Scribbr – a free alternative

Create a spot-on reference in APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, and other styles

Select a source type:

What is Scribbr?

Scribbr is an educational website providing a number of services, including a plagiarism checker, proofreading, and citation generators. The latter include the Scribbr APA and Scribbr MLA generators, which we would like to consider in more detail.

What are the pros and cons of the Scribbr citation generator?


  • Scribbr allows citing different types of sources;
  • Scribbr offers its citation features for free;
  • Scribbr formats your bibliography page according to the chosen citation style and allows downloading in Microsoft Word;
  • the Scribbr APA generator orders references in accordance with the requirements of the publication manual;
  • the website is adapted to mobile devices.


  • Scribbr offers only two citation styles: MLA and APA;
  • you cannot convert between MLA and APA. Therefore, if you have used the APA generator Scribbr and have added some 30 references, you will have to add them all anew to get your list of works cited in MLA;
  • the APA Scribbr generator and MLA Scribbr generator have significant limitations and do not allow citing sources correctly: for example, you cannot cite correctly a part of a multivolume edition in APA, a journal article without pagination, and many more;
  • you cannot add references for some source types such as preprints or archival documents;
  • you cannot create legal citations adapted to the legislation of your country;
  • the interface is not very user-friendly and can be hard to master;
  • registration is required to have the access to some features: it cannot be done with social networks;
  • the catalogues do not work perfectly: for example, your fields can be filled in with only the authors’ initials, while the full names are given in the source itself;
  • there is no monitoring of errors: if your source’s title is given in the title case in APA, the Scribbr citation generator will not notify you and will not offer you to correct your reference with the sentence case;
  • while Scribbr allows you choosing the language of your bibliography between English, French, and some other languages, you can get automatic and incorrect translation, i.e. your references will be incorrect for a paper to be submitted to a French or another journal (for example, you get the date formatted under the English pattern: ‘2020b, février 7’ instead of the French pattern used in APA: ‘2020b, 7 février’).

How is Grafiati better than Scribbr?

Scribbr is definitely not the worst choice and is more correct and flexible than widely used tools such as Zotero, Mendeley, Citation Machine, and so on. However, it still contains many flaws and limitations.

Grafiati offers more accurate and refined citations, and much more flexibility and control over your bibliography and each individual citation.

The service of Grafiati is built on a custom engine: we do not use any open-source code as Zotero or other similar services and deliver a previously unavailable level of quality to our customers. We take into consideration even the tiniest nuances of each citation style and, which is even more important, we are constantly updating our service with new tools and features to make your bibliographies perfect.

So, why to use Grafiati and not Scribbr?

  • We have the most accurate citations and references: you can cite items of multivolume editions, journal articles from the web, archival documents, preprints from servers such as arXiv, and so on.
  • We allow achieving much greater depth in citations at ease: add custom contributors’ roles instead of just authors, editors, and translators, cite descriptive titles of documents, get correct citations for online sources, and so on.
  • We offer more citation styles in addition to APA and MLA, namely popular international referencing styles such as Chicago (both the ‘author-date’ and ‘notes and bibliography’ systems), Harvard, ISO 690:2010, and so on.
  • You do not need to recreate your bibliography from scratch to change the citation style: just one click, and our bibliography generator will convert all references and citations automatically.
  • Your bibliography can be converted into many languages with the complete adaptation to the traditions of this particular language: date format, abbreviations, punctuation signs, and so on: everything is implemented by our linguists.
  • Our work with catalogues is more precise, namely when retrieving metadata of websites and webpages.
  • In contrast to the Scribbr generators, we offer more control over your bibliography. For example, you can use our word case analyser to automatically correct the spelling of titles in your references in accordance with the requirements of the chosen citation style.
  • We are committed to the best user experience and make our website as easy as possible and the most convenient on any device.

How to use your bibliographic management service?

Visit our homepage, choose the source type you want to cite, and either search in catalogues or add the details manually. Our tips and help messages will guide you through the interface whenever necessary.

You can use our service as a free citation generator, but we also offer paid features at moderate prices to make your journey with Grafiati even more favourable.

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