APA 7th edition: The Most Significant Changes

Published by at December 30th, 2021 , Revised On February 22, 2022

The APA 7th Edition was introduced by the American Psychological Association in October 2019, replacing the 6th Edition (published in 2009). During this time, we have witnessed numerous changes. From online citation to the latest technology used by our researchers today, new trends have been introduced, and the online citation is becoming more common and easier.

The 7th Edition has addressed these changes in a very extensive manner. This article will help you to better understand these changes.

References and in-text citations in APA Style

Multiple guidelines for citing online sources have been added. These guidelines have simplified the citation process.  In the new edition, 114 examples have been provided for each reference category. A simple and clear template is also made available so that users can understand and follow the citation guidelines.  The biggest and the most important changes in the 7th Edition are discussed below:

  1. There is no need to add Publisher’s location in the reference.
  • Old: Covey, S. R. (2013). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful lessons in personal change. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
  • New: Covey, S. R. (2013). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful lessons in personal change. Simon & Schuster.


  1. The in-text citation for three or more authors has been shortened. You can now use the first author’s name with et al.
  • Old: (Johns, Roberts & Kate, 2017)
  • New: (Johns et al., 2017)


  1. Surnames and initials for up to 20 authors rather than 7 authors should be provided in the reference list.
  • Old: Browns, K. C., Watson, S. J., Erik, G. L., Bevans, B. B., Kelry, K. S., Thomas, S. T., . . . Bret, D.Y. (2016).
  • New: Browns, K. C., Watson, S. J., Erik, G. L., Bevans, B. B., Kelry, K. S., Thomas, S. T., Bret, D.Y, Nelson, T. P., Crokx, G., Harrry, M. L., Bartin, P., Honelza, T. L, Beagles, B.W., Carter, D., Campbell, C., Kaker, A. B., Flora, X., Grile, S. E., Green, G., . . . Sherr P.W. (2016).


  1. The DOI is no longer needed. They are formatted same as URLs.


  1. Unless a retrieval date is required, URLs are no longer prefixed with “Retrieved from.” The name of the website (unless it’s the same as the author) is included.
  • Old: Kmec, J. (2012, March 13). Where’s the Boss? And What Counts as “Work”? The Society Pages. Retrieved from https://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2012/03/13/wheres-the-boss-and-what-counts-as-work/
  • New: Kmec, J. (2012, March 13). Where’s the Boss? And What Counts as “Work”? The Society Pages. https://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2012/03/13/wheres-the-boss-and-what-counts-as-work/


  1. Other than writers and editors, there are clear rules for including contributors. When referencing a podcast episode, for example, the presenter of the episode should be included; when referring a TV series episode, the writer and director of the show should be mentioned.
  1. For online source types like podcast episodes, social media postings, and YouTube videos, there are dozens of examples. It’s also covered how to utilise emoticons and hashtags.

Inclusive and Bias-Free Language

The APA new rule is to write inclusively and without bias language.  Thus APA’s new edition has a dedicated chapter on this subject. The rule is to write inclusively and without bias, thus APA’s new publishing handbook has a dedicated chapter on the subject.

The APA’s recommendations assist authors to reducing bias in areas like gender, age, disability, racial and ethnic identification, and sexual orientation, whilst being attentive to labels and describing people to the appropriate level of precision. Some examples are given below;

  1. The single pronouns “they” or “their” is recognised as gender-neutral
  • Old: A person career depends on how hard he or she is working.
  • New: A person career depends on how hard they are working.


  1. The use of adjectives as nouns has been replaced with descriptive phrases
  • Old: The Bad.
  • New: The condition is Bad.


  1. Instead of using a broad age category, the precise and relevant age range should be used
  • Old: People over 45 years’ old.
  • New: People in the age group of 45 years to 50 years old.

APA Paper Format

In 7th Edition, APA has introduced different guidelines to format the papers for students and professionals. Some changes are discussed below;

  1. Flexibility in Font
  2. Calibri 11
  3. Arial 11
  4. Lucida Sans Unicode 10
  5. Times New Roman 12
  6. Georgia 11
  7. Running Head

The title page no longer needs to include the words “Running Head“. The page now consists only of the page number and the precise title of the paper.

  • Old: Running head: The effect of Covid-19 on the economy.
  • New: The effect of Covid-19 on the economy.


  1. The running heads are omitted in student paper (Should follow your instructor instructions, otherwise)
  2. The heading levels from 3-5 are updated in order to better readability.

Style Mechanics

There are no significant changes has been seen in 7th Edition in terms of styling. The two most notable changes are;

  1. Only a single space should be used after a period at the end of the sentence.
  2. Use double quotation mark instead of Italics to highlight the examples.



The latest edition of the APA manual is 7th Edition published in October, 2019. However, many universities are still using APA 6th Edition.

The APA 7th Edition is currently in use.  However, we advise you to consult with your respective supervisors about which APA guidelines to follow.

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