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IEEE citation style


This guide provides some basic models and examples of citations based primarily on the IEEE Editorial Style Manual and the IEEE Reference Guide, which are generally used within engineering and computer science disciplines. Although this guide does not cover every citation situation, it does suggest some examples that are not addressed by the manual.

IEEE requires any citation and style issues not covered by its own style manual to be addressed using the Chicago Manual of Style. Submitting an article to an IEEE publication may require using that publication's style, which occasionally varies from the general IEEE style. Learn more from the IEEE Author Center.

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General Guidelines

  • Each time you cite the work of someone else, include the information about that work in the References list at the end of your paper.

  • Each reference is numbered within square brackets, for example [23]. The reference numbers increase sequentially with each additional source that you cite. Place the number of the reference next to the text, image, or other work that you are citing within your document. See the following example. IEEE reference example

  • If you cite the same source more than once, use the same reference number rather than creating a new reference. Remember that if you move text with a citation after writing your document, you must resequence your references to correspond.

  • Check the IEEE Editorial Style Manual for official abbreviations. Many commonly used terms should be abbreviated in the references.

  • Some references (e.g. books) require the country unless they're published in the USA, in which case they include the state. Not all references require location information, check each example to verify.

  • Use "et al." to signify that a document has more than five authors.

  • Use "Ed." to signify an editor rather than an author.

  • When providing URLs in a reference, you may need to break the URL on to a new line to fit. According to the IEEE guide, you should break a URL:
    • after a slash (/) or double slash (//)
    • before a hyphen (-), tilde (~), question mark (?), underline (_), or percent (%) symbol
    • before or after an equals sign (=), ampersand (&), or at (@) symbol
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Model for a book in print
  1. J. K. Author, “Title of chapter in the book,” in Title of Book, xth ed. City of Publisher, State, Country: Abbrev. of Publisher, year, ch. x, sec. x, pp. xxx–xxx.
Model for an electronic book
  1. J. K. Author, “Title of chapter in the book,” in Title of Book, xth ed. City of Publisher, State, Country: Abbrev. of Publisher, year, ch. x, sec. x, pp. xxx–xxx. [Online]. Available: site/path/file
One author
  1. N. Shinohara, Wireless power transfer via radiowaves. London : Hoboken, NJ, USA: ISTE; Wiley, 2014
Two authors
  1. A. Hunt and D. Thomas, The pragmatic programmer: from journeyman to master. Reading, Mass: Addison-Wesley, 2000.
One author (ebook)
  1. A. Moreno-Munoz, Ed., Large Scale Grid Integration of Renewable Energy Sources. Institution of Engineering and Technology, 2017 [Online]. Available:
Other Cases

Not every reference will include the same types of information. For example, the books referenced above do not call out specific chapters. The following book in [1] has three editors rather than a single author.

  1. D. P. Michelfelder, N. McCarthy, and D. E. Goldberg, Eds., Philosophy and engineering: reflections on practice, principles and process. Springer, Dordrecht, 2013 [Online]. Available:

  2. Reference [2] represents a citation from a chapter in this book.

  3. A. Chilvers and S. Bell, “Ove Arup: Theoretical and Moral Positions in Practice and the Origins of an Engineering Firm,” in Philosophy and Engineering: Reflections on Practice, Principles and Process, Springer, Dordrecht, 2013, pp. 51–63. [Online]. Available:
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Conference proceedings

Model for a paper presented at a conference
  1. J. K. Author, “Title of paper,” presented at the abbrev. Name of Conf., City of Conf., Abbrev. State, year, pp. xxx–xxx.
Model for a conference paper presented via online event
  1. J. K. Author. Title. presented at abbrev. Conference title. [Medium]. Available: site/path/file
Conference papers
  1. V. S. Bouchet, E. Torlaschi, R. Laprise, and J. C. McConnell, “Summertime climatology of ozone with a regional climate model,” in Proceedings of the 1997 Air & Waste Management Association’s 90th Annual Meeting & Exhibition, Toronto, Canada, 1997.
  2. R. Zhou et al., “Modeling the impact of spatial resolutions on perceptual quality of immersive image/video,” in 2016 International Conference on 3D Imaging (IC3D), 2016, pp. 1–6 [Online]. Available:
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Dataset, table, and graph


Due to the various techniques for accessing and storing datasets (research data management guide), the citation rules are not as commonly defined as they are for things like books or journal articles. The IEEE Editorial Style Manual does not explicitly state how to cite data.

