How to Format Numbers in APA

Numbers are more than just digits; they convey information, tell stories, and support arguments in scholarly writing. But navigating the rules for formatting numbers according to APA 7 guidelines can be daunting. Fear not! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the dos and don’ts of expressing numbers in clear and consistent ways.


It is recommended to utilize numerals when expressing numbers that are equal to or greater than 10. This entails representing numbers through digits, such as 11, 23, or 256, in your scholarly writing.

When it comes to numbers from zero up to nine, the preferred method is to articulate them as words rather than using numerals. This means that figures like one, four or six should be written out in text to ensure consistency and adherence to APA formatting standards.


  • At the beginning of sentences: Initiate sentences with spelled-out numbers up to nine. For instance, Three scholars conducted groundbreaking research.
  • Expressing fractions: Articulate fractions using words. For example, Two-thirds of the participants completed the survey.
  • In an abstract: Express numbers from zero to nine using words.

Consistency Breeds Clarity: Maintaining uniformity in number presentation fosters reader comprehension and manuscript cohesion. Once a formatting style is chosen, adhere to it diligently throughout the document. Avoid mixing numeric and verbal representations unless necessitated by APA stipulations.

Contextual consideration: Consider the context to decide whether words or numerals best convey numerical information. Evaluate the nature of the information, audience, and conventions of your field. Use words for descriptive narratives and numerals for precise measurements or statistical data.

Meticulous proofreading: Proofread your document to ensure consistent and accurate number formatting. Check for any inconsistencies or errors in the use of words and numerals, and make necessary corrections to maintain clarity and adherence to APA guidelines.


  • Temporal references: Numerals denote time. For instance, “He had been a therapist for 2 years.”
  • Sequential positioning: Indicate a specific place within a sequence with numerals. For example, “Chapter 7 delves into the findings.”
  • Quantitative assessments: Numerals signify scores or points. For instance, “The participant achieved a score of 9.”
  • Measurement units: Numerals precede units of measurement. For example, “Each tree was approximately 1.5 meters tall.”
  • Mathematical components: Numerals represent parts of mathematical equations. For example, “The data fell within the top 10%.”
  • Monetary sums: Use numerals for exact monetary values. For example, “The fee amounted to $7.”


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Hannah Berry (Ph.D.)

Hannah Berry has lectured at several colleges and teaches at the WEA. Besides publishing extensively, she has taught citation skills and written multiple style guides.

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