Answered By: Sarah Purcell
Last Updated: Apr 26, 2024     Views: 14021

A PDF is simply the file type - it stands for Portable Document Format. It's the content of the PDF you need to consider for referencing purposes. Journal articles can be downloaded as a PDF file, but these should be referenced using a journal article format in Harvard and other styles. Online reports and documents are often downloaded in PDF too. More often than not, the reference format in Harvard for these documents is simply a webpage:

Author (Year) Title in italics. Available at: web address (Accessed: date of access).


Nursing and Midwifery Council (2018) The code: professional standards of practice and behaviour for nurses, midwives and nursing associates. Available at: (Accessed: 6 March 2024).

If you are unable to locate details like the publication date, try finding the webpage of the site where the PDF can be downloaded. This often gives you further information that you might need, such as date, author, and publisher.