The following was adapted from The Chicago Manual of Style's guidance in "14.257: Citing data from a scientific database." The manual recommends that the citation include the database's name and some description of the record being cited (a data marker or accession number). It should also include the date that you accessed it and a URL.

Model for data from a scientific database
  1. DB Name (descriptive phrase [record locator]; accessed date). site/path/file
  1. Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) dataset for materials for Planetary Exploration (LIBS Dataset [AnorthoMO11 1000AVG]; accessed February 28, 2018).

See the DataCite Canada recommendations for additional detail about good practices for citing data. You can also find documentation detailing different data citation use-cases in the guide from The Digital Curation Centre.


The 17th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style offers some guidance on data in the context of using it in tables (section 3.77 Acknowledging data in source notes to tables). Chicago requires the full source to be cited.

For example, if you use data from a source such as a book or an article to create a table in your document, Chicago requires that you identify that data by writing "Data from [Name of the source]" within a footnote. You must also include that source in your reference list the way you normally would (e.g. if it's an article, format it like an article reference).

IEEE formatting style for footnotes is in section "B. Editing the Body of a Paper" of the IEEE Editorial Style Manual.


If you use an image such as a graph from another source, make sure to label it with a caption using the rules under "Text Citation of Figures and Tables" in part "II. Editing Principles," section "B. Editing the Body of a Paper" of the IEEE Editorial Style Manual. The graph may require a reference number or additional source information depending on whether or not it's from an IEEE source.

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Journal article

Model for an article online
  1. J. K. Author, “Name of paper,” Abbrev. Title of Periodical, vol. x, no. x, pp. xxx-xxx, Abbrev. Month, year. Accessed on: Month, Day, Year. doi: 10.1109.XXX.123456, [Online]. Available: site/path/file
Model for an article in print
  1. J. K. Author, “Name of paper,” Abbrev. Title of Periodical, vol. x, no. x, pp. xxx-xxx, Abbrev. Month, year.
Article online
  1. A. Bozkurt et al., “Toward cyber-enhanced working dogs for search and rescue,” IEEE Intell. Syst., vol. 29, no. 6, pp. 32–9, Nov. 2014. Accessed on: Dec, 12, 2017. doi: 10.1109/MIS.2014.77, [Online]. Available:
Article in print
  1. P. Mowforth and I. Bratko, “AI and robotics; flexibility and integration,” Robotica, vol. 5, no. pt 2, pp. 93–98, 1987.
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The IEEE Editorial Style Manual does not explicitely describe how to cite lectures. The following was adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style's guidance in "14.217: Lectures and papers or posters presented at meetings." If lecture notes or recordings are accessible online you can add an electronic resource to the reference.

Model for a lecture or presentation
  1. J. K. Lecturer, “Title,” Lecture, Title of course, Organization, location, Date.
Model for lecture notes that can be accessed online
  1. J. K. Lecturer, “Title,” Lecture, Title of course, Organization, location, Date, [Medium]. Available: site/path/file

For recordings, see also the Chicago Manual of Style, section 14.264: Recorded readings, lectures, audiobooks, and the like.

  1. E. Novak, “Essentials of Research Methods,” Lecture, ENCS 6721 Technical Writing and Research Methods for Scientists and Engineers, Concordia University, Montréal, Canada, 2016, [PowerPoint].
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Use the following model for documents such as product or software manuals. To cite a document such as a corporate handbook, use the technical report model.

Model for a manual
  1. J. K. Author or Organization Name. The software manual title. (Year) [Medium]. Place: Publisher or Organization that produced it. Available: site/path/file, Accessed on: Month. Day, Year.
Product manual
  1. ST, TN0018 Technical note: Surface mounting guidelines for MEMS sensors in an LGA package. (2017) [Online]. Switzerland: STMicroelectronics NV. Available:, Accessed on: Dec. 13, 2017.
Software manual
  1. J. H. Weber et al., Getting Started with LibreOffice 5.2. (2017) [Online]. LibreOffice Documentation Team. Available:, Accessed on: Dec. 13, 2017.

Note: to cite a printed manual (not an online electronic source) do not include the "Available:" and "Accessed on:" portions of the reference.

