Add citations in a Word document

In Word, you can easily add citations when writing a document where you need to cite your sources, such as a research paper. Citations can be added in various formats, including APA, Chicago-style, GOST, IEEE, ISO 690, and MLA. Afterwards, you can create a bibliography of the sources you used to write your paper.

To add a citation to your document, you first add the source that you used.

Add a new citation and source to a document

  1. On the References tab, in the Citations & Bibliography group, click the arrow next to Style and click the style that you want to use for the citation and source. For example, social sciences documents usually use the MLA or APA styles for citations and sources.

    The Style APA option is highlighted on the References tab

  2. Click at the end of the sentence or phrase that you want to cite.

  3. On the Reference tab, click Insert Citation and then do one of the following:

    • To add the source information, click Add New Source, and then, in the Create Source dialog box, click the arrow next to Type of Source, and select the type of source you want to use (for example, a book section or a website).

    • To add a placeholder, so that you can create a citation and fill in the source information later, click Add New Placeholder. A question mark appears next to placeholder sources in Source Manager.

  4. If you chose to add a source, enter the details for the source. To add more information about a source, click the Show All Bibliography Fields check box.

  5. Click OK when finished. The source is added as a citation at the place you selected in your document.

When you've completed these steps, the citation is added to the list of available citations. The next time you quote this reference, you don't have to type it all out again. You just add the citation to your document. After you've added a source, you may find you need to make changes to it at a later time. To do this, see Edit a source.

Notes: 

  • If you've added a placeholder and want to replace it with citation information, see Edit a source.

  • If you choose a GOST or ISO 690 style for your sources and a citation is not unique, append an alphabetic character to the year. For example, a citation would appear as [Pasteur, 1848a].

  • If you choose ISO 690-Numerical Reference and your citations still don't appear consecutively, you must click the ISO 690 style again, and then press ENTER to correctly order the citations.

Add citations to your document

  1. Click at the end of the sentence or phrase that you want to cite, and then on the References tab, in the Citations & Bibliography group, click Insert Citations.

  2. From the list of citations under Insert Citation, select the citation you want to use.

    The list of citations is shown from the Insert Citation button

Find a source

The list of sources that you use can become quite long. At times, you might need to search for a source that you cited in another document.

  1. On the References tab, in the Citations & Bibliography group, click Manage Sources.

    The Manage Sources option is highlighted on the References tab

    If you open a new document that does not yet contain citations, all of the sources that you used in previous documents appear under Master List.

    If you open a document that includes citations, the sources for those citations appear under Current List. All the sources that you have cited, either in previous documents or in the current document, appear under Master List.

  2. To find a specific source, do one of the following:

    • In the sorting box, sort by author, title, citation tag name, or year, and then look for the source that you want in the resulting list.

    • In the Search box, type the title or author for the source that you want to find. The list dynamically narrows to match your search term.

Note: You can click the Browse button in Source Manager to select another master list from which you can import new sources into your document. For example, you might connect to a file on a shared server, on a research colleague's computer or server, or on a Web site that is hosted by a university or research institution.

Edit a source

  1. On the References tab, in the Citations & Bibliography group, click Manage Sources.

    The Manage Sources option is highlighted on the References tab

  2. In the Source Manager dialog box, under Master List or Current List, select the source you want to edit, and then click Edit.

    Note: To edit a placeholder to add citation information, select the placeholder from Current List and click Edit.

  3. In the Edit Source dialog box, make the changes you want and click OK.

    Edit Source dialog box

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