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How to Edit and Reuse Citations in Microsoft Word


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If you use Word’s citation feature for adding sources and creating bibliographies, you can manage those sources so that you can reuse them. This is handy if you use the same or similar sources in various documents.

Because the sources in Word are saved at a global level (meaning across all of your documents), you can reuse them in any Word document you create. You can add and edit sources at one time so they’re ready to go when you need them. Then, just pop them into your document.

Access Your Source List

Navigating to your source list in Word is slightly different on Windows than on Mac. Once you open the list, the process for adding or editing a source is the same.

In Word on Windows

Open a Word document, head to the References tab, and select “Manage Sources” in the Citations & Bibliography section of the ribbon.

Manage Sources on the References tab

You’ll then see the Source Manager window display with your list of sources.

Source Manager in Word on Windows

In Word on Mac

Open a Word document, go to the References tab, and select “Citations” in the Citations & Bibliography section of the ribbon.

Citations on the References tab

When the Citations sidebar opens, click the arrow next to the three dots on the bottom right and pick “Citation Source Manager.”

Citation Source Manager in the sidebar

You’ll then see your list in the Source Manager window.

Source Manager in Word on Mac

Add a Source

If you added a source to your document that you want to include in your Master List, you’ll see this in the Current List on the right. Select it and pick “Copy” to move it to the Master List on the left.

Copy current source to the Master List

To add a source, pick “New.” At the top of the Create Source window, you’ll see Type of Source where you can choose an option like book, journal article, report, website, film, or interview.

Type of Source drop-down list

The fields for the source beneath vary depending on the type you pick at the top. You’ll see the basic fields you need for the bibliography in the style you have set on the References tab such as APA or MLA.

Citation style on the References tab

You can also display all fields if you like by checking the Show All Bibliography Fields box on the bottom left. If you do this, you’ll see the recommended fields marked with an asterisk.

All source fields displayed

After adding the necessary details, click “OK” to include it in your Master List.

RELATED: How to Create Your Own Bibliography Template in Microsoft Word

Manage Your Source List

As you’ll notice, Word on Windows gives you a couple of handy options to search for a source or sort your list by title, author, tag, or year. This is convenient if you want to find a particular source.

Search and Sort options for sources on Windows

To view a source, select it on the left side in the Master List section. You’ll see the preview at the bottom.

Preview of a source on Windows

To make changes to a source, select it on the left and click “Edit.” When the Edit Source window appears, make your changes and select “OK” to save them.

Window to edit a source in Word

To use a source in your current document, select it on the left and click “Copy” to move it to the Current List on the right.

Copy a source to the Current List

After you move a source to the Current List to use it in your document, you’ll then see it in the Insert Citation drop-down menu on the References tab on Windows. On Mac, you’ll find the source in the Citations sidebar.

Insert Citation drop-down menu on the References tab

When you finish adding new sources or editing the current ones, click “Close.”

RELATED: How to Use Researcher in Microsoft Word for Essays and Papers

If you find yourself reusing sources or needing to add citations by the same author or website, updating your master source list can help you save time on your next article, essay, or research paper.

If you also use Google Docs, take a look at how to add citations for media and how to create a bibliography in Docs too!





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