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APA Guide: 7th Edition

Basic Format


Avoid Common Mistakes!

Titles are Tricky

  • Italicize book & journal titles, not article or chapter titles.
  • Use sentence case for article, book, or book chapter titles, which means you capitalize only the first word, proper nouns, and the word after a colon.
  • For journal titles, use title case where each word is capitalized.

Things to Know: References

See the steps below if you are missing info:


First, check to see if the information is really missing by searching the title of the article, book, etc. at

What Is Missing?




n/a Author. (date). Title. URL

See note below.

Title takes its place. Title. (date). URL.


Use n.d. for no date. Author. (n.d.). Title. URL.

(know approximate)

Use ca. followed by year in parentheses.

Author. [ca. date]. Title. URL


Use a description instead. Author. (date). [Description of document]. URL
Issue If no issue, leave it out. Author. (date). Title. Journal, vol., pgs. URL

Author & Date

Combine author & date methods above. Title. (n.d.). Retrieved from URL

Author & Title

Combine author & title methods above.

[Description of document]. (date). URL

Date & Title

Combine date & title methods above. Author. (n.d.). [Description of document]. URL
Author, Date & Title Combine author, date & title methods above. [Description of document]. (n.d.). URL

MORE ON AUTHOR: The author may be an institutional author; this is very common for webpages. In the case of an institutional author, cite the full institutional name in the author name place (examples below). Otherwise, use the table above.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). Adolescent health.Retrieved from

World Health Organization. (2015). Physical activity. Retrieved from

Alphabetizing References

  • Alphabetize letter by letter beginning with the first authors' last names.
  • Alphabetize prefixes such as Mc and Mac literally.
  • Alphabetize surnames that contain articles and prepositions (de, la, du, von, etc.) according to the rules of the language of origin.
  • Alphabetize items with numerals as if the numerals were spelled out.
  • Alphabetize group authors such as associations or agencies by the first significant word of the name, and use the full official name, not an acronym.
  • If the author is designated as Anonymous, then the entry is alphabetized as if Anonymous were a true name.
  • If there is no author, the entry is alphabetized by the first significant word in the title.

Deep Dive: Creating References Using Seventh Edition APA Style

In this webinar, members of the APA Style team provide an in-depth look at the simplified reference system, describing the rationale behind it, how to format references using it, and why references are easier because of it.

The panelists answer one of the most frequent questions: how to cite a work found online. They also use real-life examples to walk through creating references for works with missing information; found via a database; needing DOIs, URLs, and retrieval dates; and more.