American Medical Association (AMA) Formatting Guide

How to Format AMA Style
By Nikki Borgel on Oct 14, 2020
eContent Pro International
AMA Style

As an author, you know the importance of avoiding plagiarism claims by properly citing references within your research documents, and you are also aware of possible setbacks and/or rejection by not adhering to the publisher’s guidelines. One of the many specialized style guides requested by publishers is the American Medical Association (AMA) formatting guide. Used primarily in medical studies and research, AMA is largely unfamiliar to most individuals outside the medical field. Therefore, AMA can be particularly daunting when it is first introduced after years of education utilizing other popular style guides such as APA and Chicago.

As with any citation style, the complexity of AMA is in the details, and it can take a significant amount of focus to master the format for your manuscript. Fortunately, there are many professional copy editors who specialize in AMA, including the editors at eContent Pro International. Utilizing a professional editor or service will help you avoid publication delays and potential accusations of plagiarism. Find below key guidelines from eContent Pro International’s expert editorial team on how to properly format AMA.

General Formatting Guidelines

AMA has few specific requirements when it comes to the aesthetic set-up of an academic research document. Details can be debated as AMA has no specific rules, but below are the most common AMA formatting standards set forth by publishers and universities.

  • Documents should have a 1-inch margin on all sides.
  • The body text of the manuscript should be double-spaced.
  • Single-spacing is to be used in the abstract, notes sections, references, etc.
  • A 12-point, legible font should be used. Most publishers print articles in Times New Roman with Arial font in diagrams and tables.
  • Page numbers are placed in the upper right-hand corner starting on the title page.
  • The title (or a shortened version of it) should appear as a left aligned, running header.
  • Title pages (when required) should include the manuscript title, author name, instructor/journal, course/publisher, and submission date.

In-Text Citations

The in-text citations in AMA are not parenthetical as they are in other major style guides such as Harvard, APA, and MLA. In AMA, citations are marked with a superscripted number after quotes and paraphrased information is presented. These superscripted numbers align with the full citations in the reference list at the end of the manuscript. References are numbered in the order they are used within the document, rather than alphabetically. Below is an example of an AMA in-text citation.

  • “… and this should be used for diagnosis.”1

Reference List

As with other styles, AMA requires a complete list of citations to be included on the page following the end of the main body of text.The title of this page should be “Reference List” and it should appear at the top center of the page. As per guidelines from many academics and publishers, this page should not be double-spaced. Below are the specified guidelines for reference list citations in AMA format.

  • Names are always listed in a LastName First/MiddleInitial format and followed by a period.
    • Wilson HJ.
  • Up to six authors can be listed in a single citation. If there are seven or more authors, list the first three and then write “et al.
  • If there is no author for your source, start your citation with the source title.
  • Most periodicals have abbreviated titles chosen by the Pub Med database and should be used in place of the full journal title whenever applicable.

These essential rules for formatting your citations should be incorporated in the citation of the popular sources listed below. Be sure to pay careful attention to the punctuation of the citations.

  • Print Book Format
    • Author last name First Initials. Book Title. Edition number (if 2nd or higher) ed. Place of publication: Publisher’s name; copyright year.
  • eBook Format
    • Author last name First Initials. Book Title. Edition number (if 2nd or higher) ed. Place of publication: Publisher’s name; copyright year. URL. Published date. Updated date. Accessed date.
  • Online Journal
    • Author last name First Initials. Article title. Journal Name. Year;volume(issue No.): inclusive pages. doi: xxxxx.
  • Journal without DOI
    • Author last name First Initials. Article title. Journal Name. Year;volume(issue No.): inclusive pages. URL. Published date. Updated date. Accessed date.

The above guidelines are only the beginning to understanding AMA. Due to the challenges of formatting manuscripts in AMA, and to assist scholars in easily implementing and following publisher guidelines, eContent Pro International offers affordable, high-quality Copy Editing & Proofreading services. Our team of professional, native-English-speaking editors have helped thousands of authors correct any faulty spelling, grammar, punctuation, flow, and much more in addition to formatting their documents to adhere to AMA, Harvard, APA, MLA, Chicago style, and others. Avoid unnecessary surcharges and/or conditional acceptances from standard and Open Access publishers by submitting professionally copy-edited work with a certification from a professional.

Whether you are faced with a quick turnaround time or in need of a proof of copy-editing certificate, utilizing our high-quality, affordable, and expeditious copy editing and proofreading services on your manuscript can increase the chance of being accepted in a publication of your choice in the shortest amount of time.

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About eContent Pro International: eContent Pro International is a U.S.-based, professional editorial and publishing services provider for authors, publishing houses, libraries, organizations, university presses, and societies. Offering professional copy editing, translation, scientific and scholarly editing, journal recommendation, typesetting, figure, chart, table, and equation conversions, as well as other production services, we have provided the highest quality editorial services and content advisement to scholarly outlets and individuals around the world. To learn more about eContent Pro International, visit the website here or email

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