Citation Guide

Basic Overview of APA Style

APA APA Citation Handout (PDF): a four-page quick guide to citing in APA format

Every time you quote or paraphrase someone else’s work, you must indicate:

  • who wrote the work
  • what is it called
  • and where we (the reader) can find a copy.

You give us this information in two places:

  1. In the body of the paper, specifically the paragraph where you are quoting or paraphrasing. This is often called an In Text or Parenthetical Citation because you will put brief information about the work in parentheses. Check out our guidelines and examples in the left-hand column, as well as these resources from the official APA Style & Grammar Guidelines:
  2. In the References page at the end of the paper. This is where you put all of the information we need to find a copy of the works you used in your paper. Check out our guidelines and examples in the left-hand column, as well as these resources from the official APA Style & Grammar Guidelines:

Handouts & Guides from APA Style and Grammar Guidelines Website

Paper Format Overview

The official APA Style & Grammar Guidelines includes a section on Paper Format, with information on:

Student Paper Setup Guide

The official APA Style & Grammar Guidelines includes a Student Paper Setup Guide: "Annotated diagrams illustrate how to set up the major sections of a student paper: the title page or cover page, the text, tables and figures, and the reference list."

Sample APA Papers

Formatting the Title Page

For detailed explanation and sample title pages, see the official  APA Style Guidelines Title Page Setup section and Student Title Page Guide (PDF).

The student title page is the first page of your paper and includes:

  • paper title
    • centered and bolded 
    • 3-4 lines down from top of title page
  • author name
    • Add one double-spaced blank line between the paper title and author name.
  • author affiliation (Northeast Wisconsin Technical College)
  • course number and name
  • instructor name
  • assignment due date

Formatting the (Optional) Abstract Page

According to the official APA Style Abstract and Keywords Guide, "The abstract needs to provide a brief but comprehensive summary of the contents of your paper. It provides an overview of the paper and helps readers decide whether to read the full text" (APA, 2020).

Abstract basics:

  • The abstract is the second page of your paper (after the Title page).
  • At the top of the page, center and bold Abstract.
  • The first line of the abstract is NOT indented.
  • APA recommends the abstract be no more than 250 words.
  • One line below the Abstract comes the Keywords. “Keywords need to be descriptive and capture the most important aspects of your paper.” Indent like a regular paragraph and type Keywords: (capitalized and italicized). Then in lowercase, type 3-5 words or phrases.

See slide three of the Excelsior College Online Writing Lab's APA Formatting Guide for a sample student paper Abstract page.

Formatting the References Page

This is a separate page at the end of your paper. Each citation in the text must be listed on the References page; each listing on the References page must appear in the text.

  • Center and bold the word References at the top of the page
  • All text is double-spaced, just like the rest of the paper.
  • List the sources alphabetically by authors' last names. If no author is listed, start with the title of the article, book or web resource.
  • Indent the second and subsequent lines of citations by 0.5 inch to create a hanging indent.
    • To do this, highlight the citation and type CTRL-T


  • Go to the Paragraph ribbon in Word. Click the arrow in the bottom right hand corner. This opens a box: under “special”, click on “hanging”.  

  • Paragraph ribbon   Hanging Indent

Formatting a PowerPoint Presentation in APA Style

The APA Publication Manual does not provide specific instructions on how to format a PowerPoint presentation; however, many college libraries recommend the following:

  • Include the same information on your title slide that you would have on a title page. 
  • Include in-text citations for any quote, paraphrase, image, graph, table, data, audio or video file that you use within your presentation. Please note that photographs are considered figures in APA style. See the Figure Setup section of the APA Style & Grammar Guidelines for more information about this.
  • The last slide will be your References page. 
  • “No citation, permission, or copyright attribution is necessary for clip art from programs like Microsoft Word or PowerPoint” (American Psychological Association [APA], 2020, p. 346).
  • Do not reproduce images without permission from the creator or owner of the image. See section 12.15 of the APA manual for more information about this.

