How-to: Running Headers

One of our intern editors for the Made in Millersville Journal and the Project Manager for Authors, Leah Freeman, works very hard to ensure all publications look amazing, as well as makes sure every article or project meets the criteria for the APA style guide and the Made in Millersville Journal. Although there are some things that the APA style guide (or whichever format guide you follow) does not include, there may be certain elements that the publication in which you want to publish with requires. The purpose of this is to have uniform organization that continues among all issues; One of these requirements for our Journal is the inclusion of running headers. Below are some tips from Leah that cover the basics of creating a running header:


The MiMJ is an example of a publication which utilizes the 7th edition of APA, the newest version of APA format. To meet this new requirement for APA, an extremely important, yet overlooked, step includes the requirements for a running header. Running headers are a key component because no one knows the paper more than the author themselves. So, while a typesetter or editor may be able to write the required header for a piece of published work, it is more valuable to the author and the article publication if the author writes the header themselves--taking ownership of their entire creation.


Some tips on how to write a running header:

  • The running head should not be labeled as a running header (according to 7th edition APA and MiMJ’s specific requirements--this may vary among formats and publications)

  • The running header is written in all uppercase letters (according to 7th edition APA and MiMJ’s specific requirements--this may vary among formats and publications)

  • For example, a paper titled “A Study of the Personality Trait Variations Within Young, Middle, and Adult Ages in the United States” should have a running header as “A STUDY OF PERSONALITY TRAIT VARIATIONS”, and not “A Study of Personality Trait Variations”.

  • It should be a shortened version of your title, especially if your title is a longer one, unless the title is already pretty short

  • For example, a paper titled “A Study of Personality Trait Variations Within Young, Middle, and Adult Ages in the United States” (101 characters with spaces) can be shorted as “A STUDY OF PERSONALITY TRAIT VARIATIONS” (39 characters with spaces)

  • Make sure it is left justified, while the page number is right justified


Most importantly, and most overlooked…

  • The entire header should not be more than 50 characters, INCLUDING spaces

-Leah Freeman


So with all of this, do you feel more comfortable with using APA? Do you usually use APA or MLA?