Can You Cite a Powerpoint Presentation in an Essay?


Going through your education and rising through the different levels from primary school all the way to university takes decades. Usually, people spend about 15 or so years educating themselves, exploring and learning both about the things that interest them and those that do not.

Across multiple schools, courses, and other programs there is a lot of syllabus that demands from the students to do all sorts of tasks. Some of them are carried out in class, some involve painstaking research that is to then be presented to the teacher and the class. Of course, homework, seminar papers, and writing assignments are to be done at home as work you do yourself in order to test your limits, learn how well you handle yourself with the stuff you now know, and how good you are in the field already.

Doing Stuff at Home

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Of course, nobody wants to have a lot of stuff to do at home, not in primary or high school and definitely not later in college and beyond. Spending hours of your day at the university and listening to classes is tiring enough, and who can forget about all the studying and preparation you have to do before a test or an exam? Still though, the many pre-exam obligations are important because the credit from them goes towards the final grade.

Besides, it is easier to do it in the form of many smaller parts as opposed to having to study the entire semester for every test. The model is fine, but some of those little parts can be more difficult to deal with and pass than the end tests.

The Dreaded Writing Assignment

Now, speaking of assignments you do at home, usually the worst thing for every student is the essay, the writing assignment that students of all age predominantly hate. The reasons for this are many, but they mostly revolve around the fact that you must first read and research a topic for a while before you have all the necessary info and understanding of the subject matter.

Essays are given out to students to assess their critical thinking, to make them view problems from different sides, and to make them think about things and form opinions on topics they never had to before. All of this combined with the numerous citations and sources that need to be present at the end make up for a daunting, boring task that rarely any student likes.

The Citation Hell

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The reason why citations are so troublesome is not so simple. It is not even a single reason either. First of all, there are many citation styles and you have to know the rules for the one using. Sometimes, the teacher asks for a specific style but usually you are allowed to pick any one you like. Each style has a different citation pattern depending on the type of document you used in your essay.

A book does differ from an internet article. A magazine is different to, as is any other type of media. Many students get lost in the citations and simply give up, losing valuable credit on something that is mechanical and that has a strict pattern. Perhaps the biggest issue is what can be cited and what never counts as a real citation.

What about PowerPoint presentations for example? Are they academic enough and worthy of being a source for an essay? In the following paragraphs we talk PowerPoint presentations and whether or not once can cite them in an essay. For more on this, make sure to check out

It is Possible and Easy to Do

First of all, to answer the titular question of the article, yes, you absolutely can use and therefore cite a presentation made with Microsoft Office PowerPoint in your essay. It is more and more common these days as more and more people from academia as well as students aspiring to become them use PowerPoint for more than just accompanying tools for their in-class presenting. Referencing a presentation is typically done with the ever popular APA Style.

The most important thing is that you have to include the name of the author, or rather the person who presented the original PowerPoint. Then come the date of the presenting, the title which needs to be italicized, the number of slides placed in square brackets, the name of the department and the university, and finally the URL link to the presentation itself. All of these are crucial when citing a presentation work using the APA Style.

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The APA format for a PowerPoint then looks like this: Author’s last name name, Initials. (Year, Month, Day). Title of the PowerPoint Presentation [PowerPoint slides]. Department Name, University Name. URL.
This is simple enough, but it works best with an actual example, so here is an APA reference entry of a made-up presentation just so you can get a better idea of what it needs to look like.

Jordan, M. (1996). How to play the best season in the NBA (National Basketball Association) ever [15]. College of Basketball, University of Chicago. Citing it in the text is also plain and simple and only consists of the last name and the year, for example (Jordan, 1996).

Other citation styles like Harvard, Chicago/Turabian, and MLA, is also rather straightforward and almost identical to how other types of work are cited. Presentations are a useful medium and a very common means of achieving academic work. Naturally, they have their own sub-section when it comes to how they need to be cited in essays regardless of how serious the assignment is and at what level of education it is present.

Worry not the next time you have an essay that needs completion by the end of the week. Scour the internet for valuable sources and do not panic if those happen to be presentations in PowerPoint. Now you have all the info you need to make it happen and for your References and Citations page to properly state everything that you have used.