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AMA Guide - 11th Edition: Paper Formatting

Explicit instructions for paper format are not given in the AMA manual because publishers provide specific requirements for submitted manuscripts. These research paper format guidelines have been chosen by faculty for South College students, and can be found in the official South College AMA Style Guide. 

Note: Your instructor may have specific or additional requirements not listed in this guide.

AMA Paper Formatting Checklist

General Format

  • Margins are 1 inch on all sides throughout. 
  • Paper is double spaced throughout, including the title page, block quotes, and references.
  • Use the serif typeface Times New Roman or Arial. 
  • Use a 12pt font size throughout. 
  • Pages are numbered consecutively, right aligned in the header, starting on the first page of text. Exclude the title page and, if required, the abstract page.

Title Page

  • All text is center aligned and double spaced.
  • Full title of the paper begins a quarter down the page. 
  • Authors' full name(s) including middle initials.
  • Couse Number - Course Name
  • Assignment: Assignment Name if required
  • Affiliated institution

Abstract (If Required by Instructor)

  • Separate page after the title page.
  • Abstract is the section title, it is left aligned and not indented.
  • Text is in a block under the section title, it is not indented. 
  • Maximum 500 words.
  • Does not include quotations or reference citations. 
  • Keywords (if required) are under the abstract with the first line indented, and the word Keywords in italics followed by a colon. 
    • Keywords: 


  • Use section and subsection headings to organize content.
    • Introduction
    • Body Paragraphs
    • Summary
    • References
  • Section headings are bold and left aligned. 
  • Subsection headings are italicized and left aligned. 
  • The first line of each paragraph is indented 1/2 inch.
  • There is no extra line space between paragraphs or headings. 
  • Block quotes are double spaced, are not indented, and are 1/2 inch from the left margin. 
  • Numbers: Use Arabic numerals.
    • Avoid starting a sentence with a number.  If unavoidable, write out the number instead of using Arabic numerals.

Reference List

  • References heading is bold and left aligned at the top of the page.
  • References are left aligned. 
  • References are numbered in the order they are first cited in the body of the paper. 
  • A tab space separates the number and the first name or word of the reference. 

Tables & Figures

Each table is assigned a number based on the order it is used in the article. Following the table number (and just above the table itself) should be a clear but concise title in title case.  All elements in the table are in sentence case.

Footnotes are listed at the bottom of the table, each on its own line. However, to save space, tables with more than a few footnotes can use 2 columns for the footnotes.


An example of an AMA table. 

For more information on formatting and when to use tables, see the Tables Components section of the AMA Manual online. 

Similar to tables, each figure is assigned a number based on the order it is used in the article. Types of figures include, but are not limited to, graphs, charts, maps, drawings, and photographs. Some figures use symbols to represent data, and those figures use legends embedded in the graphic to explain those symbols. 

Following the figure number (and just above the figure itself) should be a clear but concise title.  All elements in the table are in sentence case.



For more examples and guidelines for how and when to use figures in a paper, see the Figures section of the AMA Manual online.

Do I use an appendix in AMA?

Appendices are not regularly used in AMA. AMA formatting prefers that the information, if relevant to the article, be included in the body of the article as a table or figure.  If the appendix is important, AMA favors publishing them online as online only, supplemental materials.  

The AMA Manual of Style does note that an appendix may be used "on rare occasions...for data that cannot easily be represented as a table or figure and are too central to the article to be deposited elsewhere".  The appendix is included at the end of the paper but before the references. Sources for any materials in an appendix are then included in the reference list. 

When an appendix is included in an article, it is cited in the text like a table or figure.  

Example: This kitchen is rated a 5 on the Hazard Scale (Appendix 1). 

Format an appendix the same way you would start a reference list, with "Appendix" at the top left of a new page. If there is more than one appendix, start each on a new page. Appendices are numbered and organized by the order they are referred to in the body of the article.


Appendix 1

Hazard Scale

  • 1 - The room is completely safe and the likelihood of being injured is very low.
  • 2 - The room is relatively safe, but injury is likely if one is inattentive to the environment.
  • 3 - The room is completely unsafe and injury or illness is very likely.