Save hours of repetitive work.

Stop wasting hours figuring out the correct citation format. With Scribbr, you can search for your source by title, URL, ISBN, or DOI and generate accurate APA references in seconds. No experience needed.

Rely on accurate citations, verified by experts.

You don’t want points taken off for incorrect citations. That’s why our APA reference experts have invested countless hours perfecting our algorithms. As a result, we’re proud to be recommended by teachers worldwide.

Enjoy a clean look for minimal distraction.

Staying focused is already challenging enough. You don’t need video pop-ups and flickering banner ads slowing you down. At Scribbr, we keep distractions to a minimum while also keeping the tool free for everyone.

Get started

Features you'll love

Autocite

Search for your source by title, URL, DOI, ISBN, and more to retrieve the relevant information automatically.

APA 6th & 7th edition

Whether you’re still using APA 6 or you’ve already switched to APA 7, we’ve got you covered!

Export to Bib(La)TeX

Easily export in BibTeX format and continue working in your favourite LaTeX editor.

Export to Word

Reference list finished? Export to Word with perfect indentation and spacing set up for you.

Sorting, grouping, and filtering

Organise the reference list the way you want: from A to Z, new to old, or grouped by source type.

Save multiple lists

Stay organised by creating a separate reference list for each of your assignments.

Fonts

Choose between Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, and more options to match your style.

Industry-standard technology

Scribbr is built using the same citation software (CSL) as Mendeley and Zotero, but with an added layer for improved accuracy.

Annotations

Create perfectly formatted annotated bibliographies with just a few clicks.

Quick tips

Explanatory tips help you get the details right to ensure accurate citations.

Citation guides

Getting to grips with citation is simple with the help of our highly rated APA reference guides and videos.

Secure backup

Your work is saved automatically after every change and stored securely in your Scribbr account.

APA referencing guidelines

APA Style is widely used by students, researchers, and professionals in the social and behavioral sciences. The Scribbr APA Reference Generator automatically generates accurate references and in-text citations for free.

This referencing guide outlines the most important referencing guidelines from the 7th edition APA Publication Manual (2020). Scribbr also offers free guides for the older APA 6th edition, Vancouver Style, and Harvard Style.

APA in-text citations

The basics

In-text citations are brief references in the running text that direct readers to the full reference entry at the end of the paper. You include them every time you quote or paraphrase someone else’s ideas or words.

An 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: Smith (2020) 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 typeParenthetical citationNarrative 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)
Organization(Scribbr, 2020)Scribbr (2020)

Missing information

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

Missing elementWhat to doParenthetical citation
AuthorUse the source title.*(Source Title, 2020)
DateWrite “n.d.” for “no date”.(Smith, n.d.)
Page numberEither use an alternative locator or
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 author, publication date, title, and source. 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 references 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 elementWhat to doReference format
AuthorStart the reference entry with the source title.Title. (Date). Source.
DateWrite “n.d.” for “no date”.Author. (n.d.). Title. Source.
TitleDescribe 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 word “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 Reference 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.
  • Free plagiarism checker: Detect, understand, and resolve plagiarism by comparing your paper with billions of sources.
  • Proofreading services: Have a professional editor (or team of editors) improve your writing so you can submit your paper with pride and confidence.
  • 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.