A Guide To APA Style Formatting: Essay Writing Tips And Examples

Have you been given the task for writing an essay using APA formatting, but don’t know what it’s all about? This style of formatting follows some strict rules that are widely accepted. They are there to increase the professionalism of your piece, and provide a sense of structure. Those who would like to know what the rules of APA formatting are read on:

General Guidelines

When writing using APA style the writing should be double spaced on a paper sized 8.5" x 11", and with margins of 1” on each side. The APA formatting style recommends a font that is easy to read – the most common one is Times New Roman.

Furthermore, you’ll need to use page headers, or what are also known as running headers, at the top of each page. In order to create these page headers you simply need to insert a page number function that is flush right formatted. Also at the flush left position the paper title needs to be inserted with all capital letters. The running head typically cannot be greater than 50 characters, therefore if your paper title is long you will need to shorten it.

Structure Of The Essay

An essay using APA style should contain the following sections: title page, abstract, main body and references. These 4 sections are the standard, and when followed help you structure an essay.

Title pages should contain the authors name and institutional affiliation in addition to the title of the paper. As described earlier they need to be on the page header flush to the left.

The abstract should be around 150 to 250 words, and is basically an outline of what the essay will contain. By reading the abstract the reader should have an idea of what to expect from your essay. You can state facts and figures in this section, but only the important ones. Any points that you want to expand on should be left for the essay itself. Typically the keywords on an abstract will be italicized.


Online you’ll find examples of APA style written papers at educational websites, university resource pages and APA style essay databases. Have a look though as many of these as you can in order to see how they are written. This is will answer any of your questions if you are still unclear about how to write an APA style paper.

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