How to Format Your Level 1 Heading APA Style Using Word

You can format your Level 1 Heading APA style by following the Word screenshots below.

Two methods are shown here.

The first method is the slow one.

Every time you need to format some text in the Level 1 Heading, follow Figures 1 to 3.

Select your text, and apply the values in the figures.

The second method is the smart way.

Use Word to create a style for the Level 1 Heading, and then format your text in the Level 1 Heading APA style with one click, over and over again.

See Figures 4 to 11 on how to create and use a Word style for your Level 1 Heading.

Level 1 Heading APA Format

Word screenshot of font properties required for APA Level 1 Headings.Figure 1: APA Level 1 Heading (Font properties)

If you like written instructions, they are as follows:

  1. Select the heading text (if necessary).
  2. Select the Home tab.
  3. Set the font to Times New Roman (or font of your choice).
  4. Set the Font style to Bold.
  5. Set the font size to 12.
Word screenshot of paragraph properties required for APA Level 1 Headings.Figure 2: APA Level 1 Heading (Paragraph properties)

If you like written instructions, they are as follows:

  1. Select the heading text (if necessary).
  2. Select the Home tab.
  3. Click on the bottom right hand arrow in the Paragraph group.
  4. Select the Indents and Spacing tab (if not already selected).
  5. Set Alignment to centered.
  6. Set Outline level to 1.
  7. Set Line spacing to Double.
  8. Click on OK.
Word screenshot of page break and hyphenation properties required for APA Level 1 Headings.Figure 3: APA Level 1 Heading (Line and page break properties)

If you like written instructions, they are as follows:

  1. Select the Line and Page Breaks tab.
  2. Select Page break before.
    This will start your Level 1 Heading on a new page.
    This is not an APA standard, so ignore if you do not want your Level 1 Heading starting on a new page.
  3. Select Don't hyphenate.
    Word will not hyphenate (i.e., split a word) if your Level 1 Heading goes onto the next line. 
  4. Click on OK.

Using Word to Create a Level 1 Heading APA Format Style

Setting up your Level 1 Heading APA format is easy using Word styles.

What does a Word style do?

A Word style keeps all the settings for your Level 1 Heading in the APA format required (e.g. bold, centered, and so on).

Then you can format all your APA Level 1 Headings quickly with no hassle.

But you must set it up once.

Get the format right, and then apply the style again and again in all your academic writing - both present and future documents.

You will save so much time!

The following screenshots show you the settings to create a Level 1 Heading APA style in Word.

See styles in word if you are unsure on how to create styles.

N.B. You do not have to use Times New Roman for your APA headings and subheadings. APA seventh edition allows various font types and sizes.

See allowable font types and sizes here (opens in new window).

To create a Word style for the APA level 1 heading:

  1. Open the Styles panel (Ctrl+Shift+Alt+S).
  2. Select the New Style button (bottom left hand).
  3. Follow Figures 1 to 4, entering the values shown.

Word Tip

Press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+S to open the Styles Pane (the New Style button is the bottom left hand).

Not easy to hold four keys down at the same time?

Try this:

  1. Press Shift five times (turns on sticky keys).
  2. Select Yes in the popup window to turn on Sticky Keys.
  3. Press Ctrl, then Shift, then Alt, then S (do not hold the keys down).
  4. Press Shift five times (turns sticky keys off unless you want them left on).
The Create style Window in Word with the Style and Font properties for the APA Level 1 HeadingFigure 4: APA Level 1 Heading Style and Font Properties

N.B. If you do select OK then:

  1. Open the Styles panel (Ctrl+Shift+Alt+S).
  2. Select the down arrow next to the style you have just created.
  3. Select modify in the popup window. Your screen will reappear, except you will have Modify Style in the title (but that's okay - just continue).
The menu in Word that gives the formatting options, for example, font, paragraphFigure 5: Format menu for the APA Level 1 Heading style
Word screenshot of paragraph properties required for APA Level 1 Headings.Figure 6: APA Level 1 Heading (Paragraph properties)
Figure 7: APA Level 1 Heading (Line and page break properties)

Select OK to close each open window to create your style.

How to Use the APA Level 1 Heading Style You Have Created

  1. Open the styles panel  (Ctrl+Shift+Alt+S) or click on the arrow art the bottom of the Styles group in the Home tab).
  2. Select your APA Level 1 Heading style.
  3. Type in your APA Level 1 heading.

If you have already typed your text, select the text, and then repeat steps 1 and 2.

The Word styles panel showing the newly created APA Level 1 Heading style.Figure 8: The newly created style in the Styles panel

Changes to the Level 1 Heading APA Format

One BIG advantage in using Word styles is you can change the format in the style, and Word will automatically  update all your Level 1 Headings.

For example, suppose you want to change the Level 1 Heading from Times New Roman 12-point to Arial 11-point (APA 7 allows a range of fonts).

You will NOT have to change each Level 1 Heading individually - it will happen automatically.

Open the Styles panel (Ctrl+Shift+Alt+S) or Home-->Click on arrow in the Styles bottom right corner.

The Word styles in the document including the APA Level 1 Heading.Figure 9: APA Level 1 Heading in the Styles panel
Submenu that gives the option to modify the APA Level 1 Heading styleFigure 10: Submenu with the option to modify the APA Level 1 Heading style.
The Modify Style window for changing the format of the APA Level 1 HeadingFigure 11: Modify APA Level 1 Heading style

Summary

I strongly recommend that you use styles, especially if you are going to a lot of academic writing.

Yes - it takes a little time to set up.

But once you have - you will save so much time every time you format a heading in the APA style.

Just select the style from the Styles panel, and apply.

Also, you will learn a very valuable Word skill that you can apply in many situations.