The IEEE reference format is a commonly accepted style for writing, formatting, and citing research papers. The format was created on the basis of the Chicago Manual of Style and is widely used by students and researchers in Computer Science and relevant technical fields. This comprehensive guide will be very useful for any student or young professional who is dedicated to this field. So, if that’s your specialty, we recommend that you read this article instead of studying the full edition of the latest IEEE manual of style, to save a lot of time and get the idea of how to create an IEEE document with ease.

What does the acronym IEEE mean?

The ieee stands for Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. It is a professional association of electrical engineering and associated disciplines. It was formed in 1963 from two American establishments: the Institute of Radio Engineers and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers.

As the largest association of technical professionals in the world, the IEEE sets the bar for aspiring specialists and technical researchers. To outline the rules for writing and organizing academic work in the relevant fields, the IEEE has established its own writing style manual.

Fundamental elements of the IEEE Standards

The IEEE style consists of two fundamental elements:

  • In-text quotations (direct and indirect)
  • References (works cited in MLA format)

In-text citations are short citations taken from primary or secondary sources. In citations within ieee text, they are numbered in square brackets. Each issue next to its corresponding citation identifies the complete citation that appears in the References section in numerical order (commonly referred to as the List of Cited Works or bibliography page in other formats). In the APA citation format they call it References.

Why is citation important for your academic performance?

Compiling the sources for an academic paper and then citing them can be quite slow and tedious. Many students find the citation process too complicated and often overlook its importance.

So why is it vital to cite sources for your academic performance? First, citing outside sources helps students demonstrate to their professors that they have invested time and effort in researching the topic at hand. In addition, this process has other purposes:

1. Provide credibility

The main reasons to use information from external sources are either to supplement the content of your work with relevant data, or to provide a different view/opinion on the topic presented. In both cases, it means adding credibility to your own work, making it seem more reliable and complete, and establishing yourself as an authorized author.

2. Ensure academic integrity and uniqueness

By not giving credence to other people’s work when it is relevant, academic integrity is lost and one’s academic achievements are misrepresented. At the same time, you put at risk the uniqueness of your work, since the simple fact of using external resources without citing them is usually considered plagiarism. Both issues can lead to a low grade, the failure of the task or even expulsion.

In addition, the IEEE has a special definition of plagiarism. The organization considers it to be the use of someone else’s ideas, opinions, research results, or words, without recognizing the original writer and source. Plagiarism is a serious infringement of professional conduct. It has serious ethical and legal consequences in most situations.

3. Recognize the work of other specialists

The main purpose of citing sources is to give credence to the work of others, whenever relevant. By creating each citation, you recognize the work, time, and effort someone else has put into your research.

4. Contribute to future research

Finally, the last reason that demonstrates the importance of citations is the fact that, by giving accurate credit to the work of others, you are contributing to your own further research and also helping other researchers locate the relevant sources you have easily cited.

In short, we must bear in mind that the format has a weight of between 10 and 15% of the final grade of a work. For this and other reasons, it’s fair to say that students can’t count on the best grade if they don’t correctly cite their sources.

Basic formats

The IEEE standard format contains the following sections in the same order:

  • Title page (includes article title, heading, affiliation, and first footnote)
  • Summary: should have a paragraph (preferably between 150 and 250 words)
  • Index terms
  • Naming (optional)
  • introduction
  • Article body
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix(s)
  • Thanks
  • Bibliographic references
  • Photos and biographies

Basic Rules

to write a paper in ieee style students must follow the following basic rules

  • Job title – placed on the first page, centered at the top and with a font size of 24pt.
  • Title – placed below the job title after a line break, centered, with a font size of 10pt. The heading must include the following information (each point must be on a separate line)
    1. Author’s name
    2. Author affiliation(s)
    3. City and country of residence
    4. Email address(s).
  • Main body – all written in 10pt font size, the text should appear in two columns on the page. The columns on the last page must be the same length, which means that the author may have to add a column break.
  • The work should start with the summary and terms of the index.
  • Depending on the topic and context, jobs may include additional sections such as
    1. Thanks
    2. Appendices
    3. Note to professionals
    4. nomenclature
  • The main body of the document can be divided into relevant sections and subsections. Each section and subsection should have a title formatted according to the rules specified later in this guide.
  • All tables, equations, and figures must be numbered in consecutive order and centered on the column.
  • IEEE articles should begin with a capital letter two lines deep, followed by the following 8-12 characters or 1-2 words (as appropriate) in uppercase.

Parts of a document

  • Headings:
    The IEEE format suggests that authors of articles use four levels of hierarchy for the titles of sections of the text:

Title type:

Suggested format:
Centered, listed with Roman numerals, followed by a period. The first letter has a font size of 10pt., the rest must be 8pt., all in uppercase


    1. introduction

Type of heading:

Suggested format:
Flush with left, listed with uppercase letters, followed by a period, uppercase and lowercase, italic, letter size 10pt.


