How to format APA Bibliography in 7th Edition Style

This is a complete citation guide to APA Bibliography (American Psychological Association) in-text and reference list citations. This easy-to-use, comprehensive guide makes citing any source type easy. It contained the latest version of the APA Publication manual, text citation examples, various citation formats, and style guidelines. Check out our other citation guides on MLA 8 and Harvard referencing.

Core Components of an APA Bibliography/Reference:

Core Components of an APA Reference

1. APA Bibliography Basics: Reference List

APA references follow specific conventions that distinguish them from other styles. There are many examples in the Publication Manual, but here is the most common one:

  • Author’s last name, Initials. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number(issue number), page number range.

APA references must have the following:

  • Author name(s)
  • Publication year
  • Title of article (or chapter, conference paper, patent etc.)
  • Title of journal (or book etc.)
  • Volume and issue number (if applicable)
  • Page number

The title of the article is not boldfaced or underlined in APA bibliography style

If a source has two authors, both authors’ names are included in the reference list entry. If there are more than two authors for a source, either include all authors’ names in the citation or list the first author followed by “et al.”

If you reference an article from a news source (e.g., CNN, NBC, Washington Post) or a site that may experience continuous updates, you would then need to include a retrieval date.

Be on a new page at the end of the document

Be alphabetized by name of the first author

Contain full references for all in-text references used.

You can use an APA citation generator software tool like the Scribbr APA Citation Generator to simplify your work. We are not associated with them, but we believe they are a credible website and can generate accurate references.

2. APA Bibliography Basics: In-Text Citation

In-text citations are inserted in the body of your research paper to briefly document the source type of your information. Brief in-text citations point the reader to more complete information in the reference list at the end of the paper. In-text citations include the last name of the author followed by a date. In addition, they also point to specific pages where the information was taken from, if applicable.

APA style uses the author-date system for citing references in the text of your paper. For each reference cited in the text, there must be a corresponding entry in the reference list.

The in-text citation includes the author’s last name, year of publication and, if applicable, page number separated by commas and enclosed in parentheses.

For example; (Smith, 2019, p. 12)…or Smith (2017) states

When quoting another author’s work, place quotation marks around the quoted section and add a corresponding reference at the end of the paper.

Two Authors:

APA bibliography style uses the author/date method of citation in which the author’s last name and the year of the publication are inserted in the actual text of the paper.

Within your text, you will cite Joiner and Katz (1999) as follows:

Joiner and Katz (1999) have shown that

If the authors’ names are in parentheses, place the “and” inside the parentheses.

(Joiner & Katz, 1999)

Three, Four, or Five Authors:

When citing three to five authors, list all the authors the first time you cite them. In subsequent citations, use the first author’s name followed by “et al.” For example: (Jones et al., 2019).

No Authors:

When no author is listed for a work, start the citation with the title of the work instead. Italicize or underline titles of books and reports; put quotation marks around titles of articles in journals and magazines. For example: (“Effects of Grear Depression to Asia,” 2017).

Citing Authors With Multiple Works From One Year:

When an author writes multiple articles in the same year, place a lowercase letter after the year. These lowercase letters are assigned within the reference list, which is sorted alphabetically by the surname of the first author.

In-text citation example:

(Smith, 2008a) or

Smith (2008a) found . . .

Reference list example:

Smith, J. (2008a). Title of the first article. Title of Periodical, xx, pp-pp.

Smith, J. (2008b). Title of the second article. Title of Periodical, xx, pp-pp.

Citing Multiple Works in One Parentheses:

When multiple track sources provide evidence for a single claim or piece of information, all sources must be cited. The parenthetical citation is placed at the end of the relevant information and includes a comma separating each component (author’s last name and publication date).

If there are two authors with different surnames, include both surnames separated by an ampersand (&). If there are three or more authors, include only the name of the first author followed by et al.

To cite multiple sources in one parenthetical reference, list sources alphabetically by title within parentheses and separate each citation with a semicolon:

Studies have shown that eating chocolate can alter mood (Brown, 1995; Cox, 1999; Smith, 1999).

Two recent examples of this trend include studies by Liou et al. (2007) and Liu & Chen (2008).

