How to Cite a YouTube Video in APA and MLA Format

If you are writing an academic paper, it’s mandatory to cite any sources you reference correctly. This strengthens the reliability of the information you provide as well as shows the sources you mention. So, alongside books and newspapers, you can use as a reliable resource, you can also use online videos. And in such cases, you need to know. 

How to cite a YouTube video

For example, if you focus on global warming and deforestation in your paper, you can incorporate a streaming video into a discussion. As long as the information is reliable, you can use a user’s comment, even the account that posted the video. You can find such sources on sites such as Vimeo, Twitter, or Instagram, but the best source is YouTube, of course.


You can find a wide range of videos on various topics, including science, history, literature, business, health, and more, on YouTube. However, citing YouTube videos in proper MLA or APA style can be tricky. This guideline is carefully prepared to instruct you through the citation process of a YouTube video.

Pro. tip for YouTubers: Any YouTube content could be used as a reference, if you want your content to be used and found more effectively, you should add your content’s citation format in the video description. It would be best for your YouTube target audience when they need it.

What Is Citation Information?

A citation is an information that helps you identify the source you used. It enables you to give credit to the author who created the content. The source provides the reader with enough information to locate the start in their library or on the internet.

Citations can be formatted in a variety of ways, but they typically fall into one of three main categories:

  • Parenthetical Citations

These citations refer to when you quote or paraphrase the information you took from the author and give source credit in parentheses. In addition to providing information about the author and publication date, it also includes the page number referred to in the text.

The styles of parenthetical cite include:

  • APA style
  • Chicago style (author-date)
  • MLA style


It’s one of the most used citation formats by academic paper writers.

  • Numerical Citations

These citations use superscript numbers in the numerical system through a document. In the text, you can insert parentheses or square brackets at appropriate places to indicate a number, starting with 1.

The styles of numerical cite include:

  • ACS style
  • Vancouver
  • NLM
  • Note Citations

These citations refer to what you add at the end of your paper to give more details about specific references mentioned in your text.


The styles of parenthetical cite include:

  • Bluebook
  • Chicago style (bibliography entry and notes)

Among the many citation styles, academics prefer using APA and MLA.

Definition of APA Style Citation

The American Psychological Association (APA) recommends using specific guidelines when writing a paper to ensure the integrity of the research content. The details are listed in the book APA Publication Manual.

It emphasizes the author-date procedure in-text citations. In this instance, the year of publication and the author’s last name appears in the text, while the rest appears in the reference list. Examples would be (Smith, 2001) and (Johnson, 1997).

How to Cite a YouTube Video: APA Format

If you want to know how to cite a YouTube video in APA format, you need to include information such as:

  • The name of the indiviual or association that uploaded the YouTube video.
  • If their real and channel names differ, add the YouTube channel name.
  • The date they uploaded the video file.
  • Italicized video title.
  • In square brackets, Video.
  • The site name and a video link.


The basic format of the reference is as follows:

Channel. (Year, Month, Day of publication). Title of video [Video]. Website. URL.

If the author and the channel name are different, you need to mention both using the format:

Last Name, First Initial. [Channel]. (Year, Month, Day of publication). Title of video [Video]. Website. URL.

Reference examples of APA format are:

  • IN-TEXT Citation Example


  • Reference Example

Smith. [ChannelS] (2001, January 3). APA Style Citation Information [Video]. YouTube HTTPS watch

If you find the video on other sites like Vimeo, you can replace the YouTube and link accordingly.

Where to Find Information on a YouTube Video for In-Text Citation?

You can find all the necessary information, including the video URL, publication year and date posted, the timestamp beside the video length, and the channel name in YouTube videos.

You need to click on Share, which is under the title of the video, to copy the full URL.

Definition of MLA Style Citation

Designed by the Modern Language Association (MLA), it’s a citation format composed of two parts, in-text citation and Works Cited. The organization published details in the MLA Handbook.

MLA in-text citations usually refer to the author’s last name and the page number that contains the information in parenthesis. Example for the format: (Johnson 317).

In Works Cited, MLA style provides a wide range of complete citation information, including:

  • Author’s last name and other contributors.
  • Titles of source and container.
  • Version, page, publisher, and more


How to Cite a YouTube Video in MLA Style?

Similar to the APA style format, you need the same information for the MLA citation. However, the order of in-text citation is different between the two styles.

Citing an online video in MLA style requires the following format:

“Title of the video.” Website, uploaded by Account Name, Day, Month, Year of publication, and URL.

In-text citation, the format changes as:

(“Video Title” Timestamp)

Examples of MLA format are:

  • IN-TEXT Citation Example

(“MLA Hand Book” 17:21)

  • Reference Example

“MLA Hand Book” YouTube, uploaded by ChannelS, 3 January 2023, HTTPS watch

YouTube Video Title in Text Citation

Based on the structure you choose for your academic paper, there are different approaches to mentioning video a video name in-text citations. You can’t use the same format.

In APA structure, you write the title of the video in italics.

In MLA structure, you need to use quotation marks for citing a YouTube video title.

How to Cite YouTube?

Besides citing online videos, you can also use the citation formats for a YouTube channel, comment, or direct quotes from videos.

Citing a YouTube Channel

If you would like to cite a YouTube channel instead of a specific video, you can use the same APA format with minor changes. Instead of mentioning when the user created their YouTube channel, you can put n.d, which stands for no date.

Last name, First Name Initials [Channel name]. (n.d.). Home [Name of the YouTube channel]. YouTube. Retrieval Date as Month, Day, and Year from the URL.

Citing a YouTube Video Comment

Instead of referencing a video, you should focus on a comment in your academic paper. In such cases, you need to cite the comment itself, not the video alone.

The structure is as follows:

Commenter’s Last Name and First Initial (or if not available, mention the) Screen name. Year, Month Day of comment. Comment Title or first 20 words [Comment on the video “Video Title”]. Website. URL

Citing a Direct Quote from a YouTube Video

You might wonder how to cite a YouTube video quote in case you want to use a quote from a video as a reference. In such cases, you need to provide the necessary information for your readers to understand exactly in which frame you heard the quote. While your reference page citation for the quote will be the same video citation, you need to mention the timestamp for in-text.

(Author Name or YouTube Account Name, Timestamp)

Citing a TED Talk found on YouTube

TED provides several videos that can be used as resources. Yet, those videos can be uploaded to their website or YouTube channel. For those on YouTube, you can list TED as the citation author.

Then the structure becomes (TED, Year) in a text.

Importance of Citing a YouTube Video

Why is it important to know how to cite a YouTube video? Citations are also influential when citing references in a bibliography or works cited page at the end of your paper. Additionally, it’s essential to follow a proper structure and refrain from plagiarizing another work. They evaluate the quality and credibility of sources that you have used.

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