How To Use PERRLA
A (moving) picture is worth 1,000 words. If you want a quick overview of using PERRLA
software, click here to
watch a short tutorial video.
Downloading the software from our website, installing the software on your computer,
and the activation process are all covered
in other help topics.
The user interface of PERRLA for APA and PERRLA for MLA are so similar that only
one tutorial is needed. Here, we're going to show you how to create an APA formatted
research paper using PERRLA for APA. Believe it or not, using PERRLA software is
so easy that you don't even need to read a user's manual! By following the text
below and reviewing the screen captures, you'll learn the basics in just a few minutes.
Starting PERRLA for APA
Whenever you're ready to write an APA formatted paper, simply double-click the yellow
PERRLA for APA pencil on your computer's desktop.
This launches PERRLA into your computer's memory. (Note that you must double-click
on the yellow PERRLA for APA pencil to start PERRLA. If you launch Microsoft Word
in the usual way - without using the yellow PERRLA pencil - the PERRLA software
will not be loaded inside Microsoft Word so you won't have access to the PERRLA
New Paper or Open Existing Paper?
After PERRLA finishes loading, PERRLA will present you with Welcome tab where you
indicate if you want to start a new paper or open an existing one. Click the "Start
a New APA 6th Edition Paper" button to begin new paper.
If this is the first time you've used PERRLA, you may see a screen prompting you
Entering The Title Of The Paper
Now you will see the screen below with your name and institution already in the
bottom two boxes. Start typing in the first box. As you type the 2nd and 3rd boxes
will fill with the correct information for running head and page header. You can,
of course, change them if you like, but PERRLA is entering the information in strict
Note the helpful information in the left margin of the box. You're going to find
that all the way through PERRLA!
When you are done with this box, you simply click the OK button.
And... voila! Your paper is correctly formatted, your title page is filled-in, and
you're ready to type your paper.
Type Your Paper
Now you're ready to start typing. This is the beauty of PERRLA. Just start a paper,
and then start typing. When you're ready for your first citation, the real magic
begins. On the screen shown below, we've typed a paragraph and then selected the
As you've seen, PERRLA provides Microsoft Word with a new menu named "PERRLA". When
you click on the PERRLA menu, you'll see the list of choices shown below. By far,
the menu choice you'll use the most is the very first one, "Create Citation."
(Note: If you're using Microsoft Word 2007 or 2010, as shown here, you'll click
the Add-Ins menu first, then you'll see the PERRLA menu.)
Create or Edit a Citation
Whether you select Create Citation or Edit References from the APA menu, you'll
see a box like the one below. You'll notice that it lists all your active references
for this paper. Because this is a new paper, there are no references yet to be displayed.
So, at this time, the important button is the one located at the bottom-right that
is labeled New.
When creating a new citation, the first bit of information needed is the reference
type. The Select Reference Type box below makes this easy. Select the type of reference
you wish to enter by double-clicking it. You will notice that most of the reference
types are categories which allow you to "drill down" to select more specific reference
types. For example, if you double-click "Books, Reference Books and Book Chapters",
you'll see that you can select "Books", "Reference Books", or Book Chaperts". If
you then select "Books, ", you'll find that there are five specific book reference
types to handle cases where there is no author, and two additional sub-categories
for translated and republised books, etc.
After selecting the appropriate reference type, in this case, "Book - With Author,"
the PERRLA Reference Wizard will appear, as shown below. You will use this software
"wizard" whenever you create a new reference or edit an existing one. The PERRLA
Reference Wizard will walk you through creating a reference one step at a time.
Note that you are only prompted to enter the information that is required for the
specific reference type you chose.
Helpful information will be displayed on-screen for each step, detailing the information
that is needed to properly format your reference and citation. Note that, using
the Next and Back buttons, you can navigate forward or backwards as you answer each
The first thing the wizard prompts you for is the name of the author(s). When entering
names of authors, you'll be using the PERRLA "Name Maker." Whether you click in
the Author(s)' Names field or click the Name Maker button, the PERRLA Name Maker
will appear. The Name Maker is a great time-saver, and a PERRLA exclusive. Rather
than battle through whether the last name is first, which initials go where, and
where to put the ampersand, PERRLA takes care of that for you.
Here, we've added the names of two authors. After clicking the OK button to indicate
we're finished entering author names, the wizard updates the screen to show the
proper APA formatting.
