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How to Add a Citation in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Author: Zhoumandy Last Modified: 2024-06-07

Microsoft Word is not only a powerful tool for document creation but also an invaluable ally for students and professionals who need to manage citations and bibliographies efficiently. Whether you are writing an academic paper or compiling a detailed report, properly citing sources is crucial. This guide provides clear, step-by-step instructions on how to manage citations in Word, including how to add new sources, use existing ones, insert placeholders, edit sources, and finally, compile a comprehensive bibliography.


Add a Citation for a New Source in Word

Adding citations from new sources in Microsoft Word is essential for supporting your arguments and maintaining academic integrity. The References tab in Word simplifies this process, allowing you to input and store source details efficiently. Here’s how you can add a new citation:

Step 1: Select a citation style

Open your document in Word, navigate to the References tab, click the arrow next to Style, and choose your desired citation style from the drop-down menu in the Citations & Bibliography group.


Tip: For example, documents in the social sciences typically use MLA or APA styles for citations and referencing.
Step 2: Add a new source
  1. Click at the end of the sentence or phrase that you want to cite.
  2. Still on the Reference tab, click Insert Citation > Add New Source.
Step 3: Fill in the source information
  1. In the Create Source dialog box, select the Type of source (e.g., book, journal article, website) from the dropdown menu at the top of the dialog box.
  2. Fill in the necessary fields such as author, title, year, publisher, etc.
  3. Click OK.

  4. Tip: To include additional details about a source, select the "Show All Bibliography Fields" checkbox.
Result

The citation is now inserted into your document at the location of your cursor.

Note: Once you complete these steps, the citation is added to your list of available citations. The next time you reference this source, you won’t need to re-enter all the details; simply Add a citation for an existing source in Word . If you need to modify any information in the source later on, you can choose to Edit a Source in Word .

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    Add a Citation for an Existing Source in Word

    Reusing sources within your document? Word makes it easy to cite an existing source multiple times, ensuring consistency and saving time. Here's a quick guide to adding a citation from previously used sources:

    1. Place your cursor where the citation is needed.
    2. Go to the Reference tab and click Insert Citation. You can see all previously entered sources will be listed in the drop-down menu.
    3. Select the one you wish to cite from the menu.
    Result

    You can see the citation is added to the current location in your document.


    Insert a Citation Placeholder for Future Usage in Word

    If you need to insert citations but lack complete source details, Word's placeholder feature is invaluable. This allows you to keep drafting without interruption and come back to finalize citations later. Follow these steps to insert a placeholder:

    Step 1: Select a citation style

    Open your document in Word, navigate to the References tab, click the arrow next to Style, and choose your desired citation style from the drop-down menu in the Citations & Bibliography group.


    Tip: For example, documents in the social sciences typically use MLA or APA styles for citations and referencing.
    Step 2: Add a new placeholder
    1. Click at the end of the sentence or phrase that you want to cite.
    2. Still on the Reference tab, click Insert Citation > Add New Placeholder.
    3. In the Placeholder Name dialog box, type the name of the placeholder in the textbox. Click OK.
    Result

    Now the placeholder is successfully at the place you want to cite.

    Note: After the placeholder is inserted, you can create a citation and fill in the source information later. To do this, see Edit a Source in Word.

    Edit a Source in Word

    Need to update source information? Word allows you to edit source details easily, which automatically updates all associated citations throughout your document. Here’s how you can edit a source:

    Step 1: Access Manage Sources

    Go to the References tab, in the Citations & Bibliography group, click Manage Sources.

    Step 2: Select the existing source or a placeholder source to edit

    In the Source Manager dialog box, please do as follows:

    • To edit the existing source, select the existing source you want to edit under Master List or Current List, then click Edit.
    • To edit a placeholder to add citation information, select the placeholder from Current List and click Edit.
    Step 3: Edit the source details and save Changes
    1. In the Edit Source dialog box, make the changes you want and click OK.
    2. Close the Source Manager dialog as needed.
    Note: To quickly edit an existing source or a placeholder source inserted in the document, you can also right-click on the citation, and select Edit Source from the drop-down menu.

    Add a Bibliography in Word

    Compiling a bibliography is the final step in managing citations. Word automates this process, generating a formatted bibliography from your cited sources. Here’s how to add a bibliography efficiently:

    1. Position your cursor in the document where you want the bibliography to appear, usually at the end of the document.
    2. Go to the References tab and Click Bibliography. This will display a gallery with various bibliography styles, each with different titles.
    3. Select one of the styles from the gallery.
    Result

    Word will automatically generate a bibliography based on the citations in your document.

    Note: To include a new source in your bibliography, click anywhere within the bibliography section and select Update Citations and Bibliography.

    By following these steps, you can efficiently manage citations and bibliographies in Microsoft Word, ensuring that your documents are well-organized and professionally formatted. Whether you’re a student, researcher, or professional, mastering these tools within Word will enhance your writing process and help maintain the integrity of your work. For more Word tips and tricks, please click here to access our extensive collection of hundreds of tutorials.

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