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APA Style

Formatting the references

The bibliographic entries of a reference list follow specific formatting rules for consistency purposes. These guidelines refer to the following stylistic aspects of entries:

  • alphabetization,
  • capitalization,
  • italicization,
  • abbreviations,
  • punctuation.

Click on the collapsible panel to find out details about how to format your references.

Put reference entries in alphabetical order. Alphabetize letter by letter by the author's last name or the title of the work when no author is available.
Capitalize source titles in the list of references using sentence case capitalization. This means that you should capitalize the first word of the title, the subtitle as well as proper nouns. Capitalize titles of journals, magazines, newspapers, and newsletters using title case. This means that you should capitalize all major words or minor words of more than four (4) letters.


Italicize stand-alone titles, such as books, periodicals, reports, films, etc. Also italicize numbers of volumes following periodical titles. Do not italicize titles that make up parts of a greater whole, such as articles, chapters, blog posts, episodes, etc. Do not italicize comments and supplementary information that appears in parentheses or brackets.
The APA manual suggests the following abbreviations.
Use punctuation marks in reference list entries to separate elements or group parts within the same element.