How to Cite A PDF in APA & MLA Online

While documenting the sources used in any book, magazine, newspaper, or journal, it is significant to give proper credits to the author and mention publication details. It makes the documentation look more credible due to the mentioned resources and makes it acceptable for academic purposes.

The reader also gains access to sources' information, and it also acknowledges the fact that any writer does not plagiarize the information mentioned in the document. In this article, we will see how to cite a PDF document by using MLA and APA, the two most-used referencing formats.

Part 1: How to Cite A PDF in APA

APA PDF citation is a famous and widely recognized format for writing research papers, mainly in social sciences fields. It can be used to write citations and references to educational literature. Another use of APA is in arrangements of appendices, charts, and notes.

Basic Format: Author's last name, Author's first initial. (Year of publication). Article title [PDF file]. Journal title, Volume number (issue number), Page numbers. Available from the web address.

Techniques to Remember for APA Citation

  • The author's name and publication date in parenthesis should be mentioned.
  • The title of the book should be written in italics.
  • Mention that the article is a PDF document and write the file after the title of the article in square brackets followed with a period.
  • Write the page range, number of magazines, publications, and volume number. The title of the magazine and information of volume should be in italics, and every message should be separated with a comma. The issue number will be written after a number of volumes in brackets. Period must be mentioned after the page range.
  • Mention the URL where the article can be retrieved. In case the article has a "Doi" number, provide it at the end. Moreover, citation can also be implemented in websites, journal articles, images, reports, and books.

Part 2: How to Cite A PDF in MLA

MLA is a well-known and typically used pattern in citing a PDF for the Modern Language Association of America. In English papers, MLA should be used to confirm the integrity of academic work.

Basic format: Author's last name, Author's first name. "Article title." Journal Title Volume number. Issue number (Date of publication): Page numbers. Database Name. Web. Date of access.

Techniques to Remember for Citation in MLA

  • Write the last name and first name of the author and add the period at the end.
  • Mention the name of the article, enclose it in quotation marks and add a period in the end.
  • Indicate the place of publication, specifically the city and country, name of publisher, and year of publication.
  • Mention the title of the publication in italic font. Moreover, the publication can be on an e-book, website, newspaper article, online video, or magazine. Now, add the number of journals and details of the publisher.
  • At last, discuss that the article is from PDF and mention the date. Please acknowledge writing dates in order of the day, month, and year.

Part 3: How to Compress a Cited PDF Online for Free

CocoDoc is an online PDF compressor that compresses PDF files no matter if they are in a few MB or GB. The online tool uses advanced techniques and algorithms to compress the files. The application compresses the files without compromising the quality of PDFs.

Moreover, the application also enables the user to store the compressed file in CocoDoc's account cloud library. Those files can be retrieved later with no difficulty.

Here, we will discuss how to compress the PDF files with mere comfort with the help of an online compressor tool, CocoDoc.

Step 1: CocoDoc allows you to drop the file in the tab by choosing PDF from PC. Moreover, users can also upload the file from google drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, or by pasting the URL in the tab. After uploading, click on the "Continue" button.

Step 2: The app would offer 3 options: Less Compression, Good Compression, and Extreme Compression. Quality will be high in less compression and normal in good compression while it will reduce in extreme compression. After selecting the choice, click on "Continue."

Step 3: After this, the compressed file will be shown. The application would also exhibit the compressing percentage and allow the user to download the compressed PDF on his PC. Moreover, the URL of the document can also be copied and shared.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

  1. What information has to be cited and why?
  2. A reference needs to be cited when you discuss the concepts of an author, including when you paraphrase or summarize the author's content as well. But it also needs to be cited when an explicit quotation is used, statistical figures or graphics are used that belong to someone else.

  3. Should I use APA or MLA?
  4. Each citation style follows a unique set of rules for reference list entries. It is critical to familiarize yourself with the style's rules being utilized. If your work is related to humanities or cultural studies, MLA style is preferable whereas APA style can be used for technical academic-related sources citation.

  5. What are the kinds of in-text citations?
  6. An in-text citation needs to be used when a reference to the source by paraphrasing or quoting has been made. Different types of an in-text citation are mentioned below:

    • Note Citation: The reference to the source is placed in either a footnote or an endnote.
    • Parenthetical Citation: The author's last name, publication date, along with page number, is placed inside parenthesis within the text.
    • Numeric Citation: The sources are numbered in the reference list and called upon by the respective number for citation of source.


The article has explained how to cite a PDF in APA and MLA format. Significance to cite PDF by using any of the formats on the basis of their use is also described. Moreover, the tips for PDF citation in APA and MLA, along with their format, are also discussed. The article also introduces CocoDoc's compressing tool and how to compress large-sized PDF files with it.