Skip to Main Content

APA (7th edition) Citation Guide

10 Common APA Nuances

  1. Font
    APA 7 recommends using a consistent font throughout a paper and one that is accessible to all readers. The following are included in Section 2.19 as recommended fonts:
    • a sans serif font such as 11-point Calibri, 11-point Arial, or 10-point Lucida Sans Unicode
    • serif font such as 12-point Times New Roman, 11-point Georgia, or normal 10-point Computer Modern
    (Note that APA 6 recommended 12-point Times New Roman as a preferred font, and Walden University followed this recommendation as a requirement for course papers and doctoral capstone studies.)
  2. Spacing
    Double space all text, including the reference list and block quotes. Use one space after a period or other punctuation at the end of a sentence.
  3. Margins and Page Numbers
    All margins should be set to 1” on each side of the paper. Page numbers go in the upper right corner.
  4. Boldface and Underlines
    APA does not use boldface except in tables and figures (in rare instances where you would want to highlight specific data) and for the paper's title, headings, and section labels. APA also does not use underlining in the body of the paper. Use underlining only for hyperlinks in the reference list.
  5. Punctuation
    • APA uses the serial (or Oxford) comma in lists of three or more items (i.e., Groucho, Harpo, and Zeppo).
    • Most prefixes are not hyphenated: semistructured, nondenominational, multimedia, antisocial, posttest, pretest, and so forth.
  6. Capitalization
    Do not capitalize job titles unless immediately preceding a person's name: the superintendent, but Superintendent Williams; the vice president of the school board, but Vice President Agnew. Additionally, do not capitalize the names of theories, models, conditions, or diseases.
  7. Lists
    For simple lists within a paragraph, separate items with commas. For more complex lists presented within paragraphs, writers may use letters enclosed by parentheses: (a), (b), (c), etc. Lists may also be presented vertically on the page with numbers or bullet points. Only use numbered lists to show hierarchy or chronology.
  8. Numbers and Percentages
    Generally, numbers 10 and higher appear as numerals; nine and lower are written out. There are exceptions: precise elements of time, age, distance, ratios, and percentages always appear as numerals unless at the start of a sentence.
  9. Latin Abbreviations
    Within the text of a sentence, write out the equivalent words rather than using a Latin abbreviation (i.e., e.g., etc.). APA recommends only using Latin abbreviations within parentheses.
  10. Use Respectful, Bias-Free Language
    APA 7 provides various recommendations for avoiding bias with respect to gender, race, disabilities, age, and so forth. When discussing racial groups, ensure that the terms you use are parallel. When possible, avoid the gendered, singular pronouns "he" and "she" or the combination "he/she" by using the singular "they."