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  • Writer's pictureLeah J. Reinert, PhD

APA 7th Edition New Rules Highlights

APA 7th Edition New Rules Highlights

Compiled by Leah J. Reinert, Ph.D., academic editor and consultant

Everyone Needs an Editor


  • APA has decided to settle the one vs two debate. Please use one space after the period or ending punctuation (p. 154). If you were trained as a two spacer, set your Word spelling and grammar settings to catch more than one space, which will be underlined as you go through.

  • No more “Running head” label in the heading. All pages include the header title (which can be the same as the paper title or something different that conveys the message of the paper; p. 37). Student papers no longer require a title in the header.

  • Use quotation marks for emphasis now for accessibility instead of italics (pp. 157–159).

  • Fonts can be serif or sans-serif between 11 and 12 point (p. 44).

  • Double-spacing is the suggested spacing for the entire paper, including block quotes and references (p. 45).

  • Tables and Figures are now labeled the same. With Table # and Figure # in bold above the table or figure and the titles in italic and title case. Examples provided below. For more table examples see pages 210–224 and for more figure examples see pages 234–250.

  • New heading levels (p. 48). All heading levels are now bold with title case (meaning all major words are capitalized and minor words like “the,” “and,” and “or” are not capitalized). See format and example below:

Writing and Grammar

  • Use of the singular “they” (pp. 120–121). No more use of “‘he’ or ‘she’ alone as a generic third-person pronoun” (APA, 2019, p. 121).

  • The book provides a handy guide on tense usage in Table 4.1 on page 118. Use this table when you are unsure of which tense to use for things like writing about previous research studies, study findings, or discussion of conclusions and implications.

In-Text Citations

  • Works with three or more authors are now listed as et al. from the first use (p. 266).

Reference List

  • Books no longer require the publisher location to be listed (p. 295).

  • When referencing websites, “Retrieved from” is no longer required unless you need to specify a particular retrieval date (p. 290). Provide the link as either an active or inactive hyperlink.

  • Do include DOIs for sources that provide them. Do not include “DOI,” rather list the hyperlink. You can shorten them using recommended software/webpage (pp. 298–301).

  • When a work has 21 or more authors, you should list the first 19 authors followed by an ellipsis and then list the final author (old rule was 7; p. 286).

  • New guidance on variety of reference sources. Chapter 10 includes more than 100 examples, including examples for social media and online videos (p. 313). Chapter 11 also provides guidelines on legal references (p. 355).

  • Significant changes to references for conference sessions, paper presentations, and poster presentations as well as for dissertations and theses (see pages 332–334). Examples provided below.

Conference Session

(Example from APA manual, page 332).

Fistek, A., Jester, E., & Sonneberg, K. (2017, July 12–15). Everybody’s got a little music in them: Using music therapy to connect, engage, and motivate [Conference session]. Autism Society National Conference, Milwaukee, WI, United States.

Paper Presentation

(Example from APA manual, page 332).

Maddox, S., Hurling, J., Stewart, E., & Edwards, A. (2016, March30­­­­­­–April 2). If mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy: The effect of parental depression on mood dysregulation in children [Paper presentation]. Southeastern Psychological Association 62 Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, United States.­

Poster Presentation

(Example from APA manual, page 333).

Pearson, J. (2018, September 27–30). Fat talk and its effects on state-based body image in women [Poster presentation]. Australian Psychological Society Congress, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Unpublished Dissertation or Thesis

Daniels, L. R. (2019). The experiences of secondary Black women principals leading change with a predominately White faculty: Cast down, but not destroyed [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. University of St. Thomas.

Dissertation or Thesis from a Database

Smith, D. J. (2011). Reforming the criminal justice system: A pragmatic approach to building a sustainable system (Publication No. 1503912) [Master’s thesis, University of Central Oklahoma]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global.

Dissertation or Thesis Published Online

Reinert, L. J. (2016). Silent strategy: Women faculty and the academic profession [Doctoral dissertation, University of Minnesota]. University of Minnesota Conservancy.


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