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IEEE Citation & Referencing According to IEEE Format by Citation Generator

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The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is the world’s largest professional association of engineers and technical professionals. With more than 427000 members from 190 countries, IEEE is dedicated to advancing research and development in electrical, electronics, computer science, software, AI, and all other tech fields. Furthermore, the IEEE standard recognizes seminal research and sets consensus standards across different tech industries.

The global nature of the institution and its role as a standard-setting body makes it essential for setting a communication standard. The IEEE referencing and paper formatting rules make it easy for professionals across the globe and different disciplines to follow, understand, and extend each other’s works. In recent years, citing in IEEE has become much easier thanks to automated IEEE citation generators.

In this article, we will take a comprehensive look at the IEEE citation and referencing format. But, before doing so, let us find out how the IEEE format makes research & communication easier.

How the IEEE format makes technical & research writing easier?

The IEEE format for citations and formatting finds heavy usage in technical writing & research. It finds primary usage in technical writings in the electronics, engineering, telecommunications, computer science, and information technology domains.

Like its counterparts, the IEEE citations and formatting style makes it easier:

  • Cite and reference sources
  • Structuring and organizing the paper
  • Acknowledging the contribution of others
  • Providing signposts for further investigation
  • Preventing any unintentional plagiarism
  • Tracing the development of ideas and inferences

Proper citations and formatting are essential for exchanging ideas. Structure and organization make it easier to follow and understand what’s being said, propose, or analyzed. And thorough referencing prevents plagiarism and acts as tokens of appreciation for academics whose ideas helped in a study. Furthermore, proper references to information sources improve the quality and credibility of any work.

Substantial citations and detailed reference lists act as excellent guides for would-be researchers. They can trace the genealogy of an idea or inference as they decide the origins, motivations, logic, & evidence that birthed it. References help researchers immensely and help them to develop an idea further.  

The above are key reasons why proper citations & formatting are so crucial in any paper. The IEEE format for referencing and structuring serves this purpose for any technical write-up in any domain that follows it.

Now, let’s start digging in by closely examining IEEE citation guidelines.

General IEEE Citation Guidelines

IEEE citations or in-text citations are noted in the text using Arabic numerals in sequence. Numbers are enclosed in square brackets and placed beside the text using information or ideas from that source. This number links to the appropriate reference entry. Once a source has been cited in the paper, the same number appears anywhere the source finds mention.

IEEE in-text citations do not distinguish between electronic and printed sources. The reference list, however, points out the format of the source (More about this later).  

Remember à Every reference number must be enclosed within square brackets and appear on the same line as the text. It should be placed before any punctuation with a single space before the opening bracket. The number can also appear inside a sentence.

Here are some examples:

“…as per existing research [1].”

“The idea was put forth in ground-breaking research [2].”

“Shultz [3] argued for…”

“Numerous eminent studies [4, 5, 6, 13] showed that..”

IEEE intext citations can be treated grammatically as either footnote numbers or nouns.

Footnote numbers:

As shown in Roberts [4] [6]

For more information, see [7] [9] [15]

.. as told earlier [3], [12]-[19], [20]

Trevor et al. [5] note that…

  • Nouns:

As found in [4] …

According to [1] and [9],

This is in stark contrast to [5] and [10]

  • Author names are essential when a source gets mentioned for the first time—no need to add the author’s name after that.

Richard [8] shows us that…

Arthurs et al. [16] argue that…

Mark and Mervin [12] present …

NOTE that it is not essential to mention author surnames in in-text citations. IEEE citation rules forbid it unless the author’s name is critical to understanding the information or points presented.

  • If there are more than three authors, use et al. after the first author’s surname in the in-text citations. However, you need to mention the names of up to six authors. Use et al. if no names are given.

If there are more than six authors, mention the name of the first author and then write et al. in the reference list.

  • Ensure that in-text citation numbers match their corresponding reference list entry numbers. Any mistake may require heavy editing and renumbering.

Citing a lone source

Here is another look at how to cite a singular source:

  • According to [8], there is minimum evidence for ….
  • …as shown by James [6].
  • As per Ricks et al. [12]
  • Taylor and Frank [3] present…

Citing the same source multiple times

Use the same reference number when mentioning the same source more than once. Just repeat the earlier citation number and, if necessary, mention the same name throughout the paper.

