apa.cls is a document class for typesetting manuscripts with LaTeX according to the rules of the 5th edition (2001) of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. It simplifies writing of the manuscript, taking care of appearance and leaving only the content to the author (in true LaTeX fashion) and it also allows both for manuscript look and journal look with a simple option to the class-loading command.

Note: apa.cls is not in any way connected to or endorsed by the American Psychological Association.

An article (in Greek) about apa.cls can be found in the first issue of Eutupon, the magazine of the Greek Tex Friends Group. A more recent article in English is also availabe.

Warning: apa.cls has a well defined scope and purpose, and I'm already too busy for it. Please don't request modifications or features that are not related to the stated purpose (which is to create manuscripts suitable for submission to APA journals and to typeset these same manuscripts in true journal look). For example, if you want the figures in the manuscript text but the rest as in man mode, then you're on your own as to how you might modify apa.cls (or not) to achieve that. In particular, if you want to write your thesis, apa.cls is not for you. Please do not write to me asking for help with this. Use apacite for APA-style citations and write your own typesetting code or search for a thesis class suitable for your University.

Manuscript look (man mode)

In man mode, apa.cls typesets a title page, abstract page, text body, then references, appendices, author notes, footnotes, tables, figure captions, and figures. All text is double spaced. The title page contains the (centered) title, author name, affiliation, short title, and the running head (automatically capitalized). A note may be inserted in place of each table and figure in the text. The title is printed as a heading at the beginning of the text. \leftheader is ignored while the contents of \note are printed under the author names and affiliations, typically the date of submission. The “Author Notes” page contains the contents of \acknowledgements. A footnote page is produced if there is at least one footnote in the text.

Printed journal look (jou mode)

In jou mode, apa.cls typesets the text in double-sided, double column format, with an appropriately centered title, author names, affiliations, note, and abstract. The contents of acknowledgements are printed as footnotes in a box at the lower left corner of the first page. Journal-like headers can also be produced on the first page. Dimensions and overall “look” are modeled after
JEP:HPP. The purpose of this format is to produce readable and reasonably condensed output for double-sided printing and distribution.

Regular LaTeX look (doc mode)

In doc mode, apa.cls typesets the text in single-sided, single-column format, with an appropriately centered title, author names, affiliations, note, and abstract on the first page. The contents of acknowledgements are printed at the bottom of the first page. Section headings and enumeration follow the APA guidelines and floats (figures and tables) are inserted in the text where they are defined, as in regular LaTeX articles. The purpose of this format is to provide hardcopies during the development of articles that are later going to be submitted (using the manuscript format) and distrubuted (using the journal format). The advantage over using a regular article class is that all the extra definitions are supported and no changes need thus be made to the text other than the format parameter.

Author and version

apa.cls is written and maintained by Athanassios Protopapas, who currently works at the Institute for Language & Speech Processing in Athens, Greece. The current version is 1.3.4, released on December 9th, 2008. It can found on CTAN, the LaTeX Catalogue, or it may be downloaded from here. There are no more recent “working” versions at this time.

apa.cls is distributed under the terms of the LaTeX Project Public License (lppl). In short, this means that the software is copyright but you are granted “a license which gives you, the ‘user’ of the software, legal permission to copy, distribute, and/or modify the software. However, if you modify the software and then distribute it (even just locally) you must change the name of the software to avoid confusion” (quoted from The TeX Catalogue License Definitions).

The history of apa.cls revisions can be found in the CHANGELOG file.

