How to Put Microsoft Excel in Works Cited

Referencing Microsoft Excel spreadsheets depends on the college and the publication. Publication manuals provide a uniform way to credit others' work, allowing the reader a way to locate the material. Publication manuals are necessary to academic life and vital to the scientific community.

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association

According to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, or APA, Appendix 7.08, it isn't necessary to include standard software and programming languages, like Microsoft Excel, as a reference entry. These are common tools uses in performing a task, like data analysis or measurement. Instead, in text, give the proper name along with the version number and a description of the form.

APA Example

In text: The data analysis relied on Microsoft Excel, version 3.04, using the newt fanciers database.

Modern Language Association

According to the Modern Language Association (or MLA) style, Excel files are cited as digital works, unless they are accessed online. In text, give the reader enough information to locate the citation in the “Works Cited” section, usually the title or the author's last name, in text or in parentheses. In the “Works Cited” section, list the author(s), if one exists (last name, first name), the title of the file in italics, the date the file was created or last modified, and the medium. Cite Excel files accessible online with the author(s), if available, with an italicized file name, the version or revision number if used, the title of the website, the medium, and the date you accessed the material. MLA does not require URLs; include the URL in angle brackets after the date accessed, only if the professor or publication requests it.

MLA Examples

In-text: The data analysis relied on spreadsheets constructed by Burtram Jones using Microsoft Excel.

Digital file:

Jones, Burtram, Sheet of Newt. 12 September 2013. Microsoft Excel file.

Online access:

Jones, Burtram, Sheet of Newt. Newt Fanciers. Microsoft Excel file. Web. 14 June 2012. [] (Note: "Sheet of Newt" should be in italics.)

Chicago Manual of Style

The Chicago Manual of Style includes an author-date format and a footnote and/or bibliographic format, called the notes system. In text, with the author-date format, cite the author and date at the end of the sentence in parentheses, or just the date, if the author is mentioned in the sentence. The in-text format for the notes system places the reference as a footnote or end note, usually followed by also placing the citation in the notes or bibliography section, although that depends on the publication. When the citation is in the footnote and/or the bibliography, place the title of the file, software name (with the version), the date, the individual holding property rights, and the location.

Chicago Manual of Style Examples

In-text, author-date format:

The data analysis relied on spreadsheets using Microsoft Excel. (Jones, 2013).

In text, notes system:

The data analysis relied on spreadsheet calculations.4 Footnote and bibliographic: Sheet of Newt: Microsoft Excel Ver. 3. 2013. Jones, Chicago. (superscript number 4)

Council of Science Editors

The Council of Science Editors uses an author-date format or citation and sequence formats, similar to the Chicago style. In text, the author-name format is the same, but without a comma between the author's name and the date. The citation and sequence system uses the number as a superscript entry number that is used again if the citation is repeated. The citation and sequence system often uses a reference section, ordered numerically with the entry number preceding the citation. Using the references section, place the reference number, followed by the author(s), program name, in all capitals, the medium in brackets, version, place of publication, publisher, year of publication, physical description, and system requirements. The author-date format and bibliographic methods order alphabetically by the author's last name, eliminating the entry number.

Council of Science Editors Examples

In-text: See Chicago Manual of Style examples.

Citation and sequence references section:

  1. Jones, B. EXCEL [Computer program]. Version 3. Albany: The Sheet of Newts; 2013. 1 disk. System requirements: Windows 8, 1 GHZ, 1 GB RAM, 3 GB disk space. Author-date and bibliographic format: Jones, B. EXCEL [Computer program].

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