    1. Formal framework

Type of heading:

Suggested format:
Indentation enumerated by Arabic numerals followed by a parenthesis, delves into the text of its sections, uppercase and lowercase, italics, and followed by a colon. All this with a font size of 10pt., as well as all the text of the main body


1) Sophisticated local control:
The term sophisticated local control refers to…

Type of heading:

Suggested format:
Same as tertiary, with the following exceptions: indentation of two ems, enumeration by lowercase letters, and only requires capitalization of the first letter of the heading


    1. a) Communication policies:
      Communication policies are developed to…


Enumeration of section titles is preferable, but not mandatory: the author can use his preference. However, the format chosen must be followed consistently throughout the document.

In addition to the section headings, there are the appendix, reference and acknowledgement headings, whose format is different:


Headings of appendices

The main heading(s) of the appendix or appendices of the work must be in the standard format. Authors can use Roman letters or numbers to list the titles of appendices (for example, Appendix A or Appendix I), but note that they must not be preceded by a Roman numeral. In the event that you have only one Appendix in the work, its heading is unnamed and unnumbered.

Reference and thank you titles:
They must be formatted in the same format as the main titles. However, they should never be labeled or listed.

First footnote

The first footnote to the article is unnumbered (although all of the following must be numbered consecutively) and must consist of three paragraphs:

The first part must specify the receipt and review (optional) dates of the item. When there is more than one revised date, they should be listed all.

The next paragraph consists of the affiliations of the authors. If there are two or more authors with different affiliations, use separate sentences and paragraphs for each author, specifying all initials with the last name. Authors with the same affiliation should be grouped; it should list the affiliations according to the order of the authors in the heading.

The last paragraph of the first footnote must specify the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, assigned by the IEEE.


Manuscript received on April 27, 2018; revised September 18, 2018; accepted on 25 July 2018. Publication date August 15, 2013; date of the current version September 9, 2018. This work was supported by a grant from the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research, CNCS UEFISCDI, under the project PN-II-ID-BXE-4016-3-0566. (Corresponding author: John Smith.)

The authors work at the National Institute of Lasers, Plasma and Radiation Physics, Laboratory of Plasma Physics and Nuclear Fusion, 077125 Bucharest-Magurele, Romania (email:;;

Color versions of one or more of the figures are available online at http:// (NOTE: Only used with printed publications).

Digital Object ID 10.1109/JDT.2013.2278036


If it is necessary to specify any financial support for the work, it should be listed in the first paragraph instead of the thank you section.


This work was supported by the National Science Foundation under grant 90210 and grant ECS-12345.

Body of work

  • summary

The IEEE format requires authors to include a Summary in each paper. The summary should follow the document title page and appear in bold text. It has to be concise and should not include numbered references or mathematical equations.

  • Index terms

Authors should also indicate the terms of the index in their IEEE documents. The terms in the index should also appear in bold, in alphabetical order, and located within the summary as its final paragraphs. Acronyms should only be defined in this section if they have already been defined in the article itself.

Authors can request a list of keywords by sending a blank email to keywords [at]

  • Text equations

When placing equations within the main body of work, they must be numbered in inconsequential order from the beginning of the work to its end. In some works, it is allowed to use the author’s own numbering system, for example, section numbering, for example, (1.1), (1.2.1), (A1).

  • Thanks

The acknowledgements section should always go at the end of the text, after the appendices and before the references section. It must be written in the third person.

If you have to mention names in the acknowledgements section, do not use full and honorary names such as Mr., Ms., Miss and Mrs. Instead, indicate only the first initials followed by a surname. You can still use titles like Prof. and Dr., but only in the singular, placing it separately next to each name.

DO NOT include information about any financial support in the acknowledgements section, place it in the first paragraph of the first footnote.

  • Bibliographic references

In the works under the IEEE Standards, all references must be numbered and there must be a separate entry for each number. It is not allowed to use the same reference number of an IEEE citation group.

  • Textual citation of figures and tables

The IEEE citation format for figures and tables requires a numerical order to be followed. Citations of figures located within the work should always be labeled with the abbreviation “Fig.” followed by the corresponding figure number. Authors of papers should use this abbreviation even if it has to be put at the beginning of a sentence.

  • biographies

IEEE Transactions requires that biographies of authors be included. As a general rule, biographies should be divided into three paragraphs:

First paragraph – must begin with the full name of the author and the history of his membership in the IEEE. It may also contain the date and/or place of birth (if provided by the author). Next, it is essential to specify the academic background of the author. Enter the main area of study in lowercase, always put the word “title” after a specific title, and specify the years in which the degrees were obtained. To specify the titles, you can use the following abbreviations: Dipl.Ing., Diplom-Physiker, Dr. ing., Dr. Phil., Dr. Eng., B.S., S.B., B.A., A.B., B.Sc. (Hons.), B.S.E., B.E.E., M.Eng., M.S.(tech.), M.S.E.E., M.S.E.

