You are probably familiar with (or know where to look up) in-text and reference list citation rules for books, online articles, and websites, but that’s not always enough these days—how do you use a YouTube video as a source and correctly cite it? Here, we show you how to do that in all the common reference styles.
Let’s start with where you find the information you need: Have a look at the image below. You see that all the details you need to include are displayed just below the video. The example is taken from YouTube, but other sites (e.g., VIMEO) have similar layouts.
You need to include the following information in your citation:
- the video title
- the username of whoever uploaded it
- the date the video was uploaded
- the timestamp of the part of the video you want to refer to (if applicable)
- the hosting website
- the URL
Note that the creator’s name and the account name are not always identical. If this is relevant to the reader, then explain it in the text. Before you do that, however, look for the creator’s own channel, official website, or other social media to see whether the video is available elsewhere and can be cited directly. Information about the video’s original creator can usually be found in the description or in the video itself.
In the following, you’ll find examples of citations to this video in APA, MLA, Chicago, and Vancouver style—make sure you choose the correct one for your target publication.
How to Cite a YouTube Video in APA Style
To create an APA style reference entry for a video (see example below), you need to list the uploader as the “author”, even if they are not the original creator. Also, if you know the uploader’s real name (and if it is different from their channel’s name), it should be included: start with the real name and add the channel name in brackets.
The title is written in italics and is followed by “Video” in square brackets.
The general format for citing a YouTube video in APA style is thus as follows:
Real name, A.A. [Channel name]. (year, month day). Title [Video]. YouTube. http://xxxx
For our example video above, that would be:
Wordvice Editing Services. (2021, Apr 22). APA 7th Edition: In-text Citations [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/PfkpemU0uVI.
If you know that Kevin is the one who records and uploads these videos on the Wordvice website, then you can also list him as the actual creator:
Heinz, K. [Wordvice Editing Services]. (2021, Apr 22). APA 7th Edition: In-text Citations [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/PfkpemU0uVI.
Your in-text citation only needs to include the last or screen name (whatever your full citation starts with) the year, and a timestamp if you are referring to a specific part/quote:
(Wordvice Editing Services, 2021, 2:15)
How to cite a video: APA 6 vs. APA 7 differences
APA 6 and 7 citations for online videos are identical, except that in APA 6 the title is not italicized and the URL is preceded by “Retrieved from:”. This is no longer necessary in APA 7.
Our example reference entry would look like this if converted to APA 6 style:
Heinz, K. [Wordvice Editing Services]. (2021, Apr 22). APA 7th Edition: In-text Citations [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/PfkpemU0uVI.
Use our APA Citation Generator to cite references for your YouTube videos in APA 6 or APA 7 style.
How to Cite a YouTube Video in MLA Style
The general format for citing online videos in MLA style is very different from the APA style we just covered: You start with the title of the video in quotation marks, followed by the name of the hosting website, the name of the channel that uploaded the video, the date it was uploaded, and finally the URL
“Title of video.” Website, uploaded by Screen name, day month year, http://xxxxx.
Our example video would be cited like this:
“APA 7th Edition: In-text Citations.” YouTube, uploaded by Wordvice Editing Services, 22 Apr. 2021, https://youtu.be/PfkpemU0uVI.
Note, however, that if we include again Kevin as the actual creator when citing a YouTube video in MLA style, the citation starts with the creator’s name and looks like this:
Heinz, Kevin. “APA 7th Edition: In-text Citations.” YouTube, uploaded by Wordvice Editing Services, 22 Apr. 2021, https://youtu.be/PfkpemU0uVI.
In MLA format, you also need to specify (in your in-text citation) where in the video the part starts that you are referring to:
Or, if you don’t know who recorded the video:
(“APA 7th Edition: In-text Citations,” 00:02:15–00:02:52).
Use our MLA Citation Generator to cite references for your YouTube videos in MLA 7 or MLA 8 style.
How to Cite a YouTube Video in Chicago Style
The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) gives you the choice between author-date citations and footnote style.
In author-date style, in-text citations consist of the author’s last name and the publication year, as well as a timestamp if relevant:
Author last name, First name. Year. “Video Title.” Additional information. Month Day, Year. Format, Video length. URL.
Our example video would look like this if referenced in Chicago style:
Heinz, Kevin. 2021. “APA 7th Edition: In-text Citations.” Wordvice Editing Services.April 22, 2021. Educational video,.4:53. https://youtu.be/PfkpemU0uVI.
Your in-text Chicago author-date citation can then include the specific timestamp:
(Heinz 2021, 2:15)
For footnote citations, the reference list you create when citing a YouTube video in Chicago style is identical to that for any other bibliography entry; you simply need to specify that your source is a video, add the year and, obviously, provide a footnote in the text:
Author Name. “Video Title.” Month Day, Year. Video, Length. URL.
Format your list entry and (long- and short-form) footnotes in the following way:
Heinz, Kevin. “APA 7th Edition: In-text Citations.” April 22, 2021. Educational video, 4:53. https://youtu.be/PfkpemU0uVI.
1. Heinz, Kevin. “APA 7th Edition: In-text Citations,” April 22, 2021, educational video, 2:15, https://youtu.be/PfkpemU0uVI.
2. Heinz, “APA 7th Edition: In-text Citations,” 2:15. https://youtu.be/PfkpemU0uVI.
Use our Chicago Citation Generator to cite references for your YouTube videos in Chicago 17th style.
How to Cite a YouTube Video in Vancouver Style
Vancouver style references are numbered sequentially, and each list entry therefore starts with a number:
(Citation Number) Uploader Surname and Initials/Username. Title of Video [Video]. Year uploaded. Available from: URL [Accessed Date].
Reference list example:
(1) Heinz K. APA 7th Edition: In-text Citations. [Video]. Wordvice Editing Services; 2021. Available from: https://youtu.be/PfkpemU0uVI [Accessed Nov 27, 2022].
In-Text citation example:
Use either a number in parentheses (1) or a superscript number (like this: ¹) in the text at the place where you are citing a YouTube video in Vancouver style:
Heinz emphasizes that there are some differences between APA 6 and APA 7 that authors should be aware of when formatting their reference lists.1
Or if you want to include the specific timestamp of the quote you are referring to:
Heinz emphasizes that there are some differences between APA 6 and APA 7 style that authors should be aware of when formatting their reference lists (1: 00:02:44).
Note that Vancouver referencing is an actual “style” rather than a formal system. There are therefore slightly different versions, and you need to make sure that your citations are in line with the exact rules your institution or target journal follows.
Use our Vancouver Citation Generator to cite references for your YouTube videos in Vancouver style.