Short guidelines for the most used formatting styles

Formatting Styles Examples

APA formatting style

This style is generally used for scientific papers. First of all, the text has to be double spaced, written with Times New Roman, 12 pt., and with 1 inch margins. This style requires standard paper sizes, mainly 8.5″ x 11″.

Every page should contain a header at the top, left aligned, named running head. This consists in the title of the essay and should not be longer than 50 characters. Also, it is written only in capital letters.

In APA formatting style, numbers referring to statistical or mathematical functions are written in figures, while numbers referring to anything else are written in words.

MLA formatting style

The main aim of MLA formatting style is to bring total transparency regarding the quotations used inside the text. Thus, after every quotation, the writer is bound to write the source (author and page citation) in parentheses. Then, at the end of the paper, on a separate sheet of paper (named Works Cited), the writer must mention all the used sources, alphabetized by author’s last name.

Also, take into account that there are three types of MLA style. Ask your teachers which one their prefer and apply it to all your essays.

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CMOS formatting style

The Chicago Manual of Style 16th Edition is widely used for American English. This style has two modalities of stating the source:
1. In foot-notes and then in the bibliography; this method is usually chosen by arts and humanities students;
2. In parentheses (author, date) and then in the bibliography; this method is used by students in exact sciences.
If you don’t know the author of a text, you can still use that reference and mention all the other information you can get – translator, editor, compiler, etc.

If there are maximum three authors for a reference, you must mention them all in the bibliography. For more than three, use the abbreviation “et al”.

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Turabian formatting style

The Turabian formatting style has been created especially for research papers, theses and dissertations. It highly resembles the Chicago Manual of Style, as it has two kinds of documentation:
1. Notes (foot-notes or end-notes) and bibliography – used in history, literature and arts;
2. Author-date in parentheses and bibliography – used in natural, physical and social sciences.

In the bibliography, one should state all the information about a text: all authors, title in italics, place of publishing, publisher, and year of publishing. For online sources, one must mention the access date.

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AMA formatting style

In the American Medical Association style, all sources have to be marked inside the text with Arabic numbers. Then, in a list at the end of the document, one must state a complete reference, corresponding to each number.
If a source hasn’t been published or the writer wants to add a personal comment, these must be placed inside the text in parentheses.

The right margin of a text formatted in AMA style must be unjustified and all pages must be numbered.
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