How to Set Microsoft Word to Apa Format?

Last Updated: Feb 4, 2024 by

When writing academic papers, it is important to follow the proper formatting guidelines to ensure your work is organized and professional. One of the most commonly used formatting styles is the American Psychological Association (APA) style. In this article, we will discuss how to set Microsoft Word to APA format, including headings and subheadings, running head, and other important formatting guidelines.

Setting Up the Document

Before you begin writing your paper, you will need to set up your document in the correct format. To do this, open Microsoft Word and click on the “Layout” tab. Then, click on “Margins” and select “Normal” from the drop-down menu. This will set your margins to 1 inch on all sides, which is the standard for APA format.

Next, click on the “Page Layout” tab and select “Size.” Choose “Letter” from the drop-down menu, which is the standard paper size for academic papers. Finally, click on “Orientation” and select “Portrait” to ensure your paper is in the correct orientation.

Adding Headings and Subheadings

Headings and subheadings are an important part of APA format as they help to organize your paper and make it easier to read. To add headings and subheadings, first, select the text you want to format. Then, click on the “Home” tab and select the appropriate heading style from the “Styles” section. The main headings should be in bold and centered, while subheadings should be in bold and aligned to the left.

Inserting a Running Head

A running head is a shortened version of your paper’s title that appears at the top of each page. To insert a running head, click on the “Insert” tab and select “Header.” Choose “Edit Header” and type your running head in the designated area. The running head should be in all capital letters and no more than 50 characters, including spaces.

Formatting In-Text Citations and References

In-text citations and references are an important part of APA format as they give credit to the sources you have used in your paper. To format in-text citations, use the author’s last name and the year of publication in parentheses, such as (Smith, 2021). For references, use a hanging indent and list them in alphabetical order by the author’s last name.

Other Important Formatting Guidelines

There are a few other important formatting guidelines to keep in mind when setting Microsoft Word to APA format. These include using Times New Roman font in size 12, double-spacing the entire paper, and using 1-inch margins on all sides. Additionally, make sure to include a title page with the title of your paper, your name, and your institution’s name.


By following these steps, you can easily set Microsoft Word to APA format and ensure your academic papers are properly formatted. Remember to use headings and subheadings to organize your paper, insert a running head, and properly format in-text citations and references. With these guidelines, you can confidently write your papers in APA format and impress your professors.

Gulrukh Ch

About the Author: Gulrukh Ch

Gulrukh Chaudhary, an accomplished digital marketer and technology writer with a passion for exploring the frontiers of innovation. Armed with a Master's degree in Information Technology, Gulrukh seamlessly blends her technical prowess with her creative flair, resulting in captivating insights into the world of emerging technologies. Discover more about her on her LinkedIn profile.