Slideshow on how to prepare APA Style PowerPoint presentations (Bennett College Library)

How to format a PowerPoint presentation in APA Style (Goodwin College Library)

Formatting an Annotated Bibliography

According to section 9.51 of the APA Manual, 

  • "Most APA Style guidelines are applicable to annotated bibliographies" (p. 307). So, follow the Paper Format guidelines for the margins, headers, font, line spacing, and title page. 
  • "Instructors generally set all other requirements for annotated bibliographies (e.g. number of references to include, length and focus of each annotation)" (p. 307).

Some basic rules:

  • Put the references in alphabetical order, just like you would on a References page.
  • Each annotation is a new paragraph below the reference entry.  Indent the entire annotation, just like you would a block quote (using a quote that is more than 40 words).
  • If an annotation is more than one paragraph, indent the first line of the second and any other additional paragraphs, an additional .5 inch.

The Excelsior College Online Writing Lab has a sample APA annotated bibliography

Citations in the Paper's Body

When you quote directly or paraphrase from a source (book, article, or webpage) in your paper, you need to insert an in-text citation

Check out the new APA In-Text Citation Checklist!

You have two format options: parenthetical and narrative

Parenthetical In-Text Citation

This citation typically consists of the author’s last name(s), year of publication, and page number in parentheses at the end of the sentence. The period goes after the closed parenthesis.

“This is a direct citation” (Chapman, 2019, p. 126).

When paraphrasing the idea in your own words, do not use quotation marks and do not include a page number (Jackson, 1999).

Narrative In-Text Citation

Another option is to use the author’s name in the sentence, followed directly by the year in parentheses, with the page numbers in parentheses at the end of the sentence.

According to Chapman (2019), "This is a direct citation" (p. 216).

Jackson (1999) explains that when paraphrasing the idea in your own words, do not use quotation marks and do not include a page number.


Additional Resources from the Excelsior College Online Writing Lab:


Direct Quoting - When you are using someone else's exact words.

  1. If you are using a quote that is less than 40 words, enclose the quote in quotation marks and add the author’s name (unless it is already in the sentence), year of publication and page numbers (if there are any) in parentheses.  Place this reference where a pause would occur or at the end of the sentence.  Punctuation marks should be placed after the parenthetical citation. You also will need to add each work from which you cite to your Works Cited page. Here are two examples:
    • The article goes on to say that “People don't do derby just for exercise but usually because it becomes a part of who they are” (Fagundes,  2012, p.1098).

    • Fagundes (2012) believes that roller derby gives participants "a chance to feel like a superstar" (p. 1098).

  2. If you are using a quote that is more than 40 words, do not use quotation marks. Instead, put the quote on a new line and indent the whole block approximately 1/2 inch from the left margin. Keep the quote double-spaced. Remember to add a parenthetical citation and put the work on your Works Cited page.  The parenthetical citation comes after the final punctuation mark. For example:

He asserts the following:

More importantly, though, the notion of competing under derby names was a perfect fit with the recent reimagination of the sport as a punk-rock spectacle that allowed, and encouraged, participants to develop outrageous public personas. The story of derby-name emergence probably has more to do with coincidence and path dependence than with conscious design. Derby pioneer Ivanna S. Pankin’s classic derby name pre-dated her founding of Arizona Roller Derby in 2003. Rather, it was a handle and email address she used as a musician in Phoenix’s punk rock scene. When she publicized her nascent league using the alias Ivanna S. Pankin, and the entire Austin scene was already using skate names, the leagues that popped up in their wake followed suit,33 and the practice of using colorful nicknames has been used by virtually all derby leagues and skaters since. (Fagundes, 2012, pp.1093-1094)

Paraphrasing - Restating others' ideas in your own words.

  • If you mention the author’s name in the paragraph, then just put the date in parentheses directly after the author's name.

    Fagundes (2012) believes it is hard to pin down when the practice of skating under a pseudonym began.


  • If you do not mention the author’s name, then include the author’s name in parentheses before the date.

