Google Docs APA Format: A Step-by-Step Guide for Easy Application

Applying APA format to your Google Docs is easier than you might think. In a nutshell, you’ll need to adjust your document’s settings to meet APA guidelines, which include 1-inch margins, a running head, page numbers, double spacing, and the correct font and font size. After reading this article, you’ll be an APA formatting pro!

Step by Step Tutorial: Applying Google Docs APA Format

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s get a sense of what we’re aiming for. The APA format is a set of rules for formatting academic documents. It’s widely used in the social sciences, and following it correctly can really make your work shine. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Set Your Margins to 1 inch

Open your Google Doc and click on the “File” menu, then select “Page Setup.”

Getting your margins right is crucial because it’s the framework of your document. APA requires all margins to be set at 1 inch, and luckily Google Docs makes this easy. Once in “Page Setup,” you’ll see the margins section where you can enter “1” for all sides.

Step 2: Insert a Running Head

Click on “Insert,” then “Header,” and type your running head.

The running head is a short version of your paper’s title and should be no more than 50 characters, including spaces. It goes in the header of each page, aligned to the left. Your first page will have “Running head: YOUR TITLE” and subsequent pages will just have the title.

Step 3: Add Page Numbers

While in the header, click on “Insert” again, then “Page Numbers,” and choose the top-right option.

Page numbers are a must in APA format. They should be flush to the right margin and located in the header of every page. Google Docs makes it a breeze to add these.

Step 4: Double Space Your Text

Select all your text with Ctrl+A (or Cmd+A on Mac), then click on the “Line Spacing” icon and choose “Double.”

Double spacing is standard for APA format because it makes the document easier to read and edit. Remember to apply double spacing to your entire document, including your references page.

Step 5: Choose the Correct Font and Size

Highlight your text and select “Times New Roman” as your font and “12” for your font size.

APA typically requires Times New Roman at a 12-point size. Make sure your document adheres to this standard so that it’s not only compliant but also looks professional.

Once you’ve followed these steps, your document should be perfectly formatted according to APA standards. This means it’ll be ready for submission to your professor or for publication in an academic journal.

Tips for Applying Google Docs APA Format

  • Always check with your instructor for specific formatting guidelines they may require.
  • Use Google Docs’ built-in citation tools to help format your references.
  • Remember to include a title page and abstract if required, following APA guidelines.
  • Pay attention to the headings and subheadings structure, which APA also regulates.
  • Keep the “Page Setup” options in mind for future documents – once you’ve set them, you can use them as a template for other APA papers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I align my title page according to APA format in Google Docs?

Your title page should be double spaced and centered both vertically and horizontally on the page. You can adjust the vertical alignment by going to “Format,” then “Align & indent,” and selecting “Centre.”

Can I use fonts other than Times New Roman for APA format?

While Times New Roman is the traditional font for APA format, other readable fonts like Arial (11-point) or Georgia (11-point) are also acceptable. Be sure to check with your instructor or publication guidelines.

How do I create a hanging indent for my references in Google Docs?

Highlight your references, then go to “Format,” “Align & indent,” and select “Indentation options.” Set “Special indent” to “Hanging” and “By” to 0.5 inches.

What should I do if my instructor has additional formatting requirements?

Always follow your instructor’s specific guidelines, even if they differ from standard APA format. They have the final say on how your document should be formatted.

Is there a difference in formatting between the APA 6th and 7th editions?

Yes, there are several changes, including the running head, which is no longer required for student papers in the 7th edition, and guidelines for font choices. Always confirm which edition you should be using.


  1. Set your margins to 1 inch in the “Page Setup.”
  2. Insert a running head in the header for the first page and then a shortened title for subsequent pages.
  3. Add page numbers in the top-right corner of the header.
  4. Double space your entire document.
  5. Use Times New Roman font at a 12-point size or another approved font.


Mastering Google Docs APA format can seem a bit daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a breeze. Remember, the key to any good academic paper is not just the content but also the presentation. Correct APA formatting shows your attention to detail and respect for the academic community’s standards. Don’t be afraid to use this article as a reference – bookmark it, share it with friends, or keep it handy for your next big paper. Whether you’re a seasoned academic or a first-year college student, knowing how to apply google docs APA format is a skill that will serve you well throughout your academic journey. Now, go forth and format with confidence!

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