How to format APA referencing on Microsoft Word easily

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Learning how to format APA references is part and parcel of all degrees. For assignments, essays, theses, and dissertations – anything related to academia – students are required to include references to avoid plagiarism which is viewed as a serious offence and may result in expulsion or suspension.

On top of being a form of professional courtesy to acknowledge the work of others, the benefits of having your academic assignments being properly formatted include indicating whose ideas you are sourcing and citing – for easier identification, and showing that you understand the topic. Besides providing supporting evidence for your arguments, referencing published work in the correct format helps to validate and make your writing more credible as well.

There are numerous reference formatting styles, which makes the referencing process even more confusing. Some universities may prefer this style while others may use another style; certain programmes may tend to stick to a certain style – Modern Language Association, Chicago, American Psychological Association (APA) and so forth.

Format APA style

Format APA

Now with the APA template in Microsoft Word, formatting your paper in APA style need not be a painful process anymore. Source: Philippe Lopez/AFP

Among them all, APA is one of the more popular choices for several reasons: making papers easier for reading and cross-referencing, better organisation and standardisation of research sources, and offering a consistent format APA style. APA is well-known for being used in many academic work so it lends strong credence to your written work too.

For PhD students who must write dissertations of 60,000 words and upwards, formatting such a large amount of work in APA style can be stressful, particularly if you have to manually insert the in-text references and citations while keeping track of them all. Fortunately, many PhD candidates understand this laborious experience, and one of them, Helena Hartmann has compiled a useful list of tips for PhD students.

In Hartmann’s list, Nicolás F. Narvaez Linares — set to defend his PhD in 2022 — explains about this format APA tool. Not many people would know this, but when opening a new Microsoft Word document to type out your dissertation, just type APA inside the new document tab, and then you have the ready-made APA Sixth edition template! 

This tip is so mind-blowing for many students who have taken to flood Linares’s Twitter with gifs depicting their shocked expressions. However, bear in mind that the APA is now in its seventh edition, so you may have to make some changes here and there. 

But for PhD students, this particular tip will be extremely valuable for formatting their papers in APA style. This may also alleviate major stress related to this critical last step of the PhD journey, especially if the APA format is compulsory; hopefully, it will reduce yours too!





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