ASA Format Made Simple ─ A Comprehensive Guide for Your Essays and Papers


To write an exemplary research paper, essay, article, or manuscript, one needs to follow certain writing rules, and the ASA format is one of the most popular and world-recognized formats for that.

The rules are not difficult to understand and follow, but for those using the ASA format for the first time, it can get a bit troublesome, which is something this guide should be of much help with.

General Settings

Before we get into specifics of how to use the ASA format properly, let’s first go through the general modifications you need to set before you start, and detailed info on that you can also find at wr1ter.



Every format writing style has different rules and guidelines one needs to follow, and since scholars mostly use ASA format, even though it’s not essential to the content, setting margins to 1 ¼ inches on each side should be the first thing you do when “writing your dissertation” or any scholarly work in this format.


The type of font we use can play a huge role in how our text will look, and since Times New Roman is something that is accepted worldwide, we should also use it here. The size 12 is a must, but the difference between some other writing formats and ASA is that all written text should be in this size and double-spaced, even footnotes.

First Page

You should look at the first page of your essay as the first photo of your photo album, meaning that every important piece of info should be presented here. The title of the paper, authors’ names, the word count, addresses, grants, acknowledgments, and credits should, and understandably, the title footnote, which should include the authors’ names, must be clearly stated.


This one is mostly optional, as not every essay and every topic requires this segment, but if needed, there are certain rules about it that one should follow. Namely, “Abstract” should be placed on a separate page, right after the first page, and it should have a title and not more than 250 words.

It is a short summary of what the essay, thesis, or research paper is all about, but make no mistake, even though it shouldn’t be long, it still needs to make sense by itself. Another key point is that adding references or outside sources is not acceptable.



Even though most scholars are already familiar with this one, it’s still worth mentioning, as everything from footnotes, endnotes, pages, figures, and tables should be numbered sequentially.


You will use several subheadings for your paper. Depending on whether it is the first, second, or third level, you should highlight them accordingly. Namely, when you use the first level, make sure to write in all caps without underlining or using italics or bold font and place it on the left side of the paper.

For the second level, the first letter of each word is capitalized, and bold font should not be used, but it should be italicized. When the third level of subheading is needed, make sure you set it in italics, capitalize just the first word, place a period, and it should be indented at the very beginning of the next paragraph.

Other settings


Now that we have done the basic settings and rules, let’s check the tables, charts, references, and citations, as there are different rules one needs to follow in order to write in ASA format style.


It’s not uncommon to see tables in research papers and essays, which is why it’s crucial to know how to add them properly to the text. The first and most important rule is that tables should be numbered consecutively and added chronologically on separate pages at the end of the paper.

Other guidelines are mostly about naming tables properly, as every table should have an explanation that once we look at it, we immediately know what it is about without having to check the text. Besides that, depending on what the table is about, one should follow other rules, like table measurements, headings, metrics, significance level, and statistics.

Charts and other visual arts

Just like tables, using charts can be of much help in better and easier understanding of the text, and that is why we can almost always see them in papers. Understandably, even here, following certain rules is a must, and it all starts with whether adding a chart really improves the content.

There are three main questions that can be of much help to evaluate whether a certain chart should be added, whether it expands the information provided, whether it clarifies the content, and whether it explains and help understand the concept of the text better. If these three criteria are met, then charts should be inserted.

Once this is settled, other rules regarding editing, inserting, and making it look professional do not represent that big of a problem.



The best way to showcase how skilled of a writer you are is by using various sources, but since that means the paper will be extremely referenced, make sure not to comment and give personal opinions on that topic unless the goal of that paper is to be argumentative.

Also, first-person narrative is not recommended, and when you write, make sure to be straightforward, as there is no room for slang and jargon. Using abbreviations is also not something that this type of paper should include, and in order to use acronyms, when you use them for the first time, provide the full name with the acronym in parentheses, and every other time you can use just the acronym.

In-text citations

In order to write a great paper, you need to use many sources, and when you use those sources, you must use in-text citations, and there are certain rules that one needs to follow when doing so. The general rule is that when citing someone, use their last name and the publishing date of that source.

The concept is the same when there is more than one author. If the work doesn’t provide the author’s name, use as much info as possible to help readers find the work in the reference list. If there is more than one citation, just follow the rules regarding authors, separate the references with a semicolon, and place them sequentially.