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March 07, 2013

Fonts of Knowledge

Chelsea blog 2by Chelsea Lee

The font you choose for your manuscript has a direct impact on readability. Although your word-processing program may come with hundreds of possible fonts, only a few of them are needed for an APA Style manuscript.

  • For all text (including tables and the reference list), authors should use a serif typeface, because it improves readability. The preferred font is Times New Roman, 12 point.
  • For any text in figures, authors should use a sans serif typeface, because the clean and simple lines enhance the figure’s visual presentation. The preferred font is either Arial, Futura, or Helvetica, and font size may range from 8 to 14 points.

Uniform font guidelines not only improve the experience of reading the manuscript for editors and reviewers but also allow editors to estimate the length of a manuscript. Subtle adjustments to font face or size could otherwise add or subtract up to several pages from the overall manuscript length.

Drafts Versus Published Versions

Note that the font specifications for draft  Fancy letter Amanuscripts are usually different from those used for publication (e.g., published APA articles use a different typeface, smaller font size, closer line spacing, and a two-column arrangement). This occurs because other factors such as cost influence the typesetting specifications.

For more on how to prepare your manuscript for publication, see section 8.03 (pp. 228–231) of the APA Publication Manual, as well as section 5.25 (p. 161) for information on the preparation of figures. 

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