APA 6 vs 7 differences

APA 6 vs 7 differences

APA 6 & 7 Comparison Tables

Here at the Writing Center, we are busy preparing revisions to our APA resources, which will be released when the university adopts APA’s seventh edition this summer. In the meantime, see the following comparison tables for a preview of what will change when we move to APA’s seventh edition.


These comparison tables offer highlights of some changes between APA 6 and APA 7. Note that these are not comprehensive tables of all changes between the two editions.

Topic APA 6 (location and old guideline) APA 7 (location and new guideline)
In-text citation format for three or more authors Table 6.1: In in-text citations of sources with three to five authors, list all authors the first time, then use et al. after that; for sources with six or more authors, use et al. for all citations. 8.17 (Table 8.1): In in-text citations, use et al. for all citations for sources with three or more authors.
Direct quotation from audiovisual works No guidance from the manual itself (only the APA Style Blog). 8.28: To quote directly from an audiovisual work, include a time stamp marking the beginning of the quoted material in place of a page number.
Dates listed in secondary source citations 6.17: Secondary source citation does not include the date of the original source. APA 6 vs 7 differences 8.6: Secondary source citation includes the date of the original source.


Topic APA 6 (location and old guideline) APA 7 (location and new guideline)
Number of author names listed in a reference 6.27: Provide surnames and initials for up to seven authors in a reference entry. If there are eight or more authors, use three spaced ellipsis points after the sixth author, followed by the final author name (no ampersand). 9.8: Provide surnames and initials for up to 20 authors in a reference entry. If there are 21 or more authors, use the ellipsis after the 19th, followed by the final author name (no ampersand).
Reference format when publisher and author are the same 7.02: When a work’s publisher and author are the same, use the word “Author” as the name of the publisher in its reference entry. 9.24: When a work’s publisher and author are the same, omit the publisher in its reference entry.
Issue numbers for journal articles in references 6.30; see also 7.01: Include issue number when journal is paginated separately by issue. 9.25: Include issue number for all periodicals that have issue numbers.
Publisher location 6.30: Provide publisher location (city, state, etc.) before publisher name. 9.29: Do not include publisher location (city, state, etc.) after publisher name in a reference.
Reference for online work with no DOI 6.32: If an online work has no DOI, provide the home page URL of the journal or of the book/report publisher. 9.34: If an online work (e.g., a journal article) has no DOI and was found through an academic research database, generally, no URL is needed. The reference will look just like the print version.
Hyperlinks in DOI and URL formatting 6.32: DOI begins with either “doi:” or with “https://doi.org/” in references. The recommendation that URLs should be in plain black text, not underlined, follows examples from APA 6 and the APA Style Blog. 9.35: Both DOIs and URLs should be presented as hyperlinks (beginning with “http://” or “https://”). Standardize DOIs as starting with “https://doi.org/”. In documents to be read online, use live links. Blue/underlined or plain black text, not underlined, are both acceptable.
URL retrieval information in references 7.01: URLs include a retrieval phrase (e.g., “Retrieved from”). 9.35: The words “Retrieved from” or “Accessed from” are no longer necessary before a URL. The only time the word “Retrieved” (and not “Retrieved from”) is needed is in those rare cases where a retrieval date is necessary (see p. 290, 9.16).
Website name in references for online media Chapter 7: List the URL but not the website in the publication information. 10.15-10.16: Include the name of the website in plain text, followed by a period, before the URL. APA 6 vs 7 differences


Avoiding Bias
Topic APA 6 (location and old guideline) APA 7 (location and new guideline)
Singular usage of “they” 3.12: No mention of singular human pronouns other than traditional, binary “he” and “she” and their related forms. 4.18: Use singular “they” and related forms (them, their, etc.) when (a) referring to a person who uses “they” as their preferred pronoun (b) when gender is unknown or irrelevant.
Disability 3.15: Use person-first language. 5.4: Both person-first and identity-first language “are fine choices overall” (p. 137). Okay to use either one until you know group preference.
Gender and noun/pronoun usage n/a: No guidance. 5.5: Use individuals’ preferred names and pronouns even if they differ from official documents, keeping in mind concerns about confidentiality.
Race and ethnicity–Latin@ n/a: No guidance. 5.7: “Latin@” for Latino and Latina can be used to avoid “Latino,” which is gendered.
Race and ethnicity–Latinx n/a: No guidance. 5.7: “Latinx” can be used to include all gender identities.


