Skip to Main Content

Engineering Guide: IEEE Style Guide

About the IEEE Style

The IEEE citation style is used mainly for electronics, engineering, telecommunications, computer science, and information technology reports.

IEEE is a numbered style with two main parts:

  1. In-text references - references are numbered in square brackets [1] in the order that they appear.
  2. A reference list - you must provide a numbered list of references at the end of your paper which are ordered as they appeared in the text.

The three main components of a reference are:

  • The author’s name is listed as first initial of first name, then full last.
    • Example: P. Laplante
  • The title of article, patent, conference paper, etc., in quotation marks.
    • Example: "Electronic government and surveillance-oriented society"
  • The title of journal, book, or standard in italics.
    • Book Example: Handbook of Research on Computational Science and Engineering: Theory and Practice
    • Journal Example: International Journal of Engineering Education

The examples in this online guide demonstrate the format for a variety of electronic and print sources. These reference examples are the ones in widest use. Not everything is listed. Please refer to the IEEE Reference Guide for more examples (located under "Additional Resources").

IEEE Style Resources

The IEEE Authors Center contains a wide range of resources for writing in IEEE style and the publication process.

Number of Authors

You must list the names of all authors, up to six names. If there are more than six names listed, use et al. after the first author.

If a work has more than two authors, use et al. after the first author for in-text references.

Single author

In-text Example: Stacey mentions [1] ...

Reference List Example:

[1]           D. Stacey, "Interference, electromagnetic compatibility, spectrum management and frequency management," in Aeronautical Radio Communication Systems and Networks. Hoboken, NJ, USA: Wiley, 2008, ch. 12. [Online]. doi: 10.1002/9780470035108.ch12.

2-6 authors

In-text Example: Brown and Love argue [3] ...

Reference List Example:

[3]           D. R. Brown and D. J. Love, “On the performance of MIMO nullforming with random vector quantization limited feedback,” IEEE Trans. Wireless Commun., vol. 13, no. 5, pp. 2884-2893, May 2014.


In-text Example: According to Risk et al. [9] ...

Reference List Example:

[9]           W. P. Risk, G. S. Kino, and H. J. Shaw, “Fiber-optic frequency shifter using a surface acoustic wave incident at an oblique angle,” Opt. Lett., vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 115-117, Feb. 1986. [Online]. Available:

7 or more authors

In-text Example: Simpson et al. states that the CSS sensor was often used to check the performance of the star trackers throughout I&T in ambient and thermal/vacuum conditions [7].

Reference List Example:

[7]           J. Simpson et al, “Integration and testing of the lunar reconnaissance orbiter attitude control system,” presented at the 2011 IEEE Aerosp. Conf., Big Sky, MT, USA, March 5-12, 2011.

Citing Multiple Sources in the Same Sentence

Note: References are ordered as they appear in the text. Editing your work or including additional information may require careful renumbering of references and in-text citations.

Multiple Sources - Non-consecutive
as shown by Brown [1], [4], [6]
Multiple Sources - Consecutive
as mentioned earlier [3]-[7]
Multiple Sources - Both

to reiterate [2], [5]-[8], [10] ...

Simpson et al. [7] and Brown and Love [3] both argue...

Citing Secondary Sources

IEEE Style does NOT allow you to cite a secondary source - you must go to the original source and cite the original source. If you cannot find the original source then it should not be cited.

Formatting Tips

  • Don't use a full stop after a URL, but do use one after a DOI.
  • Example: Available:
  • Example: doi: 10.1155/2014/386315.
  • From an open access source: Use the complete internet address.
  • Example: Available:
  • From a full-text database (not freely available online): Use the main homepage URL for the database.
  • Example: Available:
  • General format: City of Publisher, Country: Abbreviated Publisher, Year.
  • Example: Chichester, England: Wiley, 2012.
  • If the Publisher comes from the United States: City of Publisher, State in initials, USA: Abbreviated Publisher, Year.
  • Example: Hoboken, NJ, USA: Wiley, 2007.
Date of Access
  • Use the three-letter abbreviated form of the month. Usually displayed as Mon. Day, Year.
  • Example: Oct. 7, 2018.

IEEE Style Resources

This referencing guide, updated December 2018, contains more examples and an appendix of abbreviations for publishers and common words in references:

The most recent version above was updated August 2020. This guide does not yet reflect the changes.


Extra Resources

The following guide is an older version. It may contain some inconsistencies with the current style, but still has some useful examples:

IEEE Style Guides from Other Universities