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Referencing guide: IEEE

IEEE referencing style sheet

This referencing guide is to be used in conjunction with the Library’s General guide to citing and referencing.

IEEE style is used mainly in Electronic and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. This style sheet gives general guidelines based on the IEEE Reference Guide. For further guidance on referencing using the IEEE referencing style, please download the full document at this link:  IEEE Reference Guide

EndNote and EndNote Online currently include several variants of IEEE style such as IEEE-Pervasive Comp, IEEE Micro and IEEE ACM Trans Network. Check with your department to establish their preferred style. Remember to check records imported using EndNote for errors or omissions, and that each reference is correctly formatted.

The IEEE Reference Guide has recently been updated (August 2022) and the EndNote style file may not reflect the latest updates. There may also be variation on the interpretation of the referencing style in other resources.

There are standard reference formats for most types of document. Below are examples of the most common types of document you might want to reference. Each of the following gives a suggested standard format for the reference followed by examples for the different document types.

[Ref number] Author’s initials. Author’s Surname, Book Title, edition (if not first). Place of publication: Publisher, Year. 

[1] I.A. Glover and P.M. Grant, Digital Communications, 3rd ed. Harlow: Prentice Hall, 2009.

[Ref number] Author’s initials. Author’s Surname, “Title of chapter in book,” in Book Title, edition (if not first), Editor’s initials. Editor’s Surname, Ed., Place of publication: Publisher, Year, page numbers. 

[2] C. W. Li and G. J. Wang, "MEMS manufacturing techniques for tissue scaffolding devices," in Mems for Biomedical Applications, S. Bhansali and A. Vasudev, Eds., Cambridge: Woodhead, 2012, pp. 192-217.

[Ref number] Author’s initials. Author’s Surname, “Title of paper,” in Name of Conference, Location, Year, pp. xxx.

[3] S. Adachi, T. Horio and T. Suzuki. "Intense vacuum-ultraviolet single-order harmonic pulse by a deep-ultraviolet driving laser," in Conf. Lasers and Electro-Optics, San Jose, CA, 2012, pp. 2118-2120.

Note: Standard abbreviations may be applied to the title of the conference (see IEEE editorial style manual, page 63). 

[Ref number] Author’s initials. Author’s Surname, Book Title, edition (if not first). Place of publication: Publisher, Year. [Online]. Available: URL

[4] W. Zeng, H. Yu, and C. Lin, Multimedia Security Technologies for Digital Rights Management. London: Academic Press, 2013. [Online]. Available: 

Note: If the e-book is a direct equivalent of a print book e.g. in PDF format, you can reference it as a normal print book.

PDF versions of journal articles are direct copies of the print edition, so you can cite them as print journals.

[Ref number] Author’s initials. Author’s Surname, “Title of article,” Title of journal abbreviated, vol. number, issue number, page numbers, Abbreviated Month Year, doi: xxx.

[5] S. Majumdar et al., “User-level runtime security auditing for the Cloud,” IEEE Trans. Inf. Forensics Security, vol. 13, no. 5, pp. 1185–1199, May 2018, doi: 10.1109/TIFS.2017.2779444.

Note: List all authors when 6 or less. For 7 or more authors, list the first author followed by et al.

When you are compiling your reference list you may abbreviate journal titles:

[Ref number] Author’s initials. Author’s Surname, “Title of article,” Title of journal abbreviated, vol. number, issue number, page numbers, Abbreviated Month Year.

[6] F. Yan, Y. Gu, Y. Wang, C. M. Wang, X. Y. Hu and H. X. Peng, "Study on the interaction mechanism between laser and rock during perforation," Opt. Laser Technol., vol. 54, pp. 303-308, Dec 2013.

Note: the above example article is from a journal which does not use issue numbers, so they are not included in the reference.

Note: List all authors when 6 or less. For 7 or more authors, list the first author followed by et al.

When you are compiling your reference list you may abbreviate journal titles:

If you are using documents such as a reports, conference papers, standards, patents or thesis online and it also exists as an identical print equivalent i.e. with the same format and pagination, it can usually be referenced as the print version.

If it is e-only, you can make the standard reference template an electronic version by adding to the end of your reference [Online]. Available: URL

See below for examples of an online patent, report and standard:

[7] M.R. Brooks, “Musical toothbrush with adjustable neck and mirror,” U.S Patent 326189, May 19, 1992. [Online]. Available:

[8] K. Serkh, "A Note of the Use of Spectra of Multiplication Operators as a Numerical Tool," Dep. Comp. Sci., Yale Univ., New Haven, CT, USA, Tech. Rep. YALEU/DCS/TR1541, Mar. 2018. [Online]. Available:

[9] Frequency Response and Bias, NERC Reliability Standard BAL-003-0.1b, May 2009. [Online]. Available:  

[Ref number] Author’s initials. Author's Surname, “Title of patent,” Country where patent is registered Patent number, Abbrev. Month Day, Year.

