Most students know what it’s like to spend way too much time trying to figure out how to format the final reference entry of their paper perfectly. Is it a webpage or a website? Is that the author or editor? What should be italicized? Perhaps these questions resonate with you because you have scoured the internet to find this information before hitting “submit” on an assignment. Maybe you mastered every last entry in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association 6th Edition.
And then they updated to the Seventh Edition (2020).
The experts at the Writing Center are here to tell you that even though APA style has changed, you need not fear! Whether minor or major updates, we are here to help you. And after seeing some of the updates, you might just find that formatting your paper isn’t as difficult as it used to be. Your papers will likely look a lot better, too.
What Changes will be in APA 7th Edition?
A Bold — and Simplistic — New Title Page
Right off the bat, you’ll notice that something looks different in the APA 7th Edition: the title page. Maybe you can’t put your finger on why it looks so much better, but rest assured that your title will pop off the page as APA now requires bold font text headers and titles. Also, you now get to skip a line to let your reader enjoy your title for a tick before providing your name, “University of Arizona Global Campus,” course code and title, instructor, and the due date.
But that’s not the only reason your title page looks better. Look at the top of the page and enjoy the clean, sleek white space! Gone are the days of the dreaded RUNNING HEAD on student papers — you only need a page number in the top right corner. Now you can spend precious extra keystrokes on what really matters to you: the content!
For more information, check out the Title Page & Headers accordion on our Introduction to APA page, or feel free to utilize our entire APA 7th Edition Template!
Farewell Ye Olde Days of the Typewriter
Personal computers finally overtook typewriters in the 1990s, but APA didn’t seem to get the memo… until now.
Believe it or not, APA 7th Edition saves you from thousands of unnecessary keystrokes in your writing process. How? They finally entered the modern era and require only one space after sentences instead of two. Think of all the extra time you’ll save pressing the space bar only once!
Also, they decided to take some keystrokes away if you’re planning on writing about the internet or email. You may be wondering if the red squiggly line tried to correct me in the last sentence for “Internet” and “e-mail,” but the answer is no. As of APA 7th, “internet” is now lowercase, and “email” requires no hyphen anymore. Many other words have been trimmed down for simplicity as well. While it might not save you the same thousands of keystrokes as the space bar, these new rules will add seconds — maybe minutes — to your day!
Lastly, perhaps the most significant change in APA 7th is adapting the singular “they” and “their” to become bias-free language. Rather than clogging up your paragraphs with the phrase “he or she” every time you want to discuss an individual, you may now refer to single humans as “they.”
I imagine that any person trying to revise their grammar will bask in their time-saving glory. See the Writing Center’s APA Style Elements for other stylistic changes!
New Citation Styles for Social Media
One of the greatest modern challenges for writers has been finding the correct way to cite new media. When almost all research was done by book or journal, citations looked pretty similar. However, innovations in technology have made everything a bit harder to hammer down.
Thankfully, the minds at APA saw the problem and corrected it, including new citation styles for almost anything you can imagine, including tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram highlights, and forum comments! You can find a number of these updates in our APA References Guide or on our APA: Citing Within Your Paper and Formatting Your References List pages!
What Else Is Easier to do Using APA 7th?
There are other areas where you can dump some excess text. When citing journal articles, APA 7th now only requires the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) rather than the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) in a reference list. This makes research much simpler. Rather than hunting for a version of your source that your instructor can access, you can now simply copy-and-paste the DOI into your reference entry and voila! Be sure to cite it as a hyperlink by starting your entry with http://doi.org/... or https://doi.org/...
And you’ll never have to type “Retrieved from” again. More keystrokes saved from every assignment! Be sure that all DOI and URL hyperlinks appear alone rather than preceded by the clunky “Retrieved from.”
Where Can I Learn More About APA 7th and Get More Help?
Ultimately, APA format has gotten easier and more logical with the 7th edition updates. There is even a sample essay included and new student-specific resources.
But if you are still confused, feel free to head over to the Writing Center website and check out all our updated materials! We have created an APA 7 vs. APA 6 quick guide with some of the new updates. But you can also start with Introduction to APA, graduate to APA Style Elements, and you’ll be an APA expert in no time.
Written by Louie Centanni, Writing Center