General Formatting/Mechanics
Topic APA 6 (location and old guideline) APA 7 (location and new guideline)
Italics vs. quotation marks 4.07: Use italics to highlight a letter, word, phrase, or sentence as a linguistic example (e.g., they clarified the distinction between farther and further). 6.07: Use quotation marks to refer to a letter, word, phrase, or sentence as a linguistic example of itself (e.g., they clarified the difference between “farther” and “further”).
Numbers 4.31: Numbers in the abstract of a paper should be expressed as numerals. 6.32: Use numerals for numbers 10+ for all sections of the paper including the abstract (numbers in abstracts now follow general APA number rules).
Numbers expressing time 4.31: Although numerals should be used for numbers that represent time (among other things) even if below 10, the number should be spelled out if it refers to an approximate amount of time (e.g., about three months ago). 6.32: Numbers representing time are written as numerals, not spelled out, regardless of whether the time is exact or approximate (e.g. “about 7 weeks,” “3 decades,” or “approximately 5 years ago”).
Punctuation for bulleted lists within a sentence 3.04: For bulleted lists within a sentence (i.e., when each list item is a word or phrase, not a complete sentence), use punctuation after each list element in the same way you would if the sentence had no bullets (i.e., commas or semicolons as appropriate and a period after the last item). 6.52*: For bulleted lists withina sentence, there is the option to either (a) use no punctuation after any of the list items, including the last, or (b) use punctuation after each bulleted item in the same way you would if the sentence had no bullets (as was the case in APA 6). The manual suggests that using no punctuation may be more appropriate for lists of shorter, simpler items. *Note: The term “seriation” does not appear in APA 7 and has been replaced by “lists” (see 6.50 for lettered lists, 6.51 for numbered lists, and 6.52 for bulleted lists).
Spacing after punctuation marks 4.01: Recommendation to space twice after punctuation marks at the end of sentences to aid readers of draft manuscripts. APA 6 vs 7 differences 6.1: Insert only one space after periods or other punctuation marks that end a sentence. APA 6 vs 7 differences
Preferred spellings of technology terms Based on how words were written in 6th edition manual, not explicit examples of spelling, preferred spellings were as follows: “e-mail,” “Internet,” and “web page.” 4.12 indicates spelling should conform to standard American English as in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. 6.11: Commonly used technology terms are listed and should be spelled as follows: “email,” “internet,” and “webpage.”
Use of abbreviations in headings n/a: No guidance in manual; On the archived sixth edition APA Style Blog, APA experts recommended not using abbreviations in headings. (see post titled “Can I use abbreviations in headings?”) 6.25: Abbreviations can be used in headings if they were previously defined in the text (but cannot be defined in the heading itself), or if the abbreviation is exempt from needing definition because it appears as a term in the dictionary.
Acceptable fonts 8.03: The preferred typeface is Times New Roman, 12-point. 2.19: A variety of fonts are acceptable, with focus on accessibility for readers. APA accepts sans serif fonts such as Calibri 11, Arial 11, and Lucida Sans Unicode 10, as well as serif fontssuch as Times New Roman 12, Georgia 11, and Computer Modern 10. Note: Per our institutional requirement, Walden doctoral capstones should use Times New Roman 12. Walden coursework templates also use Times New Roman 12, but the other APA-endorsed fonts arealso acceptable in Walden coursework.


Paper-Specific Formatting
Topic APA 6 (location and old guideline) APA 7 (location and new guideline)
Paper title length 2.01: Recommended title length is no more than 12 words. 2.4: No prescribed limit for title length (though recommendation for conciseness).
Title formatting 2.1: Title in regular type (not bold). 2.4: Title in bold type.

There is an institutional variation for titles in doctoral capstone documents (i.e., dissertations, doctoral studies, or projects): The title is in plain type. Doctoral capstone students should refer to the APA 7 template for their program posted on the Doctoral Capstone Form and Style Programs page after June 1 to see this Walden institutional variation in place.

Heading levels 3,4, and 5 formatting 3.03: Levels 3, 4, and 5 are all indented and sentence case. 2.27-2.28: Levels 3, 4, and 5 are all title case. Level 3 is now flush left, while 4 and 5 remain indented. APA 6 vs 7 differences
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