How to cite a PowerPoint in MLA

To cite a PowerPoint or other slide-based presentation in MLA style, the format depends on how you viewed the presentation.

If the slides are available to view online, the format is similar to that for a website: provide the author and title of the presentation, the name of the site in italics, the date it was posted, and the URL.

Use a slide number to indicate the location of the relevant information in in-text citations.

Format Author last name, First name. “Presentation Title.” Website Name, Day Month Year, URL.
Works Cited entry Vanderbauwhede, Wim. “A Few Thoughts on Work-Life Balance.” SlideShare, 24 Jan. 2020, www.slideshare.net/WimVanderbauwhede/a-few-thoughts-on-work-lifebalance.
In-text citation (Vanderbauwhede, slide 4)

Citing a PowerPoint you viewed in person

If you viewed the PowerPoint in person and it isn’t available online, cite it using details of the context in which you viewed it: the name of the course, the date the lecture was given, and the name and location of your university.

You can also add the optional label “PowerPoint presentation” for clarity.

Format Author last name, First name. “Presentation Title.” Course Name, Day Month Year, University Name, City. PowerPoint presentation.
Works Cited entry Smith, Jane. “Introduction to MLA Style.” Academic Citation 101, 15 Nov. 2018, Yale U, New Haven. PowerPoint presentation.
In-text citation (Smith, slide 7)

Note that citing an online version is the best option if possible, since it allows your reader to consult the presentation directly.

Citing content reproduced in a PowerPoint

If you want to cite content reproduced in a PowerPoint (like an image or quotation from someone other than the person who created the slides), it’s best to cite the original source if possible. Try looking for source information in the slides, or asking the lecturer.

However, if necessary, you can treat it as a source contained within a source. Cite details of the original source first, and then include details of the presentation as a container, including the slide where the relevant quote or image appears at the end.

For example, the following format shows how to cite an artwork from a presentation.

Format Author last name, First name. Artwork Title. Year of Artwork. Presentation Name, taught by Presenter first name Last name, Day Month Year, University Name, City. Slide number.
Works Cited entry Picasso, Pablo. Guernica. 1937. Introduction to Art History, taught by James Wilson, 24 Sep. 2019, Duke U, Durham. Slide 7.
In-text citation (Picasso)

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Frequently asked questions about MLA citations

How do I cite lecture materials I viewed in person in MLA?

When you want to cite a PowerPoint or lecture notes from a lecture you viewed in person in MLA, check whether they can also be accessed online; if so, this is the best version to cite, as it allows the reader to access the source.

If the material is not available online, use the details of where and when the presentation took place.

Can I cite a source quoted in another source in MLA?

MLA recommends citing the original source wherever possible, rather than the source in which it is quoted or reproduced.

If this isn’t possible, cite the secondary source and use “qtd. in” (quoted in) in your in-text citation. For example: (qtd. in Smith 233)

If a source is reproduced in full within another source (e.g. an image within a PowerPoint or a poem in an article), give details of the original source first, then include details of the secondary source as a container. For example:

Picasso, Pablo. Guernica. 1937. Introduction to Art History, taught by James Wilson, 24 Sep. 2019, Duke University, Durham. Slide 7.
How do I cite a source with no author or page numbers in MLA?

If a source has no author, start the MLA Works Cited entry with the source title. Use a shortened version of the title in your in-text citation.

If a source has no page numbers, you can use an alternative locator (e.g. a chapter number, or a timestamp for a video or audio source) to identify the relevant passage in your in-text citation. If the source has no numbered divisions, cite only the author’s name (or the title).

If you already named the author or title in your sentence, and there is no locator available, you don’t need a parenthetical citation:

  • Rajaram argues that representations of migration are shaped by “cultural, political, and ideological interests.”
  • The homepage of The Correspondent describes it as “a movement for radically different news.”
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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.

1 comment

Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
December 7, 2020 at 2:15 PM

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