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APA Formatting

How to format your assignment in APA style


This page focuses on APA format for paragraphs.

For more general information about how to write paragraphs, please visit the "Paragraphs" LC guide.

Paragraph Length

We suggest a minimum length of five (5) sentences and maximum length of three quarters (3/4) page for undergraduate nursing student papers.

APA does not have an absolute rule for paragraph length, but keep in mind that paragraphs develop and focus your ideas. Paragraphs that are too short most often lack development and those that are longer than one page often lack focus because they have too many ideas. 

Alignment - Flush Left

Your entire document should be aligned with the left margin (flush left). Your text should appear with a straight and even edge on the left side, while the edge will be uneven on the right side. The setting for text alignment can be found in the Paragraph area of on the Home tab in Microsoft Word.

Text, such as headings, that need to be centered can be selected individually for formatting.


The first line of each paragraph should be indented by .5 inches. One "tab" space in Microsoft Word is usually pre-set for this space. If the tab is not set correctly, you may update the setting in the Paragraph area on the Home tab in Word when you are setting line spacing (see illustration below).


Word sometimes adds extra space between paragraphs. Make sure you remove this extra line. You can do this in the Paragraph area on the Home tab in Word. Select the box for "Do not add extra space" as shown below and in the video at this link.