APA Citation Generator

In this IvyPanda post, we’re going to discuss APA format, including basic rules and useful tools, as well as common mistakes that students make when using an APA reference generator.

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The Best APA Citation Generators

To create a mistake-free reference list and make proper in-text citations, you don’t have to memorize the entire APA style manual. All you have to do is open an APA reference generator in your browser, fill in the required data, and generate a citation or reference.

But…

How do you select the right citation generator for your paper?

The answer is simple: Take a look at our list below:

1. Citation Machine

Citation Machine - Online Citation Maker

You can cite in APA for free using this online citation maker. Users can reference books, magazines, websites, films, and more. You can choose either auto-fill or manual entry mode.

2. Cite This for Me

Cite This For Me - APA Citation Generator

Cite This For Me allows you to select among APA, MLA, Chicago, ASA, Harvard, IEEE, and AMA academic citation styles. Choose the type of source you want to cite, fill in the required fields, and get your reference. If you create a premium account, you’ll be able to save and manage your citations. The cost of the subscription is $9.99/month.

3. Scribbr

Scribbr - Easy APA Citation Generator

Scribbr is another free, premium online citation generator that makes APA referencing easy. Like other sites, it gives users the opportunity to create citations from various sources. Additionally, you can download the finished references in .docx format. The website use the 6th edition of the APA style guide.

4. MyBib

MyBib - Free APA Citation Generator 2019 Updated

This is a simple, yet powerful APA format citation generator that allows you to create a single in-text citation or a complete reference list. You can also copy and paste your references, export them to MS Word or Google Drive, or even email or print them! The service is free for all users and has a Chrome extension for your convenience.

5. Сitefast

CiteFast APA Citation Generator

Citefast might seem a little outdated, but this app is still worth your attention. You can create title pages, as well as citations in APA, MLA, and Chicago styles. The site is free, but if you want to save your references, you should register.

6. Citation Producer

Citation Producer - APA Citation Tool

Citation Producer is a free, simple, online APA reference generator. Use it to create book, website, newspaper, journal, or magazine citations. On the website, there is also an MLA citation generator available.

7. Citation Generator

APA Citation Generator

This tool allows you to cite in APA 6th edition, MLA 7th and 8th editions, Chicago, and CSE/CBE reference styles. You can use it to generate citations for books, articles, magazines, and more. The online tool is free; however, it does not let you to download the results—only copy and paste.

8. BibMe

BibMe APA Citation Tool

This online tool is quite similar to the Cite This For Me app. The tool is free and offers citations in APA, MLA, and lots of other reference styles. The service also provides the opportunity to check your paper for plagiarism and grammar errors.

9. Bibliography

Bibliography Citation Generator

This is another easy-to-use, free, and ad-free tool available for APA referencing.  You can use auto-fill or manual entry mode, export your citations to MS Word, or copy them to your clipboard.

10. KnightCite

KnightCite -APA Citation Generator

The KnightCite is a citation maker maintained by Hekman Library at Calvin University. This tool lets you choose among various types of sources and fill-in over ten fields of information to get a full citation.

APA Reference Generator Comparison Charts

For your convenience, we’ve prepared two comparison charts of the top 10 APA reference makers! Review them below to choose the one(s) that best fit your paper’s needs.

Here are the first five APA citation creators:

Name Citation Machine Cite This for Me Scribbr MyBib Сitefast
Web-based Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cost Free for basic features, $9.95/month for additional features Free for basic features, $9.99/month for additional features Free for citation features, paid additional options Free Free
Other citation styles available MLA, Chicago, and other popular styles MLA, Harvard, Chicago, ASA, IEEE, AMA MLA MLA, Chicago, and other popular styles MLA, Chicago
File available for download Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Citations from websites Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Other features Title page creation, paid plagiarism and grammar check Bibliography creation, paid plagiarism and grammar check Paid proofreading, editing, plagiarism checking features Share option, import from Bibtex and PDF files, Chrome extension Bibliography creation for registered users

If you still haven’t found the perfect citation generator, here’s another chart with APA reference creators:

Name Citation Producer Citation Generator BibMe Bibliography KnightCite
Web-based Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cost Free Free Free for basic features, $9.99/month for additional features Free Free
Other citation styles available MLA MLA, Chicago, CBS/CSE MLA, Harvard, Chicago, ASA, IEEE, AMA MLA, Chicago MLA, Chicago
File available for download No No Yes Yes No
Citations from websites Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Other features No registration is needed No registration is needed Bibliography creation, paid plagiarism and grammar check Bibliography creation Bibliography creation and export are available for registered users only

