APA 7 Changes

Introduction and Key APA 7 Changes

The Seventh Edition of the American Psychological Association (APA 7) Publication Manual is APA 7 Style’s official source. APA introduced the manual in 2019 and published it in 2020, replacing the decade-old 6th edition manual. Bibliography Makers’ APA 7 formatting guide follows APA Style’s latest recommendations. Key APA 7 changes include formatting, citing, and referencing sources in student and professional papers. The guidelines of the Publication Manual are relevant to student writers and professional authors (American Psychological Association [APA], 2020). A summary of the main changes is available in APA 7 Publication Manual’s Introduction chapter.

Some APA 7 changes include:

Running Head

Unlike APA (6th edition), a running head is not a requirement for student papers formatted in APA (7th edition) unless otherwise specified in the writing instructions. As such, students formatting their papers in APA 7 only need to insert page numbers flush right in the page headers of all pages in their papers. However, professional papers must include running heads and page numbers on all the pages. Running heads are written on the top left side of the paper. Page numbers appear on the top right. Unlike its predecessor, APA 7 does not require the label “Running head:” before the running head on a paper’s title page. This is one of the main APA 7 changes.

Fonts

Unlike its predecessor (APA 6), which recommends the use of a serif typeface (e.g., Times New Roman), with a preferred font size of 12 throughout the text of a paper (with only a few exceptions to this rule), APA 7 recommends the use of fonts that are legible and widely available. The recommended fonts are approximately six in number. Authors commonly use Twelve-point Times New Roman, 11-point Arial, and 11-point Calibri.

In-text Citations for More Than Three Authors

When a single source has more than three authors, use the first author’s surname only. After writing the first author’s surname, write the Latin abbreviation “et al.” The abbreviation is used in place of the other authors. Next, write the source’s publication year, for instance (Putin et al., 2018).

This is one of the salient APA 7 changes and is a departure from APA 6 guidelines. According to APA 6 Style, barring exceptional circumstances, the first time a source authored by three to five individuals is cited in the text of a paper, the last names of all the source’s authors should be indicated in the narrative or parenthetical citation. For instance, (Putin, Obama, & Bush, 2018). After the first citation, present the first author only followed. The rest of the authors are marked by “et al.” (without quotation marks). For instance, (Putin et al., 2018). When there are five or more authors in a single source, all in-text citations should have the first author’s last name. This is followed by “et al.” (without quotation marks). For instance, (Putin et al., 2018).

The Formatting In-Text Citations section of our APA 7 guide has detailed information on the APA 7 author-date citation system.

Number of Authors in a Reference Entry

In an APA 6 paper, writers should limit themselves to only seven authors in a reference entry. When an entry has between three and seven authors, all the last author names and initials should be listed. The ampersand symbol (&) precedes the last author’s name.

APA 6 Example

Surname 1, Initial., Surname 2, Initial., Surname 3, Initial., Surname 4, Initial., Surname 5, Initial., Surname 6, Initial., & Surname 7, Initial., (Year). Journal article title: Written in sentence case. Journal Name Written in Italics and Title CaseVolume Number(Issue Number), Page number(s). doi starting with doi:

When the authors exceed seven in APA 6 in a reference list entry, the first six authors’ last names and initials, as well as the final author’s last name and initials, are written. Therefore, the total number of authors is seven. An ellipsis replaces the author names left out intentionally. A comma sets apart one author from another. Additionally, the ampersand symbol (&) does NOT precede the last author’s name.

Surname 1, Initial., Surname 2, Initial., Surname 3, Initial., Surname 4, Initial., Surname 5, Initial., Surname 6, Initial., … Final Author’s Surname, Initial. (Year). Journal article title: Written in sentence case. Journal Name Written in Title Case and Italicized, Volume Number(Issue Number). doi starting with doi:

APA 7 Example

A departure from APA 6, APA 7 allows for up to 20 author names. In APA 7, for three to 20 authors, list the authors by their surnames and initials. Commas demarcate authors. The ampersand character (&) precedes the name of the last author.

