Complete Guide on PDF Citation in APA

Change citation style:
Auto input Manual input
Auto input: we create a citation for you in one click. Fill in the required information about your source. It might be a title, DOI, ISBN, URL - just pay attention to our tips in the input field.

Are you sure you you want to delete all the citations in this list?

Tips to Use the Citation Generator

Choose the citation style

Check the guidelines provided by your professor to select the correct citation style. If such instructions weren't given, check your university website.

What is your source?

Different citation rules apply to websites, articles, books, or other sources, so we suggest you check the source before creating a citation.

What input do you prefer?

We work with online databases to fill in all necessary fields automatically. You can always edit your citation or create one manually if the source isn't available.

Check the citation fields

If you use the auto input, we recommend you to look through the data we managed to collect and make sure it fits your source. You can make any edits right away.

Generate your citation

This step is simple. After checking the style, the source, and the fields, just click on the final button and see the magic happen. Your citation is ready!

Work with the reference list

Create, edit, and download the full reference list for your paper. You can also change a citation style for all your sources at once.

How to Create a Proper APA PDF Citation: Tips and Tricks

If you ever worked on any sort of research paper, you know that sometimes it might be quite challenging to find all the resources you need and that sometimes it is only impossible to find PDF versions of the books, articles, or online publications you need. Crafting the APA PDF citation is a bit trickier than citing regular sources, and that is exactly why we are here today – to discuss the ways you can make your references and bibliography look professional without any redundant hustle and bustle. Citing PDF files might be different from citing regular sources, but it does not mean it is harder, so buckle up and let us see what’s the deal with those guidelines.

What Information Do You Need to Create a Good Citation?

There is an order of putting the information into your bibliography entry that works for the majority of sources you’ll cite when doing the APA PDF Citation. There are some variations to the way you’d be crafting these entries, and we are going to discuss them later. For now, here’s the example of what the PDF citation generator APA offers:

Gallagher, R. (2001). Ethics in Pain Medicine: Good for Our Health, Good for the Public Health. Pain Medicine2(2), 87-89.

This is what a typical article bibliography entry would look like in APA 7. As you can see, all the parts of a proper bibliography entry are represented here. But where do you find these and how do you get all of that information? Here are the main things you’ve got to put into your reference mentioned in the order they appear in a regular APA Reference.

  • Date – Usually on the title page or the second page.
  • Title – Title Page.
  • Publisher or Periodic – Title page or the second page.
  • URL – Look at the address bar of your browser
  • DOI – Look at the first page of the electronic publication, usually near the copyright information.

That is where you’ll find all the info you need to create a proper reference for your source. So, here you know how to make a basic APA format PDF reference right, but this is a nuanced process, which is why we need to take look at some subtle differences in making APA PDF Citation.

Main Differences Between APA 6th and APA 7th Editions

In October 2019, the American Psychological Association published the 7th edition of their citation format. This does not mean that APA 6 is irrelevant or old – the 6th and the 7th editions of the APA are equally relevant and are both used worldwide. Depending on the institution of learning, you might be working with any of those, which is why we are going to look at the differences between these two, especially concerning the Portable Document Format (PDF) citations:

  • You don’t need to specify the location of the publisher.
  • The Last Names and the Initials of all authors (up to 20) should be listed in the bibliography.
  • You don’t need to put “Retrieved From” before the URLs. The name of the online publication is included only if it’s different from the name of the author.
  • You don’t need to mention formats, devices, and platforms for e-books.

There also are several changes to the general use of the format like the use of the bias-free languages and the slight changes in the formatting of the running heads, but what we are here for today is how to use APA citing a PDF.

Basic Structure of an APA PDF Citation

There are specific requirements as to what should be put into your bibliography, and your task here is to follow those guidelines precisely to craft a proper PDF APA Citation and list it in your bibliography in a proper manner. These requirements work for almost all types of references with a few exceptions which we are going to discuss later. 

