Automate Citation and Reference Listing in Word Document

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One of the important study skills students need to develop early when studying in a higher learning institution like the universities, colleges, teachers colleges and etc, is to correctly cite data sources and create that bibliography or reference listing at the end of a piece of academic work. Whether it is project report, essay, research, citation is crucial. In most cases, any written piece of work without proper citation is often categorized as plagiarized work. At masters or doctorate level of study, entire chapter(s) is required as literature review. Literature review, is simply reading and compiling sources of existing literature on the topic being studied.

Easy To Plagiarize Using Internet.

As internet access becoming widely available via mobile devices, it is so much easy for students to fall into the trap of plagiarism. Simply copy from websites and paste information with few modifications and submitting as his/her original work. Plagiarized work by students is a worldwide issue for academics to deal with. Academic institutions have stringent measures to deal with it. Particularly in the developed countries. In the developing countries, like Papua New Guinea, it is still an issue that needs serious consideration in the academia space.

Using A Reference Management Software

The ideal option for any student to manage his/her data source information for citation and referencing is to use a reference management software. Some of the popular referencing software includes, Endnote, RefWorks.  There are also some free ones. Full comparison of Reference Managers is available at this link.

References And Citation Management With Microsoft Word

The most widely available or used software Microsoft Word. Almost all students will use Word one way or the other. With Microsoft Office 2016 version, has improved References and Citation functionalities so anyone using it can manage data sources quite easily and cite them in their documents. This is a function all students should utilize. Her is how to do it.

Record Your Data Source with Word.

Your data sources can originate from multiple sources. For example, books, websites, reports, interviews, performances, journals and host of others. So, it is important to have your laptop or tablet with you as you do your research so that you can start recording your data source into Word as you come across.

Step 1: Create A New Document

  1. Create a New word document by File==>New and then click on Blank Document. Alternatively, press Ctrl + N (press both keys same time) on your keyboard.
  2. Click File==>Save or Alternatively press Ctrl + S keys on the keyboard to save it. Give a decent file name, like reference list. This document can be your actual essay or assignment paper you are writing. Otherwise, leave this blank and just compile the data sources only.
  3. Click References tab on the Word Ribbon and under Citation & Bibliography command group, click on Manage Sources. See image below).

5.   From the Source Manager dialog box, click New command in the middle. This will show the Create Source dialog box. This is where          you fill in your data source information.

6:    From the Source Type drop-down list, select the source type you want to record, and then the fields list will automatically change.            Note : that Word will show only the required fields. If you want show more fields, click the Show All bibliography fields.

Every time, you want to record a new source, repeat steps 3-4 above.  Note, remember you are recording the sources only. Actual notes/information should be kept in any word file, notebook, photocopied, highlighted book or etc.

Step 2: Do The Write Up And Insert Citation In Word

Once you have compiled your sources and notes, then it’s time to write up your essay, assignment, project, report or whatever your academic paper you are working on. Where ever in the document you want to cite something, you can easily insert it because you have already compiled them using Source Manager.

  1. Place the cursor where you want to insert the citation.
  2. Click References tab from the Ribbon and under Citations & Bibliography command group, click Manage Source.
  3. From the Source Manager dialog box, select the wanted source from the Master List, and click Copy button in the middle. This will make a copy of the source to the Current List on the right. If your source list is long, you can do a search typing in the source name in the Search box at the top. Click Close.
  4. Click on Insert Citation. The drop down list will display all the sources you have listed under your current listing. Click the need source and Word will insert the citation for you. Note: If it’s a new source, you haven’t recorded it before, you can click Add New Source from the list and record is straight. Word will insert the citation and also add it to the Master list. This is good if you are citing as you write.

Step 3: Insert A Bibliography Or References In Word

Now that you have inserted your citations, the final step is to insert the automated bibliography or references list at the bottom of your document.

  1. Click on Bibliography button and from the drop-down list, select Bibliography, References, or Works Cited. Word will automatically in the listing for you
  2. Make you specify the right citation Style from list, under the Style list. See your school department for their recommended citation style and then select accordingly.

Step 4: Updating The Bibliography Or References List In Word.

Once the list is inserted, you can continue to edit and insert new citations as you progress in your writing and update the list automatically.

  1. Click on the Bibliography or Reference listing at the bottom.
  2. The entire list will be highlighted and at the top list the Update button will be displayed. Click on it (See image below). Word will automatically update it for you.

Final Note:

Inserting References is just one part of the whole write up process. The other two important ones are to Insert Page Break and Table of Contents.  Inserting a Page Break will force Reference Listing to always start on a page. You can read about inserting a page break and automating a table of contents in the following separate posts.

How to Automate the Table of Content in Word.

How to Insert a Page Break in Word

Hope this article is of help to you.