[10] J. P. Wilkinson, “Nonlinear resonant circuit devices,” U.S. Patent 3 624 125, Jul. 16, 1990.

Note: Use “issued date” if several dates are given.

The general form for citing technical reports is to place the name and location of the company or institution after the author and title and to give the report number and date at the end of the reference. If the report has a volume number add it after the year.

[Ref number] Author’s initials. Author’s Surname, “Title of report,” Abbreviated Name of Company., City of Company, State, Report number, year.

[11] P. Diament and W. L. Luptakin, “V-line surface-wave radiation and scanning,” Dept. Elect. Eng., Colombia Univ., New York, Sci Rep. 85, 1991.

[Ref number] Creator’s name or organisation (if available). Title of Software. (version or year). Publisher Name. Accessed: Abbrev. Month Day, Year. (when applicable). [Type of Medium]. Available: URL.

[12] A. Teikari. Baba Is You. (2019). Steam. Accessed: Nov. 4, 2022. [video game]. Available: 

[13] Camtasia 2020. (Version 2021.0.0). TechSmith. Accessed: Jul. 3, 2021 [Online]. Available:

[Ref number] Title of Standard, Standard number, Corporate author, location, date.

[14] Shunt power capacitors, IEEE standard 18-2012, IEEE, New York, 2013.

[15] Parameter values for ultra-high definition television systems for production and international programme exchange, Rec. ITU-R BT.2020-2, International Telecommunications Union,
Geneva, Oct. 2015. 

[Ref number] Author’s initials. Author’s Surname, “Title of thesis,” Designation type, Abbrev. Dept., Abbrev. Univ., City of Univ., State, Year.

[16] J. O. Williams, “Narrow-band analyser,” Ph.D. dissertation, Dept. Elect. Eng., Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA, 1993.

Note: Include as much of the key information as you can find for a given website. If a web page has no personal author, you can use a corporate author. Failing that, you can use either Anon. (for anonymous) or it is permissible to use the title of the site.

[Ref number] Author’s initials. Authors Surname. “Page Title.” Website Title. Date Accessed. [Online]. Available: URL.  

[17] BBC News. "Microwave signals turned into electrical power." Accessed: Nov. 11, 2013. [Online]. Available:

[18] J. Smith and J. Doe. “Obama inaugurated as President.” Accessed: Feb. 1, 2009. [Online]. Available: obama_inaugurated/index.html

When writing a piece of academic work, you must acknowledge any sources which you have used. You do this by including a brief in-text ‘citation’ within the main body of your writing, next to the material you have used.

The IEEE style is a numeric style, where citations are numbered [1] in the order of appearance. This citation leads your reader to a full reference to the source in the list of references at the end of your work. Each citation number should be enclosed in square brackets on the same line as the text, before any punctuation, with a space before the bracket [2]. Once a source has been cited, the same number is re-used for all subsequent citations to the same source. 

Examples of IEEE style citation:

“... as shown by Brown [4], as previously stated.”

"The theory was first put forward in 1987 [1]."

“For example, see [7].”

"Several recent studies [3, 4, 15, 16] have suggested that..." 

The example above may also be formatted as:

“Several recent studies [3], [4], [15], [16] have suggested that…”

Page numbers are required within citations where material is directly quoted or you refer to a specific part of the source, such as a detail difficult to find. Give page numbers within the square brackets, for example [1, p. 3].

Note: Citing computer code within your coding script.

When writing code you should include a comment above the code you are reusing. If you are adapting the code, you must indicate that you have done so, for example by stating ‘Code adapted from:’. Your comment should include the Title (of the program/source code); Author of the code; Date (year the code was developed); Code version (if known); Available from: URL; Accessed date.

At the end of your work, list full details of all of the sources which you have cited in your text in a section headed References, in numeric order. References listed must follow IEEE formatting guidelines (see reference examples overleaf). Your reference list should allow anyone reading your work to identify and find the material to which you have referred. 

In IEEE style your reference list should be formatted in the following way:

  • Align references left
  • Single-space each entry, double-space between every new entry
  • Place number of entry at left margin, enclose in square brackets
  • Indent text of entries

Citations/references with multiple authors

If you choose to mention the author(s) of a source whilst citing it in the text of your work, if there are three or more you can abbreviate them using ‘et al.’ e.g. During their research, Fan, et al. [4] discuss lasers in detail. However, in general you do not need to mention the authors by name, just use the numeric citation in square brackets. In your full reference list at the end however, you always give the authors’ names. In the reference list you can only abbreviate these using ‘et al.’ if there are six or more authors.

IEEE referencing support

Cite Them Right book cover

Cite Them Right Online

This guide to referencing for students and authors provides detailed examples for print and electronic sources, business, government, technical and other publications. IEEE formatting is covered.

Please note: Cite Them Right online provides recommendation on the formatting IEEE referencing style. Occasionally, you will find that IEEE does not provide guidance for a reference type. Where advice is not offered, you will need to adapt another IEE reference type to fit your purpose whilst conforming to IEEE referencing conventions. If you need help please contact the Library.