APA 7th Edition Changes

Published in October 2019, the APA 7th Edition changes a number of guidelines for publication.  Different journals and universities will be adopting the APA 7th Edition changes at their own pace, so check to see whether you need to implement them for your current work – if you send Rampart something to edit in APA style, we will ask you to check whether or not we should follow the APA 7th Edition changes.

This page describes some of the most notable changes and points of emphasis or clarification in the APA 7th Edition.  This is by no means complete!  If you have any questions, email tom@rampartprosolutions.com

Headings and Layout

  • Paper title and section titles (abstract, references, each appendix) are now in bold, title case, centered – in previous versions these had been all-caps and not bold.
  • Use separate lines for appendix label and its title – this had been unclear.
  • Use title case and bold for all headings – Level 5 had been not bold.
  • Level 3 headings are bold italic separate line – like Level 2 except in italics.
  • Levels 4 and 5 headings are the old Levels 3 and 4 except in title case.
  • Specifies no extra space between paragraphs or around headings.
  • Do not include a running head for student papers.
  • A greater variety of fonts is allowed: Calibri 11, Arial 11, Lucinda 10, Times New Roman 12, Georgia 11, Computer Modern 10).
  • Note: There is still no clear guidance on whether dissertation chapter titles are Level 1 or are considered section labels. Guidance from the APA blog dating back to 2009 recommends considering dissertations to be a collection of separate papers.  Thus each chapter would start on a new page and would include several Level 1 headings within it.  As an alternative, the chapter titles could be considered the only Level 1 headings in the dissertation, meaning that you would not start a new page for each chapter and headings within the chapter would begin at Level 2.


  • It is acceptable, perhaps even preferred, to use the third-person plural for gender-neutral singulars.
  • Use first person pronouns rather than “the author” or “the researchers.”
  • There is an emphasis on consistent labeling of concepts rather than using synonyms.
  • Anthropomorphism of paper sections is allowed (“This section describes…”) because it does not impede understanding.
  • The past tense is specified for literature review, methods, and result.
  • The present tense is specified for findings and conclusions.
  • It specifies “who” rather than “that” for human referents
  • It specifies “that” for restrictive clauses and “which” for nonrestrictive clauses, which are offset.
  • Use a single space after periods.
  • Use quotation marks rather than italics for linguistic examples, slang, irony, and labels.
  • Continue to use italics on first reference for key terms that are being defined.
  • Do not use either italics or quotations marks to hedge meaning.
  • Use numbers in text referring to calculations and for units of time, even if they are approximations.
  • Note: There is a new section on bias-free writing. This is excellent and cannot be quickly summarized on a page like this.

Tables and Figures

  • Unified formatting: Table/Figure numbered in bold above the item, with title in title case on a separate line above the item.
  • Use a line under all tables, not just those with notes, but not for figures.
  • Notes are double-spaced, with different types of notes starting on new lines.
  • Tables and figures can be inline with the text rather than separate at the end.
  • Add blank lines before and after inline tables and figures.
  • Align tables and figures to the left.
  • Slightly (0.15”) indent subsequent lines of text in cells.
  • Avoid cell shading except perhaps for emphasis, which should be explained in a note.
  • Use normal citation formats in tables and figures except for using “&” in cells.
  • Figure font should be sans serif 8-14 point.

Citations and References

  • Always use et al. in citations to indicate three or more individual authors.
  • Research participants should not have a citation in the text.
  • Include up to 20 authors in a reference list entry before replacing with ellipses, rather than just seven.
  • Omit the publisher location for books.
  • Omit the use of “author” as the publisher for self- or organizational-published works.
  • Use the lowest-level agency as the author in a reference list entry.
  • Live links are acceptable in the reference list.
  • Use doi rather than URL for articles and books, formatting the doi using full live URL.
  • Do not use database URLs for printed works that are generally accessible.
  • Do not include references that have dead URLs or are otherwise not retrievable: instead, describe these in the text.
  • All website titles are in italics – you no longer have to decide whether the page is standalone or part of a larger work.
  • Do not use the webpage footer date or “reviewed on” date to date a reference entry. As a result, many more online citations will be n.d.
  •  “Retrieved from” is omitted from the URL section of references unless it is needed to provide the date a nonstable entry was accessed.
  • Degree-granting institution included for all theses and dissertations.