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How to Cite a Video Using MLA and APA


With the advent of YouTube, Vimeo and other great sites, you can find short videos and how-to-videos online from a wide range of experts. This means, you might find yourself using a video to create your essays. Make your video citations ‘fabulous’ by using a few simple tricks.

Students citing a video using APA and MLA bibliography

Style Matters

Of course style matters, this is professional writing after all. However, basically each style is looking to answer the same questions.

  • Who uploaded it?
  • Where can you find it?
  • When did you access it?
  • What is it?

If you can answer these basic questions then you are well on your way to beautifully, professional reference citations. Now, all you need is formatting.

APA Online Video Citation

One of the most common styles used in both high schools and colleges, APA is a style that makes social science articles easy to cite. It gives them a nice flow, tone and, most of all, uniformity. To create citations for your APA Reference page for online videos, you’ll need:

  • Author name, screen name or both (The screen name will go in brackets, if both, or instead of author name if no author name is available.)
  • Year, month and day it was uploaded
  • Title of the video in italics
  • Medium in brackets [Video file]
  • Retrieved from URL or DOI


For an online video, this will look like:

  • With both: Harvey. B. [FakeName]. (2018, December 3). Title time [Video file]. Retrieved at www.fakewebsite.com
  • Just screen name: Videomaster. (2018, December 3). Title time [Video file]. Retrieved at www.fakewebsite.com
  • Streaming video: Allen, T., et. al. (Producers). (2017).  The story of Diana [Streaming video]. Retrieved from http://www.netflix.com

You are simply breaking down the who, what and when. Simple as that.

Citing Online Videos from a Website in MLA

Videos aren’t just used by those in social sciences, humanities papers will use them too. This is why MLA also breaks down how to cite a video file in the works cited list.  First, the components:

  • Author, producer, director, etc.
  • Title of the video in italics or quotation marks (This will depend on if the video is considered a film or an episode per MLA style sheet.)
  • Where you found it in italics (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo, etc.)
  • Who uploaded it in italics
  • Day, month, year it was uploaded
  • URL

Since MLA can get a bit tricky, check out a few different examples.

With Author:

Aaron, Aaron, director. “Annotation a Short Film.” Vimeo, uploaded by bibliographymaster, 1 December, 2018, www.vimeo.com/channels.


Without Author:

“Annotation a Short Film.” Vimeo, uploaded by bibliographymaster, 1 December, 2018, www.vimeo.com/channels.

YouTube Video

Since YouTube is the most common video website out there, you’ll find that you might end up citing this nine times out of ten. So, it makes sense to look at specific YouTube examples in each different style. Remember in APA style, you do not put a period after the URL but MLA does have one. 

APA Examples

Author and Screen name:

Apsolon, M. [markapsolon]. (2011, September 9). The haunting tape 14 (ghost caught on video) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nyGCbxD848


Just Screen name:

TheKnitWitch. (2007, February 14). Slip slip knit [Video file]. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGwcYW3GG3M

MLA Examples

With author:

McGonigal, Jane. “Gaming and Productivity.” YouTube, uploaded by Big Think, 3 July 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkdzy9bWW3E.


Without author:

Slip Slip Knit (SSK). YouTube, uploaded by TheKnitWitch, 14 Feb. 2007, www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGwcYW3GG3M.

Adding Videos

Videos can be a fun way to spice up your paper. Whether you are using a video from YouTube, Vimeo or any other website, make sure to get your citation and formatting right the first time. 

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About the author

Jennifer Betts

Jennifer Betts is a diverse educational writer who has been published in multiple online forums. She also works part time as a substitute teacher with seven different school districts. Building on skills gained from a brother and son with learning disabilities, she has been a tutor and mentor for disadvantaged children for more than 20 years. Interested in learning more about Jennifer Betts, just ask.

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