There seems to be a great deal of confusion and discussion about Times New Roman as the only acceptable font by those who follow APA Style® guidelines. In short, this is not true.
Yes, the sample papers provided by APA on their webpages are in Times New Roman. Yes, the APA Publication Manual says Times New Roman is the “preferred typeface of APA publications” (APA, 2009, pp. 228-229).
However, in the words of the text, ” A serif typeface . . . is preferred for text because it improves readability and reduces eye fatigue” (APA, 2009, pp. 228-229). (To hear a definition of serif font, listen to Slide 5 from the Basics of APA Style tutorial on the APAStyle.org website.)
It is all about readability. TheAPA Publication Manual does not even use Times New Roman as its primary font. On page 7 of the introduction, it says the APA Publication Manual has chosen different fonts to enhance understanding and readability. Additionally, different fonts are recommended for tables and figures.
It is important to note that many web designers favor sans serif fonts (especially those fonts designed for the computer environment) because they are easier to read on the screen. Therefore, if the primary means of reading your text is digital, you may want to consider a sans serif font like Arial or Veranda.
Earlier in this blog, we have written about the importance of APA as both a format and a citation style guide. Helping students learn APA helps them do accurate research, and it improves their research writing. While it is important for students to consider font size and typeface when turning in papers, the good news is we do not have to take points off for not following APA when students do not use Times New Roman.