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APA 7th Edition Referencing Guide1

A Wintec Library guide to referencing in APA 7th edition style

Reference list

While the in-text citations in your assignment include just a few basic details (author, date, page/para.), the reference list provides much more information so your tutors/readers can locate the sources you have used. Reference list entries might include the full title and publication details of printed works, the names of editors (where applicable), a URL or DOI for electronic resources, and other information.

What's the difference between a bibliography and a reference list?

A bibliography is a list of all of the sources you read and which may have influenced or directed your research, whether or not you actually quote or paraphrase information from them in your work.

A reference list is a list of ONLY the sources whose information you quote directly or paraphrase in your work. Your tutors will usually only require you to include a reference list with your assignments.

The basic formula of an APA reference list entry

Reference list entries typically have four main parts:

Who. (When). What. Where.

Author. (Date). Title. Source.

'Sentence case' versus 'Title Case'

Sentence case
The way this sentence is written, beginning with a capital and all other words in lower case (unless proper nouns, e.g., New Zealand).

Title case
When Each Main Word in a Title Begins With a Capital Letter Like This (Except Words Less Than Four Letters Long).

In the titles of reference list entries, the word that follows a colon [:] or dash [–] should begin with a capital letter.

First name(s) & surname/family name(s)

These terms pertain to the parts of an author's name:

First/given name(s) Surname/family name(s)
Robert Louis Stevenson

Handy tips
Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish which is an author's surname and which are their first names. To help avoid confusion:
  • Check how other scholars have cited the author’s name and follow the most common format.
  • If the author provides a reference list, check to see if they have cited their own work and replicate the format they have used.
  • Check your resource to see if the author’s surname is written in a distinguishing way. Sometimes surnames are written in all capitals (e.g., Robert Louis STEVENSON), or the surname is written first, followed by a comma and the author's first name(s) (e.g., Stevenson, Robert Louis) which can help you work out how to reference correctly.
  • Check the library catalogue or database bibliographic record for the work you are citing. For example:


Reference list entry
Stevenson, R. L. (2009). In the south seas. Floating Press. (Original work published 1908)

Formatting the reference list

These guidelines will help you properly format your reference list in APA style:

  • Begin the reference list on a new page at the end of your assignment.
  • Title the reference list References in bold and centred at the top of the page.
  • Order your reference list alphabetically by author
  • Apply a hanging indent to each reference list entry. This means that the first line of each entry is left aligned, while the second and subsequent lines are indented (the Publication Manual recommends 0.5" or 1.27cm—the default in Microsoft Word).
  • The Publication Manual also recommends double-line spacing within and between reference list entries, but check your tutor or department's preferences.
  • Make all links to websites or DOIs live (hit the space bar after each entry).


A short sample reference list showing the correct title placement, alphabetisation, hanging indent, and double-spaced format:


Hales, M. (2015). Community health nursing. In A. Berman, S. Snyder, T. Levett-Jones, T. Dwyer, M. Hales, N. Harvey, Y. Luxford, L. Moxham, T. Park, B. Parker, K. Reid-Searl, & D. Stanley (Eds.), Kozier and Erb's fundamentals of nursing (3rd Australian ed., Vol. 1, pp. 127–141). Pearson.

Hubbard, J., Thomas, C., & Varnham, S. (2010). Principles of law for New Zealand business students (4th ed.). Pearson.

Stulz, J. (2006). Integrating exposure therapy and analytic therapy in trauma treatment. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 76(4), 482–488.

Formatting your reference list in Microsoft Word (hanging indents)

Having entered and alphabetised your reference list entries in your document, highlight them all and click the little arrow in the paragraph section of the top ribbon to display the paragraph formatting dialog.

In the indentation section, select 'hanging'. Under spacing, set the line spacing on 'double'.

Click OK to save the settings. Your reference list should now have hanging indents and double line spacing!

Another easy way to get your hanging indent in Word is to highlight your reference list and then press ctrl + t.

Reformatting hyperlinks in Word

Word may automatically format your hyperlinks to the main words of the title. However, in APA 7 your hyperlinks need to be the web address as it appears in your browser (https://...).

There are several ways to reverse the Word autoformatting:

1. As you are copying the link:

Copy the link and as you paste it into your Word document, right click. Then select "Paste as plain text". It will paste the link in the standard format.

2. Once it is already pasted, use the paste function:

Right click on the hyperlink and click on the clipboard with the A under Paste Options.

The hyperlink will revert back to the standard format.

3. Edit the hyperlink

Right click on the hyperlink and click on "Edit Hyperlink"


Highlight the words shown in the "Text to display" box and delete them. 

Click "OK" and the hyperlink should revert to the standard format.

Organising a reference list into alphabetical order in Word

1. Create your reference list

2. Highlight it

3. Click on the A>Z button in the Word toolbar

4. Click OK

Changing the case of letters in Word

1. Highlight the text you want to change the case of (the title of your information source, for example).

2. Select the Aa button in the font section of the toolbar:

3. Select the case you want (e.g. sentence case or to give each word a capital).

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