Citing separate portions of the same source

If you cite ideas, information, or findings from different instances of the same source, mention the page numbers. Use abbreviations to show what exactly you are referring to. Follow the formats below à 

  • [2, pp. 6-8] for referring to a specific page number or page range.
  • [3, eq. (9)] for referring to equations.
  • [20, Sec. V] for referring to a section.
  • [6, Tab. 1] for referring to a table.
  • [7, Ch. 4] for referring to a chapter.

Citing multiple sources at once

Separate each reference number with a comma when citing multiple sources in a single citation. If listing several consecutive reference entries, mention the first and last references with a dash in between.

The IEEE Reference List

At the end of the document appears the reference list. The reference list should provide complete details about every source referenced in the text or document. All reference list entries must be arranged as per the appearance of their in-text citations, not in alphabetical or sequential order.

Only one reference list entry is enough for a single resource. Following are some formatting tips for developing a reference list in the IEEE format.

  • Italicize the titles of books and research journals.
  • For all publication titles, capitalize the first of every major word like nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and pronouns)
  • Minor words such as conjunctions, articles, and prepositions need not be capitalized. However, do capitalize them if they start the title or subtitle.
  • Titles of articles in a magazine or research journal and the chapter names in a book must be placed within quotation marks. Write them in lowercase.
  • Format the entire reference list by ensuring 1.5 inches line and single paragraph spacing between every reference entry.

The essential aspects of the source metadata to be used are listed belowà 

  • Start the reference list entries with the citation number in square brackets.
  • Align everything with the left margin.
  • Initials of the author’s first name followed by the last name in full is how to write author names in the IEEE reference list.
  • Titles of articles, book chapters, conference papers, etc., are to be enclosed within quotations.
  • Titles of books, journals, etc., must be written in italics. Capitalize every major word in the title.
  • Add publication city or country (if the city is not well-known), name of the publisher, and publication date.
  • Add page numbers if quoting directly or paraphrasing from a specific part of the source.
  • Place sequence numbers on the left margin.
  • Indent the entries.

Here are some examples à 

  • Books: I.S. David and E.M. Gains, Analog Communications, 4th ed. Sydney: Prentice Hall, 2008
  • Journal Article: G. Zan, Z. Hu, Z. Xang, D.N. Kang, Y.Z. Iu, I.Y. Oeng, et al., “Research on the interaction mechanism between photons and electrons,” Optics and Laser Technology, vol. XX, pp. XXX-XXX, Dec 20XX
  • Conference Paper: T. Anadi, U. Horatio, V. Kawakasi. “Intense vacuum-X-ray double order harmonic pulse by a deep X-ray driving laser,” in Conf. Lasers and Electro-Optics, San Jose, CA, 20XX, pp. XXXX-XXXX
  • Websites: CCB News (2012, NOV. 11). Microwave signals turn into electrical power [Online]. Available: /technology-24988574 

As clear from above, IEEE reference entries have three key parts à 

  • The author’s name is listed with the initials of the first name first, followed by the last name in full.
  • The title of articles, papers, theses, dissertations, book chapters, patents, etc., in quotation marks
  • The title of books and journals in italics

If you struggle with IEEE citations or the IEEE reference format, offers you one of the fastest and most accurate IEEE reference generators online.

Now, let us look at the IEEE citation formats for various sources.

IEEE Citations for Different Kinds of Sources

In-text citations for any source in the IEEE format involve writing Arabic numerals in square brackets and putting them at the end of a sentence that uses information from that source.

  • Remember that a single citation at the end of a sentence or paragraph cannot be used as a tag for the entire section. Cite any source the first time you use it in a paragraph and then every time any sentence refers to it in the paragraph.
  • IEEE suggests that bracketed citations appear sequentially in the text.
  • If you name a source, add the sequence number.
  • After multiple mentions, bracketed citations can be used as substitutes for source names. Just do not use them to start sentences.
  • Place brackets at the end of sentences within the punctuation.
  • Add a space between the last letter of a sentence and the citation number. Do not add any space between the number and the punctuation.
  • Use signal phrases like “Hart’s study…,” “According to Hart’s study…,” “Smith believes…” and” The same study…” to show the source being referenced. Sequential citation numbers should appear at the beginning of the paragraph and anywhere else necessary.

Citations stay the same for all kinds of sources. Let us look at the referencing formats for the most cited sources.

  • Books
    • One author: [#] A. A. Author, Title of Book in Title Case, and Italics. Place of Publishing: Publisher, year.
  • Two authors with edition: [#] A. A. Author and B. B. Author, Title of Book in Title Case and Italics, edition number. Place of Publishing: Publisher, year.
  • Three authors: [#] A.A. Author, B. B. Author, and C. C. Author, Title of Book in Title Case, and Italics. Place of Publishing: Publisher, year.

