How to Cite a PDF: Basic Recommendations


PDF is one of the most using formats. You may simply download a file and make a reference for the valuable info. 

How to Cite a PDF: General Points

Citing a PDF is very straightforward. Despite the format of your source of info, you should cite it appropriately. For any style, include these basic elements to guarantee proper citation:

  • names of author(s);
  • title of that work you cite;
  • date of publishing (creation);
  • a creator of this source;
  • DOI or URL;
  • medium (this is optional).

Still, depending on the style, a certain citation format may vary. We will tell you more about how to cite a pdf document correctly.

How to Cite a PDF in MLA for a Single Author

The first thing you need to know about how to cite a pdf in MLA is that PDF identifier is not compulsory for this style. It also does not require referring to dates. Still, you can include that if you find this helpful. Here is an example:

Smith, John B. How to Make References in Your Papers. Study One College, 2020,

If you have doubts about how to cite a pdf in MLA, we suggest you using a PDF citation generator.

Often, a certain source has more than one author. In this case, you may use a previous approach with some variations.

Here is how to cite a pdf in MLA with two authors:

Jackes, John A., and Robin Jones.

And here is how to cite a pdf MLA with three or more authors:

Jackes, John A., et al.

How to Cite PDF in APA

If you want to know how to cite a PDF in APA correctly, keep in mind one important thing. You need to use square brackets to tag your PDF. Also, avoid placing a period after the provided URL.

We will show you how to cite a PDF in APA with an example:

Jones, D. A. (2020). Referencing and Citations: Simple Guide [PDF File]. New Journal of Writing 12(5). Retrieved from

For a couple of authors, use this approach:

Smith, K. B. & Dina L. M.

How to Cite a PDF in Chicago

Here is one important point about how to cite a PDF in Chicago. Include PDF identifier after the title of a cited source.

Here is an example of how to cite a pdf document in Chicago style: 

Jackes, Ben. Citations. PDF file. October 26, 2020.

PDF Citation Machine

If you are uncertain about citing a PDF, a pdf citation machine can make your work much easier. You may find a lot of that online. We suggest you use it to check your citations. In fact, it is easy. You should only understand the relations between different parts of the cited work.