APA Paper Format Basics - A Student Guide

Let’s just be honest, a properly formatted essay or a research paper can immediately gain readers' attention. Moreover, many professors allocate extra points for the students who format the papers as per their requirements. Even if your professor didn’t ask you to format your paper then again it is important to format it because no one likes to read a jumbled-up essay or a research paper.

Various formatting styles are widely used by people to format their essays and research papers based on subject requirements. For instance, mathematics and meteorological subject essays are formatted in AMS style while literary and rhetorical analysis essays are formatted in MLA while science subjects are typically formatted as per APA style guidelines. However, if you aren’t bound to format according to a specific style then you may choose the style you like the most.

If you are on this page, then you must be looking for some tips to format your paper or an essay. This guide will help you learn more about APA format and will walk you through the steps that are involved in formatting your essay as per APA guidelines. So stay with me because some interesting tips are coming up.

APA is an abbreviation for the American Psychological Association. This formatting style is mostly used to format scientific papers. You’ll notice this type of formatting in social sciences and behavioral sciences subjects research papers and essays or you can ask others to write my paper.

General formatting

  • Place a one-inch margin on all four sides of the page and keep them consistent throughout your essay.
  • In APA, your essay must be typed double-spaced.
  • Every new paragraph must be indented
  • Your text must be in 12pt Times New Roman font.

Title page

It is the first page of your essay. Although, many teachers don’t require a title page most of them do and they do appreciate it if you make a proper title page. In APA the title page contains the following information:

  • Author’s name (your name that is the essay writer)
  • Instructor’s name
  • Institutional affiliations
  • Subject name and code
  • Due date

Wait! I am not done yet. Before you move to the next step let me tell you a few important things. In your title page, you need to have a running head that consists of the title of your essay on the left side while the page number on the right.

After the running head comes the essay title in the middle of the page and center-aligned. The title must be bolded but you shouldn’t underline or italicize it. After this, you are required to share the information such as the author’s name, due date, subject, etc.

Tip: Don’t add any titles with the author’s name such as Mike, Ph.D., or Hannah, MSC, etc. If you are still confused, consult a paper writing service now.


You need to make a separate page for an abstract. Although many professors ask students to skip this part many like to read the abstract first since it can tell a lot about your paper. You need to place the word abstract in the center and then in the next line start summarizing the key points that you’ll be explaining in your essay. You should not indent the summary but make sure it is double-spaced.

Tip: If you want to make your paper look like a well-published paper then after summarizing add keywords as well but italicize it. Keep your abstract limited to 150 to 250 words only.


After the abstract on the very next page, you are required to write the title of your paper again and center-align it but don’t make it bold. After that give the heading of the introduction and make it center-align and bold it. Then on the very next line start writing the introduction. Make sure that you indent the paragraph.

APA headings

Obviously, your research paper will contain multiple headings and sub-headings such as research methodology, results, etc therefore you need to organize them in a proper format. For level 1 heading you need to use both upper and lowercase letters and then bold the heading while keeping it aligned in the center. In the level 2 heading, you should bold the heading but this time place it on the left side while using both upper and lowercase.

In the level 3 heading, you need to place the heading on the left side to make it bold but end the heading with a period. In level 4 heading intends the heading from the left margin and make it bold while in level 5 intend the heading, italicize it, and bold it as well.

APA citations

Be it an essay or a research paper you need multiple primary and secondary sources to back up your claims and sometimes you are required to directly quote the author’s ideas. In these cases, you may end up having plagiarized essays that are wrong. Therefore, it is necessary that whenever you use either an idea or a quote you need to give credit to the author.

In APA style all you need to do is first use the author’s last name and then place a comma and then put the publication year of the article that you are citing and lastly, enclose them in a round bracket. See that wasn’t difficult at all.

Tip: If your professor is a bit detail-oriented and wants you to mention page number then all you need to do is put pp. The number of pages in the round brackets along with the author’s surname and you are done.

If you are still struggling to grasp the formatting rules, then I suggest you do more practice so that you can nail the art of formatting your paper or essay. However, if the deadline is approaching then hiring a professional write my essay service who can format the paper for you is the wise option.