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How to use Microsoft Word's works cited tools: Sources, footnotes, and more

Anthony Domanico | Sept. 26, 2014
Keeping track of all the sources you used to write your research paper is a lofty task, but fortunately for you, Word 2013 has several built in tools to manage your references.

It's back to school time for millions of college students around the world, and that can only mean one thing: term papers. Soon, your to-do list will be filling up with papers that need to be thoroughly researched and properly referenced. Keeping track of all the sources you used to write your research paper is a lofty task, but fortunately for you, Word 2013 has several built in tools to manage your references.

This guide will show you how to build perfect in-line citations, footnotes, endnotes, and a references page quickly and easily. Roll up your sleeves.

Adding references
When you choose to include a source, such as a journal article, book, or web site in your paper, you'll want to add that source to your references. Word's Manage Sources, found in the Citations & Bibliography section of the References ribbon, is your one-stop-shop for managing your references. To add a source, click the Manage Sources button, then click New in the resulting pop-up menu.

In the new reference section, you'll first need to choose the type of source you're adding from the drop-down menu. Depending on the type of source you choose, Word will give you line items for all the fields you'll need to appropriately cite your reference, and it'll do it in APA or MLA style. Once you've entered information into all of the appropriate sections, click okay and either get back to your paper or add more sources.

Adding inline citations
As you use material within the body of your paper, you'll need to add inline citations to properly attribute your material to the original source. Assuming you've added your references, simply point your curser to the location you'd like the footnote to go, then click on the Insert Citation button in the Citations & Bibliography section of the References ribbon. In the subsequent dropdown, click on the source you're referencing, and Word will automatically enter the inline citation at that location.

This functionality isn't perfect, and it's important to double check your in-line citations to ensure they're compliant with the applicable style guide. But 99 percent (or more) of the time, Word gets the job done flawlessly.

Adding footnotes and endnotes
Some assignments will require you to add footnotes or endnotes to your paper, and it's important to know the difference between the two if you're going to use them appropriately. Footnotes are notes that occur at the end of each individual page within your paper, while endnotes appear only on the final page and are often used in lieu of a references page. When in doubt, ask your professor about which type of citations are appropriate for a given assignment.

 

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