Word Use References In An Essay

- Academic Writing

Citation Shortcuts: Using The MS Word Reference Tool

If you’re writing an academic paper, thesis, journal article or dissertation, you’ll be required to cite your sources in a particular style.

The style guide resources listed in our previous post will give you clear instructions about how to format your in-text citations and reference list or bibliography. It’s a good idea to be familiar with the rules and structure of these elements, but  there are also some great shortcuts you can take to complete these tasks efficiently and accurately.

While it might be tempting to style your citations and bibliography later, having a strategy to handle citations before you begin will save you loads of time in the long run. One such strategy accompanies a tool that you very likely already use: Microsoft Word.

Microsoft Word 2007, 2010 and 2013 have a built-in reference tool that can help you to style your in-text citations consistently. It can also generate a reference list or bibliography. The key to saving time is to use the reference tool while you’re writing your paper.

In Word 2010, you can access the reference tool in the References tab.


When it comes time to include a citation in your paper, the procedure is simple:

1.  In the Citations & Bibliography group, select the style guide you’ll be following. Word 2010 comes loaded with a number of options. Check your version of Word for your options.

2.  Click on the Insert Citation button and then click on Add New Source.

3.  Fill out the fields in the Create Source menu and click Okay. Your citation will be styled according to the style guide you selected.

You can also save your references so you can use them for other papers you plan to write. Consult the links below for the reference tool’s advanced features:

If you don’t see the most recent version of two of the more commonly used style guides-APA 6th Edition or MLA 7th Edition-in Word’s style guide list, consult this link for instructions on how to add those style guides to Word 2007 and Word 2010.

Being familiar with the structure of citations and references can help you to easily identify errors. But using the reference tool in Microsoft Word will save you hours of labour-hours that you could spend reading just one more research document or perfecting your written expression, right down to the last sentence.

About the authors:
Carla Douglas and  Corina Koch MacLeod are experienced editors and authors of  several books.


Section index

Using reference words

This section explains the system used to refer forward or backward from where you are in a text to other words or concepts. You use reference words to show the connections between ideas, giving greater cohesion and clarity to your writing.

You will already be familiar with the word ‘reference’, meaning conventions for acknowledging authors or documents you have used in your research and reading. You ‘reference’ these authors when you quote them or paraphrase them. (See Module 2, Unit 3: Quoting and paraphrasing).

However, the term reference is also used to refer to a system of creating cohesion in a text. Reference words point backwards or forwards to other words or concepts that have already appeared in the text or are about to appear in the text.

In the majority of cases, the word has already occurred in the text i.e. the reference word is pointing backwards.


In this sentence, these is a reference word pointing back to phases in the preceding sentence.

In this sentence, those is a reference word pointing forwards to the changes requiring only a moderate level of financial support.

Reference words are important because they are another way you can strengthen the connections between different elements of your text and clarify the progression of ideas.

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