What is RefME’s MLA Referencing Generator?

Are you looking for an easy and reliable way to cite your sources using MLA referencing? Look no further because RefME’s generator is designed to remove the hassle of referencing. You can use it to save valuable time by auto-generating all of your references in an instant.

RefME’s referencing generator accesses information from across the web, assembling all of the relevant material into a fully-formatted bibliography that clearly maps out all of the sources that have contributed to your paper. Using an open-access generator simplifies the frustrating referencing process, allowing you to focus on what’s important: completing your assignment to the best of your ability.

Have you encountered an unusual source, such as a microfiche or a handwritten manuscript, and are unsure how to accurately reference this in the MLA format? Or are you struggling with the dozens of different ways to cite a book? If you need a helping hand, RefME’s accurate and powerful generator will get you one step closer to the finishing line.

Continue reading our handy style guide to learn how to cite like a pro. Find out exactly what a reference generator is, how to reference an MLA website, and how to organise and present your work according to the guidelines.

Why Do I Need To Reference?

Whenever you use someone else’s ideas or words in your own work, even if you have paraphrased or completely reworded the information, you must ‘give credit where credit is due’ to avoid charges of plagiarism. All of the source material that has contributed to your work must be acknowledged with an in-text reference (also known as a parenthetical reference) and feature in your works cited list. The only exceptions to this rule are everyday phrases (e.g. all the world’s a stage) and common knowledge (e.g. London is the capital city of England).

The importance of referencing source material goes far beyond ensuring that you don’t lose points on your assignment for referencing incorrectly. Whilst it may be a tedious process without an MLA referencing generator, attributing your research is essential in validating the statements and conclusions you make in your work. What’s more, drawing on numerous sources elevates your understanding of the topic, and accurately referencing these sources reflects the impressive research journey that you have embarked on.

What is MLA referencing?

The style was developed by the Modern Languages Association as a consistent way of documenting sources used in academic writing. It is a concise style predominantly used in the liberal arts and humanities; first and foremost in research focused on languages, literature, and culture.

It is important to present your work consistently, regardless of the style you are using. Accurately and coherently crediting your sources both demonstrates your attention to detail and enhances the credibility of your written work. The MLA style provides a uniform framework for consistency across a scholarly document, and caters to a large variety of sources. So, whether you are referencing a website, an article, or even a podcast, the style guide outlines everything you need to know to correctly format all of your MLA citations.* The style also provides specific guidelines for formatting your research paper, and useful tips on the use of the English language in your writing. Check out the MLA website for more information.

RefME’s MLA referencing guide is based on the 7th edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. Our open generator also uses the 7th edition - allowing you to shift focus from the formatting of your references to what’s important - how each source contributes to your work.

The style has been widely adopted by scholars, professors, journal publishers, and both academic and commercial presses across the world. However, many academic institutions and disciplines prefer a specific style of referencing (or have even developed their own unique format) so be sure to check which style you should be using with your professor. You can also find your university’s style by logging into your RefME account and setting your institution in ‘My Profile’. Whichever style you’re using, be consistent!

If you’re battling to get your references finished in time, you’ve come to the right place. The generator above will create your references in the MLA format by default, but it can cite any source in 7,500+ styles. So, whether your professor has asked you to adopt Harvard referencing, or your institution uses APA referencing, MLA or AMA, you'll find the style you need on RefME's website.

*You may need to reference a source type that is not covered by the MLA referencing style guide or the MLA website (link can be found above) - for these instances we have developed additional guidance and examples, which stick as closely as possible to the spirit of the style. Where examples are not covered in the official handbook, this is clearly indicated.

How Do I Create and Format MLA in-text references?

MLA referencing is generally simpler than other styles as it was developed to emphasise brevity and clarity. The style uses a straightforward two-part documentation system for citing sources: parenthetical references in the author-page format that are keyed to an alphabetically ordered bibliography. This means that the author’s last name and the page number(s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in the text as a parenthetical reference, and a complete corresponding reference should appear in your bibliography.

