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APA Referencing 7th ed.: Reference list


Reference lists

At the end of your assignment, you are required to provide full reference information for each source you have used. Reference lists give full information about the printed and electronic sources referred to in your writing so that your reader is able to locate the sources you used.  An important principle in referencing is to be consistent.

When compiling your reference list, you should:

  • List references on a new page with a centred heading titled: References

  • Only include sources you have referred to in your text

  • All references referred to in the text must appear in the reference list, except for personal communications (such as emails or conversations) which cannot be retrieved

  • Combine all your references, regardless of format, e.g. books, journal articles, online sources, in one alphabetical listing from A - Z

  • Order entries alphabetically by surname of author(s). If two or more entries have the same author, arrange by year of publication

  • List works with no author under the first significant word of the title

  • Use a hanging indent format i.e. indent second and subsequent lines of each entry (5-7 spaces)

  • Use double spacing.

Formatting your list

The APA manual recommends that the reference list at the end of your assignment  be double-spaced but some tutors may ask for single spacing. Each reference needs to have a hanging indent (where the author's surname 'hangs' out further than the second line) with a double line spacing between each reference, as shown below:


Mackin, S. T., Nelson, S. M., Kerssens, J. J., Wood, R., Wild, S., Colhoun, H. M., . . . Lindsay, R. S. (2018). Diabetes and pregnancy: National trends over a 15 year period. Diabetologia, 61(5), 1081-1088.


Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T. (2010). Essentials of nursing research: Appraising evidence for nursing practice. Wolters Kluwer Health.


Papps, E. (2015). Cultural safety: Daring to be different. In D. Wepa (Ed.), Cultural safety in Aotearoa New Zealand (2nd ed., pp. 36-48). Cambridge University Press.

Creating a hanging indent 

This can be done either with one reference item or on the list as a whole.

  1. Put the mouse (cursor) at the beginning of the item or list.
  2. Highlight the text that you want changed to a hanging indent. Click, hold down the left mouse button and drag the flashing cursor over the text (words) wanted in the hanging indent. They will change colour in a block (highlight).
  3. Press and hold the 'ctrl key', then press 't' (Or 'command' and 't' for a Mac). This will make the indenting happen automatically.
Alphabetising the reference list

To do this automatically in Word:

  1. Put all entries into the reference list in the appropriate format.
  2. Avoid using the ‘enter’ key except at the end of each reference entry.
  3. Highlight all entries in the reference list.
  4. Select     from the top row in the paragraph ribbon.
  5. A drop down menu will appear with ’sort’ at the top.  It will have ‘paragraphs’ highlighted. Click on ‘ok’.  The reference list will automatically be sorted alphabetically by the first word in each referencing entry.
To remove a hyperlink

A hyperlink on a Word document is blue and and underlined.  It is a direct link to a web page. Leaving it as a hyperlink is the preferred option unless your tutor tells you otherwise. If you need to remove the hyperlink follow these steps:

  1. To remove it, hover the mouse over the hyperlink and click the right mouse button. 
  2. A drop down menu will appear.  Choose ‘remove hyperlink’ and the font will change back to normal.