 points). Adhering to these writing conventions is essential for academic integrity.


APA essay format 7th edition guidelines recommend that you need to use words when writing numbers below 10.  When talking about numbers 10 and up, you need to use digits. No matter what, there are times when using numbers is better:

  • Tables and abstracts use numbers;
  • Numbers come right before a unit of measurement, like 5 cm or 2 gals.
  • Moreover, numbers show mathematical or statistical functions, as well as quartiles, percentiles, and percentages (for example, 8% divided by 5 is 8:1).
  • Numbers show accurate amounts of money (e.g., $5 on a 10-point scale, 10:15 am), dates, times, scores, ages, and point values on a scale. They don’t show approximate days, weeks, months, or years (e.g., about 5 weeks ago).
  • Also, numbers show where something is on tables and in books; examples are photo 1 and image 5.

 Using punctuation

There are certain punctuation marks that must be used in APA essay format. These include commas, quote marks, periods, colons, semicolons, hyphens, parentheses, and dashes. Every quotation mark is used for a different thing.

For instance:

  • Use commas to separate sentences and make lists;
  • Periods at the end of lines or after abbreviations;
  • Items with commas should have semicolons;
  • To start a list or description, use a colon.
  • Using parentheses to hold information that goes with it;
  • When displaying direct quotes, titles, or ironic remarks, make use of quotation marks;
  • Separate ideas or join words together using hyphens as well as dashes.

It is important to follow APA rules and look at a good APA essay format guide for specific instructions on how to use these punctuation marks.

APA alphabetization rules

When you use the APA 7 essay format to write an essay, it is recommended that you arrange your sources according to the last name of the first author. Sorting the reference item by the title’s first word is another option if you don’t know about the author. Leave out “a,” “an,” and “the.” It’s important to list the writers of a source in a way that is similar to the one shown on the title page.

Moreover, if more than one author has the same last name, use their first letters to distinguish them. If the same author appears in many sources, you should cite them in order of when they were written, starting with the oldest. By following these APA essay formatting tips, writers can make sure that their list of references is well-planned and that readers can quickly find the resources they utilized for their research work.

How to Align and Indent Paragraphs?

Aligning and indenting your paragraphs correctly is very important for making sure that your writing is easy to read and flows well. When you understand how to write an essay in APA format, you must remember the guidelines for text location in the document’s margins.

 As per the APA format essay guidelines, the text must be lined to the left margin and have a “ragged” right margin, which makes an edge that isn’t smooth. This method gives your paper a more professional look and makes it easier to read.

Indentation refers to the space that exists between the left border and the beginning of the next paragraph. Each paragraph’s first line should be set back 0.5 inches (just pressing the tab key) in APA style. This method physically separates paragraphs and helps readers tell the difference between different ideas or parts of your writing.

Correctly aligning and indenting your paragraphs are important parts of APA format for essay writing that help make your paper look better. These features also help you present your thoughts in a clear and organized way.

APA Format Essay Outline Rules

When using the APA essay outline format, the following major parts usually make up the structure of an essay:

Key Components of Essay Structure

Key Components of Essay Structure

  • Cover page or title page;
  • An abstract, an essay introduction, or an outline;
  • The actual body, the most important points, or the analysis;
  • The results, the discussion, or the suggestions;
  • List of references.

The sections of an APA short essay format can be different based on the subject and the requirements of the university. It will also depend on what arguments the student wants to make in the paper and how they are described in the body paragraphs of the writing. However, every APA essay format needs to have these five parts. We will look at the requirements for each of these parts in more depth in the sections below.

APA Format Essay Cover Page

In APA essay format, your article should begin with a cover page, also called a title page. Make sure you understand everything about the APA essay format title page before you start writing. People who are reading and instructors will first see the title page, which is also known as the “face” of the essay. So, it is very important to make sure it’s perfect. Also, you should ask your department if there is any particular cover page rule to follow.

