APA Citation Generator with a Citations Guide

Being one of the most common formats for all kinds.

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Why do we need it?

Being one of the most common formats for all kinds of scientific and research papers, APA citation format is generally used in the field of social sciences. It explains how to handle references to both published and unpublished sources, covering various forms of in-text citations and bibliographic lists.

Our APA generator can do pretty much all the work, but we'd like to give you some insights into the topic so that you have a better understanding of this style. There are several reasons why you should stick to APA formatting. First, even if you paraphrase someone else's ideas instead of quoting directly, it can be viewed as plagiarism. That may be construed as a breach of ethical norms and lead to serious consequences. And, you won't get a good grade for the work you have "stolen" from someone.

By asking you to prepare term papers and essays, your professors test your academic writing skills. And why would any teacher give you a high score if you show your ignorance of the formatting rules? Also, in your post-college years, you may have to publish your scientific studies and articles in journals. That excludes the existence of incorrectly formatted manuscripts. Now, you have a good chance to learn things that can help you avoid all those problems.

Why would anyone need an APA citation maker? If you're asking that question, you probably have not even opened the APA guide. If you take a look at the publication manual, you will understand that you should be aware of different ways of citing depending on the particularities of every source and many other factors. It takes some time and effort, while an APA reference generator can save you both, having the work done for you.

You just need to enter some basic data about your source and choose its type to use our APA citation generator. Hence, you need to identify where your quote came from and be sure about the reliability of multiple sources. After that, the system will provide you with a correctly formatted reference you can copy and paste into your work. Fast, simple, and effective. It is beneficial and time-saving, especially because you get a reference list based on the 6th edition of the APA publication manual for free.

In addition to this great tool, we provide a complete APA style guide that will help you understand its requirements easier. Now, we are going to find out what formatting in APA style implies.

Do you have any questions?

Try to find the answers below

What Is APA Format and Where Is It Used?

Get ready — it won't be a quick guide because we have a lot to tell you! This citation style covers not only the rules of citing various sources but also requirements for fonts, spacing, margins, headers and footers, title pages, abstracts, and much more. The Publication Manual contains 8 chapters, including the information on the importance of ethics in publication, peculiarities of the publishing process, recommendations on the structure and content of scientific works, clarity, and brevity of articles, punctuation and spelling, and the usage of capital letters, abbreviations, graphic elements, figures and statistics in texts.

These rules and recommendations were developed by the American Psychological Association for use in the field of social and behavioral studies. The style is widely used in psychology, sociology, business, mathematics, economics, linguistics, nursing, and even criminology, covering the following types of papers:

  • Empirical research
  • Monographs
  • Research on theory
  • Reports
  • Literature reviews
  • Book reviews
  • Comments on publications
  • Articles on methodological approaches
  • Case studies et al.

But what is APA citation format? This style specifies the number of principles for crediting sources, including:

  • Quoting and paraphrasing
  • Citing references in the text
  • In-text citation of specific sources with groups of authors or identified and anonymous authors, secondary sources, etc.
  • Using bibliographic footnotes
  • Construction of the reference list

Thus, the recommendations explain what and when you should cite and how to provide data (title, author, publisher, etc.) for proper sources identification correctly.

What Is In-text Citation?

We suggest you take a general-to-specific approach. There are two main types of in-text citations:

  • Vancouver system
  • Parenthetical referencing

The first one provides for using sequential numbers after any reference in the text of scientific or academic work. The number indicates the source that's placed at the bottom of the page (footnotes) or in the list on the last page of the manuscript (endnotes). The numbers and source details can be formatted in different ways, depending on the note form. However, any source details like the author's name or the title of the source aren't specified in the body of the text.

Conversely, the second type implies that certain source details are given in a short form immediately after the reference. Depending on a style, the short form may include the author's name, source's title, issue date, and page number, while full-length information is given in the References List added at the end of the paper. The short form is enclosed in parentheses, while the full version is arranged in alphabetical order by authors' names. Be sure — all that is fully covered by our APA generator

Now, what type of citation is an APA style? APA format for in-text citation refers to parenthetical referencing, where you need to specify the author and date.

