Guide to APA Format and Citations

Complete Guide to APA Format: Generating Citations and Reference Lists

Citations Guides Resources

Even though Bibcitation can generate automatic citations for the most popular citation types and all citation formats, we understand that some references are so important that they have to be cited by hand.

This is why we've put together a complete guide to the APA style citations (American Psychological Association), in-text citations and reference lists.

If you're looking for other citation styles, make sure to check out our citation guides on the MLA, Chicago and Harvard formats.

Why is APA such a popular format for creating citations and reference lists?

APA stands for the American Psychological Association, the largest scientific organization that represents psychology in the United States. This why the APA format is popular among scholars and researchers in the field of psychology and all other social sciences.

APA Format Basics

APA Format Basics

Let's do a quick overview of the two types of APA citations:

In-text citations: Whenever you cite a direct quote or paraphrase someone's words or ideas in your essay, you have to acknowledge your sources in the body of your paper by including an in-text citation. APA in-text citations (which are also called parenthetical citations) should only include the name of the author, the publication date and the page number, if applicable.

References: A reference list (or an APA works cited) is a complete list of all the sources (that is, in-text citations) used in your essay. Your reference list must be placed at the end of your paper and sorted alphabetically, while each citation should include the author's name and the title of the work, the publication date, the publisher, URL, and other important information.

Basic guidelines for formatting your paper in the APA format:

APA title page. The first page for your paper should include the name of your essay, the author's name (yours!), the name of your instructor and your university, the course number and title as well as the due date.

Page numbers. Remember to include a page number in the upper right corner of each page (including the title page).

Main body and page layout. Remember to indent all paragraphs in the body of your paper and include a 1-inch margin on all sides.

How to create APA in-Text citations?

Chicago footnotes have two different structures, depending on how many times you have cited a particular source. If a reference only appears in your paper once, your footnote will include all the information that appears in your bibliography entry as well as the page number, if available.

You must include in-text references whenever you quote someone's words or borrow an idea or a phrase from another piece of work.

In-text citations should match the references in your reference list and include the name of the author and the publication date — as well as the page number for the direct quotations.

Examples of APA in-text citations:

1. Hamilton (1788) writes...
2. (Hamilton, 1788, p. 14)
3. (Hamilton, 1788)

How to create a reference list in APA?

The easiest way to generate an APA reference list is to use an automatic APA Citation Generator such as Bibcitation. Simply choose your citation type from the menu and paste the link to your citation source in the search bar. Bibcitation is the only tool that can automatically generate references and in-text citations for the majority of citation sources so depending on the number of sources you've used, creating a reference list won't take you longer than 10 or 15 minutes.

However, if you're looking to cite your sources by hand, here's an easy-to-use guide to creating an accurate APA reference list:

How to format a bibliography in APA Format

Sample APA Reference List
Example of a reference list in the APA format.

Now let's move on to studying what each APA citation type looks like.

Separator for the new section: Formatting APA Citations

Formatting APA Citations

1. How to cite a book in Chicago Style?
If you want to cite a book in APA, your reference will include the name of the author, the publication date, the title and the publisher. how to cite a book in APA

Book by one author:

Lee, H. (1970). To Kill a Mockingbird. Dramatic Publishing.

In-text APA citation: (Lee, 1970, page number)

Book by multiple authors:

Hendriks, J., & Caplan, T. (2020). Save Steve. HarperCollins.

In-text citation for a book: (Hendriks & Caplan, 2020, page number)

2. How to cite a journal article in APA Format?
When you cite a journal article, all you need is the author's name, publication date, the article title, the journal's name, volume, and page number(s). How to cite a journal article in APA

Citing an article by one author:

Camil, J. (2003). Inclusive Democracy. Democracy & Nature, 9(3), 427–428.

In-text citation: (Camil, 2003, page number)

Citing an article by multiple authors:

Mayer, A., & Smith, E. K. (2018). Unstoppable climate change? Climate Policy, 19(4), 511–523.

In-text citation: (Mayer & Smith, 2018, page number)

3. How to cite a website in APA Format?
An APA citation for a website usually includes the name of the author, the publication date, the title of the page or article, the website name, and the URL. If the website author is unknown, then you can begin your citation just with the name of the website page. How to cite a website in APA

Citing a website page with one author:

Cheng, A. (2020, February 5). How to Get Into Harvard and the Ivy League, by a Harvard Alum. PrepScholar.

In-text citation: (Cheng, 2020)

Citing a website page with multiple authors:

Blake, J., & Little, S. (2019, August 30). Where Can You Study Abroad for Free? Top Universities.

In-text citation: (Blake & Little, 2019)

Citing a website page with no authors:

Joe Biden. (2020, November 9). Wikipedia.

In-text citation: ("Joe Biden", 2020)

4. How to cite a news article in APA Format?
An APA citation for a newspaper article includes the author's name, the publication date, the article's headline, and the newspaper name. How to cite a news article in APA

An APA reference for a news article:

Chen, T. (2020, November 23). Charli D’Amelio, The Most Popular Teen TikToker, Is The First To Hit 100 Million Followers. BuzzFeed News.

In-text citation: (Chen, 2020)

5. How to cite a movie in APA Format?
To cite a film in the APA format, you'll need to provide information about its director, title, release year, format and name of the studio. How to cite a movie in APA

An APA reference for a movie:

Phillips, T. (2019). Joker [Film]. Warner Bros. Pictures.

In-text citation: (Phillips, 2019)

6. How to cite a song in APA Format?
The basic structure for citing a song in APA is quite simple: How to cite a song in APA

An APA reference for a song:

Miranda, L.-M. (2015, September 25). Alexander Hamilton [Streaming Audio]. On Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast). Atlantic Records.

In-text-citation: (Miranda, 2015)