    It is hard to pin down when the practice of skating under a pseudonym began (Fagundes, 2012).

Authors' Names in Citations

Author-Date Citation System - Official APA Style and Grammar Guidelines

Two authors

  • Use and between the authors' last names within the text, and use the & in the parentheses.
  • Add the year and page numbers (if there are any). 
  • (Pence & Chapman, 2016, p. 52)

Three or more authors

  • Include the name of only the first author plus “et al.” in every citation. Add the year and page numbers (if there are any).
  • (Emerson et al., 1993, p. 76)

No author

  • Include the title and year of publication. If the title is long (more than 3 words), shorten it.
  • If the title of the work is not italicized in the reference (article, book chapter, page or section on a website), use the first word or two of the source in quotation marks.
  • If the title of the work is italicized in the reference (book, entire website), use the first word or two of the source in italics.
  • For example, if you had an article with the title Practical oral care for people with intellectual disability, the parenthetical citation would look like ("Practical oral," 2014). 

Government Agency or Other Group as Author

  • For a group author with a name that has a commonly-used abbreviation AND that will be cited more than once in the paper, 
    • The first time the group name appears in a parenthetical citation, include the abbreviation in brackets, followed by a comma and the year. Ex. (World Health Organization [WHO], 2022).  Subsequent citations should just include the abbreviation, followed by a comma and the year. Ex. (WHO, 2022).
    • If the group name first appears in a narrative citation, include the abbreviation before the year in parentheses, separated with a comma.
  • For group authors with abbreviations, use the full name and the abbreviation in the first citation. Then, use only the abbreviation in 

Authors' Names in References

Two to 20 authors: 

  • List by their last names and initials, separated by a comma. Put an & between the final two names.

  • Brooks, K., & Dunn, R.                        

  • Knowles-Carter, B., Carter, B.I., & Carter, S.

21 or more authors

  • List by last names and initials; commas separate author names. 

  • Include the first 19 authors’ names, insert an ellipsis ... (but no ampersand), and then add the final author’s name:.

  • Author, A. A., Author, B. B., Author, C. C., Author, D. D., Author, E. E., Author, F. F., Author, G. G., Author, H. H., Author, I. I., Author, J. J., Author, K. K., Author, L. L., Author, M. M., Author, N. N., Author, O. O., Author, P. P., Author, Q. Q., Author, R. R., Author, S. S., . . . Author, Z. Z.. (2018). 

No author:

  • Start with the article title: Practical oral care for people with intellectual disability.

  • or Book title: Evicted: Poverty and profit in the American city. 

Government agencies as authors


According to the APA Style Guide section on Capitalization, "APA Style is a 'down' style, meaning that words are lowercase unless there is specific guidance to capitalize them."  

Here are some basic rules for capitalizing within APA papers:

Diseases, Disorders, Therapies, and More 

  • In general, do not capitalize the names of diseases, treatments, theories, concepts, etc.
  • Do capitalize personal names that appear within these kinds of terms.
  • Examples: lung cancer, art therapy, Alzheimer's disease, Adlerian therapy

Proper Nouns, Trade Names, and Generic Drug Names

  • Capitalize proper nouns, names of racial & ethnic groups, and trade & brand names.
  • Do not capitalize generic drug names.
  • Example: Prozac (trade name) vs fluoxetine (generic name)

When in doubt, ask a librarian or consult the APA Dictionary of Psychology.

No page numbers?

According to the official APA Style & Grammar Guidelines sections on Citing Specific Parts of a Source and Direct Quotation of Materials without Page Numbers, you have several options when quoting sources that do not have page numbers (webpages, eBooks, etc.). Use the option that will best help your reader find the quotation in the source.

Provide a paragraph number; you will probably have to count them manually.

According to the IceBridge Project leader, " in addition to the airborne and satellite measurements, scientists will be out on the ice taking height and density measurements as well" (Gray, 2019, para. 6). Source

Provide a heading or section name.

Medical consensus is that the flu is spread "mainly by tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk" (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019, How Flu Spreads section). Source

Provide an abbreviated heading or section name in quotation marks if the name is too long or unwieldy to cite in full.

