How to Cite a PDF File

In our previous posts you could learn how to cite a PowerPoint or Word document. Do you know how to cite a PDF? Research papers and other longer documents are usually preserved in PDF because it guarantees that the layout and the content will be preserved. In case you need to provide citations and reference guide, keep reading to find out how to cite a PDF document in MLA, APA and Chicago style. MLA style is mostly used in literature, arts and humanities documents. APA style is mostly required in psychology, education, linguistics, journalism. Chicago style is used in history, information and political science but also in communications and publishing.

How do you reference a PDF document

First of all you need to decide what citation style would you use to cite a PDF. Every citation style has slightly different rules but most of them require to write citations in an alphabetical order. In the post about how to cite a PowerPoint we mentioned what information you need to include in each style.

If you want to add citations or references in a PDF document you need to convert a PDF to Word first and to make changes in Word document. When you add citations in Word version of the document, just convert it back to PDF. You can convert files with this online PDF to Word tool by simply uploading a file and leaving your email address. The converted file will be ready to download and use.

However, if your citation source is a PDF file and not a book, you can add a comment that your citation is based on a research you found in a PDF document. For instance, in MLA style you can write that your medium source is a PDF. In APA style you will write that in the same section where you write title of the source and not in the medium section. In Chicago style you should also mention that the source is a PDF, in the same place where you write the title. However, in APA style you should separate title and “PDF” with brackets whereas Chicago style doesn’t require using brackets.

How do you cite an ebook

Ebooks are usually saved in PDF, MOBI or EPUB format. So if your ebook is in PDF format, you can apply the rules mentioned in how to cite a PDF guide here. Usually, you need to include the author’s name, the publisher of the book as well as the year and place of publication, the exact book title but also the website when the ebook can be downloaded.

How do you cite an article online

You’ll need to copy down the author’s name, title of the article, name of the journal, volume number, issue number, date of publication, page numbers of the physical copy, and the web address of the journal article.

So next time you are preparing a research document, don’t hesitate to use PDF files as your sources. You can easily cite a PDF file and include it in your reference list. If the content of the PDF file is valuable and has credibility, do need to worry about using PDF works.