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APA 7th Edition Reference Page Ordering Guide

Published by at January 3rd, 2022 , Revised On February 5, 2024

The first element of a reference entry in APA style, usually the surname of the first author, is arranged alphabetically on the reference page.

  • Michael, J. Z. precedes Thomas, Z. B.

When it comes to more complex situations, the simple guide is perhaps not enough. Fortunately, the APA has produced more detailed guidelines, which are described in this article.

Multiple Orders and Same Author First Name

One-Author Works

If the works come all from the one author, they are to be listed in chronological order, starting with the earliest source. The works without dates take precedence over those with dates. The last works are those that are “in press“.

  • Varun, J. M. (n.d.)
  • Varun, J. M. (2019)
  • Varun, J. M. (In press)

Multiple-Authors Work

When the first author is same and the next authors are differing, the references will be sorted by the second author’s surname. And if the 2nd author is also the same, then the references will be sorted according to the 3rd author, and so on.

  • Teager, P
  • Teager, P., & Hunter, S.
  • Teager, P., Hunter, S., & Robert, X.

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Different Authors Having Same Last Name

The work from different authors but they all are having same last name; the order will be based on initials names.

  • Thomas Z. Faces Thomas J. S.


The title of the source is moved to the author slot if the author of a work is unknown. In this case, the references are ordered alphabetically by title. The words “A“, “An” and “The” at the beginning of the title should be ignored. If the title begins with a digit, it is ordered alphabetically as if it were written out.

Read more: How to Make a Running HeadHow to cite sources in APA format?

  • How covid-19 effects student’s health (ordered on the H of “How”)
  • What is the impact of internet on youth (W of “What”)
  • Ten ways to enhance your creativity (T of “Ten”)

Same Authors with Same Date

A lower-case letter after the year of publication indicates works by the same author and of the same date. This letter appears both in the text and in the bibliography.

  • Brown, A. (2019a) precedes Brown, A. (2019b)

Nothing Precedes Something

Shorter names come before longer names that share all of their letters.

  • Kate H. A.(2019a) precedes Katesnow A. M.

Apostrophes, Hyphens, Parentheses, and Brackets

In two-word names, exclude apostrophes and hyphens, as well as anything in parentheses (e.g., contributor roles) or brackets (e.g., usernames).

  • Concnor, S. precedes Betman, T.


Works by persons with the same first and last name but a suffix like Jr., Sr. or I, II, III are arranged chronologically, with the oldest first.

  • Andrew, M. T., I precedes Andrew, M. T., II

Learn: APA 7th edition: The Most Significant Changes

Frequently Asked Questions

Lists can be alphabetized in popular word processing programs such as Microsoft Word and Google Docs, but they do not follow APA Style literacy standards.

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