Research has shown that an average of 8% of the U.S. population experiences flu symptoms each flu season," with a range of between 3% and 11%, depending on the season" (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019, "How Many People" section). Source

Citing Specific Source Parts

One of the basic principles for citing is "to cite a specific part of a source" by including "an author–date citation for the work plus information about the specific part."

There are many possible "specific parts" to cite, including pages, paragraphs, sections, chapters, video time stamps, and slide numbers in PowerPoint presentations.

For examples, see Citing Specific Parts of a Source.

Journal Articles

  • APA recommends providing a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), when it is available. DOIs provide stable, long-lasting links for online articles.
  • If there is no DOI and the journal article is from a library research database, end the reference after the page number. The reference in this case will look the the same as for a print journal article.
  • If the journal article does not have a DOI and is not from a library database, but does have a URL that will resolve, include the URL of the article at the end of the reference.

Basic Scholarly Journal Article Format

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article: Subtitle words. Title of Periodical, volume number(issue number), pages.

Example of Scholarly Article with DOI

Nguyen, T. T., Gildengorin, G., & Truong, A. (2007). Factors influencing physicians' screening behavior for liver cancer among high-risk patients. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 22(4), 523-526.

Example of Scholarly Article from Library Database with No DOI

Ryan,E., & Redding, R. (2004). A review of mood disorders among juvenile offenders. Psychiatric Services, 55(12), 1397-1407.

Example of Scholarly Article from Website with No DOI

Humphreys, B. L. (2002). Adjusting to progress: Interactions between the National Library of Medicine and health sciences librarians, 1961-200. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 90(1), 4-20.

Magazine Articles

  • APA recommends providing a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), when it is available. DOIs provide stable, long-lasting links for online articles.
  • If there is no DOI and the magazine article is from a library research database, end the reference after the page number. The reference in this case will look the the same as for a print journal article.
  • If the magazine article does not have a DOI and is not from a library database, but does have a URL that will resolve, include the URL of the article at the end of the reference.

Basic Magazine Article Format

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year, Month Day). Title of article: Subtitle words. Title of Magazine, volume number(issue number), pages.

Example of Magazine Article with DOI

Schaefer, N. K., & Shapiro, B. (2019, September 6). New middle chapter in the story of human evolution. Science, 365(6457), 981-982.

Example of Magazine Article from Library Database with no DOI

Lane, A., & Brody, R. (2019). No laughing matter. New Yorker, 95(41), 65-67.

Example of Magazine Article from Website with URL

Hall, M. (2017, March). The faces of Obamacare. Texas Monthly, 45(3), 116-197.

Newspaper Articles

Basic Newspaper Article Format

  • If the newspaper article is from a library research database, end the reference after the page number. The reference in this case will look the the same as for a print newspaper article.
  • If the newspaper article is from an online newspaper website, include the URL of the article at the end of the reference. 
  • If the article is from a news website (e.g., CNN, HuffPost)—one that does not have an associated daily or weekly newspaper—use the format for a webpage on a news website instead.

Author, A. A. (Year, Month Day). Title of article: Subtitle words. Title of Newspaper, volume number(issue number), pages. 

Examples of Newspaper Article from Library Database 

Seitz, M. J. (2020, June 26).  El Paso's Bishop Mark Seitz: Black lives matter. National Catholic Reporter, 13-16.

Bowles, N. (2019, July 7). Virtual pre-K closes a gap, and exposes it. New York Times, 168(58381) , 1, 15.

Example of Newspaper Article from Website with URL

Kowols, T. (2022, June 29). Sturgeon Bay Police issues warnings about fireworks. Door County Daily News.

Example of a Webpage on a News Website

Grijalva, R., & Maloney, C. (2022, June 29). We need more inclusive data to drive progress for LGBTQI+ communities. Washington Blade.