Maintainance and request for help

There is still a lot of work to be done before apa.cls can be considered sufficiently complete. Unfortunately I don't have much time to devote to it any more, so updates are few and far between. I am quite ready to hand over the honor of maintaining apa.cls to someone fresh and willing. If you think apa.cls is worth some of your time and you would like to contribute to it, be sure to let me know. Alternatively, feel free to work on one of the following topics (or something else you think is missing or in need of improvement) and send me the result:

Although this is a purely “free time” project for me, in general I have tried to be responsive about requests related to apa.cls and especially when bugs or other problems are involved. Do not hesitate to contact me if you encounter difficulties or unexpected (or unacceptable) behavior when using apa.cls to prepare manuscripts for submission, after you have searched apacls.txt and examples.txt and failed to find an answer to your problem. Don't even think about writing to me about using apa.cls for any purpose other than preparing an APA style manuscript for submission to a journal.


apa.cls was created a long time ago out of stylefile mutations based on theapa style by Young U. Ryu. Some of Young Ryu's code still survives in the current version, in particular the sectioning and seriation/enumeration commands. Many people have contributed to the development of apa.cls through bug reports, suggestions and requests for features and improvements, and even some actual code! The name of every contributor is mentioned in the CHANGELOG and I am grateful to them all.

System requirements

Other than a running LaTeX2e installation and the apacite package for APA style citations (sty and bst), there isn't much you need in order to use apa.cls. Required packages for man mode are endfloat and endnotes. For jou mode there are no required packages, but fancyhdr, ftnright, txfonts (or pslatex, or times and mathptm), and flushend are nice to have (after all, you want your article to really look like published, don't you?).

Instructions for using apa.cls

apa.cls is distributed with two files you must read carefully before trying to use it, apacls.txt and examples.txt. An online version of those instructions follows. You may also examine apaexample.tex (and the accompanying bibliography file examplebib.bib), which contains a minimal complete sample “article” that can be processed using apa.cls to produce an APA-style manuscript.

To use apa.cls, include one of the following at the top of your document preamble:


You should not load the article class because it is automatically called by apa.cls. You should also not load any of the required or optional packages mentioned above using the command \usepackage because they are automatically loaded by apa.cls in the appropriate order.

Title and header information

In the preamble of your document, define the basic manuscript information:

\author{First Author and Second Author}
\affiliation{Department of Both Authors\\ University}

If there is only one author or more than one author but all in the same department, use the \author command as in the above example, with all names in its argument; and use the \affiliation command for the department. If there are people from two different departments, use the \twoauthors and \twoaffiliations commands to group them appropriately:

\twoauthors{First Author(s)}{Second Author(s)}
\twoaffiliations{Affiliation of 1st Author(s)}{Affiliation of 2nd Author(s)}

For three affiliations use \threeauthors and \threeaffiliations, and for four affiliations there's \fourauthors and \fouraffiliations. Five and six affiliations (and corresponding authors or author groups) are similarly supported (\fiveauthors and so on). If there are more than six departments involved you're out of luck with apa.cls and I doubt they would fit on the title page anyways.

In addition to authors and their affiliations, you should also define the following:

\abstract{Text of your abstract...}
\acknowledgements{Author notes, acknowledgements, contact information...}
\rightheader{Running head for journal look}
\shorttitle{Short title for manuscript header}
\leftheader{Left head for journal look}

These fields are not technically necessary for the document to pass through LaTeX, though they are obligatory for any real APA-style manuscript. If you don't define a right header or short title, they default to the title; if you don't define a left header, it defaults to the author name(s).

You may also define a note if you want:

\note{Date of current draft; or status; or additional address information...}

If you really want your document to have the journal look, you should also define the fields for the first page header, which in the journals hold reference and copyright information. In apa.cls there are:

\journal{Journal name}
\volume{Volume, number, pages}
\ccoppy{Copyright notice}
\copnum{Serial number or other reference}

The content of these definitions is ignored in man mode (manuscript look), of course.

After these definitions in the preamble, you begin your manuscript in the regular LaTeX way and invoke the command to make the title page:


Do not leave a blank line between these two commands. Also, do not leave a blank line between \maketitle and the beginning of your (introduction) text, either. This is important for the correct typesetting of the first manuscript page.


The default sectioning for apa.cls maps the standard LaTeX sectioning commands \section, \subsection, and \subsubsection to the three-level heading definitions of the APA manual. See examples.txt for usage examples.

