Skip to Main Content

Educational Leadership: Paper Formatting 7E: Professional Paper

For Ed.D folks to know the best places for research

Printable PDF Guide to Student Paper Formatting

A sample professional paper can be found in the APA Manual on pp. 50-59.

Steps to Formatting a Student APA Paper, 7E

  1. Open Microsoft Word and under the Home tab, turn on visible formatting marks. 



  1. Ctrl+A to highlight all, and choose your font. You may choose between Calibri 11, Arial 11, Lucida Sans Unicode 10, Times New Roman 12, Georgia 11, or Computer Modern 10.  The default in Word is Calibri 11.



  1. Ctrl+A>Home and set to double spacing.




  1. In the same drop-down, select Remove Space After Paragraph.





  1. Under the Insert tab, click Header > Blank.Insert header drop-down



Use no abbreviations except the optional ampersand (&) for “and.”

Use no more than 50 characters. You may omit initial A, An, or The.

Please see Manual, section 2.8, for more details.


  1. With the cursor at the end of the title, under the Insert > Page Number > Current position > Plain number.Page numbering drop-down


  1. Highlight everything on that line and correct for font and size under the Home tab, as necessary to match body of paper.









  1. Place the cursor before page number, then tab twice to place the number at the right margin.



  1. Click Close Header and Footer or double click in the body to leave the header.Close header and footer button


  1. Ctrl+A then Ctrl+E to center. Hit <Enter> 3-4 times.


  1. Highlight last carriage return, Ctrl+B to bold, then type: Title of Paper in Title Case. If there is a long title AND a sub-title, type a colon, then <Enter>, then type the sub-title in title case.


  1. With cursor at the end of the title, Ctrl+B to remove further bolding, then hit <Enter> 2 times.  There must be one carriage return mark between the title and the author.


  1. Type your name, without titles or degrees, and hit <Enter>.


  1. Type your affiliated department, a comma, then the school’s name.


  1. Hit <Enter> 6 times. (This number is not fixed, but will serve for now.)



  1. Ctrl+B, then Type: Author Note in title case. Ctrl+B to remove further bolding and hit <Enter> four times. 
  2. Highlight last four carriage returns, Ctrl+L to left align, and tab each of the paragraphs 1 time.

Consult with the manual section 2.7 for a full explanation of the four points of the author note.




  1. Place cursor before the last carriage return and Ctrl+<Enter> to create a page break.
  2. On page 2, Ctrl+E and Ctrl+B to center and bold, and then type in title case: Abstract
  3. Hit <Enter>, Ctrl+B, and Ctrl+L, then begin typing the abstract with no more than 250 words and no tab indent.


  1. Hit <Enter>, tab once, and type: Keywords:. Type 3-5 keywords and/or phrases in sentence case, separated by commas. Do not use a period at the end.


  1. Highlight the word “Keywords” and the colon and Ctrl+I for italics. The keywords and phrases following are not in italics.
  2. Ctrl + <Enter> to add a page break.
  3. Back on page 1, copy the title of the paper. Scroll down to page 3, then Ctrl+V to paste in the title in the same format.
  4. Tab once. Type: Introduction begins here.
  5. Hit <Enter>, then type each of the following and <Enter> 2 times: Method, Results, Discussion, Conclusion in title case.


  1. Highlight Method, Results, Discussion, individually and Ctrl+B and Ctrl+E to bold and center. For Conclusion, Ctrl+B only. Conclusion is considered a heading 2 in original, experimental research papers. However, in another kind of paper, it could be a heading 1. Tab each of the carriage returns after each header. These are heading level 1 out of 5.

See section 2.27 for more on heading levels 1-5.

  1. In front of the last carriage return, Ctrl+<Enter> to add a page break.



  1. No on page 4, with the cursor before the carriage return, Ctrl+B and Ctrl+E, and then type: References
  2. Hit <Enter>, Ctrl+B, Ctrl+L, Ctrl+T to bold, left align, and format the hanging indent for references.
  3. Any supplemental information, such as tables and figures, will include a new page break for each after the references.
  4. Save this as APA 7E Pro template.docx. Open when you need to write a paper, save it with a new file name, and …



You will never have to worry about the basics of APA professional paper formatting.