Webpage: Individual Author

Basic Format for Webpage or Document on an Organization or Government Website: Individual Author

Author, A. A. (Date published or updated).  Title of report or document: Subtitle of report. Organization Namehttp://someurl


Example of Webpage on an Organization Website

Schaeffer, K. (2022, April 5). In CDC survey, 37% of U.S. high school students report regular mental health struggles during COVID-19. Pew Research Center.


Example of Webpage on a Government Agency** Website

**Make sure to include the names of the parent department(s) and specific agency/center/office (hierarchy). 

Hoyert, D. L. (2021, March 23). Maternal mortality rates in the United States, 2019. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics.

Webpage: Government Agency as Group Author

Basic Format 

  • Spell out the full name of a group author in the reference list entry, followed by a period.
  • While an abbreviation for the group author can be used in the text (e.g., NIMH for National Institute of Mental Health), do NOT include an abbreviation for a group author in a reference list entry.
  • When numerous layers of government agencies are listed as the author of a work, use the most specific agency as the author in the reference. The names of parent agencies appear after the title as the publisher.


Examples of Documents or Webpages on a Government Website

Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. (2021, March 29). Educational materials for health professionals. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.


National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2022, March 24). Heart treatments. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health. 


National Institute of Mental Health. (2020, January). Coping with traumatic events.  U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health.

Webpage: Organization as Group Author

Basic Format

Name of Organization. (Date published or updated). Title of webpage or document: Subtitle of document. http://someurl


American Nurses Association. (2022). Nurses bill of rights.

Wisconsin Psychological Association. (2022). Mental health information.


Basic Book Formats

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of book: Subtitle words. Publisher Name.

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of chapter. In A. A. Editor & B. B. Editor (Eds.),  Title of book (pages of chapter). Publisher Name.

Print Book Examples

Bonilla-Silva, E. (2017). Racism without the racists: Color-blind racism and the persistence of racial inequality in America. Rowman & Littlefield.

Olsen, Y., & Sharfstein, J. M. (2019). The opioid epidemic: What everyone needs to know. Oxford University Press.

Chapter in a Book Examples

Kindler, L. L., & Polomano, R. C. (2017). Pain. In S. L. Lewis, S. R. Dirksen, M. M. Heitkemper, & L. Bucher (Eds.), Medical-surgical nursing (10th ed., pp. 114-139). Elsevier.

Scott, C.L. (2014). Historical perspectives for studying workforce diversity. In M.Y. Byrd (Ed.), Diversity in the workforce: Current issues and emerging trends (pp. 3-33). Routledge.

Edited Book Example

Pedersen, P. B., Lonner, W. J., Draguns, J. G., Trimble, J.E., & Scharrón-del Río, M. R. (Eds.). (2016). Counseling across cultures (7th ed.). Sage.

E-Book Example

If the book comes from a library database and has no DOI, end the reference after the publisher name, just like a print book.

Goodwin, G., & Sachs, G. (2010). Fast facts: Bipolar disorder. Health Press.

For more examples, see the Book/Ebook References section on the APA Style & Grammar Guidelines


Published Dissertation or Thesis

A dissertation or thesis is considered published when it is available from a database such as ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, an institutional repository, or an archive. (Published Dissertation or Thesis References)

Basic Format

Author, A. A. (Date published). Title of dissertation: Subtitle of dissertation [Doctoral dissertation, Name of University]. Name of Repository or Database. url

Author, A. A. (Date published). Title of thesis: Subtitle of thesis [Master's thesis, Name of University]. Name of Repository or Database. url


Robinson, G. D. (2019). Promoting persistence among LGBTQ community college students [Doctoral dissertation, Illinois State University]. ISU ReD Repository.

Lindmark, S. A. (2019). "Watching their souls speak": Interpreting the new music videos of Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter [Master's thesis, UC Irvine]. University of California eScholarship.

Online Videos

YouTube Video Basic Format

Author, A.A. [Screen name]. (year, month day). Title of video [Video]. YouTube. http://xxxxx

  • Use the name of the account that uploaded the video as the author.

