Answered By: Jeffrey Orrico
Last Updated: Feb 13, 2017     Views: 30149

Use Microsoft Word's automatic Header and Page Number functions rather than inserting them into the text of your paper manually.  This keeps this administrative material from "bumping" text during the editing process or creeping into the published version.

The APA rules for "running heads" are given on pages 229-230 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (§8.03):

  • a maximum of 50 characters, counting letters, punctuation, and spaces between words;
  • flush left;
  • all uppercase letters;
  • at the top of the title page and all subsequent pages;
  • do not use your name to identify each page, since it will have to be removed if the manuscript receives masked review.

The requirements for the Title and Byline are given in §§ 2.01 and 2.02; the text formatting is detailed in §8.03; examples of a formatted manuscript are shown on pp. 41-59.

The steps listed below are illustrated in the attached PowerPoint(R)  slide set ("APA Headers & Page Numbers")..

To create Flush Left first page running head and page number:

  1. On your title page, the Header is in the form "Running Head: SHORT TITLE OF PAPER". Click on the "Insert" tab in the ribbon at the top of the Word program, then choose the Header tool.
  2. Choose the "Blank" style from the drop-down menu.
  3. Check the box labeled "Different First Page."
  4. Header space becomes active; type first page style header "Running Head: SHORT TITLE OF PAPER"
  5. Move cursor to the end of your title. Then, with the Design Tools displayed, click the "Insert Alignment Tab"  and select the Alignment option "Right." Click OK.
  6. Click on the Quick Parts tool and click on Field in the menu.
  7. In the Field pop-up menu, scroll down to Page and click on that.
  8. In Field Properties: Format, choose the page number style [1, 2, 3, ...] and click OK.

To create Flush Left running head and page numbers for all subsequent pages:

      9.   Scroll down to the second page to repeat process for balance of paper.

      10.   Click in header area above line; if line is not visible, double-click in space at top of page to activate header space.

      11.   Enter SHORT TITLE at left. While the Header area is active, mover your cursor to the end of your title. Then, with the Design Tools displayed, click "Insert Alignment Tab" and select the Alignment option "Right." Use Quick Parts tool to create page numbers (will automatically start at “2”).

To start page numbering after title page: 

  1. In first page header area, delete page number; the second page will still be numbered "2".
  2. To start numbering on second page with number "1", click on the Insert tab, in the Headers & Footers group, click Page Number, and then click Format Page Numbers.
  3. In the Page Number Format pop-up box, choose "Start at 0" and click OK.

To change the format/style of page numbers (letters, roman numbers, etc.), use Page Number tools:

  1. Under "Insert" tab for general page numbers.
  2. Under "Header & Footer - Design Tools tab as part of header.

See attached PowerPoint illustrating these techniques.


If your results are not as you are expecting, review the steps above and try again. Speak to a reference librarian for additional assistance.

Comments (5)

  1. I've got the 1st page numbered as 0 and my Header is established. Now how do I get out of it to start typing my docement? Also the font and size keeps changing from Times Roman 12 . Please help.
    by Ann Newton on Oct 06, 2015.
  2. It sounds like you are in the special "Headers & Footers" tool bar. Click on the big X at the right end of the tool bar to close it. Then you will be able to edit your primary text, print, etc., as a regular Word doc.
    The typeface for headers, footers, footnotes, etc. it normally smaller than the one used in the main body of the paper.
    You want the number to start at 1 on the second page, with no number on the first page. Click on the HELP ? symbol (top left of screen) and search "start page numbering on page 2". The Help window gives a good step-by-step for making this change.
    Call the Reference Desk if you'd like more help (203-371-7726).
    by Barbara Hampton on Oct 06, 2015.
  3. I have tried to number my research proprosal with different formats but I failed, what can I do?
    Roman numerals & numberings
    by Henry Am on Jan 02, 2016.
  4. See second PowerPoint which shows the location of page number formatting tools.
    by Barbara Hampton on Jan 02, 2016.
  5. How many times can I say "THANK YOU". One hundred times is not enough, THANK YOU. I have been wrestling with this for weeks and just could not get it right. Thank you.
    by Clyn on Jan 19, 2017.

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