How to Reference a PowerPoint

Referencing a PowerPoint presentation can seem tricky, but following a few key guidelines makes citing PowerPoint slides easy. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know to properly reference PowerPoint slides in APA, MLA and Chicago styles.

Why Reference PowerPoint Slides?

Referencing serves several key purposes:

  • Gives credit to the original creator of information, data or media used in your presentation
  • Allows your audience to verify the accuracy and credibility of your statements
  • Prevents plagiarism by clearly indicating which ideas are your own and which came from other sources

Just like an academic paper or essay, presentations require attributing any outside information to avoid plagiarism and lend credibility.

What to Include in a PowerPoint Reference

The key pieces of information to cite a PowerPoint presentation include:

  • Author(s) – The creator(s) of the presentation. This may be an individual, group or organization.
  • Title – The specific title of the PowerPoint presentation.
  • Format – PowerPoint slides, lecture slides, Prezi, etc.
  • Date – When the presentation was published or presented.
  • URL – The web address where the slides can be retrieved online.

Formatting varies slightly between citation styles but these key details are always necessary.

In-Text PowerPoint Citations

In-text citations point your viewer toward the complete source entry at the end of the presentation. The in-text information included depends on the citation style.

APA In-Text Citations

APA prioritizes the year, so APA in-text citations include the author(s) and year of publication:

(Smith, 2022)

If quoting directly, also include a slide number:

(Smith, 2022, slide 7)

MLA In-Text Citations

MLA focuses on the author, so MLA in-text citations include the author(s) and slide number:

(Smith, slide 7)

Chicago In-Text Citations

Chicago style is footnote-based, so Chicago in-text citations use either footnotes or endnotes with the author(s) and title:

^1. Smith, “Presentation Title,”

Creating a References Section

The references section at the end of a PowerPoint presentation works exactly like a bibliography at the end of an essay.

  • Title the final slide “References” (for APA format) or “Works Cited” (for MLA and Chicago formats)
  • List references in alphabetical order by lead author’s last name
  • Use hanging indent paragraph format (indent all lines after the first)

Now let’s look at how to format PowerPoint slide references in each of the major citation styles.

APA PowerPoint Slide References

APA prioritizes the date and author. Here is the format for an APA PowerPoint slide reference:

Author Lastname, First Initial(s). (Date). Title of presentation [Format]. Site hosting presentation. URL

So an APA reference for a PowerPoint found online would look like:

Smith, J. (2022). Research presentation [PowerPoint slides]. SlideShare.

MLA PowerPoint Slide References

MLA puts the author name first. The format for an MLA PowerPoint reference is:

Author Last Name, First Name. “Title of Presentation.” Site Hosting Presentation, Day Month Year, URL. Format.

An MLA Works Cited entry for PowerPoint slides would look like:

Smith, Julia. “Research Presentation.” SlideShare, 15 Jan. 2022, PowerPoint slides.

Chicago PowerPoint Slide References

Chicago style prioritizes the title. Chicago PowerPoint slide references follow this format:

Last Name, First Name. “Title of Presentation.” Format, Site Hosting Presentation, Day Month Year, URL.

A Chicago-style PowerPoint slide reference looks like:

Smith, Julia. “Research Presentation.” PowerPoint slides, SlideShare, 15 January 2022,

Tips for Accurate PowerPoint References

Follow these key tips for flawless PowerPoint references:

  • Double check author names, capitalization and other specifics
  • Update the access date if citing a live presentation
  • Note the specific slide page if citing a direct quote or data
  • Use brackets around descriptions like [PowerPoint slides]
  • Save the slides or record the URL to keep the presentation accessible

Properly formatting PowerPoint references ensures you give proper credit to sources and prevent plagiarism in presentations. Following standard citation guidelines also lends credibility with academic and professional audiences.