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APA Professional Paper

Reference list

1. Begin the Reference list on a new page, right after the text

Write out the word References at the top of the page in Bold and centered. Press Enter to change line and start writing your references.

Image showing the references

2. Use hanging indentation

This refers to the indentation of lines after the first line in a paragraph. This means that the first line of each reference list entry is left-aligned, while the second line, third line, etc. are indented one-half inch. To set up both, first highlight all the lines on your page.

Image showing the references highlighted

On the Home tab go to Paragraph and click the arrow.

Image showing the paragraph arrow

Under Indentation, change Special to Hanging. Make also sure that Spacing is set to 0pt and that Line spacing is set to Double.

Image showing hanging indentation

The default hanging indentation is set on 0,5” (half inch) or 1,27cm which is what we want. Now, when you are formatting a reference, the first line will be flush-left, and then when you hit the second line of the entry, it will automatically indent until you start a new line by pressing Enter.

Image showing the hanging indentation of references

3. Alphabetize the Reference list entries

Order the reference entries alphabetically based on the first author’s last name. To do so, highlight the entire reference list.

Image showing the references highlighted

On the Home tab go to the A-Z sort option.

Image showing the A-Z sorting option

Select Sort by Paragraphs and click ok.

Image showing the sort by paragraph option

Your references now appear in alphabetical order.

Image showing the references sorted alphabetically

If you have taken all these steps you have successfully formatted your paper. If you need more information on how to format individual reference list entries, visit our Formatting the References page of the APA style guide. 

4. Insert a page break

When you finish formatting your references, go to the Insert tab and add a page break to ensure that any additional elements of your paper will start on a new page.

Image showing a page break

Once you’ve done that, you have finished formatting the Reference list, and you are ready to move on to formatting the end matter of your paper.