How to Use the Referencing Tools in Word


26th September 2023

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Microsoft Word offers a built-in referencing tool that can help you manage and format citations and bibliographies in your documents. Here’s how to use the referencing tools in Word.

  1. Open Your Document:

Start by opening the document you’re working on or create a new one if needed.

  1. Insert a Citation:

To insert a citation, place your cursor where you want to add it, and then follow these steps:

– Go to the “References” tab in the Word ribbon at the top of the document.

– Click on “Insert Citation” or “Add Citation” (the exact wording may vary depending on your version of Word).

– Select the style of citation you want to use (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago).

– A dialogue box will appear where you can enter the details of the source, such as author, title, publication year, etc. Fill in the required information and click “OK” or “Insert.”

  1. Insert a Bibliography:

After you’ve added citations to your document, you can create a bibliography:

– Place your cursor where you want to insert the bibliography (usually at the end of the document).

– Go to the “References” tab.

– Click on “Bibliography” or “Insert Bibliography.”

– Choose the style you want for your bibliography (it should match the citation style used in your document).

  1. Edit Citations:

To edit or manage your citations within the document:

– Go to the “References” tab.

– Click on “Manage Sources” or “Edit Citation” (the exact wording may vary).

– You can add, edit, or delete sources from the list here.

  1. Change Citation Style:

If you need to change the citation style in your document:

– Go to the “References” tab.

– In the “Citations & Bibliography” group, click on the “Style” drop down menu.

– Choose a different citation style, and Word will automatically update your citations and bibliography.

  1. Update Citations and Bibliography:

If you make changes to your sources or citations, you can update the citations and bibliography:

– Click on the citation or bibliography.

– Right-click and select “Update Field” or “Update Citations and Bibliography.”

  1. Add Page Numbers and Prefixes/Suffixes:

You can add page numbers to citations and customise them with prefixes or suffixes:

– Click on the citation you want to modify.

– Right-click and select “Edit Citation.”

– Make the necessary changes in the dialogue box that appears.


Microsoft Word’s referencing tools can save you a lot of time when working on academic papers, theses, and reports. Just remember to choose the correct citation style and double-check your references to ensure accuracy.