Surname 1, Initial., Surname 2, Initial., Surname 3, Initial., Surname 4, Initial., Surname 5, Initial., Surname 6, Initial., Surname 7, Initial., Surname 8, Initial., & Surname 9, Initial. (Year). Journal article title: Written in sentence case. Journal Name Written in Title Case and Italicized, Volume Number(Issue Number). DOI starting with https://doi.org/xxxxx

In APA 7, for 20 Authors and More:

Write the authors’ surnames and initials, remembering to use commas to separate the names. Use an ellipsis between the 19th author and the last author. The ellipsis stands for the other authors’ names. However, there is an exception. The last author’s name is not represented by the ellipsis. Instead, the last author’s name comes after the ellipsis. In total, there should be no more than 20 names. Also, do not use the symbol ”&” here.

Surname 1, Initial., Surname 2, Initial., Surname 3, Initial., Surname 4, Initial., Surname 5, Initial., Surname 6, Initial., Surname 7, Initial., Surname 8, Initial., Surname 9, Initial., Surname 10, Initial., Surname 11, Initial., Surname 12, Initial., Surname 13, Initial., Surname 14, Initial., Surname 15, Initial., Surname 16, Initial., Surname 17, Initial., Surname 18, Initial., Surname 19, Initial., … Final Author’s Surname, Initial. (Year). Journal article title: Written in sentence case. Journal Name in Italics and Title Case, Volume Number(Issue Number), page number(s). DOI starting with https://doi.org/xxxxx

Retrieval Information for Webpage References

Unlike in APA 6, the text “Retrieved from” does not precede the uniform resource locator (URL) of an APA 7 webpage reference.

For example:

APA 6

Statistics Canada. (2008, October 15). 2006 census: Data products. Retrieved from https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2006/dp-pd/index-eng.cfm

APA 7

Statistics Canada. (2008, October 15). 2006 census: Data products. https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2006/dp-pd/index-eng.cfm

In an APA 7 paper, the retrieval date is included if the information in the source is likely to change over time or if the information is unarchived:

Statistics Canada. (2020, April 17). 2016 census of population – Data products. Retrieved January 11, 2022, from https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/dp-pd/index-eng.cfm

However, archived information does NOT include the retrieval date:

Statistics Canada. (2008, October 15). 2006 census: Data products. https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2006/dp-pd/index-eng.cfm

Publisher Location

It is  no longer a requirement to include the publisher locations for books or book chapters in your references.

Below is an APA 6 example:

Author, F. M., & Author, F. M. (Year of Publication). Book title: Italicized. Location: Publisher.

Location is a combination of two elements, separated by a comma:

  1. The work’s city of publication.
  2. Either (a) the two-letter state code of the state where the city is located (if the city is American); or (b) the full name of the country where the city is located (if the city is not American). Examples include “Boston, MA,” “Los Angeles, CA,” “Amherst, NY,” “Grand Rapids, MI,” “Budapest, Hungary,” and so on.

For example:

Millan, C., & Peltier, M. J. (2009). How to raise the perfect dog: Through puppyhood and beyond. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.

In the above example, New York is a city in a US state with the same name (New York). Its two-letter state code is NY.

In APA 6, students encounter challenges when multiple publisher locations are available for one book. Deciding the publisher location to include in a reference entry can be difficult. Even worse, sometimes, a book has multiple publishers in different locations (Adams, 2019). APA 7 has done away with the publisher location to end this confusion. Now, it only requires writers to list the publisher. However, other sources, such as conference references, still require writers to include the location. Note the difference in the examples below:

APA 6

Hill, A. C. (2021). The fight for climate after COVID-19. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

APA 7

Hill, A. C. (2021). The fight for climate after COVID-19. Oxford University Press.

