APA Format and Microsoft Word

APA format is a boring topic—title page, title case headings, double line spacing... Well, I think so anyway.
And after you have completed your studies, you will probably forget about it.
However, let me make it worthwhile for you.
I will show you how to use Microsoft Word to to format your writing in the APA style.
You will learn APA format (the boring part).
You will learn so much about Microsoft Word (the good bit) which will be a great asset for you in your future career.

What Will You See?

You will see the following:

  1. text book description of the APA format
  2. Word screenshot(s) showing how to format in APA style
  3. Written instructions should you want an alternate explanation.

Of course there will be other useful information, but the basic structure is as described.

An Example (How to Write a Paragraph in APA Format)

The following is an example of what you will find.

The APA format for a paragraph is as follows:

  • left aligned
  • first line indent of 0.5" (1.27 cm)
  • double line spacing

Figure 1 shows you how to format a paragraph in APA format using Microsoft Word.

Word screen for alignment and line indent and spacing for a paragraph in APA formatFigure 1: Word settings for a paragraph in APA format

Figure 1 written instructions (if required) are as follows:

  1. Select the Indents and Spacing tab (if not already selected).
  2. Set Alignment to Left (if not already set - should be the default).
  3. Set Outline level to Body Text (if not already set).
  4. Set First line indent to 0.5 inches (1.27 centimeters).
  5. Set Before and After Spacing to 0 pt (if not already set).
  6. Set Line spacing to Double.

Paper in APA Format 

  • save time: Enter APA format settings from the screenshots instead of looking up the APA format, and then entering the settings in Word.
  • format your academic writing correctly every time: Set up the correct APA format, and then reuse - even for new Word documents.
  • improve your chances of success in academia and business: New Word skills will be invaluable in your career.

This website is divided into four parts as follows:

  • APA format as presented in the Official Guide to APA Style,
  • additional features,
  • Microsoft Word functions useful for your academic writing, and
  • editing your academic writing.

Paper in APA Format 

A paper in APA format has requirements for the following:

  • Margins
  • Font type and size
  • Headers
  • Title page
  • Abstract page
  • Headings
  • Paragraphs
  • Quotations
  • Footnotes

See how to use Microsoft Word to write your paper in APA format.

Figures in APA Format

Figures (images) have their own APA format as well.
See how to use Microsoft Word to create a figure in APA format.

Table of Contents in APA Format

There is no official guide for a Table of Contents in APA format.
However, you may want to create one in your APA formatted paper.
I have applied APA formatting in other areas to a table of contents.
See how to use Microsoft Word to create a table of contents in APA format.

Summary

By following the screenshots and instructions given, you will:

  • learn APA formatting: The Word screenshots (see Figure 1 for example) and instructions will show you how to write in APA format.
  • save time: Enter APA format settings from the screenshots shown instead of looking up the APA format, and then entering the settings in Word.
  • format your academic writing correctly every time: Set up the correct APA format, and then reuse - even for new Word documents.
  • improve your chances of success in academia and business: New Microsoft Word skills will be invaluable in your career. Knowing the APA format will be very useful if you want to pursue an academic career.

Microsoft Word is a powerful tool that will you in many ways with your academic writing.

The time and effort put into learning and using these features will:

  • help you with APA formatting, and any modifications your instructor may ask for, such as a Table of Contents.
  • automatically format your writing as required, for example, Times New Roman, size 12, double spaced.
  • save you time, for example, by automatically updating page numbers.
  • help you present your work in an academic writing style that makes you look professional.
  • help you structure your work, for example, using the Outline feature to give an overview of your work.

The following feedback is for a Masters thesis (that I edited):

  • "the content is excellent" - the student had good Microsoft Word skills and so used their time on research, analysis and presenting their findings instead of wasting valuable time finding out how to use Microsoft Word
  • "the thesis was very professionally presented" - good use of Microsoft Word enabled the thesis to be presented  in the best academic writing style.

Knowing how to make best use of Microsoft Word will greatly "help" with your academic writing and future career.

See word tips if you want to know more about how Microsoft Word can help your academic writing.

The official APA website is here.