How To Cite a YouTube Video in Text Practically?

Whether it’s academic, work, project, creative content, or professional documentation you have to know how to cite a YouTube video in text if you are using one. Citing the original source tells your reader where to find the main material and it will create credibility for you and your content. If you’re following an APA, MLA, or Chicago format, the way you cite the source will be different. 

Let’s look at how to properly cite a YouTube movie in your writing using each of these formats.

APA Format Citation

 In APA style, citing is all about making the video easy to find for your readers. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Author’s Last Name, First Initial(s): You should start with the video creator’s name. If a whole organization is behind the video, use its name instead of a content creator.
  • Year, Month Day: What is the publishing date? If you’ve only got the year, that’ll do.
  • Title of the video: Get the title directly from YouTube, capitalizing just the first word and any proper nouns. Italicize it.
  • [Video]: A quick note to signal you’re citing video content.
  • YouTube: Straightforward, this tells us where the video lives.
  • URL: The direct address for the video. This is your “X marks the spot.”

 So, in APA format, your citation should look like this:

>Astley, R. (2009, October 25). Never Gonna Give You Up (Official Music Video) [Video]. YouTube.

If you want to see different examples, visit Views4You’s blog.

MLA Format Citation

 The purpose of MLA format is to make it easy to find the original source while also underscoring the individual efforts and contributions:

  • Author’s Last Name, First Name: Start with the creator’s name. If you can’t find it or are unavailable, the username will do.
  • “Title of Video”: You should use the exact title from YouTube in quotation marks, subtitles, and all.
  • YouTube: Indicates the platform.
  • Uploaded by Uploader: If someone else uploaded the video, make a note here.
  • Day-month-year: The upload date, with the month in short form.
  • URL: The whole web address, minus the “https://” or “https://”.

In MLA format, your citation should look like this: 

>Astley, Rick. “Never Gonna Give You Up (Official Music Video).” YouTube, uploaded by Rick Astley, 25 Oct. 2009,

Chicago Format Citation, Simplified

 Chicago format keeps it really simple with an emphasis on the YouTube creator and the date of publication:

  • Author’s Last Name, First Name: The video’s maker. If you can’t find a full name, the screen name will be enough to cite.
  • Year: The upload year.
  • “Title of Video”: The exact title, period at the end. No italics or quotes are needed here.
  • YouTube: Shows the platform.
  • Month Day: When the video was uploaded, in full detail.
  • URL: Straight to the video.

Here’s how a Chicago format citation looks:

 >Astley, Rick. 2009. “Never Gonna Give You Up (Official Music Video).” YouTube. October 25.

A Few Distinguishing Tips

Author vs. Uploader: If it isn’t clear who is the video maker, but the uploader is, cite the uploader.

Titles: You must use the exact title as it is, including everything it has.

Dates: The upload date on YouTube is your go-to as well.

URLs: Always provide the full URL, but you can skip the “https://” bit in MLA and Chicago styles.

You are showing your respect to the creator while citing them and doing this will help you increase your trustworthiness of your own work. If you’re writing an essay, creating content, or compiling professional documents, it is very important to correctly cite sources if you want to respect intellectual property and keep the originality of your work.


Why do I need to cite videos from YouTube in my paper?

Citing YouTube videos is important because it shows respect for the video creator’s work, makes your work seem more trustworthy, and lets readers check your sources or learn more about the things you’ve mentioned.

Can I cite a YouTube video in a school paper?

Yes, you can use YouTube videos in your academic work as long as you follow the style rules for your paper (APA, MLA, or Chicago) or those set by your teacher or the publication.

What if there is more than one person who made and uploaded the YouTube video?

If the maker and uploader are different, you should list the creator’s name first. If you can’t find the creator’s name, use the name or username of the person who uploaded the file.

Do I need to write down the date I watched the YouTube video?

Most of the time, Chicago style calls for adding the access date or a note about when the material might change over time. Most of the time, APA and MLA styles don’t need an entry date for YouTube videos, but you should always check the most recent rules.

How do I cite a YouTube movie that doesn’t have a title?

If a YouTube video doesn’t have a clear title, put a short summary of the video in its place. Make sure this summary is short and gives a good idea of what the video is about.

What should I do if the video is part of a series or playlist on YouTube? 

You can add this information to your citation if the video is part of a series or playlist to give it more context. Like, you could put “Part of the [Series Name] series” or “From the [Playlist Name] playlist” after the title.

Is it okay to use a YouTube quote in my schoolwork?

If a YouTube comment is related to your work, you can use it in your paper. You should still treat it as a personal message, or you should follow the rules for how to cite comments in the style you are using.

If a YouTube video has been taken down or is no longer available, can I still use it?

As with a live video, mention a video that is important to your case but has been deleted or made unavailable. However, include a note about its current state, like “Video removed” or “Access date: [Last date the video was available].” If you can, give more sources or proof to back up the information you got from the movie.