Citing a Group or Organisation:

Use this format when citing a work authored by an organization or group. Use an abbreviated version of their name if it has been used in your text previously. For example:

First cite: (International Citation Association, 2015)

Further Cites: (Citation Association, 2015)

Citing a Secondary Source:

Use secondary sources sparingly; you should usually try to locate the original source of information that was cited in a work you have read. If you use a source type that was cited in another source, name the original source in your signal phrase. List the secondary source in your basic reference list and include the secondary source in the parentheses.

In this situation, the original author and date should be stated first followed by ‘as cited in’ followed by the author and date of the secondary source. For example:

Lorde (1980) as cited in Mitchell (2017) Or (Lorde, 1980, as cited in Mitchell, 2017)

3. How to Cite Different Types of Sources

This guide provides basic information on how to cite sources and examples for formatting citations in common citation styles. Books have a certain format, websites have a different format, periodicals have a different format, and so on. Scroll down to find the proper format for the source you’re citing or referencing.

How to Cite a Book (Title, not chapter) in APA Bibliography Format

The basic structure of a book reference should include the author’s last name, comma, and publication date in parenthesis at the end of the sentence where information from the book was used. For example, if you wanted to cite a passage that read “The dog lay panting at its master’s feet,” you would write (Smith, 2013) after the sentence in your paper.

Include all publication details in the reference section of your essay following APA guidelines. In this case, your reference would look like this:

Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year of publication). Title of Book: Subtitle if applicable. Publisher City, State: Publisher.

Book referencing example:

Smith, J. M. (2013). The dog and its master: A biography of loyalty and devotion. New York: Random House Publishing Group.

How to Cite an Edited Book in APA Format

Note that we use “Ed” if there is only one editor and “Eds” if there are multiple editors.

Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Ed.). (Year of publication). Title of Book: Subtitle if applicable. Publisher City, State: Publisher.


Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Eds.). (Year of publication). Title of Book: Subtitle if applicable. Publisher City, State: Publisher.

Edited book example:

Smith, G. (Ed.). (2005). Sociology: A concise Canadian introduction (3rd ed.). Toronto, ON: Pearson Prentice-Hall.

How to Cite a Chapter in an Edited Book in APA Format

Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year of publication). Chapter title or other parts of the title within the edited book. In the First initial., Last name (Ed.), Title of the edited book: Subtitle if applicable (pp.

Edited book chapter example:

In the following example, Gee, J. P., Hull, G., & Lankshear, C. are the authors of the chapter and S. R. Steinberg & K. Kincheloe are the editors.

Gee, J. P., Hull, G., & Lankshear, C. (1996). The new work order: Behind the language of the new capitalism. In S. R. Steinberg & K. Kincheloe (Eds.), Kinderculture: The corporate construction of childhood (pp. 10-32). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

How to Cite an E-Book in APA Format

As a general rule, cite the version of the e-book you read. If you read the Kindle or EPUB version of a book on your tablet or smartphone, cite that version. If you read it in your browser, cite that version.*

E-books and e-book chapters follow slightly different formats, but it is still important to include as much information as possible when citing these sources. The following example shows how an e-book citation appears in APA bibliography format:

Author Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial. (Year). Title of book: Subtitle (Version) [Kindle version]. Retrieved from

E-Book Example:

Barrows, C., & Powers, B. M. (2010). How to design and evaluate research in education (8th ed.) [Kindle version]. Retrieved from

How to Cite an E-Book Chapter in APA Format

If you cite one chapter from an edited book written by one author, use the following format:*

Author’s last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year published). Chapter title [E-reader version]. In Editor’s first name and editor’s last name (Eds.), Book title (pp. Page number). Publisher City, State: Publisher.*

If the work is not divided into numbered chapters, use “n.p.” for the page number.*

How to Cite a Journal Article in Print or Online in APA Format

APA format for articles from online journals is similar to citing print versions with a few exceptions.*

Author’s last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year). Article title.* Journal Title, volume number(issue number), page number range.* doi

Articles differ from book citations in that the publisher and publisher location are not included. For journal articles, these are replaced with the journal title, volume number, issue number, and page number.