Some schools may give you a cover page sample that you need to use with each APA format essay you turn in. As per APA essay title format, essays should have short titles that make it clear what the essay is about. The title can be two lines long, but it shouldn’t be longer than twelve words. In APA essay format, a cover page usually consists of the following parts:

  • Page header (or moving head);
  • Title of the article;
  • The name of the author;
  • Page number;
  • The school where the assignment was turned in.

It might also have extra details such as the course name, your instructor’s name, and the submission date if needed. The paper text must be double-spaced and in the middle of the page (unless it’s a page title, which we’ll talk about next).

Page Header

In following various guides on how to format an essay in APA, you may have noticed a consistent recommendation: academic works should include a page header. In college and university, each page of an APA essay format must have a page title. This part should be left-aligned and have the subject of the paper in all capital letters. The page number is set to the right.

Every page of an article needs to have a page header. A lot of new students make the mistake of leaving off the moving head on the title page. It is helpful to be able to reduce text when writing for school, and this also applies to the APA page header, which can’t have more than 50 characters (containing spaces). Moreover, authors often write short forms of their titles just for the headers of their pages.

Headings and Subheadings

In proper APA essay format, labels must be used to separate text into perfect, logical sections. There are five main heading types, and each one is always applied for parts that are equally important. For main parts like “Methods” or “Results,” the first level is used. Levels two through five are for subheadings. Using headings to divide a part into subsections that make sense together is helpful. Always follow the APA essay heading format.

Let’s look at the title and subheadings in an essay in APA format example:

Main Level 1: The Impact of Climate Change on BiodiversityLevel 2: Deforestation

Level 3: Major Reasons for Deforestation

Level 3: Effects of Deforestation on Biodiversity

Level 1st: Each new line contains text that is formatted in Title Case, which means that both capital and small letters are used. It’s written in bold and in the middle.

Level 2nd: The material is presented in Title Case with both uppercase and lowercase letters, and it starts with a fresh paragraph. It is written in a bold APA format essay font and set to the left.

Level 3rd: You need to use Title Case and bold font for the formatting. Moreover, at the end, there is a period, and the text is indented. After the period, it starts on the next line.

Level 4th: The heading is indented, bold, and in Title Case. It is in italics. Put a period between the title and the text and begin writing on the same line.

Level 5th: Title Case and line breaks are used in the text. It’s written in normal font and italic. Put a period between the title and the text and begin writing on the same line.


The abstract is a short but informative line that tells readers what they need to know about the content before they start reading it. About 200 words (or 10% of the essay’s overall word limit, if lengthier) should make up an abstract. The author must include the main concept, research question, goals, methods, and main conclusions of the text in this summary.

Additionally, it is set up as a separate part of the text from the main body, both visually and in terms of its placement within the text. This kind of writing is usually just plain text with the word “Abstract” put at the top of the page. Researchers usually include a few keywords that describe the main idea of the work.

Essential APA Essay Format: Introduction, Body, Conclusion

The actual part of an essay is where the writer puts forward their major ideas, arguments, and thoughts. It comes right after the abstract page. There should be a number on each page of the main body, and the abstract page should be marked as page 2. Every page of professional academic work needs to have a page header.

Usually, the key body of a paper or essay is broken up into different sections, such as the introduction (which includes essay hook), the body (which includes study methods, analyses, or arguments), and the conclusion. Adding more sections might be needed, depending on the theme and the needs of the department. For detailed instructions, it’s important to check with the teacher or the course outline.

Based on an APA format for essays, this part of the text needs to be formatted in the following ways:

  • All four sides of the paper should have the same gaps of at least one inch;
  • Times New Roman 12 points must be used for the text;
  • The whole paper needs to have double space;
  • In the upper right corner of each page, there should be a number.
  • Every paragraph’s first word needs to be set back half an inch.

In the main body, each part, like methods, analyses, and findings, should begin with a new or separate paragraph and a title that fits. The title can be as simple as “Methodology” or as detailed as “Results of Analysis”. The arguments or discussions can be broken down into multiple subsections to show the results and go into more detail about them in a clear way.

