Mastering IEEE Format: A Comprehensive Guide for Computer Science and Engineering Students

Do you want to be an expert in writing IEEE format assignments?

The basic aim of any citation style is to provide full information about the sources of information. IEEE style is one of these citation styles that help computer science and engineering students format and reference their work easily and without any hassle.

Students of computer sciences, engineering, and IT are required to learn this formatting style.

This blog will help you in citing your research papers by using the IEEE citation style. Continue reading to get some writing recommendations along with the examples.


On this Page

  • What is IEEE Citation?
  • How to Cite in IEEE?
  • IEEE Citation Style Example

What is IEEE Citation?

The IEEE citation is a referencing style developed by The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. This organization supports many branches such as engineering, IT, and computer sciences.

It is used to publish journals, conference papers, and magazines. Moreover, it is widely based on the chicago format and citation.

Most of the styles consist of the writer’s name within the text. However, IEEE incorporates a numbering system. This number in the text corresponds to a numbered reference at the end of the paper. It is to make sure which of the sources has contributed to which section.

IEEE Writing Style Manual

IEEE has formulated its own writing manual for the students to organize their work. This format contains two important factors:

  • In-text citations (Direct and Indirect)
  • References

In-text citations are short quotes from primary and secondary sources with bracketed numbers. Each of the numbers next to the citation recognizes the entire citation arranged in the bibliography at the end. They are called references in APA citation format. This referencing list appears in numerical order.


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IEEE Editorial Style Manual

This manual gives editorial guidance for the IEEE letters, journals, and transactions. It basically outlines:

  • Dividing the sections of a document
  • Citing the tables and figures
  • Using specific grammar rules
  • Capitalization
  • Punctuation
  • Numbers, equations
  • Abbreviations
  • Section headings
  • Footnotes
  • Biographies

How to Cite in IEEE?

As mentioned above, this citation style is used to reference in-text citations and the referencing page at the end. Let us discuss the detailed description of these two elements:

Building an In-Text Citation in IEEE Format

Each reference has an IEEE citation within the main body of a paper. A direct citation includes the original quote. Whereas, an indirect citation involves the paraphrasing of the same idea by another writer.

It is not necessary to contain a writer’s name, quoted pages, and the publication date. Instead, you need to mention the source with the help of numbers.

Moreover, the author needs to insert a number within square brackets each time he adds a citation. It makes it easy for the reader to find the complete reference on the references page.

Keep in mind the following points when you refer to references within the text:

  • A number is inserted in square brackets to indicate the relevant reference. It comes before the punctuation but with a space before the bracket.
  • Each citation is numbered in the same order they appear in the text.
  • The same number is used in all references when the source has been cited.
  • No distinction is made between the printed and electronic references when citing within the text.
  • The reference number must be enclosed in parentheses.
  • The authors should be named.
  • While citing two documents, the number of references should be separated by a comma such as [6,7].
  • in case of citing more than two documents, the numbers must be separated by a dash like [3-4]

Check out the following examples for this type of reference:

Single Reference

… as demonstrated by Smith [10]

.… according to [6], there is little evidence that …

“…end of the line for my research [13].”

Multiple References

… as Jones demonstrates in [2]– [5]

.… as demonstrated earlier [10], [12]– [14], [16].

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

Reference within Reference

… as demonstrated in [2, pp.21-26].

Three or more Authors

Zang et al. [19] found …

Creating a Reference List or Bibliography in IEEE Citation Style

A list of references here is also given at the end of the research paper similar to an MLA format. The main goal of the referencing list is to offer the complete citation for every source used in the in-text citation.

Similarly, it should be arranged in the order of citation in the text and not in alphabetical order. Add them in the numerical sequence. Do not forget to include the numbers in the square brackets at the beginning of every reference. Lastly, footnotes are not included in this section.

