With so many referencing styles to choose from and simply no time to learn them all, a referencing tool is a handy academic writing helper. Microsoft word has a tool you can use to cite and create a reference list. This reference tool makes it easier to navigate the complexities of referencing with all the different and ever changing styles. This is the basic of all reference tools as it does not require you to visit a website and can work offline. You can also insert citations as you go without disrupting your flow too much. This is especially important if you are writing long papers. Below are the basic steps to using Microsoft word as one of your reference tools.
Guide to Using Microsoft Word as one of your Reference Tools
Open your document
Click on the references tab then choose a referencing style from the drop down list of styles.
- Please note that the styles might not be updated to the latest version. However, updates are not usually too radical and you can make any small changes manually. Simply click on the citation to edit, convert to editable text and correct whatever may need to be corrected. Always endeavor to use the correct and most up to date version of a referencing style.
- You might also realize that your referencing style is not on the drop down list. This is often the case with discipline-specific styles like ASA. In this case, pick the referencing style that most closely resembles the style preferred then edit any differences manually. Often, these styles are modelled after APA so it would be safe to pick APA then adjust for differences, if any.
To insert a citation in your paper, click on ‘insert citation’ then choose the source you would like to cite
- Remember that you have to have entered the source information before-hand. Microsoft word often saves the sources from a previous paper. You may decide to use the same source, edit the source to specify the page or do away with it all together.
- To delete or edit the source, click on the source from the list then chose either delete or edit.
To enter a new source, simply click on ‘manage sources’ then click on ‘new’. This will bring forth a dialogue box in which you can enter biographical inromation like the names of the authors and titles of sources. The dialogue box will usually be a condensed version. The rules of referencing require that you provide as much biographical data as possible to sufficiently direct the reader to the source. You will have to expand the dialogue box to reveal spaces on which you can enter information like the DOI and volume of the journal. To do this, check the box for ‘show all biography fields’ at thebottom right corner fo the dialogue box.
- If your source has multiple authors, you can separate the names with either a coma or a semicolon. Do not worry about correcting the appearance of the names as they should be on the reference list, the referencing tool will take care of that for you.
- You will want to update the source list as you continue your research.
4. To enter the reference list at the end of your paper, click on ‘Bibliography’ then pick whichever option is suitable for the reference style you used in your paper.
- You should ensure that the reference list matches the rest of the paper in terms of style and font. Simply press ‘ctrl’ and ‘A’ to select all the text in the paper and choose a font to apply. Academic writing requires either Times New Roman 12 or Arial 12. The referencing tool will not apply these for you.
- The referencing tool will not apply writing styles to the paper either. For example, the seventh edition of APA requires that you paginate the paper from the first page without a running head, you will have to do that manually. The referencing tool will only apply te hanging indent and appropriate punctuations.
- Ensure to check your reference list after you have finished to ensure the correct spellings for words and other elements.