APA reference page

The APA reference page is a separate page at the end of your paper where all sources you cited in the main text are listed. The references are sorted alphabetically, double spaced, and formatted using a hanging indent of ½ inch. Use “References” as page heading and include a running head with your paper title and page number.

APA reference page example

APA Reference Page

Creating references in APA format

Each reference must be structured according to the rules for that source type. These rules vary between books, journal articles, internet articles and more. APA references can be created either manually or by using our APA Citation Generator, which can retrieve all information automatically based on the website URL, journal DOI or book ISBN.

You should include a reference for all sources you have cited in the text. Don’t include sources you have only consulted. There are four types of source that are never included in an APA reference page:

Scribbr APA Citation Generator

Multiple authors in APA

A standard source reference begins with the author’s surname, followed by a comma, then the initial(s) of his or her first name.

If there are multiple authors, place a comma between each of the author names and an ampersand (“&”) before the last author’s name. If there are more than eight authors, list the first six followed by an ellipses “…” followed by the last author.

There should always be a period after the author name(s).

Number of authorsExample (journal article format)
1 author

Bentham, G. (1996). Association Between Incidence Of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma And Solar Ultraviolet Radiation In England And Wales. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 312(7039), 1128-1131. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/29731519

2 authors

Mead, G., & Whitehouse, J. (1986). Regular Review: Modern Management Of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. British Medical Journal (Clinical Research Edition), 293(6547), 577-580. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/29524395

3 – 7 authors

Ishii, K., Hosoi, Y., Yamada, S., Ono, T., & Sakamoto, K. (1996). Decreased Incidence of Thymic Lymphoma in AKR Mice as a Result of Chronic, Fractionated Low-Dose Total-Body X Irradiation. Radiation Research, 146(5), 582-585. https://doi.org/10.2307/3579560

8+ authors

Zoufaly, A., Stellbrink, H., An der Heiden, M., Kollan, C., Hoffmann, C., Van Lunzen, J., . . . ClinSurv Study Group. (2009). Cumulative HIV Viremia during Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy Is a Strong Predictor of AIDS-Related Lymphoma. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 200(1), 79-87. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40255115

What can proofreading do for your paper?

Scribbr editors not only correct grammar and spelling mistakes, but also strengthen your writing by making sure your paper is free of vague language, redundant words and awkward phrasing.

See editing example

Formatting the reference page

An APA reference page must also adhere to various format requirements, including indentation, spacing and margins. It is also vital that your reference list is alphabetized. This is how it should look:
APA Reference Page Formatting

  • One inch (2.54 cm) page margins on all sides
  • Times New Roman font in 12 pt
  • ‘References’ as title (centered)
  • Running head (top left corner)
  • Page number (top right corner)
  • Double spacing within and between references
  • ½ inch hanging indent for references longer than one line.

Alignment instructions for Word

  1. Make sure you can see the ruler at the top of the page (change the setting under the “View” tab if you cannot).
  2. Select all text in the reference list.
  3. The ruler will show two triangles and one square. Drag the bottom triangle to the right, half an inch, to set the hanging indent.

Alignment instructions APA reference page

Dividing URLs

Microsoft Word sees a URL as one word and will always split a long URL over more than one line. This often leaves a lot of white space. See the screenshot below:

Example apa citation

To avoid this, you want Word to divide the URL after a slash. You can divide a URL after a slash by placing your cursor after the slash and then clicking on Insert → Symbol → More Symbols… → Special Characters. Then add the character “No-Width Optional Break” or type ALT+8203.

You can also do this for all the slashes in your document by using the Find and Replace function in Word. At “Find what”, insert a slash. At “Replace with” insert a slash and then type ALT+8203. Then click “Replace All.”

Alphabetizing

The last step in creating the perfect APA reference page is to ensure the sources are correctly alphabetized, usually based on the author’s surname. Word can do this automatically for you. We also wrote an in-depth article on how to alphabetize the APA reference list.

APA format for other sections

The reference page is not the only part of your paper with specific formatting requirements in APA Style. Read our guide to APA formatting or see our articles on the APA format guidelines of the title page, running head, abstract and headings.

In October 2019, APA also released the 7th edition APA Manual. Check with your supervisor to see which edition your paper needs to adhere to.

Is this article helpful?
Courtney Gahan

Courtney has a Bachelor in Communication and a Master in Editing and Publishing. She has worked as a freelance writer and editor since 2013, and joined the Scribbr team as an editor in June 2017. She loves helping students and academics all over the world improve their writing (and learning about their research while doing so!).

6 comments

Nkolika Obianyo
October 18, 2019 at 1:33 AM

Made it easier to remember. Thanks for the simplification.

Reply

Emmy
September 17, 2019 at 12:09 PM

Thank you so very much. It was really helpful.

Reply

Mikiayla Key
April 3, 2019 at 10:06 AM

I have a question regarding typos on links of the reference when typing in apa format. Would it be considered plagiarism or copyright issue if someone mistypes a link of source (i.e ….Retrieved from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/plc... but suppose to be www.ncbi.nlm.gov/pmc...) under their list of references?

Reply

Raimo Streefkerk
Raimo Streefkerk (Scribbr-team)
April 3, 2019 at 6:46 PM

Hi Mikiayla,

Thanks for your question! Having a typo in a reference doesn't constitute plagiarism or copyright infringement assuming it is unintentional. The rest of the information in an APA reference can still be used to identify and locate the original source, although it would take a little more time. If you would like to know more about plagiarism I recommend reading our article on the types of plagiarism.

Hope this answers your question!

Cheers,
Raimo

Reply

tekeste
December 13, 2018 at 7:36 AM

how do we put unpublished Dissertation in bibliography list

Reply

Raimo Streefkerk
Raimo Streefkerk (Scribbr-team)
December 13, 2018 at 12:12 PM

Hi Tekeste,

That's good question! The format is as follows:
Lastname A. (year the draft is written e.g. 2018). Article title. Dissertation in preparation / dissertation submitted for publication.

I've found this article on the apa style blog which you might find useful.
I hope this helps!

Cheers,
Raimo

Reply

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