Write a Paragraph in APA Format Using Word

Copy the Word screen shots to write your paragraph in APA format.

The required APA format for a paragraph is:

  • Font type and size of your choice if you are using the APA seventh edition style
    (see font types for recommended fonts).
    Times New Roman font size 12 if you are using the APA sixth edition style.
  • Aligned against the left margin
  • First line of the paragraph indented (0.5 in or 1.27 cm)
  • Double spaced
  • No automatic hyphenation.

The Paragraph in APA Format

Step 1 - Choose Font Type and Size

Set the font type and size for APA paragraph formattingFigure 1: Font type and size for paragraph in APA format

Please note: APA seventh edition allows various font types and sizes (opens in new window). Choose your font type and size.

However, you must use the same font throughout, for example, title page, abstract and headings.

Written instructions for Figure 1 (if required) are:

  1. Select the paragraph, or place where you want to write the paragraph in APA format.
  2. Select the Home tab.
  3. Set the Font to Times New Roman (or font of your choice).
  4. Set the Font size to 12 (or recommended font size).
  5. Click on the bottom right hand arrow in the Paragraph group.

Step 2 - Align, Indent and Space

Set up alignment, indent and spacing for paragraph in APA formatFigure 2: Alignment, indent and spacing for paragraph in APA format

Written instructions for Figure 2 (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 Before and After Spacing to 0 pt (if not already set).
    The APA format for paragraphs uses double line spacing for its spacing.
  5. Set Line spacing to Double.
  6. Select the Line and Page Breaks tab.

Step 3 - Choose No Hyphenation

Set up no hyphenation for paragraph in APA formatFigure 3: Hyphenation rule for paragraph in APA format

Written instructions for Figure 2 (if required) are as follows:

  1. Check Widow/Orphan control is selected (should be the default).
    Not an APA format requirement but prevents a single line of a paragraph by itself at the top or bottom of a page.
  2. Select Don't hyphenate.
  3. Click on OK.


Figures 1 to 3 above show you how to write a paragraph in APA format. This will be a slow process if you have many paragraphs to format.

You could use Format Painter in the Home tab to copy that APA format to each paragraph as you write. This still takes a lot of time, and if you want to change the format, you must paint over every paragraph again.

Fortunately, there is a quicker way if you use Word styles.

Set up your APA paragraph style in Word once and then:

  • format all your paragraphs APA style with one click.
  • format all your future APA style academic papers with one click.

There is no need to define the format again!

The APA paragraph format will be available at all times for your academic writing.

The advantages of using an APA paragraph style in Word are:

  • efficiency (you will save lots of time not having to format each paragraph individually)
  • accuracy (get the format correct the first time and it will always be correct)
  • consistency (the same format will be applied each time)
  • maintenance (if something changes, for example, the font size, you change it once in the style and Word makes the changes automatically in every paragraph).

The work you have done following Figures 1 to 3 is not wasted.

Use that paragraph in APA format to create an APA paragraph style in Word.


See APA paragraph format for the official American Psychological Association Guide.