Clicking the Next button to continue, we're presented with the next step. The wizard
asks for the Year of Publication as shown in the screen below.
After we enter the date, we click the Next button to continue. The next step is
to enter the title. The screen below shows the wizard prompting us for the title.
After entering the title and clicking the Next button, the wizard asks if this book
is an edition. In this case, we're going to click the No button.
On the next screen, the wizard asks if we are using a printed version of the book.
In this case, we're going to click the Yes button. If we had answered No we would
be presented with options related to online resources
After clicking Yes, the wizard asks if this book is an electronic version of the
book (E-Book). In this case, we're going to click the No button.
After answering the wizard questions about the book's edition information, it automatically
moves to the next step, prompting us for the place of publication
After entering the place of publication, we click the Next button and the wizard
prompts us to enter the name of the publisher. After entering the name of the publishing
company and clicking the Next button, the Next button becomes "grayed out" to indicate
that there are no more steps required for this reference. If we want to back and
change information entered in a previous step, we can click the Back button. Otherwise,
we'll click the Finish button to finish entering this reference.
Entering the Citation Location
Okay, we've finished entering this reference, but there's one more thing we have
to do we have to tell the reader where in the publication the cited material can
be found. To this end, PERRLA for APA prompts us for the citation location as shown
in the screen below
Here, we've chosen Page Number from the Quotation Location panel and then typed
"27" to indicate that the material can be found on page 27. When we click OK, we're
The Citation Appears!
The citation will be added to our paper at the point where the cursor is located
in your document. See the screen shown below.
Reference Page Created Automatically!
Very nice! But something else very interesting has happened behind-the-scenes; a
Reference section has been added automatically as the last page of the document!
If we scroll down to look at the last page of our paper, you'll see something that
looks similar to this
The Big Picture
If we "zoom out" to see what's been created so far, you'll see that we have a paper
that consists of a title page, the body of our document, and a reference page all
perfectly formatted to the APA standard!
Wasn't that easy?!
Re-Using Previously Entered References
PERRLA makes it easy to re-use a reference that you've entered previously. You've
always been able to cite a reference multiple times in a single paper. But a feature
found in PERRLA for APA version 5.1.0 and later allows you to access references
that were entered in previous papers.
Re-Using an Existing Reference (from the current paper)
You can re-use a reference you've previously cited in this paper by selecting it
from the list of active references when you click the Create Citation menu choice.
Each time you choose Create Citation from the menu, you will be shown all the active
references for this paper. You can see the reference we added earlier in the screen
To cite this reference again in this paper, simply click on the reference to highlight
it and then click the Select button at the bottom of the form. You won't have to
re-enter the reference information you'll only be prompted for the citation location
By the way, when PERRLA inserts a previously cited reference into the text, it is
smart enough to know the order of that citation within the paper. In APA, that's
important because the first and second citations in a paragraph, and even in the
whole paper, are formatted differently. PERRLA handles it correctly for you PERRLA
takes all the guesswork out of formatting your paper!
Re-Using an Existing Reference (from a previously written paper)
If you look at the previous screen that shows references for this paper, you'll
notice that there is a button on the form labeled "Reference Database." Starting
with PERRLA for APA version 5.1.0, all references are stored in a reference database
on your computer.
By clicking the Reference Database button you are shown a list of all the references
in the database, as shown below. To add any of these previously entered references,
click on the references to highlight the ones(s) you wish to import and then click
the Select button.
After you click the Select button, the references will placed in your current paper.
The screen below shows that the references have been placed in the list of active
references for this paper. Now we can select one of these new references and create
a new citation without having to enter the reference again. This is a great time-saver!
Note: For papers written before PERRLA for APA version 5.1.0, simply open your old
papers using PERRLA and the old references will be automatically imported into the
new reference database! You will then be able to re-use these references in your
By the way, if you scroll down to the end of your document, you'll see that these
imported references were automatically added to the reference section and are correctly
listed in alphabetical order, as required by APA.
So, what has PERRLA done for you?
- Setup your paper in correct APA format.
- Created the title page with the correct information.
- Created and maintained a reference page in correct alphabetical order at the end
of your paper.
- Created and maintained citations throughout your paper.
- It makes writing APA formatted papers a breeze!
Note: This section is in the process of being expanded. Check back over time for