29 Best Free Online Citation Generators [New 2018 Tools]

Formatting your quotes can be rather tricky. Learning where to put all the commas, italics, and quotation marks in the right places requires a lot of time and almost inhuman patience. After you write an A+ paper, you may have no energy left for it. The text can now become just a big, blurred gray spot before your eyes. Then trying to fix quotes is not what you want to do.
Using citation tools is necessary. Here’s a rating of the top 25 best free online citation generators.
But let us start with an introduction to citation styles.

How do you cite a book?

Every university sets the citation style for its students to use. The most popular of them are MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard, Turabian, Vancouver, and CSE. Each style has a detailed tutorial on formatting a paper—from punctuation to fonts.

A cited page should be formatted exactly according to the rules of your citation style. Otherwise, your teacher may return the paper without any grade.

To make a works cited page, you need to spend about an hour or so on changing fonts, inserting tabs, and rearranging information.

How to make a bibliography easily?

The first option is to learn using guides from professionals and follow all the steps. Yes. This is tedious activity and demands a lot of time. But it’s also absolutely free, and you can be sure about the quality of your annotated bibliography.

Purdue Owl contains guidelines on APA, MLA, and Chicago citation styles with templates for movies, websites, books with single or multiple authors, periodicals, quotes, and so on.

Here are some short tips to use when working with references:

  • Maintain punctuation and capitalization of the source.
  • Put the last name first even in in-text citations.
  • Save links to every online source—you’ll need them later.
  • Don’t use additional formatting like italicizing or underlining.

Reference generator software

Another way to cite sources is to use a referencing tool. Usually, they don’t focus on citations only and offer various services like book rental, custom writing, and digital library building.

For example, Easylib is a reference builder that concentrates mostly on library creation.

By paying for similar services, you save a lot of time when working with sources. The variety of software is wide. And citing websites, books, and periodicals becomes even faster.

But the best part:
You’ll never have to question “How to quote?” again.
But there’s also a third way. And we think it is the best option.

Free online citation generators

Not ready to spend money on a citation creator?

Instead of asking how to cite sources over and over again, use one of these MLA or APA citers. We’re sure everyone can find a reference page maker to suit their taste.

So, here’s the list:

1. Son of Citation Machine
1

Along with MLA, APA, and Chicago, this citation generator is compatible with at least 10 other popular academic citation styles.

This is also an excellent citation machine for movies. You can find any film you need online through the service and get a reference you can use in a paper.
Access: free; subscription plan for extra features (save unlimited bibliographies and check for plagiarism); registration needed to download a citation in Word or switch format
Functionality: search by title, author, ISBN; the tool fills in the authors’ names and title of the book, while the year and location of publication need to be filled in manually
Extra Features: creating parenthetical citations, checking paper for plagiarism and grammar errors
 
2. BibMe.org
2

This citation tool is very similar to Son of Citation Machine in its functionality and features. The two tools have similar forms and even pop-up windows.

Check your paper for unintentional plagiarism with one click and use grammar suggestions to improve your writing style and get higher grades.
Access: free; subscription plan for extra features
Functionality: search by title, author, ISBN
Extra Features: bibliography and parenthetical citations, grammar and plagiarism check
 
3. EasyBib
3

This citation tool has only limited free access. You can make free citations only in MLA style. The advantage of this citation generator is that it fills in more details than other tools (including the year of publication and publishing company).

The options of types of resources are unlimited—reference blogs, comics, digital images, federal rules, reports, online databases, patents, and many more.
Access: free citations without registration only in MLA style
Functionality: search by title, author, ISBN
Extra Features: APA, Chicago, and about 100 other citation styles are available for pro accounts only
 
4. CiteFast
4

This tool creates citations in the latest editions of APA, MLA, and Chicago.

Use a detailed description of your book, journal, newspaper, and other sources. Answer several questions to get the full reference.
Access: free access; registration needed only to see history of your citations
Functionality: search by title, author, ISBN
Extra Features: you can easily copy and paste your citations, export them in Word, and even keep them for 4 days in your account. Even if you have no account, the site will still show you your previous searches when you get back to it.
 
5. Cite This for Me
5

This tool has an easy-to-use design, which is similar to that of a Microsoft Word document. It creates citations for all citation styles imaginable.

Cite This For Me is an automatic bibliography maker in APA and MLA formats.
Access: basic version is free; premium account ($15 per month) can be used for extra features
Functionality: different resource types; search by title, author, ISBN; export of bibliography or sharing it with a group
Extra Features: pro features include checking for plagiarism, downloading the tool as an add-on, and creating several bibliographies at the same time.
 
6. Paperpile
6

Paperpile is a free Chrome extension that can be used for quick online research. To get a reference, simply search for the book you need on Amazon. In the upper right-hand corner, you’ll see a button that will automatically cite a resource. Otherwise, you can manually input the citation details.