Table of Content

You won’t find exact instructions on how to set up the table of contents when you learn APA style essay format. You don’t have to include it in either business or academic papers. If your teacher wants a table of contents, though, you should follow some general rules. To make a table of contents, add a blank page between the abstract and the introduction and center and boldly write “Contents” on it. Then, make a list of the important headings and the pages, along with their page numbers.

Reference Page

There must be a list of all the sources used in an article called a reference list. Put your reference page in between the body of your essay and any add-ons. Using APA format in-text citations, you should list all the sources you used in your work on this page. Start the reference page on a new page and use bold and center alignment to make it stand out. Label it “References” at the top.

Below the label, the references should be written in alphabetical order by the last name of the author. Make sure there are two spaces between them. To style references, use a hanging indent. This means that the first line of each entry should be flush left, and all lines that follow should be 0.5 inches indented.

Charts and tables

In the APA 7th version, both tables and figures have a number and a title that comes before them. If needed, they can be followed by notes that explain things. Use bold for the words “Table” or “Figure” and the number that goes with them to make the table or figure stand out. Use italics and title case to make the title stand out on a different line below this.

Keep tables clear of things that will be on them. Do not use vertical lines. Keep horizontal lines to a minimum, and make sure that the titles for each row and column are short.

When making figures, you should try to keep things as simple as possible. Labels and a legend can be added as needed, and color should only be used if it’s important for understanding and not just for looks.

If all the homework is making you feel like “It’s better to find someone to write an essay for me,” you might want to get help from a professional.

Tips for Writing Proper Essay in APA Format

Find the most important step-by-step instructions on how to write an APA essay and follow them to make a well-organized paper.

Tips for Writing Proper Essay in APA Format

Tips for Writing Proper Essay in APA Format

  • Learn APA format essay guidelines: Read up on the basic rules of APA style formatting, citing, and reference before you start writing. For help, look at the APA manual or a good APA style document.
  • Fill out a Title Page: On the title page of your APA essay format, you should put your paper title, your name, and the name of your school. The title should be trimmed for the running head, and there should be a page number.
  • Use a clear thesis statement: Ensure that thesis statement in essay is clearly articulated and aligns with APA formatting standards.
  • Make headers and subheadings: To divide your essay into parts, use headings that are clear and detailed. In order to follow the APA format checklist, you need to use headers and subheadings.
  • Cite things in the text: Use APA format in-text citations to show where you got the thoughts or information from other sources. This helps keep you from plagiarizing and gives credit to the original author.
  • Add a list of references. Include a list of all the sources you used in your paper, arranged in alphabetical order, at the end of your essay. Do proper formatting for every source.
  • Proofread your paper: Check for mistakes in writing, grammar, and punctuation. Make sure you’ve followed all the rules for formatting and citing properly.
  • Ask for feedback: You can ask teachers or trainers for feedback on your writing to help you figure out what you need to make your paper more refined.

📕Read also: Interpretive Essay

APA Format Tools

Final Thoughts

Writing an APA essay format is a very daunting and time-consuming task if you don’t know the formatting guidelines. The majority of students find it hard because they don’t have enough time to align papers with APA style. We have covered everything about how to format an essay in APA. Follow all the steps carefully, and you will create an excellent APA-formatted paper.

If you still have any concerns or find it difficult to compose it yourself, get in touch with expert essay writers at Do Write My Essay.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: How to start an APA format essay?

Ans. APA essays begin with a title page, an abstract if needed, and an introduction, including background and a thesis statement. Organize main ideas into body paragraphs with topic sentences and supporting evidence. Use in-text citations for sources and compile a References page. Proofread for errors and ensure adherence to APA guidelines. 

Q2: Is it crucial to have page numbers on each page of a document?

Ans. Yes. This also goes for the title page, the table of sections, and the reference page. In the page header, make sure that the page numbers are lined to the right. In Google Docs or Microsoft Word, click the “Insert” tab and choose “Page number” to add page numbers. 

Picture of Elowen Rose
Elowen Rose
I am Elowen Rose, an expert essay writer. I ensure that each student receives valuable insights for crafting A-grade essays. I work closely with students to make writing easier and more enjoyable for them.

Table of Contents