How to Convert From Word to APA Format

You can format Word to the requirements for American Psychological Association (APA) format. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association specifies the format for typeface, line spacing, margins, line length and alignment and order of manuscript pages. These formatting specifications can be set in Word. It is easier to type your manuscript in APA format from the beginning, however, you can convert the manuscript from Word formatting to APA formatting.

Formatting Type Face

Format type face. Click on "Format" at the top of the Word document. Click "Font" on the drop-down list.

Place "Times New Roman" under Font, "Regular" under font style, and 12 under size.

Make sure the font color is set at "Automatic" and the underline style is set to "None."

Click on "Character Spacing" and make sure that scale is 100 percent, spacing is "Normal" and position is "Normal."

Click on "Text Effects" and make sure it is set at "None."

Alignment, Spacing and Margins

Set alignment. Click on "Format," then click on "Paragraph" on the drop-down list. Set alignment for "Left."

Set line spacing for "Double." Double space everything in the text, title, headings, references and quotations.

Format margins. Click on "File," then click on "Page Setup." Set margins at top, bottom, left and right for one inch and orientation to "Portrait."


Compose a running head (an abbreviated title) for your manuscript.

Insert running head. Click on "View" and then on "Header and Footers."

Type the running head in the header space, then click on page number. The header will be automatically left-justified. Type the running head in all uppercase letters with a maximum of 50 characters.

Paragraphs and Indentation

The default setting in Word will indent the first line of every paragraph five to seven spaces or a half inch.

Center the title, author and institution on the title page with the running head at the top. Highlight title, author and institution, then click "Format," click "Paragraph" from the drop-down list and set alignment to "Centered."

Put the abstract on a separate page (page 2) and do not indent it.

Things You'll Need

  • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth edition
  • Manuscript
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