Journal Article Examples:

Mitchell, J.A. (2017). Citation: Why is it so important. Mendeley Journal, 67(2), 81-95

How to Cite a Newspaper Articles in Print or Online in APA Format

To cite a newspaper article in APA bibliography format, write the author’s name and date of publication separated by a comma, then write the title of the article followed by its original publication date within square brackets and period in the end. Finally, write “Retrieved from” followed by a website address or URL that links directly to that article from your list of references.

Author, A. (year, month date of publication). Article title. Newspaper Title, page number.

Note: If the issue number is not provided, simply omit it from the citation.

Online Newspaper Article

Author, A. (year, month date of publication). Article title. Newspaper Title. Retrieved from

How to Cite Magazine Articles in Print or Online in APA Format

To cite a magazine article in print, use the following structure:

Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year, Month Day). Article title. Magazine Name, Volume(Issue), pp.-pp.

Magazine Article Example:

Barrus, J. (2014, March 18). Scientists have no idea how to stop the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Popular Science, 284(3), 36-41.

Citing a magazine article online

To cite a magazine article online, use the following structure:

Last name, First initial. Middle initial. (Year, Month Day). Article title [Format description]. Magazine Name. Retrieved from URL

Magazine Article Example

Barrus, J. (2014, March 18). Scientists have no idea how to stop the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria [Web log post]. Popular Science. Retrieved from

How to Cite Non-Print Material in APA Format

How to Cite an Image in APA Format

The APA bibliography format allows you to cite images you find in books, articles, or sources on the Internet.

Citing an image in APA format is very similar to citing a website or a book. The only difference here is that you will need to cite the name of the artist and the date when it was created as well as the location where you found it.

Here’s how to cite an image:

Image Found in a Book

Title of book (italicized). (Year of publication). City of publication: Publisher name. -*-

Example: The Art of the Renaissance (5th ed.). (1998). New York, NY: McGraw Hill Publishers.

Include an Image Found Online

Author’s last name, first initial., & Author’s last name, first initial. (Year). Title of photograph [Format]. Website title. Retrieved from *-

How to Cite a Film in APA Format

When citing films, videos or DVDs in your paper, place an in-text citation after any information you borrow from the film. Begin your citation with the director’s name and then place the year of release within parentheses. Follow with a period and then note the medium of publication (either VHS [for video] or DVD) within square brackets. The element that ends your sentence should appear immediately before the closing punctuation mark. For example:

In their study of male-female communication patterns, Eckert and McConnell-Ginet (2003) found that men interrupted more often than women. [Film]. (Producers), & DiCillo, T. (Director). (2003).

Film Example:

Spielberg, S. (Producer), & Lucas, G. (Director). (1977). Star wars [Motion picture]. United States: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation.

How to Cite a TV Programme in APA Format

APA style has specific guidelines for citing films, TV shows, radio broadcasts, and other media. Use the following template to cite a tv program using the official APA style guide.

Writer surname, initial(s) (Writer), & Director surname, initial(s) (Director). (Year of Release). Episode title [Television series episode]. In Executive producer surname, initial(s) (Executive Producer), TV series name. City, State of original channel: Network, Studio, or Distributor

TV Programme Example:

Catlin, M., and Walley-Beckett, Moire (Writers), & Johnson, R (Director). (2010). Fly [Television series episode]. In Schnauz, T. (Executive Producer). Breaking bad. Culver City, CA: Sony Pictures Television

How to Cite a Song in APA Format

Here is how you cite a song in APA bibliography format:

Songwriter, L. L. (Year). Song title [Recorded by F. F. Artist if different from writer]. On Album name [Medium of recording: CD, record, cassette, etc.). City, State abbreviation or country of publisher: Publisher name. Example: Madonna. (1991). Crazy for you [Recorded by Madonna]. On I’m breathless [CD]. Los Angeles, CA: Sire Records.

Song Example:

Beyonce, Diplo, MNEK, Koenig, E., Haynie, E., Tillman, J., and Rhoden, S.M. (2016) Hold up [Recorded by Beyonce]. On Lemonade [visual album]. New York, NY: Parkwood Records (August 16)

How to Cite a Website in APA Format

Citing a general website article with an author:

Author, F. M. (Year, Month Date of Publication). Article title. Retrieved from URL

Citing a website with no author:

Title of article. (Year, Month Date of Publication). Retrieved from URL

Website example:

Mitchell, J.A. (2017, May 21). How and when to reference. Retrieved from

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