Best Citation Generator Tools in 2022

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Citation generator tools.

A Citation generator or citations machines are tools that turn information about a source into a citation that you can use in a project. 

They usually have a form to help guide you in what information is needed – and then they format it into the style you need, such as the American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), the Chicago Manual of Style method of document formatting and citation, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) styles, and the American Medical Association (AMA) Style. 

With a citation generator, you enter your source bibliographic information to produce a citation in your selected citation style that you can copy and paste into your paper. 

You need to Double-check that your generated citations are correct with a style guide.

There are many citation generators. According to the Purdue Online Writing Lab, most follow this general process:

  1. The generator receives information about a source. Usually, this comes from the user: he or she types the source’s author, title, publication date, etc.
  2. The generator processes this information according to the user’s settings (e.g., the citation style and the medium). This usually means putting the pieces of information received in Step 1 into the correct order and applying the proper formatting.
  3. The generator produces a citation that the user can use. This usually takes the form of text that a user can copy and paste into a project.

Below, we cover the best citation machines, citation management systems and citation generator Chrome extensions.

BibME

BibMe is a free citation generator that supports MLA, APA, Chicago, and Turabian formatting. BibMe leverages external databases to fill citation information for you quickly.

It is your one-stop source for all kinds of bibliography needs. It is a great online tool for bibliographies–and more. It even has a function for those students who don’t remember all the information for the source you cited.

  • Creates citations and bibliographic references for MLA, APA, Turabian, and Chicago styles
  • Look up your reference by URL, title, or ISBN, and then it automatically converts to a citation and bibliographic reference.
  • Create a free account and save your references for future use

How to use Bibme

To create a bibliography using Bibme:

  1. Open the writing tool of your choice in your browser: BibMe, Citation Machine, or EasyBib. You will need to sign in if you haven’t already done so.
  2. Click your email address in the upper right-hand corner. In the drop-down menu, select the New citation list.
  3. Choose a name and citation style for your bibliography. This will create a new bibliography and add it to your citation list.

To create a citation manually with BibMe;

  1. Go to BibMe.org using your preferred browser
  2. Choose your citation style and source type
  3. Click Manual entry mode
  4. Fill out the information prompted by the form and click Create Citation.

Congratulations, you’ve manually cited a source!

Citation Machine

Citation Machine is an online citation generator that allows users to create citations by filling in information about the source. It supports MLA, APA, Turabian, and Chicago style formatting. 

Also, it has an ISBN look-up that will generate a citation based on a book’s ISBN number. Just like CiteThisforMe, it has premium paid-for options. 

With Citation Machine, you can:

  • Create citations in MLA, APA, Chicago/Turabian, & more
  • Copy & paste citations and bibliographies
  • Copy & paste in-text citations (option appears after your citation is generated)
  • Create an account to save & edit your sources for later and download them to Word
  • Look up options for APA and MLA styles

Citationmachine.net easily creates citations for various print and non-print formats in APA, MLA, Turabian, and Chicago styles.

EasyBib

EasyBib is a citation website that allows you to search books, websites, newspapers, journals, and databases to generate a citation quickly. 

You can then copy and paste it into a document, email it to yourself, download it as a Microsoft Word document, save it to Google Docs, or save it online. 

You can use EasyBib to create bibliographies in APA, MLA, and Chicago/Turabian citation styles.

It is similar to BibMe. They are both web-based citation management tools that use the Autocite/Auto-fill input mode, which searches the web and populates the necessary citation metadata. They also offer a plagiarism checker.

EasyBib has an intuitive interface and is simple to use. Since it is an online citation tool, you don’t have to worry about downloading any software to your computer. With an internet connection, you can use EasyBib from any computer to;

  • Creates citations and bibliographic references for MLA, APA, Turabian, and Chicago styles.
  • Look up your reference by URL, title, or ISBN, and then it automatically converts to a citation and bibliographic reference.

EasyBib has a Chrome extension, which you can Cite websites with one click using the EasyBib Toolbar and receive advice on the credibility of the website you’re citing.

CiteThisForMe 

Cite this for me at a free online citation generator with various paid-for premium add-ons. It is one of the best citation machines you can find online, and it allows you to choose from a wide variety of different citation styles.

It was launched in October 2010, and since then, Cite This For Me has assisted millions of users worldwide, including in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, and beyond.

