Citation Generator

Easily create APA, MLA, and Chicago style full and in-text citations in a snap. Our free Citation Generator is a fast, reliable way to make citations for your 


, presentations, and other projects.


We also provide information about citing different types of reference materials in different formats, so you can learn the skills you need to succeed and have the support of a robust tool whenever you need it.

Citation Generator Attributes You’ll Love

Start for Free

Ok, this one speaks for itself. Why pay for other citation makers when ours is both free and awesome?

Stay Up to Date

Working in APA format? That manual is in its 7th edition. MLA format is in its 9th edition, and Chicago style is all the way to its 17th edition! We keep track of each citation style’s changes for you, so you can always be sure you’re up to date without having to buy those pricey manuals.

Be Accurate

Our Citation Generator is verified by experts and PhDs alike to be accurate, so you can focus on sharing your unique ideas—instead of googling what part of a citation gets italicized. If you must search online, be warned that most of that information isn’t correct because it’s outdated.

Create In-Text & Full Citations

Other free citation machines only create the full citation and leave off the in-text version. Or, even worse, they say it’s free, but then tell you that you have to pay for the in-text citation information, after you’ve spent your time adding all of your sources into their system. Not us!

Enjoy An Easy-to-Use Interface

Our sleek interface is intuitive and uncluttered. It’s a joy to use, some might say, especially those who’ve had their time wasted by the other clunky, confusing citation creators out there.

Get Results Fast

Do everything from finding to citing to editing a source’s citation in just a click or two. Save yourself from other citation makers that need to load page after page to create one citation—or worse, those that crash and make you start over.

Avoid Ads

You’ll never have to deal with distractions like frustrating pop-ups, annoying tabs, or ads with us. We might not be a citation format, but that’s still not our style.

Search & Cite

Don’t have the source on hand? Use our convenient search feature to look up the book or website sources you’re using.

Edit Easily

Need to make a change to a citation? Add to or update the source or usage information with a couple of keystrokes or clicks.

Get Alerts for Missing Info

When you create a citation, QuillBot will highlight any information that is missing or could be added for completeness.

Quickly Find & Review Source Material

Use your Citation List as a convenient way to navigate back to review reference materials. Find the “Open Citation Source” in the three-dot menu in the top-right corner of each citation entry.

Adapt To Your Workflow

Export your complete list of full citations to Microsoft Word, BibTeX, or CSL-JSON or by copying them to your clipboard. Adding in-text citations as you draft? (Good for you!) Easily copy each in-text citation to paste it into your draft as you work to save yourself time and energy later.

Autosave in Your Web Browser

Once you create a citation, it is automatically saved to your web browser so that you can always come back and access or edit it later; no double-work necessary.

Change Style with One Click

Working in MLA format but actually need to use APA? That change is just one drop-down click away. Simply choose the new style you want using the drop-down list, under Citation Style within your Citation List, and all of your citations will automatically be reformatted.

Save Time & Energy

Once you understand how to cite, you’re free to lean into the “automation is the future” idea. Let us do the heavy lifting re: punctuation, italicizing, and all the other nit-picky citation stuff. Save your time and energy to focus on your ideas and arguments.

Get More Support

QuillBot has many other tools to help you smash all of your writing and research goals by maximizing your efficiency and upgrading the quality of your work. We’re no one-trick pony.

How Does QuillBot’s Citation Generator Work?

Get 100% accurate citations for free. QuillBot's Citation Generator can quickly and easily create references for books, articles, and web pages in APA, MLA, Chicago, and many more styles.

⚙️  Citation stylesAPA, MLA, Chicago & many more
📚  Citation sourcesWebsites, books & journal articles
🔎  AutociteSearch by title, URL, or DOI
💰  Pricing100% free (no ads)

Follow the simple steps below to create, edit, and export both in-text and full citations for your source material.

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Find Source Material

To cite a webpage, find and copy the website’s URL, and paste it into the left-hand search bar, making sure the source format drop-down is set to “Website”.

To cite a book, try using the left-hand search bar and the title or author information, after setting the drop-down source format to “Book”.

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Choose Your Format

When you add your first citation to your list, check to make sure the right-side drop-down citation format menu shows the citation style you need–whether that’s APA, MLA, or Chicago style.

If you need to change the format for any reason, switching to another style in that menu will convert all of your saved citations into that specific citation style. What can we say? We value having a citation creator that can multitask.

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Draft with In-Text Citations

As you draft your paper or essay, use the in-text citations created within each full entry in your Citation List when you mention any facts or info pulled from that source. Use the handy paper icon to copy only the information you will need for that specific type of citation.