  • If the user’s real name is not available, include only the screen name, without brackets

  • The capitalization [or lack thereof] in the screen name is in keeping with how it appears online.

  • In text, cite by the author name that appears outside of brackets, whichever one that may be.


YouTube Video Examples

Bozeman Science. (2014, March 10). Integumentary system [Video]. YouTube.

Fox, D. J. [Dr. Daniel Fox]. (2019, February 19). Empathy paradox and borderline personality disorder [Video]. YouTube.


TED Talks

TED Talk from YouTube

  • Follow the YouTube video basic format shown above.

  • List the owner of the YouTube account as the author. In most cases, it will be the TED YouTube account.

  • Credit YouTube as the publisher of the TED Talk and then provide the URL.

TED. (2022, May 10). An Olympic champion's mindset for overcoming fear | Allyson Felix [Video]. YouTube.

TED Talk from the TED website

  • Use the name of the speaker as the author.

  • Include [Video] after the title of the talk.

  • Credit TED Conferences as the publisher of the TED Talk and end with the URL.

Schor, J. (2022, April). The case for the 4-day work week [Video]. TED Conferences.


Films on Demand Video Basic Format

Title of video: Subtitle of video [Video]. (year). Films on Demand. http://xxxxx

Films on Demand Video Examples

Method and madness: In search of science [Video]. (2013). Films on Demand.

Suctioning: Nasotracheal suctioning and monitoring complications [Video]. (2018). Films on Demand.

PowerPoint Slides

PowerPoint Slides Accessed on Blackboard Basic Format

Instructor last name, Initial. (year). Title of PowerPoint presentation [PowerPoint slides]. NWTC Blackboard Learn.

PowerPoint Slides Example

Chapman, J. M. (2019). Overview of citations: What's new with APA [PowerPoint slides]. NWTC Blackboard Learn.


If you want to cite an interview, email, chat, text message or other personal communication, you only need to do so as a parenthetical citation in the body of your paper; you do NOT need to include it in your References.

Use this format for the parenthetical citation:

(P. Malone, personal communication, December 3, 2020).

Legal Sources (Court Cases, Legislation, Statutes)

The official APA Style & Grammar Guidelines do not include reference examples for legal references, such as court cases. That information is available in Chapter 11 Legal References of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition. Copies are available in the Green Bay, Sturgeon Bay and Marinette libraries.

Below are some examples of common legal references:

Federal Statutes (Laws and Acts)

The template for federal statutes is:

Reference list: Name of Act, Title Source § Section Number (Year). url

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 (1990).

Parenthetical citation: (Name of Act, Year).

Narrative citation: Name of Act (Year)

Wisconsin Statutes


Supreme Court Case, With Page Number (cases published through 2012 term)

Name of Party v. Name of Party, volume number U.S. page number (year of decision). url

Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).

In-text citation: (Brown v. Board of Education, 1954)

Supreme Court Case, Without Page Number (cases published after 2012 term)

Name of Party v. Name of Party, volume number U.S. ___ (year of decision). url

Gallardo v. Marstiller, 596 U.S. ___ (2022).

In-text citation: (Gallardo v. Marstiller, 2022)

Oral Teachings of Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers

From the APA Style section on Personal Communications:

"To describe Traditional Knowledge or Oral Traditions that are not recorded (and therefore are not recoverable by readers), provide as much detail in the in-text citation as is necessary to describe the content and to contextualize the origin of the information. For example, if you spoke with an Indigenous person directly to learn information (but they were not a research participant), use a variation of the personal communication citation.

  • Provide the person’s full name and the nation or specific Indigenous group to which they belong, as well as their location or other details about them as relevant, followed by the words “personal communication,” and the date of the communication.
  • Provide an exact date of correspondence if available; if correspondence took place over a period of time, provide a more general date or a range of dates. The date refers to when you consulted with the person, not to when the information originated.
  • Ensure that the person agrees to have their name included in your paper and confirms the accuracy and appropriateness of the information you present.
  • Because there is no recoverable source, a reference list entry is not used."

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