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Using Microsoft Word to Create References and Bibliographies

Microsoft Office Word has a feature that inserts citations into your paper and formats your bibliography. This feature is not a full-fledged bibliographic management system like Zotero, but it will allow you to store bibliographic information, use that information to create in-text citations (or footnotes or endnotes) in your paper, and create a bibliography in a variety of styles.

Please note:

This option is available only in Microsoft Word 2007 and above. Previous versions of Word do not offer it.

Any errors that you make in entering the bibliographic information will be passed into your citations. Watch your spelling and punctuation, and make sure that you have entered the right information in the right places.


These features are located under the References tab in Microsoft Word 2007:

When you use material in a paper that should be cited, click on the Insert Citation button:

Clicking on this button brings up a menu that includes the option of entering information about a source you haven't cited in your paper yet::

Clicking Add New Source will bring up a dialog box where you can enter appropriate information about your source:

Make sure that you select the right Type of source for the source that you're working with, since the fields to be filled in will be different, depending on the kind of source.

When you've finished entering your source information, click OK to save the information about the source. This information can now be used to create in-text citations, bibliographic footnotes and endnotes, and bibliographies and works cited pages.

Creating an in-text citation

You can insert citations as you compose your paper or after you're done writing--the procedure is the same.

Place your cursor in the text of your paper where you want your citation to appear. Then click Insert Citation. A list of all of the sources that you've entered will appear:

Click on the source to insert a citation to that source in the text of the paper:

Some citation styles require that you include a page number, and there may be other things you want to change about this citation. If you mouse over the citation, you will see that it is "live":

Use the dropdown menu to edit the citation:

Note that you can also use the Edit Citation dialog box to suppress the inclusion of the author, the year of publication or the title of the work, if they have appeared in your citation and are unwelcome. When you click OK, your citation will be modified accordingly:

Managing citations

Word keeps all the information about your sources that you've entered, a handy feature if you write several papers that cite some of the same sources. If you're starting a new paper that will use some of the same sources, click on the Manage Sources button:

You will be presented with a list of all the sources whose information you have entered:

You can then copy sources from the Master list to the Current list.

These sources will now be available for you to cite in the new paper.

Creating a bibliography or works cited page

If you have all the information about all of your sources entered, you can create a bibliography or works cited page at the end of your paper. You can also create a standalone bibliography. Simply place your cursor where you want the bibliography or works cited page to begin, and click the Bibliography button:

Mouse over your preference (Bibliography or Works Cited) and click Insert Bibliography. Your bibliography will appear:

Please note that you may have to change the format of the title of the works cited page or bibliography; Microsoft does not use a standard heading for these headings.A true works cited page lists only the items you have actually cited. In order to make changes in your bibliography or works cited, you will have to convert your works cited to static text and then edit them. To convert your formatted text to static text, click on the icon at the top left of your bibliography:

Select the option you want.

Changing the style

What if you think that you have finished your paper, only to look at your professor's instructions for format and discover that you have completed your paper in the wrong style? Click on the dropdown menu that lists the possible styles you can use:

Select the style that your professor requires, and click. Your entire paper--citations and bibliography--will be reformatted in the chosen style.

Need Further Assistance?

You can contact the Reference Desk through the live chat service or by phone at 227-2294.


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