The basic APA reference PDF would differ depending on the specifications of each particular source and the information you have available. Ideally, you will have all the information we’ve mentioned above, and if you do, creating a proper bibliography entry would be super easy, especially if you use the APA PDF citation generator. Most commonly, you’ll end up with a citation that looks like this:

Author. (Year). Title (edition) [PDF file]. Place of Publication: Publisher. Retrieved from or doi:0000000/000000000000 or

This is the simplest and the most basic type of APA PDF citation that you’ll be using in most cases. But, as it was mentioned, there might be variations in what information is available and what is not. These variations would surely change the way you craft your bibliography entry. Here, we list some of the peculiar cases of missing information.

No Author

To cite PDF APA entry in your bibliography without knowing the name of the author or the authors, all you need is reduce your entry significantly and provide the reader with whatever is left:

Title. Place of Publication or Publisher, Year ,

Two to Seven Authors

As said, in APA 7, you’ve got to put all the last names and initials of up to 20 authors in your bibliography. When making an in-text citation, write the last name of the first author followed by et al. In APA 6, however, you only have to write all the last names of up to 7 authors. Put commas between the names of the authors in the list and use ampersand (&) before the last name of the final author on your list. 

Smith, A. A., Jackson, B. B., Carlson, R. G., & Lee, M. R. (Year). Title (edition) [PDF file]. Place of Publication: Publisher. Retrieved from or doi:0000000/000000000000 or

If there are more than 7 authors in APA 6 or more than 20 authors in APA 7, you don’t have to put all the names in your reference. Write the names of either 7 or 20 authors, depending on the edition of APA format, put three ellipsis points and add the last name of the last author.

Linares, A. A., Rhodes, B. B., Grey, C. C., Rogers, D. D., Jackson, E. E., Ocean, F. F., … Akira, M. R. (Year). Title (edition) [PDF file]. Place of Publication: Publisher. Retrieved from or doi:0000000/000000000000 or

No Date

The same principle goes for the references where the date of publication is unknown:

Author. (No Date). Title (edition) [PDF file]. Place of Publication: Publisher. Retrieved from or doi:0000000/000000000000 or

Citing Scholarly Articles with DOI

Creating the APA PDF citation for the scholarly articles with DOI is similar to what we’ve discussed above. You need a full set of data including the name of the author, the date, the title, the place of publication, and the DOI to craft a full APA citation PDF. This gets fairly simple once you grasp the idea of how the reference list and the bibliography entries should look like. 

Gallagher, R. (2001). Ethics in Pain Medicine: Good for Our Health, Good for the Public Health. Pain Medicine2(2), 87-89. doi: 10.1046/j.1526-4637.2001.002002087.x

Citing Governmental Publications

You should treat government publications as books or articles and cite them as such. So, you follow the guidelines we gave you above. Nonetheless, there are several peculiarities to citing government publications. First of all, if there’s no author, you need to put the name of the government agency first. Additionally, if there’s a report number, you need to put it after the title of the publication. It should follow like this:

Author Surname, First Initial. Second Initial. OR Government Name. Name of Government Agency. (Year). Title: Subtitle (Report No. xxx [if available]). Publisher.

How to Cite PDF: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now you have a general idea of how to create the APA reference PDF in a reference list. At first, it might feel like a complex and painstaking process, but once you get it right, you can create your bibliographies fairly easily. Of course, you also need to give your audience a proper in-text citation. This is essential to use these properly within your text so that your readers know exactly what parts of your paper refer to the outside sources. The easy way to do that is to put your parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence like that:

As the conducted scrutiny has shown, there is a direct correlation between CO2 emission and climate change (Author, 2020).

You can also put a narrative citation in your text, and it would look like this:

The Author (2020) claims that there is a direct correlation between CO2 emission and climate change.

That is how you do your in-text citations in the APA format. Fairly simple, and it does not require you to but the exact page number. This is simple to do, and if your in-text citations and the reference list are formatted properly, you’ll end up with a great and professionally-looking paper.

Why Choose Our APA PDF Citation Generator?

Luckily, you can save yourself a headache and use special tools that create references for you automatically. In most cases, these tools have huge databases of sources, so all you need is to type the title of the book or the article in, and the APA citation tool would do the rest. Sometimes, you’ll have to find all the information yourself, and the tool will just put it all together to make it look like a professional APA PDF citation. This is simple and you can benefit greatly by saving tons of time using such tools.


Choose Citation Style To Generate Bibliography