How to add a bibliography to a Word document

If you use Microsoft Word, creating a bibliography is no longer as hard or harder than writing the document itself.


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A bibliography is a list of sources referred to in a document. Many scholarly documents require one, and you probably had to create a few while in school. The list comprises citations, which include the title, author, publisher, date of publication, and so on for each source. You’ll use a bibliography to credit quotes and other facts to lend legitimacy to your document. The technical process in Microsoft Word is similar to footnote/endnotes or indexing and has three steps: Adding the sources as a citation, citing the citation, and then generating the bibliography. I’ll show you how simple it is to add sources and generate a bibliography.

I’m using Office 365, but you can use earlier versions of Word. When using the .doc format, you will lose some features. You can work with your own document or download the demonstration .docx and .doc files. Word’s browser edition will display existing bibliographies, but you can’t add or edit sources or generate a bibliography while in the browser.

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How to add a source in Microsoft Word

Sources can be any kind of published work, from books to articles on the web. The information you include for a source will depend on you or the publisher. Word supports several styles, but the three most common are Modern Language Association (MLA), American Psychological Association (APA) and Chicago. These styles determine the information needed and how that information is formatted. We won’t cover individual styles in this article–you will need to do a little research to determine what your publisher or recipient requires.

First, you need a source, so let’s run through a quick example.

  1. After entering the quote…