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As a university student, I hated dealing with citations.

Writing the paper was stressful enough, never mind the hours it could take to properly format dozens of citations in the right style.

But citations are an unavoidable fact of life for anyone doing research (that is, if you want to avoid plagiarism).

You can manually create citations, of course, but there are dozens of citation-generating tools out there ready to help save desperate researchers and college students like myself loads of time (they certainly saved my sanity more than once).

10 Best Citation Generator Tools

Citation generators take the work out of creating citations. In most cases, you just have to search your source or enter the appropriate information into the given fields, and voilà—you’re presented with a perfectly crafted citation ready to be pasted into your bibliography.

We’ve compiled a list of 10 of the best citation-generating tools out there today, so you can spend less time formatting and more time polishing your thesis.

1. Citation Machine

citation machine logo

As a student, Citation Machine was my go-to for research papers. It’s simple, user-friendly, and has all the styles most students could need. It’s also a great resource if you need to cite films or audio.

With the free version, you can:

  • Add your bibliography and citations directly to your paper
  • Easily create citations in Chicago, MLA, APA, and 13 other styles
  • Cite 57 different types of resources (including films, podcasts, and manuscripts)
  • Take advantage of the auto-fill tool for a number of resources by simply searching the title

By upgrading to Premium ($9.95/month after free 3-day trial), you can also:

  • Check your work for unintentional plagiarism
  • Get suggestions to improve your grammar, style, and sentence structure

2. Opendemia

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More than just a citation generator, Opendemia allows students to create Works Cited pages and in-text citations, take and store notes on those sources, then easily retrieve those notes and copy the formatted citations directly into their papers.

Unlike with most other citation tools, students can use Opendemia as a virtual library for every source that they’ve used throughout college, keeping them neatly organized and stored for use in future assignments.

Opendemia offers a number of free features that allow users to:

  • Easily generate MLA, APA, and Chicago style citations
  • Organize all of their notes and citations by assignment
  • Upload and cite images
  • Attach PDFs of each source and access them on any device
  • Document the exact location of a quote within a source
  • Add comments about why the quote or source will be useful to their paper
  • Mark quotes/sources as “used” so they automatically appear in your Works Cited page

For just $10/year, you can unlock premium features that will let you enjoy an ad-free experience, create more than one shared folder, and cite over 15 sources per project.

The tool’s highly organized format eliminates much of the stress, chaos, and confusion that many students face when writing research papers. To start building your library, all you need to do is create an account.

3. Easybib

EasyBib logo

Easybib is another very popular tool among students, although you’re a bit more limited by the free version (MLA is the only available style until you register and pay for an upgrade).

With the free version, you can:

  • Search for sources easily by title, author, or URL to take advantage of the auto-cite tool
  • Cite over 50 types of resources (including digital images, blogs, and federal court rulings)
  • Cite using the MLA style only

By upgrading to EasyBib Plus ($4.99/month after free trial), you can:

  • Create citations using APA, Chicago, and over 100 other styles
  • Create in-text citations and footnotes

4. Cite This For Me

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Cite This For Me can help you create citations and bibliographies in APA, MLA, and Harvard formats for over 30 types of sources. The layout is pretty simple and easy to use.

With the free version, you can:

  • Search for sources easily by title, author, or ISBN to use their auto-citation tool
  • Export a bibliography or share it with others
  • Easily create citations using MLA, APA, and Harvard styles for over 30 types of resources

By upgrading to a premium account ($15/month), you can:

  • Have your paper checked for plagiarism
  • Take advantage of their nifty Chrome extension, which allows you to easily create citations for whatever page you’re browsing
  • Create several bibliographies simultaneously

5. BibMe

bibme logo

BibMe is quite similar to Citation Machine in both its free and paid features.

With the free version, you can:

  • Create citations in MLA, APA, and Chicago formats
  • Add citations and a bibliography directly to your paper
  • Easily search for sources by author, title, or ISBN
  • Receive up to 20 suggestions for improving your grammar, writing style, punctuation, and sentence structure

By upgrading to a Premium plan ($9.95/month after free 3-day trial), you can:

  • Have your paper checked for missing citations and unintentional plagiarism
  • Receive unlimited suggestions for improving your writing

6. OttoBib

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OttoBib’s Chrome extension is ideal for citing books—all you need is an ISBN.

It’s completely free and allows you to:

  • Cite books in MLA, APA, AMA, and Chicago formats
  • Search books easily by ISBN to receive your formatted citation

7. Zotero

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Zotero is free and can be used as a browser extension or add-on for Word. You no longer have to jump from page to page to cite your sources directly in your paper!

At no cost, you can:

  • Organize your research by tagging sources with keywords and saving them to collections
  • Cite your sources using over 9,000 styles
  • Cite directly inside a Word document or Google Doc
  • Build a collaborative bibliography with others

8. Paperpile

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Paperpile is another free extension for Chrome that allows users to easily search and cite books.

At no cost, you can:

  • Search a book on Amazon and use the extension to automatically create a citation (or manually enter the information)
  • Cite sources using Chicago style
  • Collect references from articles
  • Sync all your papers to Google Drive and cite them in Google Docs

9. Cite Fast

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CiteFast is a simple but efficient way to cite sources in APA, MLA, or Chicago styles. Access is free; you’ll only need to create an account if you want to see your sources after four days.

At no cost, Cite Fast allows you to:

  • Search sources by title, author, or ISBN for automatic citations (or enter them automatically)
  • Create citations in APA, MLA, or Chicago format for 18 types of sources
  • Easily copy and paste your citations and export

10. Academic Help

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Academic Help is a free citation generator for MLA, APA, and Chicago formats. While it doesn’t offer the bells and whistles of some of the other citation tools on this list, it can get the job done for most student research.

At no cost, users can:

  • Cite 20 different types of resources through manual entry
  • Easily copy and paste their citations in the proper format

Remember to Cite

Whatever your method, remember to always cite your sources for anything that isn’t your original material. It’s the best way to avoid plagiarism, and with great tools like these, it doesn’t have to be complicated!

What tools do you use to cite your sources? Feel free to share in the comments below!

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