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APA 7th Edition General Formatting Rules

Centering Text of an APA 7th Edition Paper


When centering the text of an APA 7th edition paper, do not use tabs or spaces to center text. Instead:

  1. Select the content to be centered between the left and right margins.
  2. Click ‘Home,’ go to ‘Paragraph,’ and select ‘Center.’

Page Margins

The text should not be justified. According to APA 7th edition formatting guidelines, the text in the paper’s paragraphs should be aligned to the left margin; the left edge should be straight and smooth, while the right edge should be ragged. All the paper’s sides should have a 1-inch margin. However, there are exceptions, such as theses or dissertations.

Page Numbers

Page numbers are flush right in the page headers of all pages in both student and professional papers. In a student or professional paper, page numbers increase by one on each page, starting with 1 on the title page. To insert page numbers, use the insert tab in Microsoft Word.


The most used fonts in APA 7 papers are Arial 11-point and Times New Roman 12-point.

However, some exceptions exist for figures, computer codes, and footnotes based on the default settings (as in footnotes) or the need to differentiate different written materials.

Text Alignment

Here, the right margin is ragged while the left side is straight. APA 7th edition does not allow full justification for academic papers.

Level Headings

There are five level headings in an APA 7 paper.

Double-Spacing Rules

With only a few exceptions, APA 7 papers should be double spaced all through. Spaces between sentences, those between paragraphs, those between headings and paragraphs, and those between references should be the same (double).

NB: To ensure a paper is evenly double spaced:

  1. Select the text.
  2. Right-click and select ‘Paragraph.’
  3. In the dialog box that will appear, make sure you select ‘Double’ in the ‘Line Spacing’ drop-down menu. Also, make sure to tick the “Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style” checkbox.
  4. Finally, press ‘Ok.’


The required setting indentation is the default setting of 0.5 inches or 1.27 cm. Certain exceptions exist:

  • Title page: In professional papers, do not center the title, byline, and affiliations. For student papers, center the title page.
  • Section labels: APA 7 requires centering of labels, such as references and abstracts.
  • Abstract: Flush left. Do not indent the abstract’s first line.
  • Headings: The section on level headings details the appropriate indentation for Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, and Level 5 headings.
  • Reference list: Reference entries should have a hanging indent of 0.5 inches.
  • Appendices: Center appendix titles and labels.

APA 7th Edition Direct Quotation Rules

Direct quotations replicate words verbatim from another published work. APA 7th edition recommends  paraphrasing; however, direct quotations are helpful when:

  • When you want to define a word or term using the original author’s words
  • Expressing an author’s sentiments to capture the rawness of the information

To cite direct quotes:

  • Include author, year, and page number of the quotation
  • Abbreviate a quotation from a single page using p. (e.g., p. 5, p.e228) and pp. (e.g., pp. 54-57) for multiple pages. In discontinuous pages, separate the page numbers using a comma (e.g., pp. 65, 69). 

Enclose in quotation marks quotations that do not exceed 40 words. Contrarily, present as a block a quotation that exceeds 40 words (with a 0.5-inch indentation from the left margin) and without quotation marks.

Formatting Numbers of an APA 7th Edition Paper

Generally, according to APA 7 guidelines for formatting numbers, authors should write integers (whole numbers) greater than nine in digits/numerals (e.g., 10 specimens, 89 samples, 25 engineers, 400 cows, etc.). However, there are a few cases where authors should present all numbers, including those less than 10, as digits. One of these cases is when the number denotes time (e.g., 3 hours, 6 days, 2 weeks, 9 years, etc.).

Barring a few exceptional circumstances, APA 7 recommends writing whole numbers greater than or equal to zero but less than 10 in words (i.e., zero, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine).

Write common fractions in words (e.g., a third of the apples, a two-thirds majority vote, a fifth of the samples, etc.). Express all other fractions in digits (e.g., 3.4, 5.87, etc.).

APA 7 guidelines also recommend that authors use commas to separate groups of three digits in numerals greater than or equal to 1,000 (e.g., 32,456). However, the guidelines do not require writers to insert spaces after such commas.