If you need more or fewer heading levels, you can use the command \headinglevels{four} (or any number between one and five—spelled out—instead of four) and then use \paragraph and \subparagraph for the lower-level sectioning. Actually, if you need fewer than three levels you don't really need to do anything other than use only \section and \subsection, but if you do invoke the \headinglevels command, then the appearance of the manuscript will strictly conform to the APA guidelines for the fewer levels.

Note: Don't bother to \label your sections; since they are not numbered according to APA style, they cannot be referenced elsewhere in the document using \ref, so there is no point in labeling them.

Enumeration and seriation

See file apaenum.txt in the apa.cls distribution. Enumeration and seriation are taken without modification from Young U. Ryu's code. In short, there are three kinds of environments, called seriate, enumerate, and itemize. They are used in the same way the standard LaTeX environments enumerate and itemize are used, but produce output according to the APA style. The seriate environment is used for inline enumeration, when you want to say, for example (a) one thing, (b) another thing, and (c) maybe a third thing, all in APA style.

Float placement, loading, and content

Floats, that is, figures and tables, are used in the regular LaTeX way, through the figure and table environments, respectively. You can use the t and b options for selectively putting a float at the top or bottom of a page. Always include p after t or b so that you won't risk running out of space if a float is too big. The h option for in-text figures is not recommended because it's not used in APA journals.

Remember to use \label for floats after the caption (and not inside it!)


I assume that in figures we most often want to include an image for some graph or other kind of picture which is stored in a separate image file of the right kind (eps if we use latex with dvips, pdf if we use pdflatex or latex with dvipdfm).

An image can be included in any way you like, but apa.cls provides a way to deal automatically with fitting encapsulated postscript (EPS) files without worrying about dimensions or mode. Just use the command \fitfigure instead of \includegraphics. For example, if you want to include a graph from file graph1.eps, the simplest (and recommended) way is:

\caption{This is the caption of the figure.}

You may include the image file extension (.eps in this case) in the \fitfigure or \includegraphics command, but if you omit it (as in the example), then if you happen to use pdflatex it will automatically load the corresponding .pdf graphic file (assuming you have made one with eps2pdf), while dvips will load the .eps file. In short, you don't need the extension, and leaving it out may make your life easier.

In case of a bitmap eps (as opposed to a graph or line drawing), you probably don't want it scaled in man mode, for best reproduction, so use \fitbitmap instead.

Note: If you want to include images in your manuscript, don't forget the command \usepackage{graphicx} in your preamble! You should not use epsfig or graphics instead of graphicx.


Tables are stretched to occupy the corresponding text width and are placed with appropriate typefaces etc., but it is your responsibility to format the tabular environments in accordance with the APA guidelines (e.g., no vertical lines, and so on). You should always precede the actual table body with its caption (i.e., use \caption before \begin{tabular}) or the results won't be conforming to the APA requirements for tables.

To match the APA-journal look you can use \thickline (instead of \hline) for the top separator (right after starting the tabular environment).

Because a paragraph break is inserted in manuscript mode (optionally with an “insert table/figure” note), don't define tables in the middle of a paragraph.

Wide (two-column) tables and figures

When an image or table is too wide for a single column, use a double-column float, noted with an asterisk after the float environment designation (see the LaTeX book). For a wide (two-column) figure, use \begin{figure*} and \end{figure*}, instead of beginning and ending {figure}. For a two-column table, similary, begin and end a table* environment.

When using double column figures, it looks better in jou mode if you use \centeredcaption instead of caption, with the first parameter about equal to the width of the float (table or figure). This makes no difference in man mode.

If your table is too wide to fit upright on a manuscript page, load the rotating package and use a sidewaystable environment (instead of table). You need the special configuration file endfloat.cfg, supplied with apa.cls, for this to work.

Long tables

By popular demand, longtable now (sort of) works with apa.cls. You must not load the longtable package yourself, due to precedence requirements for proper endfloat function and cross-definitions. Instead, pass the longtable option to apa.cls. See the longtable documentation or the LaTeX Companion for instructions on using longtable.