Follow the below-mentioned steps to organize the reference list:

    1. The title of the page should be “References” which must be aligned in the center or left at the top of the page.
    2. List the references at the end of the paper in the same order they were cited in the text.
    3. Use n.d. (no date) if no date is available.
    4. Follow the numerical order by listing each reference with the hanging indent.
    5. List the numbers in the square brackets on the left side.
    6. Mention the name of all the authors. Use initials for the first names.
    7. If the location is within the US, mention the city and the state. However, state the country’s name if it is located outside the US.
    8. The beginning words, words after a colon, or proper names are capitalized in articles and book chapter titles. They must also appear in italics and quotation marks.
    9. Online sources are cited by following the standard for a specific source. Add the designation as an online source afterward. For example, (database, URL, or DOI*).
    10. Page ranges are indicated by using pp. Nevertheless, single pages are shown by using p.

IEEE regularly, updates its manual of writing style but three main rules remain stable:

  1. Direct Quotation – Always place the text from another source in quotation marks.
  2. Adding Reference to The Original Source – Summarize and come up with a citation when quoting information from another source.
  3. Data, Findings, Graphics, And Tables – Remember to cite the original work while referring to the data from another source.

Explore the examples of IEEE citation reference page given below for better understanding:

Citing A Book in IEEE Style

[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.

Book chapter

[Ref number] Author’s initials. Author’s Surname, “Title of a chapter in the 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.

Electronic Book

[Ref number] Author’s initials. Author’s Surname. (Year, Month, Day). Book Title (edition) [Type of medium]. Available: URL


[3] W. Zeng, H. Yu, C. Lin. (2013, Dec 19). Multimedia Security Technologies for Digital Rights Management [Online]. Available:

IEEE Journal Citation

[Ref number] Author’s initials. Author’s Surname. (Year, Month). “Title of article.” Journal Title [type of medium]. volume number, issue number, page numbers if given. Available: URL


[5] M. Semilof. (1996, July). “Driving commerce to the web-corporate intranets and the internet: lines blur”. Communication Week [Online]. vol. 6, issue 19. Available:

IEEE Article Citation

1. K. Author, “Title of paper,” in Abbreviated Name of Conf., (location of the conference is optional—City, State, Country), year, pp. xxx-xxx, DOI: xxx.


10. Veruggio, “The EURON robotics roadmap,” in Proc. Humanoids ’06: 6th IEEE-RAS Int. Conf. Humanoid Robots, 2006, pp. 612–617, DOI: 10.1109/ICHR.2006.321337.

Citing A Newspaper Article

[corresponding number] Author. “Article title”. Newspaper title, pp, date.


[5] N. Perpich, “Green groups battle to overturn gas plan,” The Australian, p. 2, Sept. 7, 2010.

Citing A Conference Paper

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


[6] S. Adachi, T. Horio, 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.

IEEE Report Citation

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


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

IEEE Patent Citation

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


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

Citing A Standard

[Reference number] Title of Standard, Standard number, date.


[9] Shunt power capacitors, IEEE standard 18-2012, 2013.

Citing A Thesis/ Dissertation

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


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

IEEE Datasheet Citation

[Ref number] Author’s initials. Authors Surname, “Title of Datasheet,” Part datasheet, Publication date [Latest revision date].


[11] Texas Instruments, “High-speed CMOS logic analogue multiplexers/demultiplexers,” 74HC4051 datasheet, Nov. 1997 [Revised Sept. 2002].

Citing Online Documents

If you are citing online documents like a report, conference paper, standard, patent, or thesis, it follows the same format as the print version.

[Online] after the document title. If there is no specific document title you can place this after the document number (e.g. patent number). At the end of the reference add (Available: URL).


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

IEEE Citation for Website

[Ref number] Author’s initials. Author’s Surname. (Year, Month. Day). Title of web page [Online]. Available: URL


[13] BBC News. (2013, Nov. 11). Microwave signals turned into electrical power [Online]. Available:


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Frequently Asked Questions

Is IEEE the same as Harvard?

No, both of these citation styles are different from each other. Where the Harvard style adds the author’s surname and the date of publication in the parenthesis, the IEEE style is based on a numerical system.

Who uses the IEEE format?

The IEEE format is the official citation and referencing style guide for the students and researchers of engineering and computer science fields.

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