Free Referencing Tools

5 Free Referencing Tools for Students

Referencing is an essential part of academic writing, and it can be challenging to keep track of all the sources used in a paper. However, there are free online referencing tools available that can make the process easier and more efficient. In this article, we will explore five of the best free referencing tools for students.

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5 Free Referencing Tools for Students


MyBib is a free bibliography and citation generator that creates accurate citations for academic assignments and papers. It automatically generates citations for books, journals, websites, and videos by searching for a title or identifier such as a URL or ISBN. MyBib uses the same citation formatting engine as professional-grade reference managers such as Zotero and Mendeley, ensuring that bibliographies are accurate in over 9,000 styles, including APA 6 & 7, Chicago, Harvard, and MLA 7 & 8. The tool supports various features such as styles, sources, and autocite. It supports APA, MLA, and Harvard referencing styles and can format webpages and PDFs in over 9,000 different citation styles.

MyBib also offers a citation generator add-on for Chrome that automatically creates APA style, MLA format, and Harvard referencing style citations. The add-on allows users to browse any page on the internet, including PDFs, and generate an automatically formatted citation for that page. The generated citations can be copied directly into the paper or saved to the bibliography for later use. MyBib is free to use and has no ads.


Zotero is a free and open-source reference management software that helps manage bibliographic data and related research materials, such as PDF files. It creates citations and reference lists in any text editor, including Word, and has features such as web browser integration, online syncing, and generation of in-text citations, footnotes, and bibliographies. Zotero users can generate citations and bibliographies through word processor plugins, or directly in Zotero, using Citation Style Language styles. The house styles of most academic journals are available in Zotero, and the bibliography can be reformatted with a few clicks. Zotero also allows users to synchronize PDFs or other files from Zotero to other mobile apps through the ZotFile plugin.


Mendeley is a reference management software that is used to manage and share research papers and generate bibliographies for scholarly articles. Mendeley is available as a free web and desktop reference management application that is similar to RefWorks.  It allows students to store, organize, note, share, cite references and research data, and collaborate with others. Mendeley has a web importer that allows users to import references and PDFs to their Mendeley Reference Manager library. Mendeley also has a feature that brings research to life by searching over 100 million cross-publisher articles and counting.


EasyBib is a free online citation generator that helps students generate citations in various formats, including MLAAPA, and Chicago. It allows students to automatically cite books, journal articles, and websites. EasyBib also has a Bibliography Creator that allows students to easily create a bibliography for their research paper. In addition to citation generation, EasyBib also offers a plagiarism checker and grammar checker to help students avoid common grammar mistakes and unintentional plagiarism. EasyBib also offers a mobile app that makes referencing on-the-go easy. However, according to a review on Common Sense Education, EasyBib fails to teach students the rules or reasoning behind citation styles. 

Citation Machine

Citation Machine is a free online citation generator that helps students and professionals properly credit the information that they use. It can generate citations in various formats, including APAMLAChicago, and Turabian. Citation Machine allows users to create citations for websites, books, journal articles, magazines, newspapers, films, social media, and more. It also has a plagiarism checker and grammar checker to help students avoid common grammar mistakes and unintentional plagiarism. 

Recommended Resources:

Aside from the referencing tools listed above there are other free tools that can equally help students reference easily. These include; ‘Cite This For Me‘, a free citation machine that turns any sources into citations in just a click. It helps students integrate referencing into their research and writing routine, turning a time-consuming ordeal into a simple task. Scribbr’s free citation generator another free tool that generates citations in APA, MLA, Chicago, and Harvard style. It automatically finds all the necessary information to generate a perfect citation, including the author(s), publication date, and publisher. Finally, Grammarly’s free citation machine is built by writing experts and generates and formats citations in APA, MLA, and Chicago styles.

In conclusion, referencing is an essential part of academic writing, and these free referencing tools can help students make the process more efficient and accurate. From organizing sources to generating citations and bibliographies, these tools can help students streamline their research process and focus on producing high-quality work.