Keep your in-text references as brief as clarity and accuracy permit by only including the information needed to identify the source. Furthermore, each parenthetical reference should be placed close to the idea or quote being cited, where a natural pause occurs – which is usually at the end of the sentence. Essentially you should be aiming to position your parenthetical references where they minimise interruption to the reading flow, which is particularly important in an extensive piece of written work.

Check out the examples below…

MLA Referencing Examples

The examples in this section will demonstrate how to structure both your in-text references and bibliography entries.

Parenthetical reference examples:

  • Page specified, author mentioned in text:

  • If the author’s name already appears in the sentence itself then it does not need to appear in the parentheses. Only the page number appears in the reference - this is called ‘author prominent’ because it draws attention to the author.

    Sontag has theorised that collecting photographs is a way “to collect the world” (3).

  • Page specified, author not mentioned in text:

  • Include the author’s last name and the page number(s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken in a parenthetical reference after the quote. This way of referencing foregrounds the information being cited and is known as an ‘information prominent’.

    “To collect photographs is to collect the world” (Sontag 3).

    When the author is referred to more than once in the same paragraph, you may use a single in-text reference at the end of the paragraph (as long as the work cannot be confused with others cited).

    If you are referencing two works by the same author, you should put a comma after the author’s surname and add a shortened title to distinguish between them. If there are two authors with the same surname, be sure to include their first initial in your reference to avoid confusion.

    Bibliography example:

    You must include all of the publication information in your works cited entries.

    Franke, Damon. Modernist Heresies: British Literary History, 1883-1924. Columbus: Ohio State UP, 2008. Print.

    Luckily for you, we know where the commas go, and our open-generator will put them there for you.

    If referencing is giving you a headache, use RefME’s free, accurate and intuitive MLA reference generator to add all of your source material to your bibliography with just a click.

    How Do I Format My MLA Bibliography?

    A bibliography, or ‘Works Cited’, is a comprehensive list of all the sources that contributed to your work – each entry links to the brief parenthetical references in the main body of your work. An in-text reference only contains enough information to enable readers to find the source in the bibliography, so you’ll need to include the complete publication information for the source in your bibliography entries.

    Your MLA bibliography should appear at the end of the main body of text on a separate page. Each entry should start at the left margin and be listed alphabetically by the author’s last name (note that if there is no author, you can alphabetise by title). For entries that run for more than one line, indent the subsequent line(s) – this format is called ‘hanging indentation’.

    The title of the page should be neither italicised or bold – it is simply center-aligned. Like the rest of your paper the list should be double-spaced, both between and within entries.

    Sometimes your professor will ask you to also list the works that you have read throughout your research process, but didn’t directly cite in your paper. This list should be called ‘Work Cited and Consulted’, or ‘Works Consulted’, and is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the full extent of the research you have carried out.

    As long as you clearly indicate all of your sources via both parenthetical references and a bibliography, it is very unlikely that you will lose points for referencing incorrectly.

    Works cited examples:

    Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities. London: Verso, 1983. Print.

    Fox, Claire F. The Fence and the River: Culture and Politics at the U.S.-Mexico Border. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999. Print.

    Sontag, Susan. On Photography. New York: Penguin, 2008. Print.

    RefME’s MLA referencing generator will compile and structure your bibliography for you. Sign in to your RefME account to save and export your bibliography straight into Microsoft Word, EndNote, Evernote and more. Or save even more time by upgrading your account to RefME Plus to cite as you write within your document with RefME for Word 2016 for Windows, Mac and iPad.

