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APA Style Manual

Manuscript Format


  • Use 1" margins for the entire document.
  • Use a 1/2" indent for every paragraph and footnote.
  • Indent set-off quotations 1/2" from the left margin.

Text Formatting

  • Use 12 pt Times New Roman font.
  • Do not justify the text or use hyphenation.
  • Double-space the text, title, headings, footnotes, quotations, references and captions.
  • Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks.

Page Header (Running Head)

  • Include a running head on every page.
  • Page number should be flush right.
  • Type the entire title in capital letters. Title should be flush left.
  • Shorten the title if necessary. It cannot exceed more than 50 characters.

Title Page

  • Title should not include abbreviations or exceed more than 12 words.
  • Title should be typed using upper and lower case letters.
  • Center the title and position in the upper half of the page.
  • Center the author's name directly under the title.
  • Format the name omitting titles (dr, prof, etc.) and degrees: First name, middle initial, last name.
  • Center the insitutional affliliation directly under the author's name.
  • Author's notes are not required for dissertations and theses.


  • Begin the abstract on a new page.
  • Identify it with the running head or abbreviated title and the page number 2.
  • Label the page "Abstract" in upper and lower case letters, centered, at the top of the page.
  • The summary itself should be single spaced without indentation.


  • Begin introduction on a new page.
  • Identify it with the running head or abbreviated title and the page number 3.
  • Type the title of the manuscript in upper and lower case letters, centered, at the top of the page.
  • The summary itself should be single spaced without indentation.

Manuscript Content

  • The remaining sections of the manuscript follow each other without a page break; do not start a new page with a new heading.
  • Each manuscript page should carry the running head and a page number.


  • Number all footnotes consecutively in the order in which they appear in the manuscript with superscript numerals.
  • Place the footnote at the bottom of the page on which it is discussed.
  • Alternatively, footnotes can be placed on a separate page after the references.


  • Begin each appendix on a new page.
  • Center the word Appendix and the identifying capital letter (A, B, etc.) at the top of the page.
  • Center the title of the appendix, and use upper and lower case letters.
  • Begin the text of the appendix flush left, followed by indented paragraphs.


How to Write an APA Abstract and Sample Paper

First, write your paper.

While the abstract will be at the beginning of your paper, it should be the last section that you write. Once you have completed the final draft of your paper, use it as a guide for writing your abstract.

Begin your abstract on a new page.

Place your running head and the page number two in the top right-hand corner. You should also center the word Abstract at the top of the page.

Keep it short.

According to the APA style manual, an abstract should be between 150 to 250 words. The abstract should be written as only one paragraph with no indentation. In order to succinctly describe your entire paper, you will need to determine which elements are the most important.

Structure the abstract in the same order as your paper.

Begin with a brief summary of the Introduction, and then continue on with a summary of the Method, Results and Discussion sections of your paper.

Look at other abstracts in professional journals for examples of how to summarize your paper.

Notice the main points that the authors chose to mention in the abstract. Use these examples as a guide when choosing the main ideas in your own paper.

Write a rough draft of your abstract.

While you should aim for brevity, be careful not to make your summary too short. Try to write one to two sentences summarizing each section of your paper. Once you have a rough draft, you can edit for length and clarity.

Ask a friend to read over the abstract.

Sometimes having someone look at your abstract with fresh eyes can provide perspective and help you spot possible typos and other errors.

How to Write an APA Abstract Video

APA Guides

Use this official TCTC Style Guide. It is what instructors go by.

APA Abstracts

The abstract is the second page of a lab report or APA-format paper and should immediately follow the title page. Think of an abstract as a condensed summary of your entire paper.

The purpose of your abstract is to provide a brief yet thorough overview of your paper. The APA publication manual suggests that your abstract should function much like your title page – it should allow the person reading it to quickly determine what your paper is all about.

The APA manual also states that the abstract is the single most important paragraph in your entire paper. It is the first thing that most people will read and it is usually what informs their decision to read the rest of your paper. A good abstract lets the reader know that your paper is worth reading.

According to the official guidelines of the American Psychological Association, a good abstract should be:

  • Brief but packed with information. Each sentence must be written with maximum impact in mind. To keep your abstract short, focus on including just four or five of the essential points, concepts, or findings.
  • Objective and accurate. The abstract's purpose is to report rather than provide commentary. It should also accurately reflect what your paper is about. Only include information that is also included in the body of your paper. 

Here's what section 2.04 of the APA Manual says about what abstracts should be:

  • Accurate. Ensure that the abstract correctly reflects the purpose and content of the article. Comparing an abstract with an outline of the article's headings is a useful way to verify its accuracy.
  • Concise. Be brief and make each sentence maximally informative, especially the lead sentence. Begin with the most important information but do not waste space by repeating the title. Include in the abstract only the four or five most important concepts, findings, or implications. Use specific words in your abstract that you think your audience will use in their electronic searches.
  • Nonevaluative. Report rather than evaluate; do not add to or comment on what is in the body of the article.
  • Coherent and readable. Write in clear and concise language. Use verbs rather than their noun equivalents and the active rather than the passive voice. Use the present tense to describe conclusions drawn or results with continuing applicability; use the past tense to describe specific variables manipulated or outcomes measured.

A well-prepared abstract enables readers to identify the basic content of a document quickly and accurately, to determine its relevance to their interests, and thus to decide whether they need to read the document in its entirety.  


In-Text Citations

In-text citations in the body of your manuscript point the reader to specific sources listed in your References. They usually include:

  • author’s last name
  • title (if no author is given)
  • publication date
  • page numbers


Author's name in text
Author has expressed this concern (1995, p.128).

Author's name in parenthetical reference
This concern has been expressed (Baily & Sage, 1988, p.128).


References provide bibliographic information for the sources you used, thereby allowing your reader to identify and locate those materials. To format the page:

  • Begin the list on a new page at the end of your paper
  • Use 1" margins
  • Include the Running Head
  • Center the References title
  • List sources alphabetically
  • Double space within and between entries
  • Indent entries longer than one line by a 1/2"