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Locate, Create, and Edit

Once you find your source material for either type, click “Cite” for a quick-start option that will generate the full and in-text citations for you with one click.

Or, you can choose “Edit”, which will take you to the citation information, where you can update or add more information before adding the reference to your Citation List.

You also have the option to edit your citation entries once they are in your Citation List, so don’t fret if you choose the one-click citation maker option. Find the pencil in the top-right corner of each entry to re-open the editing window. Click the “Save Citation” button once you’ve finished, and the updated entry will appear in your list.

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Check for Missing Information

Once you’ve added a few citations to your list, check that no “Missing information” orange tags appear on any entries. If they do, review and remediate those to make sure your citations are complete and accurate.

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Create & Export the Full Citation List

When you have all of your sources added and are ready to make and export your full list of citations, use the “Export All” button at the bottom of the Citation List. Easily copy the list to your clipboard or export it to MS Word to add it to the end of your paper.

Formats Supported by QuillBot’s Citation Generator

QuillBot can help you create accurate citations in APA, MLA, and Chicago style citation formats.

APA Citations

APA Citations
APA stands for the American Psychological Association, and APA format is most often used in the social and behavioral sciences, which include fields like psychology, education, business, anthropology, economics, and geography.In APA format, full citations are listed on a References page, rather than a Works Cited or Bibliography page.
APA Example: Salinger, J. D. (1951). The catcher in the rye. Little, Brown and Company.
MLA stands for the Modern Language Association and is mostly used in the humanities, such as history, languages, literature, philosophy, and the arts. The MLA citation style was originally used in literature and language studies but was quickly adopted by other humanities because of the focus on specific source notation, like page and paragraph numbers.Full citations in MLA format are always listed on a Works Cited page.
MLA Example: Corey, James S. A. Leviathan Wakes. Orbit US, 2011.
Chicago style citations, in the Author-Date system which QuillBot supports, are used in the natural and physical sciences, social sciences, math, as well as for manuscript editing and publication.The Chicago style Author-Date system uses either a References or Works Cited page to list full citation entries for source material. A Bibliography page is only used in the Notes and Bibliography Chicago style system, so don’t be fooled if you’re working in Author-Date!
Chicago Example: Corey, James S. A. 2011. Leviathan Wakes. New York: Orbit US.


APA format
MLA format
Chicago style
Salinger, J. D.
The catcher in the rye.
Little, Brown and Company.

Citation Basics

A citation is a formal way to acknowledge a source that you used or learned from in some way that helped you create a piece of content.

There are two types of citations: full and in-text citations.

A list of full citations is given on a:

  • References page (APA format, Author-Date Chicago style)
  • Works Cited page (MLA format, Author-Date Chicago style)
  • Bibliography page (Notes and Bibliography Chicago style)

These pages contain all of the important information necessary for someone else to find the material you referenced to create your argument or express your unique ideas.

Names of authors, titles, publishers, and more are included to make it easy for your reader to follow up an idea or point that you showed them when you cited another author’s work within your own.

The formatting of what informational elements are listed when is based on what citation style you’re using, and the conventions are different not only between citation styles but also between different types of sources.

In-text citations are the condensed forms of full citations, and they are used within the body of your written work. They are placed at any point in a sentence, in parentheses, when you bring up an idea or piece of information that you didn’t come up with yourself or know before you encountered the source.

In-text citations often contain the author’s last name, the year the source was published, the title of the article you’re referencing, and/or other information relevant to the type of source that is being cited at that moment.

Books, websites, and other kinds of reference material have different conventions for what is listed in the parenthetical in-text citation, and this also varies depending on what citation style you’re working within.

Citations are important and worth your time to learn and use for many reasons:

  1. Citations make it easy for others to locate a source you referenced that interests them. In this way, it helps you facilitate more engagement within your reading or research community.
  2. They properly credit others for the ideas that inspired or helped you when writing.
  3. You build credibility for your ideas and arguments by showing there is outside support and or interest in your topic.
  4. Using citations correctly lowers your chances of unintentionally plagiarizing another author, which can have extreme and lasting negative consequences.
  5. Citations also show that you are well-versed in the subject matter and have done the work necessary to understand the research that’s already been done, plus how you can thoughtfully add to it in your own unique way.

Nitty-gritty citation rules vary between formatting styles, but here are a few overarching, big-picture rules that are important to citing sources successfully and not hating your life while doing so:

  • Keep track of what information comes from each source.

