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How to Cite PowerPoint Presentations in APA Style

11 minutes
APA format PowerPoint

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PowerPoint presentations have become another source of information for various occasions, from student projects and slideshows to online courses. So, the question of the proper citation of PowerPoint presentations arises. At some point, you will need a hint on how to cite someone else’s presentation in your research paper or in your own slides. There are APA style guidelines that come in handy for such cases. 


What is APA style?

How to cite a PowerPoint presentation in APA Style your readers can access

How to cite a PowerPoint presentation in APA Style your readers can’t access

How to format a PowerPoint presentation in APA Style

How to cite pictures in PowerPoint

Tips for using APA Style citations in PowerPoint


What Is APA Style?

APA Style is a set of rules for academic writing and publishing scientific papers at the highest level of clarity and accessibility. Whereas Chicago style is mainly used for studies on business, history, and the fine arts, and MLS style is common for the humanities, journal articles on education, psychology, and sciences must adhere to APA style.

If you’re wondering how to format your APA PowerPoint citation, it may seem a little bit tricky. Based on the latest, 7th edition of the APA manual and samples, we derived a ‘formula’ to show you to how to cite a presentation properly.

Examples of APA style citation
Reference List entryMadison, J. (2016). Introduction to APA Citations. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(2), 34-48. New York, NY, United States.
Parenthetical citation(Madison, 2016, p. 37)
Narrative citationMadison (2016)

Depending on whether the presentation to be cited is in the public domain or is not available for readers to access, the format of PowerPoint citation will be a little different. Also, you may need to do the opposite – namely, to cite elements on your PPT slides, like direct quotations, images, or tables – in APA format. Read this article to learn how to do both of these things correctly.

How to Cite PowerPoint Slides Your Readers Can Access

Published PowerPoint presentations are typically available on the net. When citing such presentations, be sure to include the term “PowerPoint slides” in brackets, and then embed a URL address that leads directly to the original source. Since a PowerPoint presentation is a standalone piece of content that is not archived, you need to include “Retrieved from” before the URL.


Author + date + title of the presentation + [PowerPoint slides] + “Retrieved from” + URL 


Jones, A. B. (2014). How to include APA citations in a PowerPoint presentation [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from

Citing a conference presentation in APA Style 

If the presentation you need to APA cite was delivered in a certain event and place, like a professional conference or a seminar, you need to mention this in the citation as well. 


Madison, J. (2016, April 11-14). Introduction to APA Citations [PowerPoint presentation]. 2nd Annual National Conference for Researchers, New York, NY, United States. Retrieved from 

If you want to refer to a specific slide in the body text of your paper, include the slide number in your in-text citation.

Format: (Author’s surname, year, slide 4)

Example: (Madison, 2016, slide 6)

How to Cite a PowerPoint Presentation Your Readers Can’t Access

If the presentation you wish to APA cite is not published anywhere and the reader won’t be able to access it (e.g., you viewed it at a meeting), you can still give it recognition. In this case, you need to cite it as personal communication. APA style doesn’t index personal communications in the reference lists, but it is necessary to include them as in-text citations. See how you can cite a meeting in your PowerPoint presentation below.

Example: In his speech, Madison stated that employee retention increased by 5% (personal communication, May 26, 2019).

Citing a lecture in APA format

If you wonder how to cite a lecture, you can do it nearly the same way. You will need to mention the lecturer, the date when the lecture was hold and frame it as personal communication as well. 

Example: (A. Collins, personal communication, October 28, 2021)

How to Format a PowerPoint Slideshow in APA Citation Style

If you present on a serious level and need to establish the credibility of the data you put into slides, it’s important to treat your PowerPoint presentation as a research paper in the first place. In this regard, educators and editors strongly recommend applying APA guidelines to the structure of PowerPoint presentations.

Thus, a PowerPoint presentation needs to meet certain criteria. It should include:

  • Title slide
  • Thorough APA citations
  • The References slide
  • Fully cited slides for tables with figures and statistical data

Title slide

Make your title slide similar to the title page of an APA research paper. Your first PowerPoint slide should include the same information as the cover sheet of an APA research paper. Include the title of the presentation, your name, organization, and an author’s note describing the purpose of the presentation.

APA Style PowerPoint Citation


Reference slide

A reference slide is the last slide of your presentation in which you cite the sources you used. It’s a list of every APA citation that appears elsewhere in the presentation.

Although it’s the final slide of your presentation, it is easier to compile it in advance. Do the following:

  • Name the slide “Reference List” or “References.”
  • List the references alphabetically by author (if there is no author, simply write the title). 
  • Do not double space or indent your reference slide to save space.

For detailed guidance, check out examples in the APA Style handout that was carefully prepared by Idaho State University or the official APA Publication Manual 7th Edition available on the website of the American Psychological Association.

In-text citations for the body slides

Including citations in the main content of your PowerPoint presentation is necessary to avoid plagiarism. Universities, for example, insist that any academic PowerPoint presentation has appropriate citations for any outside sources. Those sources include:

  • Any direct quotation
  • Any paraphrase
  • Tables and data
  • Images
  • Video and audio files
  • Web pages

APA citations in the body refer only to the author (or an item in quotations without an author) followed by a comma, the date of publication, and a page number, if applicable. These will be used throughout the presentation. When needed, hyperlink all your citations as well as images (not clip art) to their sources. Remember to attribute all quotes and paraphrases to their sources.

