Scribbr APA Citation Generator

Easily cite your sources with the Scribbr. No ads, restrictions, or account required.

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

7th edition

APA Publication Manual (2020). Scribbr also offers free guides for the

older APA 6th edition


MLA Style

, and

Chicago Style


APA in-text citations

The basics

In-text citations are brief references in the running text that direct readers to the

reference entry

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.

Parenthetical citation:

According to new research …

(Smith, 2020)


Narrative citation:



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.

Author type

Parenthetical citation

Narrative citation

One author

(Smith, 2020)

Smith (2020)

Two authors

(Smith & Jones, 2020)

Smith and Jones (2020)

Three or more authors

(Smith et al., 2020)

Smith et al. (2020)


(Scribbr, 2020)

Scribbr (2020)

Missing information

When the author, publication date or locator is unknown, take the steps outlined below.

Missing element

What to do

Parenthetical citation


Use the source title.*


Source Title

, 2020)


Write “n.d.” for “no date”.

(Smith, n.d.)

Page number

Either use an

alternative locator


omit the page number.

(Smith, 2020, Chapter 3) or

(Smith, 2020)

*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.

APA references

The basics

APA references

generally include information about the



publication date



, and


. Depending on the type of source, you may have to include extra information that helps your reader locate the source.

Reference examples

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.

Generate APA citations for free

Missing information

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.

Missing element

What to do

Reference format


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

The basics

On the

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

in-text citation

). You should not include references to

personal communications

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.

Citation Checker

: Upload your paper and have artificial intelligence check your citations for errors and inconsistencies.

Citation Editing

: 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.

Plagiarism Checker

: 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

Are the Scribbr Citation Generators free?

Yes, the Scribbr Citation Generators are

100% free


Why should I use the Scribbr Citation Generator?

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

Can I download my sources to Word?

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.

To save you some time, the downloaded file is already set up in



MLA format

, depending on which citation style you used.

Do I have to create an account?

An account is

not required

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.

What does a citation generator do?

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.

What should I do if information about my source is missing?

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.

More information and examples

What citation styles does the Scribbr Citation Generator support?

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


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