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How to create an APA Reference Page

By Edited Aug 6, 2016 0 0

A reference page created to abide by APA standards has a specific layout based on the type of source used.  You should set your document to the proper specifications using the settings panel in your word processing program.

Settings Prior to Starting

Font. In the settings panel, set your document to use Times New Roman, with a 12 point font, and include 1 inch margins. 

Line spacing. Change your line spacing so that each line is double spaced (create this in the settings rather than hitting "enter" twice). There are no extra line breaks between references.

Use a hanging indent. A hanging indent will have the first line on the left margin and then lines below it for that particular reference will have an indent of 0.5 inch.  Create the hanging indent in the settings panel or using the ruler. Do not create  your hanging indent by tabbing the following lines over a half inch. This will make edits very difficult as your spacing will be incorrect.

The Header

Like the rest of your pages in  your paper, your reference page will have a header with your title in all capital letters on the left and your page number on the right. Below your header, the page should say "References" (without the quotes).


The format of the reference is somewhat dependent upong the type of source you use, but APA references follow a predictable layout that is simple to memorize.

Author + year + title + publication + publication information.

There are a few notable intracacies in using APA. For example, when listing the title in the reference page, only the first letter of the first word AND the first letter of the first word after a colon are capitalized. Thus, a title would look like this:

American government: Roots and reform.

However, if the reference is part of a larger body of work, such as an academic journal, the name of the publication uses typical upper and lower case capitalization. For example:

The Journal of the American Medical Association

When listing the volume and issue numbers of a journal, the volume number is italicized and the issue number is not. In addition, there should be no spaces between the two. For example:

The Journal of the American Medical Association, 9(13)

When listing volume numbers, issue numbers, or page numbers, do not use abbreviations. For example:

The Journal of the American Medical Association, 9(13), 124-146.

Alphabetical Listing

List your references alphabetically by the first letter of the reference. In most cases this will be the author's last name, but there are some instances in which there is no author and you will use the title of the reference instead. Regardless, it is the first letter of the reference that you use for alphabetization.

The following examples will help you understand the basic layout of APA format. However, the best resource for those using APA format in their programs is the APA Publication Manual. 


Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association
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