Running Head in APA Format

Copy the Word screen shot settings below to create your running head in APA format.

The APA seventh edition style (click here for the sixth edition style) has two types of running heads:

  1. Professional Paper for academic writing that is to be published, for example, in a journal

  2. Student Paper for academic writing, usually for undergraduate courses.

If you are not sure which type to use, ask your supervisor .


Running Head in APA Format (Professional Style)

The basic steps are:

  1. Open the header in Word (see Figure 1).
  2. Enter the shortened title (see Figure 2).
  3.  Set up the page number (see Figures 3 and 4).

Step 1

Select the header in Word for the running head placementFigure 1: Open header for running head

Written instructions for Figure 1 (if required) are:

  1. Open the header:
    Click (or double click or touch) at the top of the Word page
    or
    Select Insert à Header à Blank.

Step 2

Word header with the shortened title in the running head in APA formatFigure 2: Shortened title in the running head in APA format

Written instructions for Figure 2 (if required) are:

  1. Left align the cursor in the header (Home à Align Left in Paragraph group).
  2. Enter the shortened title:
    - all capitals
    - 50 or less characters including spaces.
    Note: The running head DOES NOT have the words "Running head:" before the shortened title as in the sixth edition. 

Step 3

Page number position in the running head in APA format, in the Word headerFigure 3: Set up the position for the page number in the running head in APA format

Written instructions for Figure 3 (if required) are:

  1. Move the cursor to the right margin (press Tab until right aligned).
  2. Select Page Number.

Step 4

Insert the page number in the running head in APA format, in the Word headerFigure 4: Insert page number in the running head in APA format

Written instructions for Figure 4 (if required) are:

  1. Select Current Position
    Note: Do not select Top of Page - your shortened title will disappear.
  2. Select Plain Number from the submenu.

You have now created your running head in APA format with the page number.

The running head, that is, the shortened title will appear on every page of your document with the page number in Arabic numeral format (i.e. 1, 2, 3...)
UNLESS
you change something, for example, create a Table of Contents with a different number format (e.g. not Arabic numerals but Roman numerals) for your page numbers.

This is not in APA format but your supervisor might request it.


Running Head in APA Format (Student Style)

The student style does not require a running head.

The header has only the page number.

The page number is:

  • aligned against the right margin
  • in Arabic number format (i.e., 1, 2, 3...)
  • appears on every page starting with "1" on the title page.

The shortened title  IS NOT required (it is required in the APA seventh edition professional style, and the APA sixth edition).

Your instructor may request you put one in (then follow the professional style) but the APA seventh edition style does not require a running head.

The header should only have the page number right aligned (see Figure 5)

Insert the page number in the running head in APA format, in the Word headerFigure 5: Insert page number in the header in APA format

Written instructions for Figure 5 (if required) are:

  1. Select the Insert tab.
  2. Select Page Number in the Header and Footer group.
  3. Select Top of Page.
  4. Select Plain Number 3.

The page number will appear on every page of your document in Arabic numeral format (i.e. 1, 2, 3...)

UNLESS

you change something, for example, create a Table of Contents with a different number format (e.g. not Arabic numerals but Roman numerals) for your page numbers.

This is not in APA format but your supervisor might request it.

Summary

The following table compares the running head in the sixth and seventh editions:

Running head APA style sixth edition

Running Head APA style seventh edition

Professional

Student

Label (Title Page): Running head:

Yes

No

No

Shortened Title - all pages

Yes

Yes

No

Shortened Title - all capitals

Yes

Yes

Not Applicable

Shortened Title  - 50 characters or less (includes spaces and special characters)

Yes

Yes

Not applicable

Shortened title - aligned against left margin

Yes

Yes

Not applicable

Shortened title - Times New Roman 12

Yes

Yes

Not applicable

Shortened title - other fonts (apart from Times New Roman 12)

No

Yes
see other fonts
(opens in new window)


Not applicable

Page number - aligned against right margin

Yes

Yes

Yes

Acknowledgement

The APA Style has been developed by and copyrighted to the American Psychological Association.

Information from this page has been obtained from the:

  • Sixth Edition Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association
  • Seventh Edition Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association
  • APA style 6th edition blog (opens in new window)
  • APA style 7th edition (opens in new window)