How to Properly Break Long Web Addresses (URLs) in APA References Lists

StumpedSo this is something that we all inevitably run into. You add a citation of an electronic source into your references list. When you add in the url, it leaves a huge white gap on the line above it.  An example might look like this:

Smith, J. A. (2012). The art and science of growing apples in New Jersey. Apple Growers
Max Web site. Retrieved from

That’s a completely made up web site and reference just for this example. But basically we have a large space after the word from that we want to fill in. The video below shows you how to do this in detail, but the basic three guidelines are

  1. Fill up as much of theline as you can.
  2. Break the URL (Web address) before a punctuation mark (e.g., a slash, hyphen, period).
  3. Use Shift + Enter instead of just Enter to break the URL to preserve the clickable hyperlink (only really important if you want to preserve the link, for instance if your document will be published online).

This strategy not only works for the references list, but also if you cite a general web page in your text and get a large white gap, you can apply the same approach here to avoid the ugly gap and still preserve your link.

Here is the video walk through with an example:


That’s it. Hope that was helpful and good luck splitting your URLs!

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Rocky Citro

Hi, my name is Rocky, and I am a technical academic editor with over a decade experience editing for professors and graduate students in prestigious universities. I have also taught writing at the graduate and undergraduate level and have several years' TEFL teaching experience.