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IEEE Citation Guide: How to Cite in IEEE Style

When future engineers, programmers, and network engineers have to write a research or do an essay reflection paper, IEEE style format is recommended. Standing for Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, this style is unique due to specific rules. As a strict organization that stands behind diverse standards in engineering and industrial processes, IEEE format is used for engineering journals, research papers or lectures on subject. Since most college students in the United States find it difficult to cope with IEEE style, we offer IEEE citation generator that can make even the most complex formats easier, free, and quick. In addition, we make a handy IEEE guide that will explain in-text citations and references with real-life examples.

IEEE In-Text Citation Rules with Examples

First of all, when it comes down to in-text citation in engineering format, it should be noted that all what students have to do is use square brackets with appropriate numbering. It should refer to full source citation that are mentioned full in References list. In other words, one should not ever mention author’s credentials or publication date when supporting arguments. For example, a part of text where a quote is given should always end with [1] or [2] for second source, corresponding to specific entry in your Bibliography.

There are three main rules that have to be remembered for in-text citations in IEEE:

Put brackets citing within paper text before any punctuation comes up. Use space before first bracket.
Each source should maintain the same numbering pattern as it has been previously specified.
Once citing several sources at once, it is recommended to list each number in separate brackets. A comma or a dash should be placed for separation. As an example: [2], [11], [34]. Alternatively, students can use [5] – [12].

See how in-text citations are mixed with text:

“…as a result, software complications became more user-friendly [14].”

“It could provide several options for mechanical engineering that were less challenging financially, compared to surveys done in 2005 [4].”

“Williams [34] has argued that Python programing can be…”

“Several research platforms [3], [18], [22] have shown that…”

“As most professors recommended, refer to [11].”

As one can see from examples above, IEEE citation style takes away the challenge of in-text citation when there are several authors or no author is given. All that has to be done is accurate numbering, so that References page coordinates well with each entry.

IEEE Format Reference Page with Examples

Reference sorting should be listed numerically (using numbers) and not alphabetically like in APA or MLA formats.

Before we proceed with Reference examples, let us remind you of these obligatory page layout rules:

  • Bracketed numbers have to be placed before start of each entry.
  • One should either center sources or align them left.
  • Apply hanging indent for each entry with the help of bracketed numbers with left side flushing.
  • Author’s name should be listed as First Initial and Last Name. For example, Einar Jonas Halldorsson should be cited as O. Jonas Halldorsson and not as Jonas Einar, Halldorsson.
  • Articles has to be put in quotation marks.
  • Journal or book have to be in italics.

Let us review Reference examples. Notice that square brackets have specific numbers that will have according numbers until the end of our guide.

For sources that are in print, follow this example:

[Number] A. Last Name and B. Last Name, Title. City, State: Publisher, Year.

[1] B. Hansen and R. Chang, Network Engineering Introduction. Cambridge, MA: MIT
Press, 2016.

No author

For such case, title or entry name are used in italics.

[Number] “Title”, Source. City, State: Publisher, Year.

[2] “Compuserve”, Email Client Engineering. Seattle, WA: National Internet Archive,

Chapter in book

Remember to italicize book:

[Number] A. Last Name, “Title,” in Book, First Name / Initial. / Last name, Ed. City: Publisher, Year, pp. 1-2.

[3] R. Sothberry, “Bridge Patterns in Motherboard,” in Computer Generation, J. S.
Birch, Ed. New York: Wiley, 2007, pp.159-273.

E-Book citing

[4] First name / Last Name, First name / Last Name, and First Name Last Name,
E-Book title, 2nd ed. City, State: Publisher, Year. [source type] Available: source.

[4] K. Cameron, P. Hughes, and R. Kasner, Navy Engineer Guidebook, 2nd ed.
Reading, MA: Naval Science, 2001. [E-book] Available: Apple Store e-book.

Article citing

[Number] First Name / Initials / Last Name, “Title,” Article, vol. Edition, pp. , Month. Year.

