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APA Referencing Style Guide

This guide introduces the APA referencing style with examples of citation styles for different types of resources.

Computer software and code

Reference format:

Rightsholder, A. A. (year). Title of Software or Program (Version number) [Type of software]. Retrieved from http://xxxxx


Reference list entry:

Customized Synergy [Computer software]. (2014). Retrieved from

Esolang, A. N. (2014). Obscure Reference Generator [Computer software]. Washington, DC: E & K Press.

McCarthy, P. (2018). Shoelace formula for polygonal area (Python recipe) [Source code]. Retrieved from


  • It is not necessary to cite 'standard software' such as Microsoft Word, Java, and Adobe Photoshop, SPSS or SAS.
  • You should provide a reference for specialized software, for example an open source software used to display items to the participants in your study. 
  • Use an individual’s name in the reference if he or she has proprietary rights to the program. In all other cases, create a reference as you would for un-authored works.

Mobile apps

Reference format:

Rightsholder, A. A. (year). Title of Software or Program (Version number) [Mobile application software]. Retrieved from http://xxxxx

Reference list entry:

Skyscape. (2013). Skyscap Medical Resources (Version 1.17.42) [Mobile application software].

Computer games

Reference format:

Developer. (Year). Title [Platform]. Release City and Country: Publisher, played month day, year.

NB: this is a Game Studies Journal reference format, adapted from APA principles.

Reference list entries:

Fox, Toby. (2015). Undertale [Steam]. Bellevue, WA: Toby Fox, played April 6, 2017.

Rovio Entertainment. (2009). Angry birds [Mobile iOS]. Espoo, Finland: Rovio Entertainment, played March 21, 2011.

Manuals and handbooks

Software and devices may come bundled with a manual or handbook. To cite these you will need the company information and the name of the product with which it was bundled:

Reference format:

Company name. (Year). Product title: Handbook title. Publisher location: Publisher.

Product handbooks or manuals also substitute "Author" for publisher if the publishing company is listed as the author of the source.

Include the URL of the handbook if you retrieved it online.

Reference list entries:

Honeywell. (2000). MetroSelect® single-line scanner: Configuration guide. Fort Mill, SC: Author.

Samsung. (2018). Galaxy Note9 2 Degrees: User Manual (Oreo) ver 1.0. Retrieved from