Once logged into your Cite This For Me premium account, getting started with a new bibliography is quick and easy:

  1. On the My citation lists page, click on +Create citation list.
  2. Give your new citation list a name, and pick a citation style (don’t worry if your style isn’t in the short drop-down menu, you can change it later!), then hit Create

Congratulations, you’ve created your bibliography (it should show up at the top of your citation list page), and you can start adding your citations!

ZoteroBib

ZoteroBib helps you build a bibliography instantly from any computer or device without creating an account or installing any software. 

It’s brought to you by the team behind Zotero, the powerful open-source research tool recommended by thousands of universities worldwide, so you can trust it to help you seamlessly add sources and produce perfect bibliographies. 

If you need to reuse sources across multiple projects or build a shared research library, we recommend using Zotero instead.

Zotero is completely free and ad-free.

Simply find what you’re looking for in another browser tab and copy the page URL to the ZoteroBib search bar. ZoteroBib can automatically pull in data from newspaper and magazine articles, library catalogs, journal articles, sites like Amazon and Google Books, etc. You can also paste or type in an ISBN, DOI, PMID, or arXiv ID, or you can search by title.

KnightCite

The Hekman Library of Calvin College created KnightCite as a reliable and efficient means of citing sources for its students. The generator is provided free of charge, and there is an option to create an account. Hence, you have more access privileges, such as saving citations for later and alphabetizing them. 

It supports MLA, APA, and Chicago style formatting. It also cites various sources, including books, anthologies, multimedia, periodicals, communications, and online sources.

It is not as automated as EasyBib, but a clear and easy form to use.

Citation Builder

Another library-created tool – this time from NC State University Libraries. It has the most simplified tools – choose the type of resource you have, fill out the information, and then select either APA or MLA citation style. Click Submit, and it is ready to copy & paste.

BibGuru 

BibGuru is another bibliography and citation generator.

With BibGuru, you can quickly add all the sources for your paper and make citations in APA, MLA, Harvard, Chicago, and thousands of other citation styles.

BibGuru is developed by the team at Paperpile. Founded in 2013 by former researchers from MIT, Paperpile is a full-fledged reference management solution used by tens of thousands of researchers worldwide.

To create your BibGuru account,

  1. Click the Sign-up button on the upper right corner of the BibGuru app
  2. Select to sign up with Google or Facebook
  3. You will be prompted to sign in to your Google or Facebook account
  4. Once you sign in, your BibGuru account will be immediately set up and ready to use
  5. To sign in, click the Sign in button on the upper right corner of the BibGuru app.
  6. Click the button with your photo and name on the top right and select Sign out from the menu.

Bluebook Citation Generators

Bluebook is a Uniform System of Citation style guide that prescribes the most widely used legal citation system in the United States. It is taught and used at a majority of U.S. law schools and is also used in a majority of federal courts.

Bluebook citation generators are tools that help you create bluebook citations easily. Mendeley Cite-O-Matic, RefWorks Write-N-Cite, and Zotero also allow you to cite your references in Bluebook style.

Below are the main BlueBook citation generators.

LegalEase

LegalEase is a Bluebook citation generator that helps you create perfect Bluebook citations.

In order to maintain the proper Bluebook formatting of your citation with LegalEase when copying the citation into Microsoft Word, copy the citation from LegalEase and paste it into Microsoft Word with the “keep source formatting” option. 

Google Doc, you can copy and paste (with “keep source formatting”) your citation into Microsoft Word, first. Then, copy and paste your citation from Microsoft Word into your Google Docs document. This will keep some but not all formatting. 

LegalEase is a subscription-based citation generator. It’s priced at about $10 a month or $60 a year. The company offers a 7-day free trial as well.

Bestlaw

Bestlaw is a browser extension that you can use to copy a perfect Bluebook citation with one click. It has 2000+ installations on Google Chrome

When you’re browsing Westlaw or Lexis, it automatically adds features to make research faster and easier.

Bestlaw has enhanced more than twelve million documents. It’s used at top law schools, firms, nonprofits, and courts. You don’t have to write another Bluebook citation. It automatically creates perfect citations with one click.

Citeus Legalus

Citeus Legalus is an automated citation generator that formats data into the proper format for legal academic use.

This citation generator is deemed “the legal citation generator for lazy law students.” It is a fun and easy way to create Bluebook citations.

