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How to Use Word 2010 to Build an APA Paper


American Psychological Association (APA) format is a widely accepted format for individuals who are writing papers in the social sciences. Whether for academic or professional purposes, there are some specific elements that characterize an APA-formatted paper. The main elements include a cover page, in-text citations for direct quotes and paraphrasing, double-spacing, page numbers/headers and a reference page. All of these specific elements can easily be formatted using Microsoft Word 2010.

Cover Page

Start with a new Word document.

Set all the borders to 1 inch by clicking on “Home” and the “Page Layout” tab. Then click “Margins” and choose the “Normal” setting.

Type the title of your paper, your name, your teacher’s name and any other required information below the title, each on a separate line.

Set the font for the title to be slightly larger than the font for the rest of the paper, choose 16-point font for the title, and 12-point font for the rest of the paper.

In-Text Citations

Type out the direct quote (in quotation marks) or the paraphrasing of a quote from a reference.

Type the last name of the author, a comma, the year the work was published and the page number where it was found, all in parentheses. For example, (Smith, 2010, p. 100).

Type the period for the sentence after the in-text citation.

Double Spacing

Select the entire paper (except the coversheet and reference page).

Click on “Home” at the top of the screen.

Click on the icon with an arrow pointing up and an arrow pointed down with four lines next to it in the “Paragraph” section of the home bar.

Choose the “2.0” option from the drop-down menu to make the entire paper double-spaced.

Header and Page Numbers

Double-click the mouse in the area above the typing on the first page of the paper; this will open the “Header” box. The “Header and Footer” tab will also open in the top toolbar.

Type a header for your paper, usually the header will contain the title of the paper and the author’s last name.

Add a page number to the header by clicking on the “Page Number” box in the “Header and Footer” toolbar. The click “Current Position” and choose the simple page number layout.

Separate your page number and header by typing “|” between the two.

Leave the header editing section by double-clicking anywhere in the body of your paper.

Reference Page

Create a reference page after the last page of text in your paper by typing “control” and “enter” to create a page break.

Arrange your citations in alphabetical order by the author’s last name.

Indent every line of each reference except the first line. The lines can be indented by pressing tab. For help with creating APA-style references, see the references section.

About the Author

Amy Ess has been writing both academically and professionally since 2002. She has served as the head grant writer for a nonprofit organization and received her Bachelor of Science degree in sociology from the University of Central Florida. Ess is currently studying for her master's degree in nonprofit management—also from The University of Central Florida.

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