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How to Use a Free APA Citation Machine: a Full Guide

APA format citation may seem easy at first glance, but there are many things you can get wrong. This can bury your whole work.

This is why we created a guide on how to use this APA citation generator. Let the machine help you eliminate all the errors that you may make while working with APA.

What is APA Reference Standard?

APA (American Psychological Association) is a set of formatting and reference guidelines that is universally used across the social sciences. It doesn’t only cover the citing rules, but also style, font, letter spacing, and other requirements.

While APA formatting guidelines are a simple requirement, citing works is a bit more intricate.

You have to paraphrase or quote the source and provide a citation to it. Generally, it looks like this: Johnson (2001) supports this idea by creating a similar category. 

Creating a reference page is a bit more difficult than that. Especially considering the fact that you may have to create dozens of references at once. Make one mistake, and your points will be taken.

Don’t want to buy college level papers? Here’s how to use an in-text citation generator to excel at it yourself.

Find the Book in ISBN

If you’re quoting a book, and it’s in the ISBN database, your work with the APA citation machine is pretty much over. It has access to the said database and can find your book on its own.

Enter the book title or its number,  hit the “Search” button and wait for the result to come up. Sometimes, when the book was republished many times, you will see a couple of similar options.

If it wasn’t, you’ll only get the result you need. You may also see other books with similar titles, so you will find the one you need even if you’ve misspelled the title.

Click on the result, and the rest of the fields will be filled out automatically.

Book Title

You’re not citing a book, or it’s not in ISBN? Well, you’ll have to work a bit here.

You have to add the title first. Most books have unambiguous titles, so that’s not going to be a problem. Make sure to write the full title of the source you’re quoting, because sometimes they have a complex structure.

When you’re done with that, it’s time to move on to the next step.


Most of the books you’re going to quote will have multiple authors. Make sure you read the first couple of pages carefully.

Some books prioritize one author over the others because of his authority in the field. Others mention people who took part in the creation of the research but are not authors.

You have to find the ones that are mentioned as the authors of the work you’re quoting and type their full names into the citation machine.

Place of Publication

Place of publication is the physical location that a book was printed at. Don’t get it confused with the publisher.

Some publishers can be ambiguous. For instance, not all books from Oxford University Press are printed in Oxford, many are printed and published in New York.

You have to find the location of the publisher and type it in the corresponding field.

Date of Publication

The same book can have different dates of publication because it was republished many times. You can’t just google the book and enter the date.

The thing is, in many cases, another version of the book may differ in the number of pages. If it does, all your references will be off.

Besides, if the 2011 edition had 345 pages, and you’re listing 279, your teachers won’t like this.


Again, your book can have a publisher that’s different from the one you found on the web. If you’re reading a book to later cite in your work, you have to write down the publisher, not just the quote itself.

To get a free citation, you have to type in the right publisher in the field. You will find the name of the publisher on the front page of most books.

It may be the name of the journal if you’re quoting an article. You can find it at the top of the page.


The next step is entering the number of pages the edition has. You need the precise number of pages as it is written in the technical part of the book.

You have to find the number of pages in the edition of the book you’re quoting, so all the information you provide is consistent.

If you’re citing a periodical, be sure to include the pages that contain your target piece. If the article you quote starts on page 19 and ends on page 24, you have to enter “19-24” into the field.


The last field is optional. You can enter the quote you want to place in the text. The tool will show you what an in-text citation will look like.

You can’t see this field and will have to click on a button to expand it.

The Result

So what can this APA citation free tool provide you with after you’ve filled out all the fields and entered your email?

You get two things: a complete reference entry that you have to copy to your reference list, and an example of what your in-text citation may look like.

How to Use it in the Text

Copying the reference to the reference list is a no-brainer. Using the citation in the text is a bit harder.

Let’s say your general citation is (Gladys Nyarko, 2010) and your quote is “A careful examination of the conventional linguistic expressions of LOVE in Akan reveals that the concept is equally understood in terms of a journey.” How do you go about it?

You can provide a full quotation: Gladys Nyarko (2010) says “A careful examination of the conventional linguistic expressions of LOVE in Akan reveals that the concept is equally understood in terms of a journey.”

Or you can use indirect speech: The research of Gladys Nyakro (2010) suggests that other languages, and Akan in particular, show the LOVE IS A JOURNEY concept.

Or you can simply put it like this: Some conceptual metaphors can be shared across languages (Nyerko, 2010).

Work Faster, Create More Precise References

This generator can’t do everything for you, but it does help you out a lot. You work faster, achieve more, and your references will have much fewer errors in them.