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APA Basics with Dr. Paper Software Review by Laura Delgado

The Write Direction
1204 Grandview Ave.
Grandview, OH 43212

APA Basics with Dr. Paper Software is a program that takes care of all your paper formatting needs, allowing you to forget about everything but writing. That should be welcome news to students everywhere who think they are finished with a paper when they are done writing, only to find out that they have only just begun as they struggle with footnotes, works cited pages, abstracts, and pagination issues. The product comes as an installation CD with a 145-page spiral bound user guide. The guide contains the following sections: About Research Writing Assignments, A Few Writing Tips, APA Document Format, Parts of an APA Style Paper, Reference Basics, Sample APA Paper, Using Dr. Paper Software, Writing the Reference List, and Reference Samples (there are 50 of these, including how to cite everything from podcasts to corporate reports). The software currently costs $19.99 to download (two licenses for one individual) or $39.99 for the CD and printed user guide (licenses for three computers).

Following the CD installation directions, the software installs as an add-on to your Word menu (it is compatible with both Windows and Mac, and works with Word versions 97, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016). An icon will also be added to your desktop. The software works with Word to correctly format all your documents using either APA, MLA, or Turabian formatting. Dr. Paper Software is used at over 3,000 institutions in 97 countries, including colleges and universities, research labs, high schools, and government offices. 93% of teachers and students who use it recommend it to their colleagues as an optimal way to get the formatting of their papers right.

These are all the things that Dr. Paper Software will do for your paper: create the cover page, page header, margins, and line spacing, add properly formatted section headings and format long quotations, format and alphabetize references (including dealing with the proper placement of parentheses, periods, commas, indentations, etc.), cite references, provide a jumping-off point for the creation of tables using built-in samples, create outlines easily, and allow the exporting of references easily after entering them only once. Even as I type that list, I find myself wishing fervently that I had had this software available to me when I was writing my dissertation more than a decade ago! It would have saved me months!

The software installs easily and opens a “read me” file to help you finish the process once it is on your computer. When you open Word, you are prompted to start a new paper either in APA, MLA, or Turabian style, thus Dr. Paper works with you right at the start of your paper creation. You begin your paper ahead of the game, style-wise! The software is so smart. Then, you type your paper normally, with the software prompting you when necessary. For citations, Dr. Paper uses CiteWrite, its own citation software. For each citation, you fill out a “notecard.” Once the notecard is filled out, Dr. Paper does the rest, correctly citing the reference when you use it and adding it to the Works Cited page.

If you get stuck at any point, the user guide is very helpful at walking you through things step-by-step using screenshots.

APA Basics with Dr. Paper Software is a great product and one that is well worth your further investigation if you have a child who writes a lot of cited papers or who is in college. There is a bit of a learning curve at first, but it is well-worth the time required when you consider just how much time is required to format a paper. Truly, as one who spent countless hours formatting papers through a double Liberal Arts major in college and then through a PhD, I can tell you that I would have embraced this software wholeheartedly had there been something like it back then. When you don’t have to worry about things like “Where does that comma go?” and “Is there even a comma in that citation?” it’s a very freeing experience! Being able to focus on analysis and word choice, rather than on commas and citations, will make writing papers more enjoyable for any student.

It may not be the most orthodox gift ever, but there are a couple of college students of my acquaintance who will be getting this software in the coming year. It’s too late for me to benefit from APA Basics with Dr. Paper, but I can certainly help some young people I know enjoy the paper writing process just a little bit more!

—Product review by Laura Delgado, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January, 2016