However, there are also two types of citations:

  • Those without direct attribution to the author
  • Those identifying the author at the beginning of the citation

In the first case, the author and date of publication are indicated at the end of the citation within round brackets.

In the second case, you start an in-text reference by specifying the author (without using parentheses) and then continue with the year in parentheses.

You should also take into account whether you use direct quoting or not. If yes, then you need to add the number of the page you "borrowed" the quote from. In the first case, the page is added to the author's name and date, while in the second, it is placed at the end of the quote and enclosed in parentheses.

Choose an In-Text Citation Example for Your Specific Case

When you don't directly identify the author of the reference from the very beginning, you end up getting a citation like this:

Females were more interested in this type of communication as well as in the more habitual SNS (Social Netrwork Site) motivations for use such as entertainment and passing time. (Barker, 2009, p. 212).

But if you want, you can embed the author's name directly into the quote, and then you will get the following option:

As Barker said (2009), males were more likely to report SNS (Social Netrwork Site) use for such reasons as social compensation, learning, and SIG (Social identity gratifications) (p. 212 ).

When it comes to direct quotes, you should choose from these options:

" Consideration of other social and technological aspects of vulnerability, such as the existing adaptive capacity in a region or the difficulty of making adaptations for specific cropping systems, should also be integrated into prioritization efforts." (Lobell, 2008, p. 610).

Sometimes, the page numbers may not be included in the article you cite. Then, you can indicate the paragraph number and mention the title (first few words) of the section where the information was found.

Together, the nature of the barrier, its source, and the location of influence over the barrier provide a "road map" to design strategies to circumvent, remove, or lower the barriers. (Lobell, 2008, Discussion section, para. 5 ).

Electronic Citation Peculiarities

Surely, today, online sources are widely used in all kinds of academic writing, and you may need to cite some of them in your paper. But how do you put an APA electronic citation in the text properly? In many cases, online sources contain all the necessary information, including pages (i.e., e-books). In this case, you should handle the citation just like any other offline reference.

But sometimes, online sources don't provide the author's name or year of publication, let alone pages. In this case, you should avail of the headline, using it instead of the author, and put it into parentheses, adding the "n.d." ("no date") abbreviation afterward (without quotation marks). If the title is too long, use a shortened version, wrapping it quotes. Also, if no author is specified, you can refer to the organization or website that published the information you use. As for direct quoting, you can specify the section and paragraph containing the information cited.

However, you need to understand that online sources that lack details do not look trustworthy, and you should think twice before using them in your work.

APA Electronic Citation Example

We'll start with the worst case scenario when you cannot find any information about the pages, authors, and dates. Here are some examples of how your in-text citations may look.

Policy makers have now recognised the need to integrate thinking about climate change into all areas of public policy making. ("Does public policy support or undermine climate change adaptation?" n.d., para. 7).

A rational person decides to end his addiction if events lower either his demand for the addictive good sufficiently or his stock of consumption capital sufficiently. ("A theory of rational addiction," n.d., section 7, para. 1).

We also see a few cases of young children, themselves 5 through 10 years old, who victimize their peers ("Child sexual abuse," n.d., Childhood and Trauma section, para. 2).

According to "Terahertz technology" (n.d.), high-resolution FTS systems like FASSST may see use in military systems as chemical agent detectors and a substantial Multidisciplinary University Research Institute (MURI) program promises to help open up biomedical applications for this technology in the U.S. (Future Applications section, para. 1).

With APA electronic citation, some articles may require purchasing. Then, include "Available at" rather than "Retrieved from."

Post-structuralism and post-modernism enable the space of subjectivity to be opened and revealed and as being constituted by social and historical practices structured through the language of phallocratic discourse.

Bordo, S. (n.d.) Unbearable weight: Feminism, Western culture, and the body. Available at https://www.amazon.com/Unbearable-Weight-Feminism-Western-Anniversary/dp/0520240545

Philosophers such as Spinoza, Kant, Nietzsche, and various phenomenologists have tended to adopt an endogenic perspective regarding the origins of knowledge.