Access: a free Chrome extension
Functionality: creates citations in Chicago style only
Extra Features: free export and storage of references, alphabetical order of citations
 
7. ETurabian
7

This tool makes citations in Turabian, MLA, and APA and requires manual entry of data, but it’s a great way to create bibliography and footnotes.

Choose express or manual input to insert the necessary details. There is a wide choice of resource types from printed papers to audio files and other multimedia.
Access: free
Functionality: manual entry of details, auto-formatting
Extra Features: using online dissertation catalogues, exporting and sharing bibliographies
 
8. MickSchroeder
8

Mick Schroeder is an Informatics Pharmacist from Philadelphia. He has kindly shared his invention with everyone on the web. It takes just a few seconds for this tool to create a perfectly formatted AMA style citation.

AMA generators are rare, and this one is an excellent example of a citation creator for this style.
Access: free; available as a Google Chrome extension
Functionality: search by Pubmed ID (recommended), DOI name, ISBN, URL; no manual entry of details needed
Extra Features: automatic generation of citations from any web page
 
9. RefMe
9

This tool does a great job formatting citations in more than 7,500 citation styles.

Access: free; sign-up with Facebook is required
Functionality: search by author, title, ISBN, URL
Extra Features: plagiarism and grammar check
 
10. KnightCite
10

This tool creates citations in MLA, APA, and Chicago. You get more than ten characteristics to choose from to make a full description of a source. The generator even includes fields for editions and volumes.

Access: free
Functionality: manual entry of data; a variety of resource types
Extra Features: save and edit previously saved citations
 
11. WorksCited4U
11

This tool creates quick citations in MLA, APA, and Chicago. It is an automatic source citer helping you save a lot of time by filling in as few fields as possible.

Access: free
Functionality: manual entry of data only
Extra Features: n/a
 
12. NoodleTools
12

NoodleTools offers helpful software for academic writing, including note-taking and citation tools. Citation maker is applicable for APA, MLA, and Chicago.

Access: citations are free; extra payment for additional features (notecards, collaboration, and sharing features)
Functionality: manual entry
Extra Features: a premium account allows using note-taking tools and getting expert help
 
13. APA Citation Maker
13

This tool cites sources only in APA style, but if you need a quick citation in this style, it’s a great choice.

Access: free
Functionality: manual entry
Extra Features: sorting citations, checking format, saving them as a Word document or a Google doc
 
14. CiteMaker
14

CiteMaker generates citations in MLA, APA, Harvard, and Oxford.

Access: free; registration for saving a bibliography for 30 days
Functionality: manual entry
Extra Features: in-text citations and bibliography entries
 
15. CitationBuilder
15

Citation Builder specializes in citing sources in MLA, APA, and Chicago.

Access: free
Functionality: manual entry
Extra Features: entries can be easily copied and pasted from the pop-up window
 
16. Citation Creation
16

This tool generates simple and quick citations in MLA, APA, and Chicago styles.

Access: free; no registration
Functionality: manual entry
Extra Features: creating citation lists
 
17. ResearchoMatic
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ResearchoMatic is great for citing sources in all major citation styles, including IEEE, MLA, APA, Chicago, and Vancouver.

Access: free; registration necessary
Functionality: manual entry of details
Extra Features: sharing your findings with others
 
18. ClassTools.net
18

The main advantage of this tool is that it not only helps you make citations but also helps you research. There’s no need to input all the resource details. All you need to do is do a search by keywords, title, or author or search by URL and you will get formatted citations with links to resources.

Access: free
Functionality: search by keywords, title, URL
Extra Features: online research
 
19. AcademicHelp.net
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This free citation generator focuses on MLA, APA, and Chicago format.

Access: free
Functionality: manual entry
Extra Features: copy and paste the received citation
 
20. WritingHouse
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WritingHouse offers a quick and easy way to generate citations, which are generated automatically as soon as you enter a title, keywords, or just the URL of your resource.

Access: free
Functionality: search by title, author, ISBN, and automatic generation of citations
Extra Features: adding citations to bibliographies
 
21. CitationProducer
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This tool makes citations in MLA and APA styles.

Access: free
Functionality: manual entry of data
Extra Features: search by ISBN
 
22. Biomedical Citation Maker
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This citation generator is great for research and using citations on websites.

Access: free
Functionality: search by PMID, DOI, NCT
Extra Features: help with using the numerical findings of a study
 
23. Ultrasound of the Week
23

This citation generator is great for making citations in AMA style.

Access: free
Functionality: search by DOI, PMID, URL
Extra Features: copy as HTML or text
 
24. Make Citation
24

This tool specializes in MLA, APA, Chicago, Turabian, and IEEE.

