How to Create a 6th Edition APA Header in Microsoft Word 2016

Although you might know exactly what an APA header is supposed to look like, you may not know how to get MS Word 2016 to help you set it up properly

Never fear! There’s a rhyme and a reason, as well as a simple step-by-step method.

Why Do I Need a Running Head?

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.

What Does a Running Head Look Like?

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. 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 2016?

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 2016 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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