Creating an APA-Formatted MSWord Template

If you create an MSWord template using APA style, you can use this document to format all your papers that require APA style, whether you're summarizing a research study; or writing a lab report, a report of your own study, or a literature review.

Open New Document

1. Open a new document in MSWord.
Go to New Blank Document under the File menu.
A new document window will open.
Go to Save As . . . under the File menu and save the document with a distinctive name and in a directory where you can find it again easily.




Open Preferences Menu2. In order to see the formatting in your file, set your preferences in the document, so that non-printing characters can be seen. This will allow you to easily see where you have tabs, returns, and extra spaces in your text--and whether they are in the right place.

Select Preferences... under the MSWord menu.

Click the View icon in the Word Preferences window.


Change Display in DocumentUnder the Show section, click on the check boxes shown in the image.

Under Nonprinting characters section, click on the All check box.

Under the Window section, click on the check boxes shown in the image.

Click OK.


3. Next, set the margins for your paper. APA style requires that all margins are 1". You will also set the location of heading information to be .5" from the edge of the top margin.

Go to Document . . . under Format menu. Setting the Margins

On the Margin tab, make sure that the size for each margin is 1".

Then, in the From the Edge section, below the Margin settings, make sure that the distance in the Header box is 0.5".

Click OK.




4. Then go to the Layout tab to tell MSWord that you want to allow different formatting on your Setting a Different First Pagefirst page, compared to the other pages in your paper. You need to do this so you can put your "Running head:" label on the title page but none of the other pages of your paper.

Click on OK.




5. Now set the font style and size.

Format TextSelect everything in the file by selecting Select All under the Edit menu (or Command-A)

Select Font... under Format menu.

In the Font window, click on Times New Roman.

In the Size: window, click on 10 or 12 point.

Click on the Default... button in the lower left corner of the window. When you are asked if you want this font style and size combination to be used as the default for all your MSWord documents, click Yes.

Click on OK.







6. Now set line spacing to double space all text through the whole paper.

Set Double SpacingSelect Paragraph... under Format menu.

Click on the Indents and Spacing tab if it is not already at the front.

In the Line spacing section, select Double in the pull down menu.

Click on the check box next to "Don't add space between paragraphs. . . "



7. In order to fill each page with as much text as possible, turn off "Widow/Orphan Control."

Deselecting Widow ControlGo to Line and Page Breaks in the Paragraph window.

Click on the check box next to Widow/Orphan control, so that it is no longer checked.

Click OK.




8. Type the running head and page number in the header of the document. By putting these two items in the header, MSWord automatically places them at the top of each page regardless of changes that you make to the text in each page.

Inserting and Placing Text in HeaderSelect Header and Footer under View menu (or double click on the top margin).

Select the Paragraph marker in the header window, and change the font type and size to be the same as those in the text of the paper, as you did in #5, above.

Also select double spacing for the header text, as you did in #6, above.

Then type the label "Running head:" followed by your running head in all caps.

Then in the ruler at the top of the window, click a right-justified tab over at the right margin (upside down blue triangle).

Click at the end of the running head and tab. This should place the cursor at the right margin.

Inserting and Placing Page NoIn the Formatting Palette, under Header and Footer, in the Insert: line, click on the page icon to create automatic pagination.

Click on the X in the Header tab to close the header. You should see the running head and page number, but they are now grayed out. This just means that you can't change them until you open the header again.



9. The last document set-up task should be done after you have created a second page in your document. Now you can add the running head and pagination for the rest of the paper.

Setting running head on page 2







With the second page showing in the MSWord window, double click on the top margin. This will open the header.

Repeat the steps in #8, above, but do not use the label "Running head:" Just type the running head in all caps. Set your right-justified tab. And click on the page icon in the Formatting Palette. The page number that appears should be "2".

Click on the X in the Header tab to close the header.

This completes the document set-up. Click on the links below for instructions for formatting each section of your paper:

Title Page

Abstract Body References Table