Citation Management Systems

Citation management systems allow you to download citations from various websites and databases (sometimes with the full-text article), store and organize the sources, and insert citations and bibliography into your paper in the format of your choice as you write your essay. 

If you need to manage a large number of citations or need to write a lot of papers that require you to cite sources, a citation management system may make citing sources in your paper a whole lot easier. 

If you work collaboratively on some projects, your citations can also be shared with groups or co-authors.

Endnote Basic

EndNote is a robust proprietary bibliographic citation management software developed by Thomson Reuters

The online citation management software helps you to collect and manage a library of citations and output them in any of over 6000 bibliographic formats. 

You can input groups of references from databases or add them one at a time. Your Endnote Basic library is fully searchable, can be organized into groups, and can be shared with other researchers. 

EndNote Web is very popular among science scholars. Using EndNote Web, you can access your saved citations and references online. 

Using EndNote Web, you can:

  • organize and track your sources and references
  • create a searchable database of references
  • archive full text
  • easily cite references in your paper, dissertation, article, etc.

Zotero

Zotero is a free and open-source reference management app used to manage your research and references: Collect, organize, cite, and share research. It can be used on macOS, Windows, and Linux. 

Zotero instantly creates references and bibliographies for any text editor and directly inside Word, LibreOffice, and Google Docs. With support for over 100,000 citation styles, you can format your work to match any style guide or publication.

Should I use ZoteroBib or Zotero?

ZoteroBib and Zotero are free, open-source tools created to help people manage their research. You are free to use whichever one is right for you.

If you need to create a one-off bibliography for a paper, ZoteroBib is the quickest and easiest way.

If you’re working on a longer-term project, want to build up a research library to use across multiple projects, or need to collaborate with others, Zotero offers many more features:

  • Browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari to help you save items with one click
  • Automatic downloading of PDFs and webpage snapshots
  • Word processor plugins to help you quickly insert citations and automatically generate a bibliography from the citations in your document, with support for subsequent citations, given name disambiguation, ordered numeric styles, and other advanced features
  • Organization and tagging
  • Note-taking
  • Advanced sorting and searching
  • Group libraries for easy collaboration and sharing
  • Automatic syncing across your devices
  • Retracted item notifications
  • Web access to your data, notes, and files

Mendeley

Mendeley Reference Manager is a free web and desktop reference management application. It helps you simplify your reference management workflow to focus on achieving your goals.

With Mendeley Reference Manager, you can:

  • Store, organize and search all your references from just one library.
  • Seamlessly insert references and bibliographies into your Microsoft® Word documents using Mendeley Cite.
  • Read, highlight and annotate PDFs, and keep all your thoughts across multiple documents in one place.
  • Collaborate with others by sharing references and ideas.

RefWorks

RefWorks is a cloud-based citation management program that can be used to organize, share, and compile citations. RefWorks can also be used to annotate and share journal articles and has two “Write-and-Cite” plugins for Google Docs and Microsoft Word, both of which can be used to pull citations directly from RefWorks into a paper or other project.

RefWorks is free for NCSU users, and NC State graduates will retain access to RefWorks as long as NCSU maintains a subscription.

To start using RefWorks, go to refworks.proquest.com and click on the “Create Account” link near the bottom of the screen. When signing up, make sure to use your student email address. Other tutorials on how to use RefWorks are available below.

Citavi

Citavi is a reference management program for teams that gives you the option of storing your information on your own server instead of in the cloud. It is developed and owned by QSR International, the leading developer of qualitative data analysis (QDA) software.

The citation management system can extract text excerpts and images from documents as quotations, and organize them together with own ideas imported as “thoughts”. Quotations and thoughts can be copied into the word processor, and citations are added automatically.

Citavi offers over 10,000 citation styles: APA, Chicago, MLA, Turabian, etc., etc. Citavi offers a free trial. You can search, organize, collaborate, take notes, write and manage citations in one dashboard. It is available for Web, windows, and DBServer (Data-secure server installation

for organizations.

There is no free version. However, if you are a student or staff of an institution that uses the software, you can download the full version of Citavi free of charge through the school’s license.

Citation generator chrome extensions

There is no need to juggle between citation websites to reference your research work. Easily install one of the following citation generator chrome extensions on your Google Chrome browser and cite your documents faster.

Zotero Connector

Zotero Connector is a free, easy-to-use, open-source Chrome extension tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share research.