    MLA Referencing Research

    When you are gathering sources in your research phase, be sure to make note of the following bibliographical items that will later make up your bibliography:


    • Name of original source owner: author, editor, translator, illustrator, or director …

    • Titles: article or newspaper title, title of publication, series title …

    • Important dates: date of publication, date of composition, issue date, event date, date accessed …

    • Publishing information: publisher name, publisher location …

    • Identifying information: number of volumes, volume number, issue number, edition, chapter, pages, lines …

    • Medium of publication: Print, Web, DVD, Television …

    If you’re still in your research phase why not try out RefME for Chrome? It’s an intuitive and easy-to-use browser extension that enables you to instantly create and edit a reference for any online source whilst you browse the web.

    Racing against the clock? If your deadline has crept up on you and you’re running out of time, RefME’s MLA generator will collect and add any source to your bibliography with just a click.

    In today’s digital age, source material comes in all shapes and sizes. Thanks to RefME’s reference management tool, MLA referencing is no longer a chore. Accurately and easily reference any type of source in a heartbeat; whether it be a musical score, a work of art, or even a comic strip. RefME elevates student’s research to the next level by enabling them to cite a wide range of sources.

    MLA Formatting Guidelines

    Accurately referencing sources for your assignment doesn’t just prevent the appearance or accusations of plagiarism - presenting your source material in a clear and consistent way also ensures that your work is accessible to your reader. So, be sure to abide by the style’s presentation rules on font type, margins, page headers and line spacing.

    To format your research paper according to the guidelines:


    • Set the margins to 1 inch (or 2.5 cm) on all sides

    • Choose an easily readable font, recommended Times New Roman

    • Set font size to 12 point

    • Set double space for your entire paper

    • Indent every new paragraph by ½ inch – you can simply use your tab bar for this

    • In the header section – on the top right corner of the pages – give your last name followed by the respective page number

    • On the first page, ensure the text is left-aligned and then give your details: starting with your full name in line one, followed by the name of your teacher or professor, the course name and number, and the date in separate lines

    • Center align your heading - do not italicise, bold or underline, or use a period after the title

    • The body of your text should start in the next line, left-aligned with an indentation

    MLA Style 7th Edition - Changes From Previous Editions

    It is worth bearing in mind that the MLA format is constantly evolving to meet the various challenges facing today’s researchers. Using RefME’s MLA referencing generator will help you to stay ahead of the game without having to worry about the ways in which the style has changed.

    Below is a list outlining the key ways in which the style has developed since previous editions.


    • Titles of independent works (such as books and periodicals) are now italicised rather than underlined

    • You are no longer required to include URLs - as URLs change frequently, the format recommends only including the URL if the reader will not be able to find the source using the other information included in the reference

    • Every entry in your MLA bibliography must include the publication medium, whether it is print or electronic (e.g. ‘Print.’, ‘Web.’, ‘DVD.’ etc.)

    • The style guidelines now call for the inclusion of both volume and issue numbers in listings for journal articles

    • Abbreviations are used to signal missing information, such as no date, no publisher or no pages (n.d.,n.p., n.pag.).

    How Do I Reference My Sources With The RefME MLA Generator?

    If you’re frustrated by the time-consuming process of MLA referencing, RefME’s multi-platform reference management tool will transform the way you conduct your research. Using this fast, accurate and accessible generator will give you more time to work on the content of your paper, so you can spend less time worrying about tedious references.

    So if you’re having issues with accurately formatting your references, sign up to RefME and let our MLA referencing generator do the grunt work for you.

    To use the generator:


    • Choose the type of source you would like to reference (e.g. website, journal, book, video...)

    • Enter the URL, DOI, ISBN, title, or other unique source information to locate your source

    • Click the ‘Cite’ button

    • Copy your fully-formatted reference into your bibliography

    • Repeat the same process for each source that has contributed to your work

    As well as making use of the powerful generator, you can cite in a flash by downloading the iOS or Android app. Or upgrade your account to RefME Plus and become part of the refolution. Use Photo Quotes to capture references on-the-go with your smartphone camera, or the barcode scanner to automatically convert book and journal sources into fully-formatted references.

    Manage all your references in one place

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