How to Choose the Perfect Citation Generator

As you can see, every citation management tool has multiple features and options. To choose among so many, you need to determine what criteria is important to you. The questions below will help you do so:

  • Do you want a tool that works online or offline? Some citation makers are only available online, while others can store your references on your laptop. By the way, did you know that you can easily create a citation using MS Word?
  • Which devices will you use to create references? Check if the desired tool can be used from multiple computers and devices. Some can work on your mobile device, while others can only store your references on your computer.
  • Can the reference maker save citations from a webpage? Most of the tools allow you to create citations from web sources. Some require you to fill in all the fields manually, while others offer auto-fill mode.
  • Does the citation tool work for group projects? It’s convenient to be able to share your references when you work on a group research project. Several APA reference generators can share your reference lists and citations with other users or open them to public access.
A student working on citations on laptop

5 Tips on How to Use APA Reference Creators Properly

APA citation builders can save you lots of time, but you need to remember that they are merely tools. Below, IvyPanda Academic Experts share their advice on how to use these reference generators wisely:

  1. Double-check the data you enter.

It may seem obvious, but if you type the article’s title incorrectly or misplace the author’s first and last names, you will get an inaccurate citation. In addition, if you are citing a book, don’t look for the reference data on an online site that sells that book. Doing so increases the chances of missing or omitting important information like the editor’s name or edition number. It’s important to find the required details in the book itself.

  1. Make sure to use the correct edition and version of the source.

If you use an APA cite generator that enables auto-fill mode, you should double-check the page numbers, authors’ and editors’ names, versions, etc.

  1. Review the citation you receive.

Although it rarely happens, a citation generator can make an error. For example, we have seen them forget to capitalize properly, or display page numbers incorrectly.

  1. Check the APA in-text citation format.

When writing an essay, you still need to use the correct APA in-text citation format. Be vigilant about inserting your citation into your text according to the citation style guidelines. For example, the citation generator may not tell you that you need to highlight specific information, especially when citing multiple works by the same author.

  1. Use multiple reference generators.

Here’s a pro tip: Using two or three APA reference generators will help you verify the reference you receive. In addition, we suggest checking the final citations and bibliography page against the APA editorial style guidelines to avoid mistakes.

Common Errors when Using APA Reference Generators

Now, let’s talk about the mistakes students make when they use online citation makers. As you might have guessed, the most common error is not checking the result. However, there are other potential mistakes you should try to avoid:

  • Using outdated tools and/or citation styles

Let’s imagine a situation: You’ve just finished writing your history essay in MLA format and then immediately start to work on your social science assignment, which requires APA style. It’s easy to forget to switch styles!

Another similar error is not checking whether the selected tool is using the updated style guidelines. There’s a difference between MLA 7th and 8th editions, as well as APA 6th and 7th editions. That’s why you should carefully check the style guide of your reference maker to verify that it meets your professor’s requirements.

  • Using non-reputable sources

APA reference makers produce citations according to the information you give them. They do not evaluate the sources. It is up to you to check and see if the source you’re going to use is peer-reviewed and provides clear, well-documented evidence.

  • Missing important information

Some citation management tools allow you to use their auto-fill entry mode. However, you will almost always need to add some information about the author, editor, page numbers, publisher, etc. Make sure you have filled in the form correctly, and that there are no empty fields.

What Is APA Reference Style?

In short, the APA citation style is the official American Psychologist Association reference format. Most education, psychology, and social science papers are formatted according to this style.

Let’s turn to the history of the APA and APA style.

The American Psychologist Association (APA), the most prominent professional psychologist organization in the USA, was founded by Clark University. Just imagine, during its first year, the American Psychological Association had only 31 members, all of which were psychologists!

Nowadays, the organization is based in Washington, DC, and has over 130,000 members, including educators, scientists, clinicians, and psychology students.

A woman working on a paper on laptop

Back in 1929, a group of anthropologists, psychologists, and business managers decided to produce guidelines that would cover the elements of scientific writing and improve reading comprehension. As a result of this decision, they published an article in Psychological Bulletin, in which they outlined the basics of the style rules. Later, in 1952, these guidelines were expanded into the first edition of the APA Publication Manual.

In August 2019, the APA released the 7th edition of the Publication Manual. The book is translated into 13 languages: Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Italian, Greek, Polish, Thai, Chinese (complex and simplified), Japanese, Turkish, Korean, and Arabic.

Similar to other citation styles, the APA editorial style regulates the use of the following elements to ensure the clear and concise presentation of written works:

  • Abbreviations and punctuation
  • Headings, abstracts, tone, length
  • Tables and figures
  • Referencing, etc.

So, what are the basic features of the APA style?