Note the punctuation. Also, abbreviate the names of states and countries where published. Mention at most six author names; if there are more, write et al.

  • Journal Articles
  • Online: A.A. Author and B. B. Author, “Title of the article in sentence case,” Italicized & Abbreviated Tittl of Journal,” vol. xxx, no. xxx, pp. starting page – ending page, Abbreviated Month, and year of publication, DOI, URL or Database name in title case (As available)
  • Print: [#] A. A. Author and B. B. Author, “Title of article in sentence case,” Italicized & abbreviated Title of Journal in Title Case, vol. xxx, no. xxx, pp. starting page–ending page, abbreviated month, date & year of publication, year.
  • Conference Papers

[#] A. A. Author and B. B. Author, “Title of the paper in sentence case,” presented at Italicized & Abbreviated Conference Name in title Case, Location of Conference, Month and day, year.

  • Websites & Online Resources
  • When author and date are given: [#] A. A. Author, “Title, section, or webpage name in sentence case,” Website name in Title Case, complete publication, or modification date. URL if available
  • When the author is an organization: [#] Website name in Title Case, “Title, section, or webpage name in sentence case,” complete publication, or modification date. URL if available
  • Patents & Technical Reports
  • Patents: [#] A. A. Rightsholder, “Title of the patent in the sentence case,” U.S. Patent xxxxx, Abbreviated month and date of issuance, issuance year, URL if available
  • Technical Reports: [#] A. A. Author, “Title of the report in sentence case,” abbreviated company name, publication place, Rep. XXXXXX, year.

IEEE Citation for Electronic Sources & Online Materials

  • Online journal articles

A. A. Author and B. B. Author, “Article title in sentence case,” Italicized & abbreviated journal title in title case, vol. xxxx, no. xxxx, pp. starting page-ending page, DOI or URL or database name in title case

  • E-books

[#] A. A. Author, Italicized book title in title case. Place of Publication: Publisher, year of publication. Available: DOI, URL, Provider, or Database name in title case

IEEE Citations for Standards

  • Rules for citing technical standards

[#] Italicized title of the standard in the sentence case, standard number, and date. Available: DOI or URL or Database name in title case

IEEE Citations for Special Cases

Citations for sources without authors

If there’s any missing information, omit it from the reference entry. However, all online articles must have an URL, DOI, or database name, even if no author is mentioned.

Citing multiple works by the same author and the same year

There are no special rules in these cases. Every source must have its separate reference list entry. Follow citation and referencing rules as per the nature of the work.

Electronic sources with no page numbers

As mentioned, if there are no page numbers, add as much information as necessary to help readers find the source. Add URL or DOI or database name, journal & article name, chapter name, etc., as applicable.

Citations for translation & reprints

If the translator’s name is mentioned, then add “trans.” (translated by) and the translator’s name after the work’s title, separated by a comma.

IEEE Citation & Format for Theses & Dissertations

Citing doctoral dissertations and master’s theses

[#] A. A. Author, “Thesis/dissertation title in sentence case,” M.S. thesis or Ph.D. dissertation, Abbreviated department name, abbreviated institution name, institution location, publication year.

Add (type of medium) and URL if online.

Theses and dissertation formatting rules

IEEE formatting rules are the same for any document. The focus is on readability, grammatical correctness, and consistency with IEEE styling. We investigate IEEE formatting rules in the following headings.

IEEE Formatting Style for Figures, Tables, & Equations

Formatting Figures & Tables

  • All figures, diagrams, and tables must be placed numerically. Figure citations should mention “Fig.” followed by the figure number. Use abbreviations and figure numbers in the text as well.
  • Figure descriptions/footnotes are to be used as captions. List figure labels and parts in the captions themselves. Be consistent in how you design the captions.
  • If figures are used directly from a source, end figure captions with a period and then write Source: [#]
  • The generic style for captioning tables is to mention the table number right in the center above the table. Write the TABLE and the number in the Roman numerals. The table description must be placed right below the table caption number.
  • Write the captions in the form of an inverted pyramid. Don’t add any punctuation at the end o of the table caption, though there can be within the caption.

Formatting equations & mathematical notations

Any equation or math notation that’s not common knowledge to domain professionals must be cited. Weave the citation into the narrative by mentioning the source of the citation and then adding the equation. You can also add the citation number after adding the equation.

