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APA citation guidelines
APA Style is widely used by students, researchers, and professionals in the social and behavioral sciences. The Scribbr APA Citation Generator automatically generates accurate references and in-text citations for free.
This citation guide outlines the most important citation guidelines from the
APA Publication Manual (2020). Scribbr also offers free guides for the
older APA 6th edition
APA in-text citations
In-text citations are brief references in the running text that direct readers to the
at the end of the paper. You include them every time you
someone else’s ideas or words.
APA in-text citation
consists of the author’s last name and the year of publication (also known as the author-date system). If you’re citing a specific part of a source, you should also include a locator such as a page number or timestamp. For example:
(Smith, 2020, p. 170)
Parenthetical vs. narrative citation
The in-text citation can take two forms: parenthetical and narrative. Both types are generated automatically when citing a source with Scribbr’s APA Citation Generator.
According to new research …
notes that …
Multiple authors and corporate authors
The in-text citation changes slightly when a source has multiple authors or an organization as an author. Pay attention to punctuation and the use of the ampersand (&) symbol.
(Smith & Jones, 2020)
Smith and Jones (2020)
Three or more authors
(Smith et al., 2020)
Smith et al. (2020)
When the author, publication date or locator is unknown, take the steps outlined below.
What to do
Use the source title.*
Write “n.d.” for “no date”.
Either use an
omit the page number.
(Smith, 2020, Chapter 3) or
*Format the title in the same way as in the corresponding reference entry (either italicized or, if the title in the reference entry is not italicized, placed in quotation marks). Use title case capitalization.
generally include information about the
. Depending on the type of source, you may have to include extra information that helps your reader locate the source.
Citing a source starts with choosing the correct reference format. Use Scribbr’s Citation Example Generator to learn more about the format for the most common source types. Pay close attention to punctuation, capitalization, and italicization.
It is not uncommon for certain information to be unknown or missing, especially with sources found online. In these cases, the reference is slightly adjusted.
What to do
Start the reference entry with the source title.
Title. (Date). Source.
Write “n.d.” for “no date”.
Author. (n.d.). Title. Source.
Describe the work in square brackets.
Author. (Date). [Description]. Source.
Formatting the APA reference page
, you list all the sources that you’ve cited throughout your paper. Place the page, right after the main body and before any appendices.
On the first line of the page, write the section label “References” (in bold and centered). On the second line, start
listing your references in alphabetical order
Apply these formatting guidelines to the APA reference page:
Double spacing (within and between references)
Hanging indent of ½ inch
Legible font (e.g. Times New Roman 12 or Arial 11)
Page number in the top right header
Which sources to include
On the reference page, you only include sources that you have cited in the text (with an
). You should not include references to
that your reader can’t access (e.g. emails, phone conversations or private online material).
Tools and resources
In addition to the APA Citation Generator, Scribbr provides many more tools and resources that help millions of students and academics every month.
: Upload your paper and have artificial intelligence check your citations for errors and inconsistencies.
: Have an APA expert review every reference to ensure the correct information is included, formatting requirements are met, and capitalization and punctuation are spot on.
: Detect, understand, and resolve plagiarism by comparing your paper with billions of sources.
Guides and videos
: Explore hundreds of articles, bite-sized videos, time-saving templates, and handy checklists that guide you through the process of research, writing, and citation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, the Scribbr Citation Generators are
The Scribbr Citation Generator is easy to use, accurate, and accessible for all students. Some features you’ll definitely like include:
Lightning-fast autocite using a URL, DOI, ISBN or title
Smart citation forms that help you avoid incorrect citations
Quick tips that make citing easier
No costs, no ads, no limitations
Yes, after creating your citations you can download your reference list to Word. Simply click on download > Microsoft Word (.docx) in the menu above your reference list.
An account is
to use the Scribbr Citation Generator. However, creating a Scribbr account does have some benefits:
Safely store your reference list
Create multiple reference lists
Work from multiple devices
Note that if you’re not signed in, your reference list is stored as a cookie on your browser, which means you can easily lose your work. Be sure to download a backup on a regular basis, or sign in to store it in your account automatically.
A citation generator is an easy tool that helps you cite sources in a specific citation style.
You fill in the forms with information about a source, such as the author(s), title, and publication date. The tool then creates an accurate reference and in-text citation that you can use to give credit to the original author.
If information about a source is missing or unknown, and our explanatory tooltips (?) cannot help you, you can either check the ‘unknown’ checkbox (if available) or simply skip the input field.
The citation will still be generated with the information you have provided.
The Scribbr Citation Generator currently supports the following citation styles, and we’re working hard on supporting more styles in the future.
Scribbr uses industry-standard citation styles from the
Citation Styles Language