    You don’t want to have to backtrack and re-read several sources just to figure out where you got a fact or idea. Trust us. It’s not a good time.

  • Keep track of what information you take and from where.

    If you’re citing a book, you’ll usually need to know which specific page number(s) you took information from for most citation styles.

    Again, save yourself the heartbreak (and perhaps, heartburn) of re-reading each page to locate information instead of taking good notes from the start.

  • Understand the citation style in which you’re working.

    No, really. Read the manual, consult our QuillBot citation guides, check your in-text and full citations using a citation generator—make sure you get it!

    Ensure your citations are correct and any materials or tools you’re using for support are up-to-date with the latest editions of the manual for the citation style you’re using.

The difference between a citation and a reference can be tricky because different styles use different words to describe citations and other related elements.

Unfortunately, there is more than one type of citation and also several ways that the word “references” is used when talking about citing or reporting sources. Let’s break them each down to clear things up for you.

As we discussed previously, there are two types of citations: full and in-text citations.

Full citations are listed on a page that comes at the end of your paper, and they contain everything someone would need to find a particular source.

In-text citations are parenthetical, condensed versions of the full citation that are found within your work whenever you discuss the ideas or information you pulled from a source.

A reference is a term used in APA format when talking about a full citation. So, a full citation in APA format is a reference, and the terms are used interchangeably if you’re working in that style. Calling full citations “references” is shorter and easier, though, so it’s usually preferred.

In the Author-Date system of Chicago style, you may also hear another term that has “reference” in it because full citations in this style system are often called “reference list entries”.

For both APA format and the Author-Date system of Chicago style, the list of full citations/references/reference list entries are contained on a special page at the end of your work that is always titled “References” in APA format and can sometimes be titled this for Author-Date Chicago style.

The word “reference” might also pop up when you’re planning, writing, or discussing your work. But, when it’s a verb, “to reference” means only “to mention, refer to, or to cite”. It might look the same as a reference that is a noun and actually means a full citation in APA format, but it isn’t the same, and you can pick it out by how it functions in a sentence, if you’re ever confused.

Lastly, sources are sometimes called “reference materials”, but rest assured that term is only interchangeable with “sources”and “source materials” and like terms that essentially mean “the thing you used information from”.

However, you also have the option in Author-Date to title this page “Works Cited”, if you prefer; either title is correct if you’re working in that system of Chicago Style.


Yes! Our online Citation Generator is free to use. In fact, we love freebies, so if you haven’t checked out our other free writing and research tools yet, you’re missing out.

You have the option of copying your entire list of full citations to your clipboard or exporting them to Word. You can also download them in BibTeX or CSL-JSON formats.

Accounts are cool and all, but sometimes you need to work and don’t have time to make up a new password. You can use the QuillBot platform tools, including the Citation Generator, for free without even signing in. You may eventually want an account for the perks of higher word counts and other features within the platform, but you can decide that for yourself whenever you’re ready.

The citation generator supports APA, MLA, and Chicago style (Author-Date) formats for citing books and websites, but we are always working to add more variety to our tools. Which ones do you want us to add first? Let us know here in our feedback portal.

No. A citation can be either full or in-text and notates a source that the writer has used to support their argument or research. There are many styles of citations, but the most commonly used styles are APA, MLA, and Chicago citation styles. A citation says, “Hey, I didn’t know this before I read/spoke to this person, so I’m noting where the idea or information came from originally.”

Without context, a reference functions the same as a full citation. It refers to work done by other authors to support your own work. However, “References” can also refer to a specific page at the end of your work which lists all of the sources cited to support the work, IF you are working in APA format or the Author-Date system in Chicago style.

In MLA format, this page would be called a Works Cited, although those working in Author-Date Chicago style have the option to title their list of full citations either “References” or “Works Cited”. A Bibliography page is only used within the Notes and Bibliography system for Chicago style citations, just as an FYI.

No. A citation can be either full or in-text and notates a source that the writer has used to support their argument or research. There are many styles of citations, but the most commonly used styles are the APA, MLA, and Chicago citation styles. A citation says, “Hey, I didn’t know this before I read/spoke to this person, so I’m noting where the idea or information came from originally.”

A bibliography, on the other hand, is a complete list of sources used within a work to support your claims, ideas, and arguments. A Bibliography page, when specifically titled this way, is used in the Notes and Bibliography system for Chicago style citations. A single citation could never be mistaken for bibliography, which by definition, is a list of citations in a specific style.