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APA Style Citation Checker (and free Converter)

This site provides information about, and communication options for, Citation Checker. You can also download a free trial version that has limited functionality, and then purchase a personal license ($25 USD) that provides full access to Citation Checker's features.

Citation Checker is an add-in (in Microsoft terminology, a global template) for Microsoft WORD (1997 and later). It works on Windows versions of WORD and on the Mac 2011 and 2016 versions of WORD. These are “full” versions of Microsoft WORD that include support for VBA macros. It will not work with the Office Starter Pack, Office Home and Student, Office RT, Office for iPad, or Office for Android. 

Citation Checker’s primary use is to check for discrepancies between the citations within the text of an article and the references listed in alphabetical order within the References list. The program processes manuscripts whose citations and references are presented in accord with American Psychological Association (APA) style, in which within-text citations include author’s name and publication date, while references are presented alphabetically in a separate section headed by the word “References”. This format is used by journals in many domains other than psychology. The program can also be used for manuscripts such as dissertations that may employ a style variant permitting single-or-double spaced references separated by two paragraph markers (a paragraph marker results from clicking the <Enter> key). The program can handle manuscripts of any length.

Citation Checker also functions as a references builder. If you like to type a manuscript without putting in the actual references while you are focused on the text, the program can show the the citations in alphabetical order. For instance, I might type a sentence such as "a brilliant theory presented by Weiss and Weiss (2009) provided a solution to the long-standing...". I don't like to pause while waxing eloquent, so I just continue onward without looking up the reference. When I have finished, one click will generate a list of all of the citations, in the requisite alphabetical order. I then copy that list to my References section and insert the title, journal, etc.

Citation Checker includes a free Conversion module that yields a new document whose citations and references are re-formatted to meet the requirements of journals that impose style requirements that differ from APA style. So you can prepare your manuscript in APA style, and then quickly convert it to any other style, including those used by medical or engineering journals. The original version of the manuscript is always preserved when conversion takes place.

Furthermore, because the Conversion module has exacting requirements for the formatting of references beyond the author names and date, it can be useful even if you have no need to convert the format. The Conversion module will question aspects of a reference that it realizes do not accord with APA style, and has the "virtue" that it will produce oddball results if the formatting is incorrect even if it does not present the user with a question. So the Conversion module can serve as a fairly extensive format checker for the reference section. Beginning with Version 7.0, there is a button on the Discrepancies Report form offering the option to Check References Formatting. The program deconstructs the references in the manuscript, and then reconstructs them according to APA style guidelines. If a result looks weird, or even if it superficially looks adequate but has small error(s), the program will let you know. I have found this feature to be especially helpful when I have copied a reference from the Internet, and failed to notice that the reference format does not follow APA style.

In the words of the APA Publication Manual, "Accurately prepared references help establish your credibility as a careful researcher. An inaccurate or incomplete reference will stand in print as an annoyance to future investigators and a monument to the writer's carelessness".