Additionally, if a book has multiple publishers, Example 24 in Chapter 10 of the APA 7 Publication Manual explains how to format the publishers (Adams, 2019).

Direct Object Identifier Formatting

Direct object identifiers (DOIs) are presented as hyperlinks. DOIs take the same format as uniform resource locators (URLs) and are no longer preceded by the ‘‘doi:’’ label.

Books and eBooks Format

The same format is used for print versions of books and eBooks. APA 6 required writers to include formats or devices (e.g., Kindle) when writing eBook reference entries. This is no longer a requirement in APA 7, making it one of the notable APA 7 changes. Writers should also  include the publisher(s) in the reference entry for both books and eBooks.

For example:

APA 6:

Gable, K. (2021). Girl lost: A detective Kaitlyn Carr mystery [Kindle].

APA 7:

Gable, K. (2021). Girl lost: A detective Kaitlyn Carr mystery. Byrd Book Llc.

Formatting Heading Levels: APA 7 Changes

Level Headings APA 6 APA 7
Level 1 heading The heading is centered, written in boldface, and title case. The text that comes after this heading begins on a new paragraph. The heading is centered, written in boldface, and title case. The text that comes after this heading begins on a new paragraph.
Level 2 heading The heading is flush left, written in boldface, and title case. The text that comes after this heading also begins on a new paragraph. The heading is flush left, written in boldface, and title case. The text that comes after this heading also begins on a new paragraph.
Level 3 heading The heading is indented and written in boldface. The heading takes the form of a lowercase paragraph that ends with a period. The paragraph text is a continuation of the heading. The heading is italicized, flush left, written in boldface, and title case. The text that comes after this heading begins on a new paragraph.
Level 4 heading The heading is indented, written in boldface, and is italicized. The heading also takes the form of a lowercase paragraph that ends with a period. The paragraph text is a continuation of the heading. The heading is indented, written in boldface, and title case. The heading ends with a period. The paragraph text is a continuation of the heading.
Level 5 heading This heading is similar to level 4 heading, except it is not written in boldface. The heading is indented, italicized, written in boldface, and title case. The heading ends with a period. The paragraph text is a continuation of the heading (Purdue Writing Lab, n.d.).

Title Page

A running head is not a requirement in an APA 7 paper. As such, the title page, like the rest of the paper, should not have a running head unless under special instructions to include it. However, an APA 6 paper requires a running head.

Another change in APA 7 is that the title page requires the paper’s title, followed by the author(s)’ names. You should leave a blank (double-spaced, much like the rest of the essay) line between the paper’s title and the author(s) names. Next is the department affiliation and university affiliation, course number and course name, the instructor’s name, and the date the assignment is due for submission. Write these elements in separate lines.

You are asking yourself how to format dates in your essay? It is important to note that the date format depends on a country’s preference. The preferred date formats are Month Date, Year (e.g., January 12, 2022), or Date Month Year (e.g., 12 January 2022).

The date format discussed above applies to dates written on the title page or text of an APA 7 paper. The format is different when writing publication dates for reference entries used in an APA 7 paper.

Here is a recap of what to include in an APA 7 paper’s title page:

  • Paper’s title in bold, title case, and centered (followed by a blank double-spaced line)
  • Department affiliation and university affiliation
  • Course number and course name
  • Instructor’s name
  • Assignment due date

Tables and Figures

You can now embed tables and figures in the text after their mention. Alternatively, they can appear after the references on separate pages. To enhance the table or figure’s visual presentation, APA 7 recommends that one blank double-spaced line be left between the table or figure and text. Present a table or figure’s number just before the title. Write a note below the table or figure when needed.

References

Adams, A. (2019, October 8). Book and book chapter references: No location required. APA Style Blog. https://apastyle.apa.org/blog/publisher-locations-in-book-references

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000

Purdue Writing Lab. (n.d.). Changes in the 7th edition. https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/apa_changes_7th_edition.html