A comma should appear at the end of the equation, after which you should add the equation number.

Some specific rules for mathematical notations are as follows:

  1. Italicize variables.
  2. Vectors should be bold and in italics.
  3. Add zero before decimals.
  4. Check bracket and parentheses consistency.
  5. Spell out units when mentioning them without any quantities.
  6. Use regular spaces between numbers and units.
  7. Use thin spaces between numbers.
  8. Write all units in full.
  9. Breal fraction to place them in a single line, e.g. (a+b)/(c+d).
  10. Write exponentials as exp [- (…) …]
  11. Always use numerals.
  12. You can use / in place of per.

IEEE Formatting Rules

Title page

Capitalize the first letter of both the first and last words. Also, capitalize every noun, pronoun, adjective, verb, adverb, and even subordinating conjunction. Capitalize all abbreviations except those of units. All articles, coordinating conjunctions, and short prepositions must be lowercase unless they are the last word of the title, in which case, their first letter must be capitalized.

Any preposition of more than three letters must be capitalized.

Headings and subheadings

Numbered headings are preferred but not essential. Whatever the choice, be consistent.

  • Primary headings can be numbered by Roman numerals and centered above the text.
  • Secondary sub-headers are to be numbered using capital letters. Limit them with periods, flush them left, and italicize them.
  • Tertiary headings are to be Arabic numerals and enclosed in parentheses. Indent & italicize them and follow them with a colon. You can also run them into the text.
  • Quaternary headings are similar to tertiary ones. The only difference is that they are numbered by lowercase letters.
  • Reference list and acknowledgment headings are not numbered. Write them as you will write primary headings without any labels or numbers.

Font styles and sizes

Use conventional styles such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri, and set the font size to ten.

Margins and spacing

For A4-sized papers, side margins= 13 mm., top margin= 19 mm. and bottom margin = 43 mm.

Page numbering and footers

There’s no need to mention the page number in your manuscript or document. For footers, use the main font style with size 9. Left justify the footnote.

Plagiarism & IEEE Citations

Plagiarism & its Consequences

Plagiarism is an acknowledged and blatant duplication of ideas & information from somebody else’s work. It can destroy academic & professional reputations permanently and have severe legal & financial repercussions. Furthermore, plagiarized research can have deadly and far-reaching consequences.

Importance of citations to counter plagiarism

Citations and references are the best way to show acknowledgment for the ideas & information that inspired a work. They also help readers locate the sources of that information.

Tips for paraphrasing and citations

  • Think of the key information necessary in the discussion.
  • Brainstorm and dissect ideas on your own.
  • Write down what you have understood in your own words.
  • For mathematical notations and citations, always cite the source.
  • Use a variety of synonyms.
  • Understand the idea and write about it.
  • Cite to avoid any problems later.
  • Pay attention to the type and order of words. Make sure they are not too similar to the source.

And, with that, we wrap up this guide to IEEE referencing and formatting. Hope it comes in handy when working on your next technical paper.

If you are struggling with referencing, we have our own IEEE citation format generator that you can use for FREE. At, we also have expert teams of academic writing professionals who can craft impeccable IEEE format papers, AMA style papers, etc., as per requirements.

Connect with us to learn more!

Frequently Asked Questions by Student :

What is IEEE Citation, and why is it important in IEEE Format?

The IEEE citation is a referencing style laid down by the Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers. It is the most used citation style, followed by the electrical, electronics, computer science, IT, and other technical domains.

How do I cite a book with multiple authors using the IEEE Format in my EEE research paper?

All books, whether single or multiple authors, should have unique citation numbers. In the reference list entry of the book, write down all the authors’ names using the initials of their first name and their surname in full, up to six authors. Use et al. after the sixth author’s name if there are more than six.

What is the proper way to cite a website as a reference in EEE using IEEE guidelines?

Here’s a look à

[#] A. A. Author, “Title, section, or webpage name in sentence case,” Website name in Title Case, complete publication, or modification date. URL if available

Can you explain how to cite a conference paper in EEE using the IEEE Format?

Take a look à 

[#] A. A. Author and B. B. Author, “Title of the paper in sentence case,” presented at Italicized & Abbreviated Conference Name in title Case, Location of Conference, Month and day, year.

Are there any specific rules for citing patents in IEEE Format within an IEEE document?

Craft reference list entries for patents in the following mannerà 

[#] A. A. Rightsholder, “Title of the patent in the sentence case,” U.S. Patent xxxxx, Abbreviated month and date of issuance, issuance year, URL if available

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