Gergen, K.J. (n.d.) The social constructionist movement in modern psychology. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/302871718_The_Social_Constructivist_Movement_in_Modern_Psychology

Sometimes, you can refer to an entire website without including any titles or other details:

To find details about Adams' study on relationships between this stimulation and students' progress, check the official website (http://www.adams.com/).

The article available on Wiley Online Library (https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1937-8327.1993.tb00605.x) provides enough information on comparing critical features of behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism from an instructional design perspective.

When you are citing something found on the website of an organization, you can do without its URL by providing it as a bibliographic entry at the end of your paper. Then, your in-text reference will be formatted the following way:

Human Development Report of sustainability and equity concludes with a call for bold new approaches to global development financing and environmental controls, arguing that these measures are both essential and feasible. (United nations development programme, 2011).

Do You Need a Cover Page?

Since some colleges require a cover page, you may wonder how to write it in APA properly. However, quite many styles require no additional page like this one, and, therefore, there is no APA style cover page at all.

Rules for Your Title Page

APA format title page displays the paper's title, your name, the name of your educational institution (or other organization), and a running headline.

  • Capitalize your title and place it right in the center of the page. Bear in mind that the style recommends the length that doesn't exceed 12 words (1-2 lines).
  • Type your first and last name, as well as the initials of the middle name.
  • Continue with your organization or institution.

Center them, use caps, and make sure the pages are double-spaced. You can choose any easy-to-read font for your paper, but the style recommends 12pt Times New Roman with 2,54 cm (1 inch) margins from all sides.

Also, note that the running head is an essential part of any APA style title page. It should contain the page numbers or paragraph (set flush on the right) and a scaled-down variant of the title (within fifty characters (including spaces) printed in all capitals and set flush on the left). The header needs to be prefixed with the words "Running head" followed by a colon and only then by the short version of your title in caps. For all other pages, this prefix is not required. Thus, with a title like "Teenage Sexual Behavior: Attitudes Towards and Declared Sexual Activity," your running head may sound like "TEENAGE SEXUAL BEHAVIOR" Note that our APA reference creator doesn't generate this section.

What to Write in Your Abstract?

Some types of academic papers do not require you to provide an abstract at all. For instance, when writing a literature review, you can skip this section and start your paper with an introduction, which is not the equivalent of an abstract. However, you need to check this with your professor because the requirements may vary.

Well, if you do need this section in your work, you should know how to write an abstract in APA. First, keep in mind that the length of this section should not exceed 250 words — you are expected to be brief. However, a good APA style abstract needs to contain such key information as the goals set, methods used, results obtained, and conclusions made. To save precious space, you can use abbreviations, write numbers in numerals, and drop initials.

Start your abstract by typing "Abstract" in the center of a new page, and then continue with a new paragraph. At the very end of this section, you can list keywords to make searching online easier. Start a new paragraph with Keywords, then put a colon and add the words (in a non-italic font) separated by a comma.

Brief APA Abstract Example

Here is a simple example of the paper on a tax system-related topic.


This study explores the tax treatment of foreign-invested enterprises on the example of two local companies. The legislative taxation framework, existing tax privileges, and the methods of tax assessment base are considered. The paper provides the results of the financial analysis of the companies' activities. Measures are proposed to improve the taxation of foreign-invested enterprises.

Keywords: tax assessment base, tax privileges, foreign investments, credit against tax, taxable income.

Don't Be Entrapped in Headings

We have already discussed that the APA header is required from the very first page of your paper (which is a title page). However, you may wonder how to do a running head in APA since it is assumed that you need two versions of the header — one with the words "Running head" for your title page and one without them for all other pages.

Your steps will depend on the version of Microsoft Word installed on your desktop PC. If you have Word 2007 or higher, you just need to double-click the right mouse button on the top of the first page (where a header usually sits) to get access to your Header and Footer menu. Tick the Different First Page box and type in your title with a prefix. Then go to your next page and delete the prefix to get the desired result.

However, you need to know that APA style also requires you to separate sections within the text of scientific papers for proper structuring. APA format headings have five levels, specifying the usage of the bold type, italics, indentation, and lowercase or uppercase letters. Now, take a look at how this works in a real-life scenario.

