An APA Style How-To: Formatting Titles In-Text -->

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An APA Style How-To: Formatting Titles In-Text

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Believe it or not, there are reasons for all those APA style rules. For example, usually in APA style writing you do not include the title of an article, book, film, or other source in the body of your work. Instead, you simply use the (Author, Date) pattern that Walden U writers know so well. This rule exists since providing the actual title can clog up your text for the reader and unintentionally lead to situations of bias. But exceptions do exist. Especially for course assignments about a specific article or book, you may occasionally need to use a title in-text. For today’s APA How To, let’s take a look at how you format titles of sources in your academic writing.

Title slide for this blog post

The way you format a title in-text depends on the type of source you are consulting. Also keep in mind that this formatting is not the same as how you will format the entry for this source in your reference list.

Here’s a handy guide of how to write out titles in-text versus in your reference list:

Title Formatting Tip #1: Anything that is a self-contained work (a film, book, journal) should be in italics both in your reference list and in the body of your work. For more about the use of italics, check out our webpage on italics.
Example: In Title of Film (Helakoski, 2016), the researcher…

Title Formatting Tip #2: An article or chapter in a book should be in quotes in the body of your work. Read more about quotation marks in the body of yourpaper on our page here.

Example: In “Title of Article” (Helakoski, 2016), the researcher…

Title Formatting Tip #3: In-text, you capitalize every important word (a rule of thumb is to always capitalize words over four letters long). This is very different than the capitalization rules for your reference list. Read more on capitalization case for reference entries on APA's blog.

Example: In the article “How to Visit the Writing Center” (Helakoski, 2016)…

Title Formatting Tip #4: Even if you mention the title of the work and journal in-text, you still must to cite with the author’s name and publication year.

Example 1: In the journal Very Important Journal, the article “How to Visit the Writing Center” (Helakoski, 2016)…

Example 2: In Helakoski’s (2016) article “How to Visit the Writing Center” in Very Important Journal

Need a visual example? Here’s a handy visual chart of some differences:

In-text entry
Book Title (Author, Year)
“Article Title” (Author, Year)
Film Title (Producer, Year)
Article Title & Publication
“Article Title” (Author, Year) in Journal of Publications

So remember to use italics or quotes for titles, capitalize every important word, and always include the author and the publication year, whether it’s in-text or parenthetically cited. Follow these guidelines and you can format evidence titles like a pro!
Have any questions or comments? Leave us a message down below!

Claire Helakoski author image

Claire Helakoski is a Writing Instructor at the Walden Writing Center and holds an MFA in Creative Writing. She has taught writing and Composition as well as acted as a writer and editor in a variety of mediums. She lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and enjoys reading, writing creatively, and board games of all kinds.

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