Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How to Create an APA Running Head in MS Word



An APA running head set up in Microsoft Word.
The Running Head is the Paper's Identification
at the Top of each Page

Although you might know exactly what an APA header is supposed to look like, you may not know how to get MS Word 2010 to help you set it up properly.










Why Do I Need a Running Head?


The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) states "A good title is easily shortened to the running head used within the published article," which implies its importance for publishers and works destined for publication (2010, pg. 23).  However, in academic writing without the intent to publish, the purpose of a running head is to help a reader quickly identify each page of a paper as being part of the same paper. It's a very useful bit of information for publication editors or university professors who might receive several papers a day. A reader might be interrupted several times while reading and might need a quick reminder about the paper's topic when he or she sits back down to read some more. Or imagine, for example, a person having fifty papers on his or her desk and a strong breeze blowing through and scattering them across the floor. The running head of a paper will make sure the editor or professor can put the paper together, again.


Video: How to Format a Running Head 




 

What Does a Running Head Look Like?


A running head is not the same as a heading.

On the title page, the first page of the paper, the left-aligned words “Running head,” followed by a colon, appear before a shortened title of the paper. The page number, "1" appears at the right margin on the same line. On the second page and all of the following pages of the paper, the words “Running head” do not appear, but the same left-aligned, shortened title, does appear. The shortened title of the paper, both on the title page and subsequent pages, is always in all caps. According to the APA Manual, "The running head should be a maximum of 50 characters, counting letters, punctuation, and spaces between words" (2010, pg. 229).  The margins in the header are one inch on both sides, and the font for the running head and page number is always Times New Roman, in twelve point font.

How Do I Create a Running Head in MS Word 2010?


Although setting up a 6th Edition APA running head seems complicated, it can be completed properly in only a few steps. If you follow these steps in order, setting up the running head will be a breeze.


  • First, it's easiest to set-up your page from the "Print Layout" view. Click the "View" tab and the "Print Layout" button.
  •  Then, be sure you choose to view the ruler by choosing the "View" tab and "Show/Hide" ruler.
  • From the "Print Layout," place your cursor in the header area of the page, and double click. That opens your "Header and Footer" "Design Tools" menu.
  •  From the Header and Footer Design Tools menu, click on "Different First Page" in the "Options" area. Your cursor will stay in the header.
  •  Next, type “Running head: YOUR SHORTENED TITLE.” Make sure the shortened title part of the running head is in all caps.
  •  On the keyboard, type the tab key twice. Word 2010 has a default that will place your cursor on the right margin if you tab twice. Check the position on the ruler.
  •  Click “Insert,” click “Page number,” “Current Position” and “Plain.” Don't be tempted to change the order of these steps!
  •  If the header does not have a 1” margin, set your page margins in the "Page Layout" menu.
  •  If your default font is not set for Times New Roman 12, highlight everything in your header and use your font options in the "Home" tab to set your font and font size.


After you complete your title page, you can set up your second page running head by repeating these steps. Just remember, only include the words "Running head" on the very first page, the title page.


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Copyright Amy Lynn Hess.  Contact the author for permission to republish.

15 comments:

  1. These steps for creating a running header were really easy. At first, I did think it was going to be really complicated. Now I'll remember exactly how to do this. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. You are very welcome. : ) I am glad to be helpful!

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  2. totally helpful, thank you!!

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  3. You are very welcome! : ) I aim to be helpful!

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  4. Wow, thank you so much for this. I never knew!

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  5. Wow, thank you very much. I was so nervous about doing the header, yet I did it with such ease. Gosh, I really appreciate this. This is my first paper out of many that I will have the proper header.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You are very welcome! I know APA formatting is certainly not the easiest thing in the world to master, and although the APA Manual is very helpful, sometimes we just need to see the formatting techniques in action (In Microsoft Word) in order to finally really understand it. : )

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  6. Thank you so much.

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    1. You are very welcome! If you need help with other APA formatting tricks and tips, be sure to take a look at my additional videos about title pages and hanging indents! : )

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  7. How do you set your first page to be #1? For example, I have a cover page, plank page, page for approval, and then my title page. I want that to be #1 and the first page the running head appears on. Word automatically assumes that the forst page is where you want to start your running head and #1 page.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi JVH,

      Unless you are familiar with section breaks and un-linking headers, which would solve your problem, I think the easiest option would be to create the first three pages as a separate document and perhaps combine them as a PDF if you need a digital file. I've played a bit with the page number format options, but as you point out, those options are severely limited.

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  8. How do you change what page Word considers the first page? I want my running head and numbering to start on page 4 of my document and I can't seem to find where to change that. Thanks in advance!

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    Replies
    1. Here is a link for you to follow that will take you to Microsoft's instructional page on section breaks and page numbering in the header. Good luck! http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word-help/start-page-numbering-later-in-your-document-HA102841427.aspx

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  9. Thank you! I was having trouble getting my page number on the title page. I appreciate the help.

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