How to Use APA Format in Google Docs: A Step-by-Step Guide

Writing an APA format paper in Google Docs is surprisingly straightforward. By following a few simple steps, you can set up your document to meet all the APA guidelines. This includes things such as font style, size, spacing, and the inclusion of a title page and reference page. Let’s dive into how to get your Google Doc APA ready!

Step by Step Tutorial: Using APA Format in Google Docs

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, it’s important to understand what these steps will achieve. By following these instructions, you’ll be able to format your document according to APA standards, which is crucial for many academic papers. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Set the Font and Size

Choose a 12-point Times New Roman font for your document.

APA format requires the use of a standard, easily readable font. Times New Roman is the most commonly accepted font, and it should be set at a 12-point size for the body of your text. This ensures clarity and uniformity throughout your document.

Step 2: Adjust the Line Spacing

Set your document’s line spacing to double.

APA format requires double spacing throughout the document. This includes the title page, abstract, body of the document, and references. Double spacing makes the document easier to read and allows for comments and corrections.

Step 3: Insert a Running Head

Add a running head on the title page.

The running head is a shortened version of your title and should not exceed 50 characters, including spaces. It should be aligned to the left-hand side of the page, and you’ll need to insert it into the header section of your Google Doc.

Step 4: Create a Title Page

Insert a title page that includes the title, your name, and the institution.

The title page is the first impression of your APA document. It should be clean and well-organized, providing the reader with essential information such as the paper’s title, your name, and the institution you’re affiliated with.

Step 5: Cite Your Sources

Include in-text citations and a reference page.

Proper citation is a critical component of APA format. Make sure to include in-text citations wherever you reference another author’s work. Additionally, create a reference page at the end of your document that lists all the sources you’ve cited.

After completing these steps, you will have a Google Doc that is formatted according to APA standards. This will ensure that your document is professional, credible, and ready for submission or publication.

Tips for Using APA Format in Google Docs

  • Always double-check your formatting against the latest APA guidelines, as they can change over time.
  • Use the “Insert” menu in Google Docs to add headers, footers, and page numbers.
  • Take advantage of Google Docs’ built-in citation tools to help format your citations and references.
  • Consistency is key—make sure your headings, subheadings, and other text elements follow the same formatting rules.
  • If you’re collaborating with others, make use of Google Docs’ “Suggesting” mode to make formatting edits without altering the original document.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I automatically format my Google Doc to APA?

No, Google Docs does not have an automatic APA formatting feature. However, you can manually set up your document following the steps provided in this article.

APA format requires attention to detail, and while Google Docs does not automatically format your document, it does provide you with the tools necessary to correctly set up your APA document.

Does Google Docs have an APA template?

Google Docs does not currently offer an official APA template. However, you can create your own template by formatting a document according to APA standards and saving it for future use.

How do I insert a running head in Google Docs?

You insert a running head in the header section of your Google Docs by double-clicking the top of the page and typing in your shortened title.

Remember to include the words “Running head” before the title on the title page only. For subsequent pages, only the title (in all caps) and the page number should appear in the header.

What is the proper way to format headings in APA?

Headings in APA are bold and centered. There are different levels of headings that follow specific formatting rules, which you can find in the APA manual or reputable academic sources.

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

To create a hanging indent, you’ll need to go to “Format,” select “Align & indent,” then “Indentation options,” and set a 0.5-inch indent under “Special indent.”

This will format the second and subsequent lines of each reference entry to be indented, which is a requirement for APA reference pages.


  1. Set the Font and Size to Times New Roman, 12-point.
  2. Adjust the Line Spacing to double.
  3. Insert a Running Head in the header.
  4. Create a Title Page with title, name, and institution.
  5. Cite Your Sources with in-text citations and a reference page.


Mastering APA format in Google Docs is a valuable skill for any student or professional. Although it may seem daunting at first, with a bit of practice and attention to detail, it becomes second nature. Remember, the key to success is consistency and adherence to the official APA guidelines. By following the steps laid out in this article, you’ll be well on your way to crafting a polished and professional document that meets all the APA standards.

Moreover, as someone who has navigated the intricacies of APA formatting, I can assure you that the satisfaction of a well-formatted document is worth the effort. It’s not just about following rules—it’s about developing a clear and effective way to communicate your ideas. So, roll up your sleeves and let’s get that Google Doc in tip-top APA shape. Who knows, you might just find yourself becoming the go-to APA expert among your peers!

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