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Pharmacy: Formatting

How to Format the Paper using AMA Style

NOTE:  Unfortunately the AMA Manual of Style is not very specific on formats to use, including a format for the Title Page. Be sure and check with your instructor or the publisher to whom you are submitting a paper for more specific formatting rules.

Formatting a paper means using proper references within the text and bibliography, but also using the stylistic matters laid out in the AMA Manual of Style to format the text. This includes such factors as using headings and capitalizing them appropriately, line spacing, margins, text style issues (such as using "one" or "1", using AM or a.m. or A.M.), placement of page numbers, preferred font and spacing for graphs, preferred size and shape for tables, etc. This guide includes some basic help on manuscript style, but it is not extensive.

Consult the AMA Manual of Style for detailed information on manuscript style.

Acronyms, abbreviations, initialisms:

Acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms are discouraged from use, except for well-known and accepted units of measurement and some well-recognized terms. 

  • If used, spell out at the first use, even if the acronym or initialism is well-known. Do not place periods between the letters of an acronym, abbreviation or initialism.
  • State names should always appear as full names in the text of a manuscript. If included in references, use the two-letter abbreviation.


Numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.) should be used in all writing, except when:

  • The number begins the sentence or title
  • Common fractions
  • Ordinals: first through ninth
  • Number spelled out in quotations or titles of works cited.
  • One number may be spelled out, if the sentence requires multiple numbers to be placed next to each other. e.g., "If 12 16-year-olds had this reaction..." should be changed to "If twelve 16-year-olds..."


  • To indicate a time of day, use AM or PM in small capitals. (18.5.3)
  • Conventional 12-hour clock time is preferred. However, 24 hour or military time convention can also be used to convey precise timing when needed, such as when describing drug dosage regimens.


  • When dates are provided in the text, use numerals for day and year, and write out the month, e.g., April 2, 2010.
  • If using dates in a table, you may use numerals for the month (e.g., 4/2/2010).


  • Use SI (Le Système International d'Unitiés) standards for writing measurements. Numbers are always written in plain text, there is a space after the number and prior to the unit, and never a period after the unit (unless it ends a sentence).
  • Do not include commas in longer numbers (e.g., 1600 km, not 1,600 km).

Adapted from USC Norris Medical Library AMA:Citing Your Sources

Sample AMA Format for DNP Nursing Papers

NOTE: This is a sample ONLY.  Please check with your assignment instructions for current guidelines on formatting your paper.

Spacing: Double space

Margins: 1"

Font: Size 12, any font type.  AMA suggests two typefaces (a serif for body text and a sans serif for titles and subheads) with appropriate use of styles, such as bold and italics for a scholarly publication. (5.22.4)

Indents: 1/2"

Page numbering: Each page, beginning with the title page, should be numberd consecutively.  Page numbers are usually placed in the upper right corner.

References:  Reference entries should be listed and numbered in the order they were cited in your paper. If the citation extends to a second line, do NOT indent (as in APA). 

Example from AMA Manual 3.11.3:

1. Rainier S, Thomas D, Tokarz D, et al. Myofibrillogenesis regulator 1 gene mutations cause paroxysmal dystonic choreoathetosis. Arch Neurol. 2004;61(7):1025-1029

2. Hyduk A, Croft JB, Ayala C, Zheng K, Zheng Z-J, Mensah GA. Pulmonary hypertension surveillance—United States, 1980–2002. MMWR Surveill Summ. 2005;54(5):1-28.


Title Page



[Capitalize the first letter of each major word in titles and subtitles]

First Name and Last Name

University of Washington Student Number

Course Title