How to cite a PowerPoint in APA Style

This article reflects the APA 7th edition guidelines. Click here for APA 6th edition guidelines.

To reference a PowerPoint presentation in APA Style, include the name of the author (whoever presented the PowerPoint), the date it was presented, the title (italicized), “PowerPoint slides” in square brackets, the name of the department and university, and the URL where the PowerPoint can be found.

Format Author name, Initials. (Year, Month Day). PowerPoint title [PowerPoint slides]. Department Name, University Name. URL
Reference list Simonton, D. K. (2013). The mad-genius controversy [PowerPoint slides]. College of Education, University of Iowa. https://simonton.faculty.ucdavis.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/243/2015/08/IowaDeltaMadGenius.pdf
In-text citation (Simonton, 2013)

If the PowerPoint is not accessible to your readers, cite it as a personal communication instead. Note that to cite a video of a presentation (e.g. a TED Talk) or a quotation from a speech, different formats are used.

Citing a PowerPoint your readers can access

PowerPoint presentations should only be included in the reference list if your reader can access them for themselves.

PowerPoints on password-protected platforms

A login is often required to access a file on your university’s LMS (e.g. Blackboard, Canvas). In these cases, the URL included should be the login page rather than the specific location of the PowerPoint.

Reference list Johnson, F. (2018, September 20). Introduction to classics [PowerPoint slides]. Faculty of Classics, Oxford University. https://login.canvas.ox.ac.uk/
In-text citation (Johnson, 2018)

PowerPoints on public sites

With slides that are available on a public site, rather than from your university, replace the department and university name with the name of the website.

Reference list Familian, S. (2017, February 17). Visual design with data [PowerPoint slides]. SlideShare. https://www.slideshare.net/sfamilian/visual-design-with-data-feb-2017/10-WHATS_GOOD_DATA_DESIGNROLLEDUP10NINJA_TIPPivot
In-text citation (Familian, 2017)

The same format can be used for other kinds of slides or lecture notes. Just replace “PowerPoint slides” with an appropriate description.

Reference list Scribbr. (2020). APA 7th edition: The most notable changes [Google Slides]. Google Drive. https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/19wGvksFKwvVEkxyyqpNqPp6sQzga96d3tt85xvqUqhU/view
In-text citation (Scribbr, 2020)

Citing a PowerPoint your readers can’t access

If your readers won’t be able to access the PowerPoint you want to cite, it should instead be cited as a personal communication.

This often depends on who will be reading your paper. For example:

  • If you’re writing a paper for class, and you want to cite a PowerPoint that’s available on your university’s Blackboard site, you can use the standard format, because your teacher can access the slides.
  • If you want to cite the same PowerPoint in a paper you’re submitting to a journal, you’ll have to cite it as a personal communication, because the journal’s readers can’t access it.

Personal communications are not included in the reference list; just mention them in parentheses in the text.

In a class lecture, Smith stated that the field is undergoing a “revolution” (personal communication, January 14, 2019).

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Citing information quoted in a PowerPoint

If a lecturer included an interesting quote or statistic in their slides that you want to cite, it’s best to find the original source rather than citing the PowerPoint itself.

This allows both you and the reader to see the information in context. Only cite second-hand information from a PowerPoint if you’re unable to access the original source.

The source of the information will generally be listed in the PowerPoint itself or on a handout. With this, you can locate the original source online or at your university’s library. If the source isn’t stated in the presentation, try asking the lecturer for more information.

Frequently asked questions about APA Style citations

How do I cite a source with no author in APA Style?

When no individual author name is listed, but the source can clearly be attributed to a specific organization—e.g. a press release by a charity, a report by an agency, or a page from a company’s website—use the organization’s name as the author in the reference entry and in-text citations.

When no author at all can be determined—e.g. a collaboratively edited wiki or an online article published anonymously—use the title in place of the author. In the in-text citation, put the title in quotation marks if it appears in plain text in the reference list, and in italics if it appears in italics in the reference list. Shorten it if necessary.

How do I cite a source with no page numbers in APA Style?

When you quote or paraphrase a specific passage from a source, you need to indicate the location of the passage in your in-text citation. If there are no page numbers (e.g. when citing a website) but the text is long, you can instead use section headings, paragraph numbers, or a combination of the two:

(Caulfield, 2019, Linking section, para. 1).

Section headings can be shortened if necessary. Kindle location numbers should not be used in ebook citations, as they are unreliable.

If you are referring to the source as a whole, it’s not necessary to include a page number or other marker.

Check out other APA examples

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Jack Caulfield

Jack is a Brit based in Amsterdam, with an MA in comparative literature. He writes and edits for Scribbr, and reads a lot of books in his spare time.

2 comments

Micquella A Sheetz
May 13, 2021 at 3:45 AM

Thank you so much for this information. It has been most helpful. I do have a question regarding a citation for a reference list. I would like to reference my professor's PowerPoint, however, there is no URL for it as he shared it in PDF form through email. Would I use the above instructions and treat it as a personal communication?

Thank you again!

Reply

Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
May 17, 2021 at 10:24 PM

Hi Micquella,

Yep, you would cite that as a personal communication, since it's not publicly available, only shared with you privately via email.

Reply

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