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APA Formatting for Headings and Subheadings

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Creating Subsections in APA Format
APA Formatting for Headings and Subheadings
Image by Grace Fleming

In the image above you see first, second, and third-level headings as they should appear in an APA paper. There are a few things you should know when creating subsections for your paper:

  • You must always have two subsections of the same level. In other words, there is no reason to create a subsection (or a subsection of a subsection) if you don't need to have at least two equal subjects or points to divide.
  • Note that heading levels one and two stand alone on a line. When you get to level three, you begin typing your text on the same line as the heading.
  • You can have up to five levels.
  • Notice that levels three to five are indented.

The five levels of headings follow these formatting rules:

  • Level one is centered, boldface, and important words are capitalized.
  • Level two is left-aligned, boldface, important words capitalized.
  • Level three is indented, boldface, ends with a period and the text begins on the same line.
  • Level four is indented, boldface, italicized, ends with a period. and the text begins on the same line.
  • Level four is indented, italicized, ends with a period, and the text begins on the same line.

Example:

                  Discussion

Text goes here.

Cats as Examples (second level)

    Cats that meowed.(third level)
Cats that didn't meow. (third level)

Dogs as Examples (second level)

   Dogs that barked.(third level)
Dogs that didn't bark.(third level)
Dogs that didn't bark because they were bored. (fourth level)
Dogs that didn't bark because they were sleeping.(fourth level)
Dogs sleeping in doghouses. (fifth level)
Dogs sleeping in the sun.(fifth level)

As always, you should check with your instructor to determine how many main (level-one) sections will be required, as well as how many pages and sources your paper should contain.

See: APA In-Text Citations

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