Q. What are some of the main changes in the 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual?

The APA has expanded, revised, and added new guidance to how to cite sources with the publication of the new 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual. Below are some of the changes which are most likely to impact CU faculty and students. For specific questions about the APA 7th edition, look for the new APA 7th edition citation guide to be released soon, check the APA Style Blog, or ask a librarian for assistance.

DOIs & URLs:

APA has updated its guidance on when to include a URL or DOI in the reference list. Some key changes:

  • No URL or database information is included for articles with no DOIs that are found in library/research databases
  • For articles found on a websiteinclude a URL only when there is no DOI and the URL will work for readers (i.e., a URL to a journal article published in an open access journal)
  • DOIs are now formatted as URLs, with no “DOI:” label
    • Example of a correctly formatted DOI: https://doi.org/XXXXX
  • No need to write “Retrieved from,” in front of the URL unless you are including a retrieval date

Books & eBooks:

  • Publisher location is no longer included in the reference
  • eBook citations no longer need to include the platform or device


  • Use “et al.” for sources with three or more authors.
  • Up to 20 authors are now included in the reference list entry. For more than 20 authors, authors before the last author are omitted using ellipses

New Guidance for Other Source Types

  • APA has included new guidance for citing sources such as intranet or classroom sources, podcasts, social media, YouTube videos, and more. Our revised 7th edition APA guide will have examples of these citations types
  • The Bible and other religious and classical texts are now cited in the reference list

New Student Paper Guidelines

APA now has separate guidelines for student papers. Some of the key differences are:

  • No running head unless specifically requested by the instructor
  • The title page for student papers includes relevant information such as the course name/number, instructor name, and assignment due date
  • Paper title is now bolded, with a blank line before the author’s name
  • Heading for the reference list is now bolded
  • New sample papers are provided for both student and professional papers, with annotated PDFs and DOCX versions available

Updated Guidance on Fonts and Headings

  • Any accessible and widely used font is permitted. The following are fonts and sizes are recommended by the APA because they are widely used and legible:  Calibri 11, Arial 11, Lucida Sans Unicode 10, Times New Roman 12, Georgia 11, Computer Modern 10
  • Headings levels 3-5 have been updated to improve readability. See an example below or visit the APA's Headings page for more detail

Level 1 Heading (Bold, Centered, Title Case)

Level 2 Heading (Flush Left, Bold, Title Case Heading)

Level 3 Heading (Flush Left, Bold Italic, Title Case Heading)

Level 4 Heading (Indented, Bold, Title Case Heading, Ending With a Period). 

Level 5 Heading (Indented, Bold, Italic, Title Case Heading, Ending with a Period).

APA Endorses the Use of Singular “They”

  • APA recommends the use of “they”/”their” as a singular pronoun when the gender of the subject is not relevant to the sentence

Use Single Spaces After a Period

  • Use only one space after a period at the end of a sentence

Use Quotation Marks for Linguistic Examples

  • Use double quotes (“”) rather than italics to indicate an linguistic example:
    • Example: The pronoun “they” may be used as a singular, gender neutral pronoun

Supplemental Instructor Resources for APA

If you are an instructor, you might want to review the APA's instructional aids, including instructions on how to request a copy of the APA's ancillary instructional resources. The ancillary materials include three PowerPoints on APA 7th edition in-text citations, references, and formatting as well as a transition guide for the 7th edition.


  • Last Updated Jan 30, 2020
  • Views 35
  • Answered By Amber Lovett

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