[5] A. C. Dunlop, “Microfiber underwater – Part 2: Salt Analysis,”
Martin Lockheed Corporation, vol. ED-17, pp. 11-27, Jan. 2012.

Citing Journal article with DOI

[Number] First Name / Last Name, “Title,” Journal abbreviated, vol., issue, pp. , Journal source. DOI:

[6] S. N. Stransky, “Brain Sensorics,” Med. Scientific Engineering, vol. 36, no. 13,
pp. 19-31, MedServe 2002. doi:10.000/00000000

Remember: When citing from journals, always use special abbreviations. If unsure, contact one of our expert writers for consulting. Journals should have italics and all words capitalized, except for connecting words. First word and subtitle should be capitalized as well, placed in quotation marks. When looking for abbreviations, use similar sources online to check correct format.

Journal article without DOI

[Number] First Last Name and First Name Initials Last Name, “Title,” Journal abbreviation., Vol, pp. 00-10, Month. Year.

[7] R. W. Kuhlenbeck and V. Kanrev, “Thermal Analysis in Simulation R4: Sensors
processing,” NASA Thermal Eng., vol. 63, pp. 23-41, Nov. 2000.

Website citation

[Number] Website, “Article,” Source, Publisher Code or Database, Year [Online] Available: URL. [Accessed: Month. Day, Year]

[8] Nevada Center Engineering Standards, “Aeronautics Management and Psyche:
Templates,” Nevada Center Engineering Institute, NCEI-AM-204, 2018. [Online].
Available: [Accessed: Feb. 14, 2018]

A personal website

If one has to cite personal website that has no company or publishing, use this:

[Number] First, Last Name, “Title,” Month, Year. [Online}/ Available: URL [Accessed Month. Day, Year].

[9] C. Rolls, “Home Page – LEGO Engineering for Youth,” June, 2002.
[Online]. Available: [Accessed Jan. 14, 2009].

Social media

For most social media websites, remember to mention description or form, like an image for Instagram. See below:

[10] A. A. Author (year, month day). Post [Description of form]. Available: Internet
address. [Accessed: Month day, year]

[10] C. S. Lewis (2005, June 14). Programming Radio Field Signals [Facebook post].
Available: [Accessed: July 25, 2007]

Conference paper citation

[Number] First Last Name and First Last Name, “Title,” in “Source”, Abbreviation for Conference and Year, City, State, Country, Date, Author, Eds. City: Publisher, Year. Pages.

[11] L. Moody and D. Carsten, “Advanced Software Apps,” in Modern Approaches of
Software Engineering: Reports of 12th International Conference on Modern
Applications Engineering, RCMN 2005, Los Angeles, CA, USA, May 4-11, N. Fleiss,
R. Cooper, B. Gilmour, Eds. New York: Computer Press, 2012. Pp.13-18.

Conference proceedings / Technical Report

[Number] First Last Name and First Last Name, Eds., Title. Source, Month or Date, Year, City, Country. Publisher, Year.

[12] Linda Adamant and R. E. Bunster, Eds., Facebook: Culture, Safety, and Ethical
Issues. Engineering Conference on Modern Age Addictions, June 12-13, 2012,
Amsterdam, Netherlands. Den Haag: Elsevier, 2015.

IEEE Newspaper article (from database)

[Number] First Name / Last Name, “Title,” Journal, p., Month Day, Year. [Online]. Available: XYZ, URL. [Accessed Month Day, Year].

[13] B. Staples, “Navigation Rules,” The US Marine Journal, p. 39, November 1, 2014.[Online]. Available: XYZ, [Accessed September 12, 2015].

Technical report

[Number] First Last Name and First Last Name, “Title,” Source Database abbreviated., University Abbreviated, City, Source Type. Source Code, Month. Day, Year.

[14] M. E. Dallton and J. A. Cornwell, “Photons Particles Movements,” Elect. Eng. Res.
Lab., Univ. Miami, Florida, Tech. Memo. ENGL-099-31-4, Nov. 13, 1997.

Patent citation

[Number] First Last Name, “Title,” Patent, Month, Day, Year.

