APA: How to Format an APA Reference List

APA Formating Guide

An APA reference citation is formatted as a hanging indent, double spaced, with not extra spaces between items. Use the paragraph dialog box to set the hanging indent. DO NOT USE TABS OR SPACES TO FORMAT THE INDENT. Yes, I know I shouted at you. It may be quick and easy, and you don't know how to set the paragraph settings, but take a minute to read below and save yourself lots of time later. Because even experienced editors make errors that need to be corrected, and those tabs and spaces make corrections very difficult.

Your default setting in MS Word may be to add space after or before paragraphs, so check that it is set to zero. For the paragraph format dialog box, choose "Paragraph" from the "Format" menu.

hanging indent

Items are alphabetized by author, so the author must match the in-text citation. As of APA 7, all citations with three or more authors use et al. consistently (previously, three authors were all named in the first citation). Other APA 7 changes include dropping the city of the publisher. Note: et is Latin for "and," so it needs no period; al. is short for the Latin word "alii," which means "others," so it needs a period, as it is an abbreviation.

Click here to download our free APA Citation Guide or download a sample APA paper with styles and a formated reference list with comments on each entry (MS Word document). For more details on writing in APA style, Purdue University Open Writing Lab (OWL) has a great resource (also for MLA and Chicago). Visit the OWL.

hanging indent

Ethical Editing

We offer ethical editing services for students from first year to PhD level. We correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, and word use. We correct for specific academic styles, so you can focus on the academic content. We use Track Changes, so you can see each change and learn to improve your writing click here to order academic editing.