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How to Cite in APA 7

In this guide:

  • Citation Examples: shows the exact reference list and in-text citation formatting for over 20 different source types

  • In-Text Citations: describes the difference between narrative and parenthetical in-text citations and explains when to cite in-text to avoid plagiarism

  • Citation Management Tools: links to information about programs that help you organize your research, remove duplicates from your search results, and manage the sources you're using

General Citation Information

Each APA 7 reference list entry must contain 4 elements: author, date, title, and source. Each source type has its own format for the four elements to make it simple to distinguish between types of sources in a reference list.

  • Author names must match the formatting given in the source, including hyphens, diacritics like accent marks, and the capitalization used by the author.
  • Dates are presented in different formats depending on the source type, sometimes only including the year and sometimes including the specific date the source was published.
  • Titles should always be capitalized in sentence case, meaning that only the first word of a title and the first word after a colon should be capitalized. The only exceptions are proper nouns and acronyms, which are always capitalized.
  • Source is the most specific element of a citation because it must contain enough information for the audience to be able to find that source. For journal articles, this includes the title of the publication, the volume number, the issue number, the page numbers if relevant, and the DOI if one has been assigned. For websites, this includes the name of the website and the URL of the specific source. Always double check that the required elements of the source are all listed and are formatted correctly for that source type.

Additional Accessible APA Resources

Major Changes in APA 7

Essay Format
  • Font - While you still can use Times New Roman 12, you are free to use other fonts. Atkinson Hyperlegible 12, Calibri 11, Arial 11, Lucida Sans 10, and Georgia 11 are all acceptable.
  • Headers - No running headers are required for student papers.
  • Tables and Figures - There is a standardized format for both tables and figures.

Style, Grammar, Usage
  • Singular "they" required in two situations: when used by a known person as their personal pronoun or when the gender of a singular person is not known.
  • Use only one space after a sentence-ending period.

Citation Style
  • "Retrieved from" is no longer necessary when citing a website. Including the url is sufficient.
  • Developed the 'Four Elements of a Reference" (Author, Date, Title, Source) to help writers to create references for source types not explicitly examined in the APA Manual.
  • Three or more authors can be abbreviated to First author, et al. on the first citation.
  • Up to 20 authors are spelled out in the References List.
  • Publisher location is not required for books
  • Ebook platform, format, or device is not required for eBooks.  
  • Library database names are generally not required
  • Hyperlinks -
    • All hyperlinks retain the https://
    • Links can be "live" in blue with underline or black without underlining

Copyright Information

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. It is used/adapted with the permission of Seneca Libraries. For information please contact When copying this guide, please retain this box.