Access: free
Functionality: manual entry
Extra Features: n/a
 
25. Zotero
25

Zotero is a free browser extension or a Word add-on that allows creating citations without leaving your browser or a Word document.

Access: free
Functionality: automatically generates a citation
Extra Features: saving and sharing the resources you find
 
26. Mendeley
Mendeley landing page

Mendeley is a cite generator with a lot of useful functions. Its main goal is to build libraries for clients’ research. It offers thousands of styles and a convenient interface.

Access: free
Functionality: automatically-generated bibliography based on your library, the opportunity to share resources with other users, help with keeping all the documents in one easy-to-manage library
Extra Features: import papers from other software, access from your computer, tablet, or smartphone
 
27. UW Libraries Search
UW libraries search

You can get free referencing from some libraries. Some students even prefer them more than citation machines.

Why?
Because you don’t need to put in all the information. Just search for the key characteristics such as title or author.
This method also has a disadvantage:
You can cite only those sources the library has.
Access: free
Functionality: find the book, article, or periodical by searching title, author, or year, click on the citation symbol and get an automatic description in APA, Chicago, Harvard, or MLA
Extra Features: e-mail your sources or save them to use later, export documents to RefWorks
UW libraries search neuroscience
28. Google Scholar
Google scholar search

Google Scholar can also autocite its resources. So, if you work with articles through this service (by the way, we recommend it as one of the best free research tools for students and work), you can use the citation converter right at the moment of writing.

Access: Free
Functionality: thousands of publications to use for your academic paper or other research, citation styles: MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard, Vancouver
Extra Features: save sources in your Google account (need to log in), click “Related articles” to find additional relevant publications
 
29. Citation Wizard
Citation wizard site

A referencing tool to handle any resource in MLA style. Don’t waste time searching how to cite, let’s say, a musical composition or a map. Just use this MLA wizard and relax.

Access: free
Functionality: create a new document online, cite books, digital sources, and periodicals
Extra Features: save documents as .rtf or .cw, cite a whole range of sources including poems, charts, lectures, plays, live performance, unpublished dissertations, telephone interviews, and more

Irene Fenswick

Irene Fenswick is a freelance writer and blogger with a Master's degree in English Literature. She has been working as an academic advisor for undergraduate students for five years and she is willing to share her knowledge about writing. Currently Irene lives in Bournemouth, England with her two dogs, Arett and Mady. You can always reach her at [email protected]

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Comments (16)

Krystalyn
May 10th, 2016 - 6:45 am

Many many qulatiy points there.

Reply
Irene Fenswick
Irene Fenswick
June 25th, 2016 - 10:49 pm

Hi Krystalyn,

thanks for your feedback!

Reply
reena
August 24th, 2016 - 6:40 pm

nice

Reply
Irene Fenswick
Irene Fenswick
August 25th, 2016 - 6:36 pm

Glad you liked it, Reena!

Reply
saramike
April 18th, 2017 - 5:33 pm

Nice post helpful

Reply
Irene Fenswick
Irene Fenswick
April 20th, 2017 - 10:46 am

Thanks! Glad you liked it.

Reply
ZacharyUrime
August 14th, 2017 - 2:30 pm

Compelling stuff, I hadn’t been back to smart.study in a bit but I love the content you’ve added :-)

Reply
Irene Fenswick
Irene Fenswick
August 16th, 2017 - 10:06 am

Thank you for your kind words about our work :)

Reply
Tyler Bell
May 27th, 2018 - 2:18 am

A website called Formatically also has a really nice citation tool found at formatically.com/citation-tool. It is definitely the fastest citation tool out there for APA and MLA. I used it this past year in college.

Reply
Irene Fenswick
Irene Fenswick
July 11th, 2018 - 8:34 am

Thanks for the information, Tyler!

Reply
Marlene
August 30th, 2018 - 4:33 pm

Citation Maker is not just APA–It also has MLA for both Secondary students https://secondary.oslis.org/cite-sources/mla-secondary-citation
and for elementary students https://secondary.oslis.org/cite-sources/mla-elementary-citation

Reply
Irene Fenswick
Irene Fenswick
September 5th, 2018 - 12:28 pm

Thank you for the information, Marlene!

Reply
Brigette
November 2nd, 2018 - 8:44 pm

It is in reality a nice and useful piece of information. I’m
satisfied that you simply shared this useful info with us.
Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

curassow (Dewey)

Reply
Irene Fenswick
Irene Fenswick
November 7th, 2018 - 4:48 pm

I’m happy the article was useful for you, Brigette!

Reply
mariana
November 21st, 2018 - 5:03 pm

Thank youuuu this was veryy helpful!

Reply
Irene Fenswick
Irene Fenswick
November 28th, 2018 - 5:34 pm

Glad the article was helpful for you, Mariana!

Reply