Since longtable only works in single-column documents it can only be used with man mode. Unfortunately the conditional compilation (ifapamode) commands won't work to keep a single table body and apply a mode-specific (table or longtable) environment because of illegal cross-nesting with environment begin/end. In fact the table environment won't even work inside in ifapamode argument, which makes it impossible to have a single file that can be processed for both man and jou. This defeats the purpose of apa.cls, so only resort to longtable if you absolutely have to. You will need the supplied endfloat.cfg to use it.

A simpler, less clean solution for long tables (not using any specialized package) is shown on page 47 of an article about apa.cls.

Notes in tables

There is a simple way to include notes in tables such as, for example, to indicate levels of significance. The command \tabfnm{X} inside a table cell (tabular environment) produces the note mark. Use \tabfnt{X}{Note text} immediately before or after \end{tabular} inside the table environment to produce the note text. See examples.txt. It is not possible to number the notes automatically, but since it is frequently necessary to refer to the same note repeatedly within a table (e.g., for a level of significance), automatic numbering would create more problems than it would solve.

Conditional compilation

You can have some text appear differently in each mode, or only appear in some mode(s). You can also modify the appearance of tables, figures, or equations between modes of compilation. Here's an unexciting example:

\ifapamodeman{This is printed in man mode only}{This is not man mode}

You can also use the three-way switch:

The current mode is \ifapamode{man}{jou}{doc}

Document typefaces

The journal format (jou mode) uses Times Roman by default (it does look like published after all). If you don't have txfonts.sty or pslatex.sty or times.sty, or if you just prefer computer modern fonts, add notimes after the jou option in the class line: \documentclass[jou,notimes]{apa} (notimes has no effect in modes other than jou and may be left in when switching).

The manuscript format (man mode) uses Computer Modern by default but can use Helvetica or typewriter look by using the options helv or tt, respectively. I find the result with either of these much more “manuscript”-like looking, especially using tt (\documentclass[man,tt]{apa}), but that's a matter of taste. These options have no effect in modes other than man and may be left in when switching.

In the document format (doc mode), Computer Modern are used be default and should probably be used all the time since, after all, this is supposed to be the most “regular” LaTeX-like format.

Bibliography and citations

By default, apa.cls uses the apacite package by Erik Meijer for citations which offers complete coverage and excellent conformance to APA guidelines, including apacite handling of electronic sources and non-English language forms. You should count on using bibTeX with the corresponding apacite.bst style file for your bibliography. Citation commands include the standard bibtex options such as \cite but there are substantial extensions to cover other needs such as contracted vs. full author lists, author name only or year only for complex constructions, text preceding or following reference list in parentheses etc. For instructions on using the various citation forms and output examples get apacite.tex, testAPA.tex, and readme.apa from the CTAN mirror near you.

At the end of your document, before any appendices, issue the \bibliography command with the file names of the relevant bib files (standard bibtex usage). Do not use a \bibliographystyle command, because apacite is selected and loaded automatically (however, for backwards compatibility, any existing \bibliographystyle command is nicely ignored with a warning).

BibLaTeX update: As of version 1.3.4, apa.cls can also be used with BibLaTeX (with the biblatex-apa style by Philip Kime). Use the noapacite option to apa.cls to prevent it from automatically loading apacite. You can then load biblatex as usual and use the biblatex-apa package for citations and references. See the biblatex documentation and biblatex-apa documentation.


The appendix part comes last, that is, after the references section. Consistent with standard LaTeX usage, the command \appendix is used once, at the point where your (first) appendix starts, to signal the change from regular matter to appendix matter. From that point on, regular sectioning commands refer to appendix sections. In particular, each use of the \section command starts a new appendix. Use, for example

\section{Appendix Title}

to start an appendix (even if there is only one). Each appendix has its title, while numbering (“Appendix A,” “Appendix B” etc.) is taken care of automatically in case there are more than one appendices.

You are free to use figures and tables in the usual way in the appendix(es). apa.cls will number them correctly and include them in the table and figure lists where they belong.