First, it divides every research paper into eight parts: title page, abstract, introduction, research method, study results, ideas for further discussion, reference list, and appendices.

Second, it sets the rules for the text formatting. For example, each page should be numbered and should have a header that includes the title of the paper.

APA formatting requires you to double-space the paper and prohibits extra spaces between paragraphs. Arial or Times New Roman fonts are used with 12 point text, and the standard margins are one inch.

Why and When To Use APA Style?

Now you know the basics of APA style. But when you should use it? Students usually encounter APA format when they take a social science or psychology class. It might be confusing to switch from MLA and Chicago to APA, but it’s necessary to use different styles for different subjects.

As we mentioned before, the APA editorial style is used in psychology, education, and social science papers. But why it is so important?

Here’s the deal…

When you read a paper, written in APA, you know where to find references, when to look for footnotes, how to read tables and images, etc. In short, the style ensures consistency in the presentation of information about research ideas and findings.

APA 7th Edition: What’s new?

The 7th edition of APA will officially be in use starting the second quarter of 2020. Let’s take a brief look at the key changes to expect!

Changes in Reference list:

  • You don’t need to write a publisher’s location for books or similar sources anymore.

Drewett, P. (2012). Field archaeology: An introduction. London, England: UCL Press.

Drewett, P. (2012). Field archaeology: An introduction. UCL Press.

  • You need to list up to 20 authors (instead of 7).

Hegele, R. A., Borén, J., Ginsberg, H. N., Arca, M., Averna, M., Binder, C. J., … Catapano, A. L. (2020). Rare dyslipidaemias, from phenotype to genotype to management: A European Atherosclerosis Society task force consensus statement. The Lancet. Diabetes & Endocrinology, 8(1), 50-67.

Hegele, R. A., Borén, J., Ginsberg, H. N., Arca, M., Averna, M., Binder, C. J., Calabresi, L., Chapman, M. J., Cuchel, M,, von Eckardstein A., Frikke-Schmidt, R., Gaudet, D., Hovingh, G. K., Kronenberg, F., Lütjohann, D., Parhofer, K. G., Raal, F., Ray, K. K., Remaley, A. T., … Catapano, A. L. (2020). Rare dyslipidaemias, from phenotype to genotype to management: A European Atherosclerosis Society task force consensus statement. The Lancet. Diabetes & Endocrinology, 8(1), 50-67.

  • The type of eBook (PDF, Kindle, etc.) should be substituted by the publisher.

Thomas, S. (2008). Imperialism, reform, and the making of englishness in Jane Eyre [Kindle version]. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230583757

Thomas, S. (2008). Imperialism, reform, and the making of englishness in Jane Eyre. Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230583757

  • Don’t use “Retrieved from” before URLs unless there’s also a retrieval date, include website name instead if it’s different from author, and italicize the post title.

Hincks, J. (2019, November 21). Israel may be headed for its third election in a year. Here’s what happens now. Retrieved from https://time.com/5735639/israel-elections/

Hincks, J. (2019, November 21). Israel may be headed for its third election in a year. Here’s what happens now. Time USA. https://time.com/5735639/israel-elections/

  • Don’t use the “DOI:” prefix. Instead, format it as a link.

Baldwin, D. S., Anderson, I. M., & Nutt, D. J. (2014). Evidence-based pharmacological treatment of anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder: A revision of the 2005 guidelines from the British Association for Psychopharmacology. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 28(5), 403–439. doi:10.1177/0269881114525674

Baldwin, D. S., Anderson, I. M., & Nutt, D. J. (2014). Evidence-based pharmacological treatment of anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder: A revision of the 2005 guidelines from the British Association for Psychopharmacology. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 28(5), 403–439. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0269881114525674

  • Additionally, you will be given more detailed instructions to cite social media posts, videos, and other electronic media.

Change in in-text citations:

  • You need to shorten parenthetical citations with more than three authors from the first mention. Just name the first author and “et al.” for the rest.

The limitations of the classification system preclude its use for the determination of specific health needs of ethnic minorities (Flatman, Flemming, & Drewett, 2009).

The limitations of the classification system preclude its use for the determination of specific health needs of ethnic minorities (Flatman, et al., 2009).

Changes in paper format:

  • You will be able to use Arial 11pt, Calibri 11pt, Georgia 11pt, and Lucida Sans Unicode 10pt fonts.
  • The prefix “Running head:” is no longer needed. Use the title of the paper and a page number.

Changes in language:

  • You need to use pronouns “they/their” instead of “he/his”, “she/her”, when referring to entities or people.
  • APA advises to use unbiased and more specific language to refer to certain categories of people.
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