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How to Cite a PDF

by Tam

This article explains exactly how to cite a PDF using MLA8 and APA, two of the most common referencing styles.

You know that feeling when you're writing a scholarly essay or research paper and you discover the perfect source to support your hypothesis? But what if that source is only available as a standalone PDF instead of a book or journal article? Not to worry! We'll show you exactly how to properly cite a PDF using MLA8 and APA, two of the most common referencing styles.

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How to Cite a PDF in MLA8

MLA is commonly used for literature, arts, and general humanities. Note that a PDF isn't a source per se but rather the file type. So cite the location (URL) when using MLA:

How to Cite a PDF in APA

APA is commonly used in social sciences such as anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, history, law, linguistics, politics, psychology, and sociology. Note that a PDF isn't a source per se but rather the file type. So cite the location (URL) when using APA:

What if you want to send the PDF you're citing to someone? The easiest way is to compress the PDF to an email-friendly size:

  1. Go to Smallpdf's Compress PDF tool.
  2. Drag and drop your PDF into the drop area.
  3. Watch your PDF magically shrink down.
  4. Download and send your PDF via email.

How to Cite a PDF Quickly

If you find yourself overwhelmed with all of the above information, you can always use a tool to help you quickly and easily create a citation. Amanda Dexter, Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary English from Missouri State University, recommends:

Amanda Dexter

Don't forget to double-check the automatically generated citations, though! Zoë E. Hunter, student at Grand Canyon University, cautions:

Zoe Hunter
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