You may use cross-references to appendixes, because they are numbered, if there are more than one. A command such as \label{app:xxx} after the appendix \section sets the label. Then you may refer to this appendix with


from anywhere in your manuscript.

Non-English documents

As of 2005, apa.cls and apacite can handle non-English documents with babel. Because there are potential conflicts between apacite and babel, you may not load babel from your document, but must pass it as an option to apa.cls, so that it can be loaded in the appropriate order and handled correctly. Desired languages are listed as additional options to apa.cls, and will be passed on to babel automatically when loaded. Remember that the main language of your document is the one listed last. For example, if your article is written in Dutch, use
If, however, your article is in English but you need support for Greek, for example to cite certain passages using \textgreek, then use

apa.cls produces certain strings in the manuscript, mostly as titles to obligatory sections (pages): “Running head,” “Author note,” “Figure captions,” and “Footnotes” (other strings, such as “Abstract,” “References,” and the float labels “Table” and “Figure” are handled by babel and/or apacite). These strings are defined in external files, so new ones can easily be added. These files are named with the language name (as known by babel) and the extension .apa (for example, greek.apa). If the definitions for your languages are not supplied with apa.cls, copy english.apa with the new file name for your language, and edit the macro definitions inside the new file to display the correct strings in the new language. Send me the new file so it can be included with future distributions of apa.cls.


If you use vectors, the command \apavector{X} will make your life easier.

If you need to use additional options for article.cls, list them as apa.cls options and they will be automatically passed along to article.cls.

List of apa.cls commands

In the following alphabetical list of commands you can see the number and kind of parameters needed for the use of each one:

 \abstract{Abstract text}                    
 \acknowledgements{Author notes etc.}   
 \affiliation{Department\\ University}  
   \twoaffiliations{Affiliation of 1st Author(s)}{Affil. of 2nd Author(s)}
 \author{Author Name(s)}                
   \twoauthors{First Author(s)}{Second Author(s)}
 \ccoppy{Copyright notice}
 \copnum{Serial number}
 \leftheader{Author name list}
 \journal{Journal name}
 \note{Draft/submission date, etc.}
 \rightheader{Running head}
 \shorttitle{Short title}
 \tabfnt{a}{Note text}
 \volume{Volume, number, pages}

List of options to apa.cls

Loads babel to support hyphenation and features for languages other than English. Desired languages should be listed as additional options after babel.
Effective in man mode, adds figure numbering to the figure pages. Makes it easier to refer to figures and I recommend it for the reviewers' copies, but for the original figures you need to have them printed without this and write the number with pencil on the back.
Effective in man mode, inserts placeholders for floats in text (“Insert Figure X about here” – no longer required by APA)
Effective in man mode, uses Helvetica as the base typeface
Only usable in man mode, loads longtable.sty if you really must use long tables in your manuscript.
Prevents loading of apacite to allow use of BibLaTeX with the biblatex-apa style for citations and references. See the biblatex and biblatex-apa documentation.
Effective in man mode, turns off boldface in section headers for strict conformance to APA style.
Effective in man mode, neutralizes the \helvetica command. This is only included for backwards compatibility and should not be used any more since the \helvetica command is not supported now.
Effective in jou mode, cancels the automatic stretching of tabular environments to the width of their enclosing float.
Effective in jou mode, cancels loading pslatex (or times) and uses computer modern fonts.
Effective in jou mode, ignores search for txfonts and tries to load pslatex (or times) in order to typeset with Times Roman.
Effective in man mode, uses a typewriter base typeface
Note: Options may be left in the \documentclass line when compiling any mode, since they are quietly ignored when they are not effective.

Possible problems

If you follow the instructions you shouldn't really have any problems. In terms of restrictions, you should keep in mind that only up to six affiliations (for article author(s)) are supported, and that there is no provision for A4 paper dimensions (but see examples.txt for a workaround).

Last updated on December 9th, 2008
by Athanassios Protopapas