Five-Level APA Headings Example

This example is given to show how your text can be structured depending on the number of sections and subsections. The example below is formatted this way only to show the hierarchy better.

  • Study Design (Level 1)
    This study design is developed.
    • Study Methods (Level 2)
      Methods of study include...
    • Study Participants (Level 2)
      Participants of study...
      • Test 1 participants. (Level 3)
        In this test...
      • Test 2 participants. (Level 3)
        In this test...
        • Adult participants (Level 4)
        • Minor participants (Level 4)
          • Under 14 (Level 5)
          • Over 14 (Level 5)

Well, you are not required to use all the levels in your paper, but when it is applicable, make sure to format your headings properly.

Reference Page Explained

Every paper written in this style has to contain a reference page. If using the APA format, this page provides a list of every source you cited in your work. It helps the reader find any source cited in it, check the information contained therein, and study all relevant facts and viewpoints. That's what our APA formatter does: it generates these references based on the data you enter.

You should start your APA style reference page with the 'References' heading by locating it in the center of a new page. Then you need to double-space and start the first entry flush with the left margin. If an entry has more than one line, all additional lines require a hanging indent.

Each entry should contain the last name of the author of the source and the initials (mind the order). Authors are listed alphabetically based on their last names. If several sources by one author are mentioned, they should be listed in chronological order: from the earliest to the latest.

Then you need to give the year of publication in parentheses, followed by the full title of your source (begins with a capital letter) and the publication date.

What About Bibliography?

It's time to get this straight: Reference List and Bibliography are not the same things, and there's no APA bibliography format at all. Why? Because the style requires a list of references that should include all sources cited in your paper. A Bibliography differs from such a list as it covers all sources used by you when writing the paper, regardless of whether you cite them in your work. It can also contain additional sources recommended for reading but not stated in the text.

This confusion extends further to include the APA annotated bibliography. But, this style doesn't require any bibliographies containing your comments on the sources used and doesn't have any rules for their formatting.

However, in various sources, you can find guides on different types of APA Bibliographies, though their authors describe recommendations on reference lists. Therefore, you should be very careful, about including non-cited sources in your list.

Reference List Sample

Since some specific details may vary depending on the source type (and we are going to discuss this later), here is a generalized example of what your reference entry may look like:

Dodge, K. A. (1980). Social cognition and children's aggressive behavior. Child development, 162-170.

Rules for Book Citation

Move on to more specific rules and find out how to cite a book in APA style. Here is your general scheme:

  • Author(s)/editor(s) (full stop)
  • Year of publication within parentheses (full stop)
  • Italicized title (full stop, if the title doesn't end with a different punctuation mark)
  • City and the state or country of publication (separated by a comma and with a colon at the end)
  • Publisher

For online book citation, the pattern changes a little:

  • Author(s)
  • (Year of publication)
  • Title in italics [E-reader version, if used]
  • DOI number or "Retrieved from" and the URL
APA Book Citation Example for Online Sources

Hekman, S. J. (2013). Gender and knowledge: Elements of a postmodern feminism. Retrieved from: https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=lRTKmQTOCsMC&hl=ru&pg=GBS.PA1922.

Thesis Paper Citation Formatting

APA format thesis citation depends on whether the paper was published. Since in most cases such sources are found in online databases, we provide you with several recommendations on how to cite a thesis in APA format. They are as follows:

  • Author(s)with their names' first initial
  • (Year of publication)
  • Title (and the type of paper)
  • "Retrieved from" and database identification
  • (Accession and order numbers)
APA Thesis Citation Example When Found in a Database

Biswas, S. (2008). Dopamine D3 receptor: A neuroprotective treatment target in Parkinson's disease. Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (AAT 3295214)

Dissertation Citation Formatting

Since this format is similar to the above-mentioned thesis citation, we will find out how to cite a dissertation in APA when it is not published. In this case, you need to specify this in parentheses, adding the name of the institution and its location. You will find the example below. But remember that you can always use our citation generator for APA and other styles to avoid all the hassle.

Unpublished APA Dissertation Citation Example

Elliot, A. J., & Harackiewicz, J. M. (1994). Approach and avoidance achievement goals: An intrinsic motivation analysis. Unpublished doctoral dissertation.