[15] C. N. Norwich, “Electrical Currents in Optic Lines ,” U.S. Patent 7 321 105, July
5, 2018.

Engineering Standard IEEE Citation

[16] ABC Criteria for XYZ Company Systems, IEEE Standard 504, 2001.

[16] Fiber Optics for Philips Inc Research, IEEE Technical Standard, 202, 2012.


[17] First Last Name, “Title,” Dissertation Type and Degree, Department or
Field., University Abbreviated., City, State, Year.
[17] M. E. Sandberg, “Sub-oscillation Frequencies and Synthesis,” Ph.D. dissertation,
Dept. Elect. Eng., Berkeley Univ., Los Angeles, CA, 2009.

Video citing / Youtube in IEEE

Follow this template when citing video or film:

[Number] A. C. Author (year, month day). Video [Video file]. Available: Internet
address. [Accessed: Month day, year]

[18] Learning App. (2004, May. 7). Education Mobile Apps Popular in 2004 [Video file].
Available: [Accessed: Jun. 12, 2009].

Online forum or newsgroups citations

Generally, when one has to cite from online forum or any other online source, make sure to provide information that can identify an entry. Follow an example and template:

[Number] Z. X. Author (year, month day). Post [Description of form]. Available: Internet address. [Accessed: Month day, year]

[20] K. Nordhua (2017, Jun. 12). Cybernetic Intelligence Online [Blog]. Available: [Accessed: Jul. 2, 2018]

According to manual, there are no exact rules for Internet resources, therefore, each source can follow an example above. Contact one of our experts 24/7 online to check twice.

Unpublished dissertation and thesis

Follow this template:

[Number] A. B. Author, “Thesis,” Thesis type, Abbrev. Dept., Abbrev. Univ., Location of University, Country/State, year.
[19] R. C. Charles, “Cyberbullying Revealed,” Comp. Sec. dissertation, School Network Surveillance Eng., City Univ. CA, Monterey, 2012.

Why Citing is Important?

Any engineering work and research have to support arguments and ideas with clear sources. Nevertheless, there are personal ideas as well to make college professor see that there is research and analysis that have been done. The greatest risk for students is plagiarism and academic dishonesty. In IEEE citations style, accuracy is extremely important. Doing so right is even more important! Talking to our engineering experts and looking through formatting guide, we offer IEEE citation generator. Here are some benefits that you will find efficient:

  • IEEE citation generator is free and accessible online.
  • No registration forms to fill and no ads to distract you.
  • There are both automatic and manual citations mode that allow to enter customized information.
  • IEEE citation maker also includes built-in search engine that allows seeing diverse results.
  • It takes several clicks: choose preferred format, select citation type, enter book or journal, click “Generate”.
  • Citation machine can easily let you enter information from other citation formats to bring any entry to desired format.


Does IEEE use Works cited or References list and what is font size?

According to manual style format, correct word is References. Use 9 point font size with Times New Roman with 10pt interline space.

What are IEEE page layout rules?

Keep research text within printing area. Page numbers should be in pencil on the back of each page in light font. If ready for print, first page is started in one-column format. Usual text is single-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 point. No additional spaces between paragraphs. Tables, graphs, and captions should be in Helvetica font, 10pt, and bold.

What are Abstract page requirements in IEEE?

If one uses Abstract page, it should include about 150 words in length. Text should be italicized. Two spaces should be left between an Abstract and heading of first paper section. Font for abstract should be 10 point. Header should be 14 point size and in bold, centered.

How to use an in-text citation if author’s name is unknown?

For such case, one should use [1] number even if sources differ by type. If one has to include a reference in text, use organization’s name or general title of an entry.

For example:

“Based on Apple Inc. Research [12], corporate ethics were based on engineering approach that allowed customers…”

Can I use German or Spanish languages inserts in IEEE document?

According to Engineering Standards Manual issued by IEEE, only English quotes and information is acceptable, therefore, for foreign entries, make a reference to original with paraphrasing, if applicable.