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How to Cite a PowerPoint in Harvard Style?

Published by at August 30th, 2021 , Revised On August 23, 2023


A PowerPoint is a .ppt extension file that is mostly used to prepare lecture presentations. Both teachers and students use it. Citing a PowerPoint is different from citing an online book or a PDF file in Harvard referencing.

Some institutions require students to cite and reference their (the students’) lecturers’ presentations. But some don’t. It should be checked with one’s institution first whether citing and referencing a PowerPoint presentation is even required or not.


In-Text Citation and Reference Formats with Examples

Citing and referencing Unpublished PowerPoint Files

If a student’s own lecturer course notes or PowerPoint slides are being sources in a text, they will most probably not be published or accessible online for readers. Format for citing and referencing such PowerPoint material in Harvard style is:

In-text citation: (Author Surname Year) OR (Author Surname Year: powerpoint presentation)

Reference list entry: Author’s Surname, Initial(s). Year. ‘Title.’ [PowerPoint presentation] Date. Institution name, Place of institution.

Note: Since the title of the PowerPoint file is written in single quotes within the reference list entry, it is NOT italicised.

For example:

In-text citation: Dlamini (2006) … OR

…. (Dlamin, 2006) OR

“…..” (Dlamini, 2006: PowerPoint presentation)

Reference list entry: Dlamini, N. 2006. ‘E-commerce trends in retail in South Africa.’ [PowerPoint Presentation] 4 November. Business Solutions Inc., Midrand.


Citing and referencing Published PowerPoint Files

The general Harvard format for citing and referencing PowerPoint slides that are accessible online is:

In-text citation:

Reference list entry: Author’s Surname, Initial(s). Year. ‘Title.’ [PowerPoint presentation] Date. Institution name, Place of the institution.


Author’s Surname, Initial(s). Year. Title in italics, [PowerPoint presentation] Date. Institution Name. Place of Institution. Date Accessed.

Note: Harvard contains the above two, slightly different reference list formats for PowerPoint files. Whichever needs are used depends on one’s host institution referencing guidelines and which format it has specified.

It should also be noted here that while referencing published PowerPoint files in Harvard style, the title of the file since it is not in single quotes, will be italicised.

For example:

In-text citation: (Bloggs 2016: powerpoint presentation) OR Bloggs (2016)

Reference list entry: Bloggs, J. (2016) Research Skills [PowerPoint presentation to BBS Year 4] WD096: Communication skills, Waterford Institute of Technology. 3 May.

Lastly, the phrase ‘PowerPoint Presentation’ is only mentioned when the entire in-text citation is within (). Otherwise, in the case of narrative in-text citations (for example, Bloggs (2016 mentions…), the phrase is left out.


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Frequently Asked Questions

To cite a PowerPoint in Harvard Style: Include the presenter’s last name, initials. (Year). Title of presentation [PowerPoint presentation]. Name of course or event, Institution. URL (if accessed online).

About Alaxendra Bets

Avatar for Alaxendra BetsBets earned her degree in English Literature in 2014. Since then, she's been a dedicated editor and writer at ResearchProspect, passionate about assisting students in their learning journey.