Latex Apa Cite Bibliography Apa

This post discusses my experience getting APA style references in LaTeX. This includes both in-text citations and the end of document references list. It focuses on the use of the package.

Setting up a BibTeX Bibliographic Database

Regardless of what citation style you want, you need to have your references formatted in BibTeX format. JabRef is a powerful reference manager for working with a BibTeX database. Also, see my previous post for migrating an Endnote database into BibTeX format and migrating a Word Document with Endnote references into LaTeX format.

APA Style References Several options exist:

From my initial examination looks like it has more features and is more compatible with the nuances of APA style. However, is somewhat of a standard in LaTeX. Thus, using citation commands may enable easier conversion between citation styles. The remainder of this post focuses on my experience with the package.

Using apacite

For comprehensive information on using apacite, see the documentation. The following sets out some basic details:

1. Ensure that you have a BibTeX database for the document. Your document will be more portable if the database is placed in either the same folder as the LaTeX files or in a subfolder of the LaTeX files.

However, you may prefer to maintain a general Bibliographic database that can be used across documents. If you wish to have a general database, you can use absolute file references to the database. Then when you need to share the BibTeX database, copy the database into a LaTeX project folder or subfolder and change the file reference in the command .

2. Reference the apacite package in the preamble.

3. Place the bibliography in the desired location in the document (usually after the main text) using the following code:

4. To insert citations in the text has a range of commands (see "The citation commands" in the Manual). Table 1 in the manual lists some of the main commands. I find myself using the following ones most often:

  • : This inserts the author names and years in brackets. This is the standard methods. E.g., "(Anglim, 2002)".
  • : Inserts the author names in the text and years in brackets. I use this to insert the authors names in the text e.g., "Anglim (2002)".
  • : inserts just the years in brackets. This is useful when I want to include the author's names in the text in a non-standard way. E.g., I've already written "Anglim's" then citeyear will insert "(2002)".

Each command takes a BibTeX reference as an argument and can have pre- and post- text. For example:

displays as "(e.g., Ackerman, 1990)"

5. To produce the document with references included, the document typically needs to be built three times in order for all updates to occur.

Additional Challenges and Resolutions

French formatting
Problem: For some reason my document was using a French language version of apacite. This resulted in many unwanted  customisations, such as the French word for references (Références) being displayed at the start of the reference list.
Solution: I inserted the following code into the preamble to restore the English mode of :

Additional Resources

Biblatex provides several standard citations styles, if no citation style is set LaTeX uses the one that matches the bibliography style. Below you can see an example:

\documentclass{article}\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}\usepackage[english]{babel}   \usepackage[ backend=biber, style=alphabetic, citestyle=authoryear ]{biblatex}   \addbibresource{sample.bib}%Imports bibliography file   \begin{document}\section{First section}   This document is an example, two items are cited: \textit{The \LaTeX\ Companion} book is \cite{latexcompanion}, and Einstein's journal paper is \cite{einstein}.   \medskip   \printbibliography\end{document}

The parameter passed to the command that imports biblatex is the one that sets the citation style, in this case authoryear. The standard citation styles are:

  • Implements a numeric citation scheme intended for in-text citations. Should be employed in conjunction with the numeric bibliography style.
  • Compact variant of the mode. Citations like [1, 2, 3] are replaced by [1-3].
  • Verbose variant of the style. Instead of [2, 5, 7] will print [2];[5];[7].
  • Alphabetic citation scheme similar to the standard in style bibtex. To be used in conjunction with the alphabetic bibliography style.
  • Verbose version of the style. Instead of [Doe98, Doe95, Farn2004] will print [Doe98];[Doe95];[Farn2004].
  • Implements the author-year citation scheme. To be used in conjunction with the author-year bibliography style.
  • Compact variant of the style. Prints the author only once if subsequent references passed to a single citation command share the same author. Prints Doe 1992, 1995 instead of Doe 1992, Doe 1995.
  • A variant of the intended for footnote citations. Replaces repeated citations by the abbreviation ibidem.
  • A style combining the features of and
  • Implements the author-title scheme. Intended for citations given in footnotes.
  • Compact variant of . Instead of Doe, First title; Doe, Second title this will print Doe, First title, Second title.
  • A variant of the intended for footnote citations. Replaces repeated citations by the abbreviation ibidem.
  • A style combining and .
  • Variant of that only prints the title if the bibliography contains more than one work of the respective author/editor.
  • Style combining and .
  • Style combining and .
  • Citation style that prints a full citation when the entry is cited for the first time and a short version afterwards.
  • Citation style that goes with the bibliography style by the same name. Loads the style.

There are other non-standard citation styles popular in different journals and thesis

  • In Sciences:
    • American Chemical Society (ACS) style
    • American Institute of Physics (AIP) style
    • American Mathematical Society (AMS) style
    • Vancouver system
    • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) style
    • Nature style
    • Science style
  • In Humanities:
    • Chicago Style
    • Harvard referencing style
    • MLA style
  • In Socials:
    • American Psychological Association (APA) style
Citation style stylename
AIP (*)

(*) this is a new style, see

  Open an example of the biblatex package in ShareLaTeX

[edit] Further reading

For more information see


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