Website Citation

We have already discussed how to cite a website (APA) in a text, but what about your References page? Your further steps will depend on your ability to find some details about the source. The main pattern is the following:

  • Author(s) last name(s)
  • (Year of publication)
  • Title
  • "Retrieved from" and a full URL
APA Website Citation Example When All Details Are Available

Potter, S. (2019). Exploring the Moon Promises Innovation and Benefit at Home. Retrieved from https://www.nasa.gov/feature/exploring-the-moon-promises-innovation-and-benefit-at-home

Magazine Citation

The next step is to learn how to cite a magazine article by APA requirements. When it comes to printed magazine citing, we need to add the full issue date, the magazine name, its volume, and issue (if any), as well as to inform our audience on what page the article begins and ends.

Printed APA Magazine Citation Example

Rothbart, D. (2008, October). How I caught up with dad. Men's Health, 108-113.

Printed Newspaper Citation

Citing a newspaper article in APA differs a little from magazine references since you don't need to specify the volume. All you need is cite the section heading and the number of the page. Take a look at how to cite newspaper articles in printed versions.

APA Newspaper Citation Example (Printed)

Rubin, E. R. (219, May 28). A Secret to Better Health Care. The New York Times, p. 7.

Online Journal Citation

APA journal article citation is completely identical to that of magazines. Thus, in this section, we consider how to cite journal articles if they are found online. In this case, it is required to show the journal's DOI, if any, or specify its URL.

APA Journal Citation Example with DOI

Poiger, U. G. (1996). Rock 'n' roll, female sexuality, and the Cold War Battle over German Identities.The Journal of Modern History, 68(3), 577. doi:10.1086/245343

How to Format Film Citation

You may need to know how to cite a film in APA because sometimes students are supposed to write reviews or research papers on movies. Therefore, they should comply with the rules for citing a film in APA. Our free APA source generator can help you with any sources, including movies.

  • Names of the producer/director, including their initials and function (in parentheses)
  • (Release date)
  • Title [Form]
  • Country: Studio or distributor website
APA Film Citation Example

Kinberg, S. (Producer), & Scott, R. (Director). (2015). The Martian [Motion picture]. United States, United Kingdom: 20th Century Fox.

Radio Citation Format

It is not a common practice for students to cite various radio sources in their papers, but if you do refer to them, you should learn how to cite a radio broadcast APA properly. Instead of the medium, it is required to provide information about the program type and production. In many respects, the formatting depends on what source details you will be able to find, but try to stick to the following example of APA citing radio interview:

APA Radio Citation Example for an Individual Program

Smith, K. G. (Producer). (1999, September 19). Every day News [Television broadcast]. New York, NY: West Broadcasting.

How to Format Music Citation in APA

When citing music, you need to remember that both the songwriter and the artist should be mentioned, unless they are the same person. Here is a tip on how to cite music in APA:

  • Author
  • (Date of copyright)
  • Title of song [Artist]
  • On Title of album [Medium]
  • Location: Label. (Recording date)
APA Music Citation Example

Turner, A. (2013). Do I wanna know? [Recorded by Arctic Monkeys]. On AM [MP3 file]. London, England: Domino Records.

Try Our APA Citation Generator for Free

We hope that our APA citation guide was useful and you learned something new about this particular style or recalled what you had already learned. Now, you know how to format the basic and more specific references.

Nevertheless, we offer you our free APA generator to see what proper formatting looks like! All you need to do is fill in all the information you know about the chosen source. Those usually include but are not confined to the title, author, publisher, publication year, and the page number. You can use our APA referencing maker to format even online articles perfectly! No more searching for rules and guidelines — our generator supports the standards of the most popular styles and formats besides APA: Chicago Manual of Style, Modern Language Association (MLA citation), and Harvard.

You can use our APA tool for free and stay confident in the safety of any information you indicate. We provide clients with all the necessary regulations that are described in our Privacy Policy with a cookie notice. We guarantee you a secure, easy, and reliable way to format your references. The citation machine on this website can cope with anything! With our APA format generator, all multiple sources of your research paper will be formatted properly, and your Works Cited section will meet the all official requirements of this style.