The Zotero Connector automatically senses content as you browse the web and allows you to save items to Zotero with a single click. If a PDF is available, the Connector can save it to your library to read later, and it can even save snapshots of web pages in case they change or disappear. 

Additionally, suppose you use a web-based proxy to access resources your institution subscribes to. In that case, the Zotero Connector can automatically redirect you through the proxy when you follow links to those sites from elsewhere on the web, ensuring you always have access to PDFs and other gated content.

Web Citer

CiteThisForMe’s Web Citer is a Chrome extension by Cite This For Me. You can automatically create website citations in the APA, MLA, Chicago, or Harvard referencing styles at the click of a button.

Browse to the page you wish to cite and click the button to generate a correctly formatted citation. Then copy and paste the citation into your assignment, or add it to your online bibliography for safekeeping until later.

You can also add other sources (like books, journals, and newspapers) from their main tool at citethisforme.com.

EasyBib Toolbar

You can easily Cite websites with one click using the EasyBib Toolbar and receive advice on the credibility of the website you’re citing.

EasyBib is one of the best bibliography makers and citation machines. The EasyBib toolbar will let you cite websites with one click. 

Receive advice on the credibility of the website you’re citing. Cite as many sources as you need to build a fully-formatted, alphabetized, and Word-processor-ready bibliography.

Bibliography.com Chrome Extension

Bibliography.com is a free citation generator to easily cite sources in APA and MLA format. It has a Chrome extension you can use to easily cite your sources in MLA, APA, or Chicago style directly from your browser for free.

When you find a website or link you want to cite, click the Bibliography.com icon in the toolbar, choose which one of your bibliographies you’d like to add the citation to, and voila!

The Bibliography.com Chrome Extension transforms your sources quickly and simply with our MLA, APA, and Chicago citation generator right from your browser.

MyBib Chrome Extension

MyBib citation generator add-on for Chrome automatically creates APA style, MLA format, and Harvard referencing style citations.

The free bibliography and citation generator makes accurate citations to copy straight into your academic assignments and papers.

Browse to any page on the internet (including PDFs) and click the MyBib button to generate an automatically formatted citation for that page.

MyBib has over 1M Chrome users due to how useful it is. It can format webpages and PDFs in over 9,000 citation styles, including APA 6, APA 7, MLA 8, Harvard, AMA, and Chicago. 

Copy your generated citations directly into your paper, or save them to your bibliography for later. You can export them to other citation manager systems like Zotero or Mendeley, print them directly, or save them as BibTeX.

Sources

  • https://ucsd.libguides.com/c.php?g=91010&p=584738
  • https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/using_citation_machines_responsibly.html#:~:text=Citation%20generators%20are%20programs%20that,receives%20information%20about%20a%20source.
  • https://library.unr.edu/help/quick-how-tos/use-a-citation-generator
  • https://ussa.libguides.com/c.php?g=916484&p=6604648
  • https://libguides.southernct.edu/easybib
  • https://www.chegg.com/contactus/citethisformesupport
  • https://regents-uk.libguides.com/c.php?g=472416&p=4683419
  • https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/citation-management/refworks

Frequently asked questions

A bibliography is a list of the resources (books, articles, videos, etc.) you used while researching and writing the paper. You have to reference the exact items so that your professor knows where you got your information.

Style guides outline the standards for writing citations and formatting a document. The rules vary among different style guides; the best one to use depends on which publication, organization, or field you’re writing for. 

What is a bibliography?

A bibliography is a list of the resources (books, articles, videos, etc.) you used while researching and writing the paper. You have to reference the exact items so that your professor knows where you got your information.

What is a style guide?

Style guides outline the standards for writing citations and formatting a document. The rules vary among different style guides; the best one to use depends on which publication, organization, or field you’re writing for. 

What is Purdue OWL citation machine?

Purdue OWL citation machine is a citation machine used to reference documents in MLA Style, APA Style, and Chicago Manual of Style source documentation. Purdue OWL uses the Citation Machine tool as its citation generator. Navigate to owl.purdue.edu and scroll down to find the Purdue OWL citation machine.

Is it OK to use a citation machine?

Yes! Citation Machine is a great resource to use when conducting research for your paper. When using citation generators, remember that they can do much of your work for you, but they cannot (and should not) do any of your thinking for you.

What is a bibliography generator?

A bibliography generator is a citation generator that makes accurate citations for you to copy straight into your academic assignments and papers.

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