How to Cite Pictures in PowerPoint 

When it comes to citation, any kind of image, such as photographs, illustrations, or a vendor’s clip art and stock art are commonly referred to as figures. Citing figures is worthy of special mention. This is the table that encompasses all three ‘levels’ of how you can cite a picture in APA format: reference list entry, in-text citation, and copyright attribution. 

 Digital sourcesBooks
Reference list entryAuthor’s surname, first initial. Middle initial. (Year). Title of image [Description]. Place of publication. URL.Author’s surname, first initial. Middle initial. (Year). Title of book (edition). Publisher.
In-text citation(Author’s surname, year)(Author’s surname, year, page)
Copyright attributionReprinted or adapted status. Source information. Copyright status. 

When citing visuals in PowerPoint, you need to enumerate and annotate any figure. It’s easy to start by placing an image on the slide and adding a text box below it. Then, write a figure number, add a description/note for the figure, and a parenthetical citation from your reference slide. 


Figure 3. Pedestrians walking by street graffiti of the word “Love.” Adapted from “Pedestrian Street Art Protest” by J. Actrinson, 2013, ArtsPhotosArchive. Retrieved from Copyright 2020 by Actrinson Photos.

Tips for Using APA Style Citations in PowerPoint slides

1. Integrate your tables, but include full attributions

In APA citation, tables are any kinds of visual representation of data like graphs, charts, pie charts, etc. Tables can be incorporated as slides throughout the presentation, rather than grouped at the end. You need to include a complete citation of a table’s source on individual table slides. This is in addition to listing the source on your reference slide.

2. Check with samples of formatting

It’s a good idea to look for samples and illustrations of how to format citations in each case. For example, the Thomas F. Holgate Library at Bennett College, Greensboro, NC has posted an excellent slide presentation, APA Style PowerPoint Presentations. Also, you can visit Purdue University’s incomparable Online Writing Lab which has a complete reference list guide for electronic sources (web publications).

3. Follow the guidelines of your institution 

Some APA formatting advice can be ambiguous. So, if you’re submitting to a conference, make a safe choice and comply with the guidelines that your institution or an event committee might suggest following. Even if there is a variance between APA style and this suggested formatting style, it’s better to prepare your presentation according to the requirements of that particular event. 

Frequently Asked Questions about APA Style Citation

While preparing the Reference list for your presentation or putting in-text citations on PowerPoint slides, you may have questions about adding specific information. Here are a couple of such tricky questions and answers to them. Feel free to jump to the question that interests you most. 

How do I cite a source with no author in APA Style?

If you don’t know the name of the author, you may use the first words of your source’s title and include the year of publication. If it’s a book, magazine, or report, italicize it. And if it’s an article, use question marks.


 (Power of eLearning, 2020)(“eLearning Insights for 2022,” 2021)

In the Reference list, format such citations according to the common formula, only dropping the author portion at the beginning. If you want to cite a website article without an author in the Reference list, use the article’s title as well, and add the name of the website and its URL.


What is eLearning? (2019, July 28). iSpring Solutions. /elearning

How do I cite a source with no page numbers in APA Style?

As you need to guide your viewers/learners to the source of your data, if that source doesn’t have pages, you still can position the needed piece of data precisely. Insert a paragraph’s title or number, or a section’s name in the citation to locate the quoted passage.


(2021 Training Industry Report, Training Delivery section) 

How do I cite an online lecture in APA ? 

Since online lectures can be in various forms and formats, e.g., video recordings or lecture notes, you need to specify their format in the citation. This can be done by including [file format] in the formula:

Author surname, initial of first name. (Year). Title of lecture: Subtitle if applicable [file format]. Retrieved from URL. 


Oakley, B. (2015). Learning to Unlearn . Retrieved from 

How do I cite a professor’s PowerPoint presentation in APA style?

Just as with any other PowerPoint presentation that your readers/viewers access online, you can follow this formula:

Author Surname, initial of first name (year, month date). presentation title [PowerPoint slides]. the document’s location


Collins, A. (2016, March 23). Making the most of online education [PowerPoint slides]. SlideShare:

If the presentation you need to cite is placed on an intranet portal, an LMS, or some other source or platform with limited access, you still can credit the author. Just use the log-in page URL to enable viewers who can access the platform to find the source you’re citing.

Example: Keller, G., & Spake, R. (2018). Urbanization and its effect on society [PowerPoint slides]. Moodle@FNU.

In case you’re wondering how to cite a training program in APA style, you can do this in exactly the same way. 


As PowerPoint presentations have become one of the major sources of information and means of knowledge delivery, they need to be treated seriously and formatted according to certain standards. In this article, we covered the main ways to cite a PowerPoint presentation in APA style in your papers, or align your presentation with APA Style guidelines. If you need to enhance your presentation further and transform it into an effective online course, get this free trial of iSpring Suite!

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