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Model for a patent accessible online
  1. Name of the invention, by inventor’s name. (year, month day). Country Patent Number [Medium]. Available: site/path/file
Patent from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office database (online)
  1. Type composing machine, by J. Mayer and C. A. Albrecht. (1907, March 26) CA 104 300 [Online]. Available:
Patent from a Google patent search (online)
  1. System and method for routing communications based on wireless communication link quality, by B. Moon and M. Smith. (2000, December 22) US Patent 6 961 573 [Online]. Available:
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Model for a software application
  1. A. L. Programmer or Organization Name. The software package. (Year) [Medium]. Place: Publisher. Available: site/path/file, Accessed on: Month. Day, Year.

A techique used in some IEEE publications simplifies the reference as follows:

  1. "Software Application Name", Year.
Software developed by an organization (downloaded)
  1. Apache HTTP Server. The Apache Software Foundation, 2017 [Online]. Available:
  1. "Apache HTTP Server", 2017.
Software developed by a company (from a physical medium)
  1. MATLAB. Natick, MA: The MathWorks, Inc., 2002 [DVD-ROM].
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The IEEE Editorial Style Manual recommends the first model below for standards. The guide also shows alternate examples that are visible in IEEE-published documents.

Model for a standard
  1. Title of Standard, Standard number, date.
Model for a standard (formatted for more information)
  1. Title of standard, [Medium] Standard number, Authoring body, location, date. Available: site/path/file
Standard (print)
  1. Standard method of test for the evaluation of building energy analysis computer programs, ASHRAE standard 1041-2336 ; 140-2014, 2014.
Standard (online)
  1. IEEE Standard for Advanced Audio and Video Coding, [Online] Standard IEEE Std 1857-2013, IEEE Standards Association, New York, NY, 2013. Available:
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Technical reports, datasheets, etc.

Technical reports often include detailed research on an organization's own work concerning a problem. These reports are often not published in a traditional sense. Citing technical reports may require identifying additional information from corporate sites.

IEEE also recommends using the following format for documents such as datasheets or corporate handbooks.

Model for a technical report
  1. J. K. Author, “Title of report,” Abbrev. Name of Co., City of Co., Abbrev. State, Country, Rep. no., vol./issue, year. [Medium]. Available: site/path/file
Technical report
  1. F. A. Shen, “Flexible rotor dynamics analysis,” Rockwell International Corp., Canoga Park, CA, 19730022708, Sep. 1973 [Online]. Available:
Product datasheet
  1. Unitron, “uTV 3 Technical Data,” Kitchener, Canada, Datasheet 14-050 027-5875-02, Feb. 2015 [Online]. Available:

Note that the author is the name of the company in the datasheet example.

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Model for a thesis or dissertation
  1. J. K. Author, “Title,” M.S. thesis/Ph.D. dissertation, Abbrev. Dept., Abbrev. Univ., City of Univ., Abbrev. State, year.
Thesis from a Master of Science program
  1. V. Hayot-Sasson, “Towards easy and efficient processing of ultra-high resolution brain images,” MCompSC. thesis, Dept. of Comput. Sci. & Software Eng., Concordia University, Montréal, Canada, 2017 [Online]. Available:
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Unpublished work

IEEE provides the following rule for private communications but in many cases, you can embed the information in the body of your text. For example, "In response to my query, Alexandra Bell sent an e-mail stating that specifications had last been updated in March."

Model for an unpublished document
  1. J. K. Author, private communication, Abbrev. Month, year.
  2. J. K. Author, “Title of paper,” unpublished.
E-mail message
  1. M. Aftahi, private communication, Dec 2016.
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Web page

The IEEE Editorial Style Manual does not explicitely describe how to cite web pages. The following was adapted from The Chicago Manual of Style's guidance in "14.207: Citing web pages and websites" and "14.208: Citing blog posts and blogs." Use the other models for things like journal articles, which may also happen to be accessible as web pages.

Model for a page on a web site
  1. J. K. Author, "Title." Name of Website. Updated Month Day, Year. [Medium]. Available: site/path/file, Accessed on: Date.
Web page
  1. Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec, “What is engineering?,” Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec. [Website]. Available:, Accessed on: Dec. 20, 2017.
Blog post
  1. J. Evans, “Linux tracing systems & how they fit together,” Julia Evans. Updated July 05, 2017. [Blog]. Available:, Accessed on: Dec. 19, 2017.
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Updated: Monday 15 November 2021
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