Second paragraph:
it should contain information about the author’s work and his military experience (if any); all job titles must be capitalized. When mentioning your current work, your location should be specified, but this is not mandatory for previous experiences. Below the list of experiences, the author’s affiliations to non-IEEE journals should be mentioned, as well as current and former fields of interest.

Third paragraph:
it should begin with the author’s title and surname (e.g. Dr. Mitchell, Mr. Black, Prof. Smith, etc.). You should then list information about the author’s membership in professional societies (except the IEEE), as well as his status as a professional engineer (if he is). The paragraph should end with a list of the author’s awards, publications, and works for IEEE committees. If the author’s biography is not available, you must use a squib to do so.


Frank J. Author (S’xx-M’xx), photograph and biography not available at the time of publication.

  • Footnotes

A footnote is any additional information, explanation, or comment related to the main text at the bottom of the page. All footnotes within the IEEE-formatted document must be numbered and followed in consecutive order within the body of the document. Numbers, both in text and footnotes, must be marked with superscripts. Within the body of work, the numbers of superscript footnotes should always be placed after punctuation marks, such as parentheses, commas, and periods. However, if the phrase is compounded, the numbers must be placed before punctuation marks, such as semicolons, hyphens, colons, and quotation marks. Footnotes should be placed at the bottom of the page where the cited information is located.

  • Lists in the text

All lists within IEEE-style documents must be formatterized according to the following labeling order: 1), 2), 3) followed by (a), (b), (c), and then (i), (ii), (iii).


According to the IEEE Computer Society, the most crucial areas of computer science are: 1) algorithms and data structures; 2) theory of computation; (3) computer elements and architecture; and 4) programming methodology and languages.

How to cite references

As already mentioned, each reference has its corresponding IEEE citation within the main body of the essay or research paper. Each time a writer adds a citation, they must insert a number in square brackets. Each citation must then be assigned a full reference on the References page. The relevant citations within the text and on the references page must correspond to each other by numbers so that the full reference can be found. The references page should be on its own separate page from the job.

Each complete IEEE reference should include all the bibliographic information necessary to help the reader find more details about its topic. The elements of a reference in IEEE format are:

  • A number corresponding to the citation in the text
  • The author’s surname and initials
  • The full title of the work
  • Publication place
  • The date of publication
  • Some smaller details such as page number, number, or volume (if available)

Now that you know the basic rules of citations, let’s look at some examples of citations in IEEE format to help you understand how to make a reference page:

Digital documents


[número correspondiente] Author. (year, month and day of publication). Title of the book. (edit). [Tipo de soporte]. Vol. (number). Available: http:// website [fecha de acceso] URL.


[6] S. Calmer. (1999, June 1). Engineering and art. (2nd edition). [En línea]. 27(3). Available: http:// website URL [21 de mayo de 2003] .

Quote from IEEE website

[número correspondiente] website. “Title”. Available: Full URL, update date, [Accessed: date].


[7] “Social media reaches nearly one in four worldwide.” Available: Website URL http://, January 25, 2014. [Retrieved: 23 June 2014].


[número correspondiente] Author’s initial. Author’s last name, “Title”, Title of publication, Year of publication. [En línea]. Available: http:// website URL. [Consulted: date].


[8] R. Robertson. “Leadership at the Bottom of the Earth… Where No One Hears You Scream”, Sir Walter Murdoch Lecture, 2010. [Podcast]. Available: http:// website URL. [Retrieved: 5 August 2010].

Printed references
Book: Sole Author
[número correspondiente] Author. Title of the book. Place: Editorial, year, pp.


[1] W.-K. Chen. Linear Networks and Systems. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1993, pp. 123–135.

Book: Two or more authors

[número correspondiente] Author, Author and Author. Title of the book. Place: Editorial, year, pp.


[2] U. J. Gelinas, Jr., S. G. Sutton and J. Fedorowicz. Business Processes and Information Technology. Cincinnati: South-Western/Thomson Learning, 2004, pp. 98–100.

Book: No Author

[número correspondiente] Title of the book. Location: Editorial, year, pp.


[3] The Oxford Dictionary of Computing, 5th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003, pp.13-23.

Article in a journal

[número correspondiente] Author. “Title of the article. Magazine title, volume, pages, date.


  • Pevere. “Infrared Nation”. The International Journal of Infrared Design, vol. 33, pp. 56-99, January 1979.
Newspaper article

[4] Author. “Title of the article. Newspaper title, pp, date.


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

Note: If you can’t find certain information about the source, excum it.

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IEEE Standards

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