How to Add Citation in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

How to Add a Citation in Word

Adding a citation in Word helps you give credit to sources used in your document, making it easy to create a bibliography or works cited page later. By following these steps, you can insert and manage citations directly within your Word document, ensuring your research is properly documented and formatted.

How to Add a Citation in Word

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to add a citation in Word to ensure your work is properly attributed and formatted. This process will also help you generate a bibliography with ease.

Step 1: Open Your Word Document

Navigate to the document where you need to add a citation.

It’s crucial to have your document ready, as the placement of your citation will depend on where you reference the source.

Step 2: Go to the References Tab

Click on the "References" tab located at the top of the Word interface.

The References tab houses all the tools you need for managing citations and creating bibliographies.

Step 3: Click "Insert Citation"

Select "Insert Citation" from the Citations & Bibliography group.

This action will open a dropdown menu where you can add new sources or select previously added ones.

Step 4: Choose "Add New Source"

From the dropdown menu, choose "Add New Source."

A dialog box will appear, prompting you to fill in details about the source, such as the author, title, and publication year.

Step 5: Fill in Source Details

Complete the required fields in the Create Source dialog box and click "OK."

Accurate and complete information here ensures that your citation is formatted correctly according to the chosen style.

Step 6: Insert the Citation

Once you’ve added the source, select it from the "Insert Citation" dropdown to add it to your document.

Your citation will now appear in the text where your cursor was placed, formatted according to the selected citation style.

After completing these steps, Word will automatically format your citation within the text. You can also use these citations later to generate a bibliography or works cited page, simplifying the documentation process.

Tips for Adding a Citation in Word

  1. Choose the Correct Citation Style: Ensure you select the appropriate citation style (e.g., MLA, APA, Chicago) from the References tab before adding citations.
  2. Manage Sources Efficiently: Use the "Manage Sources" option to keep track of all your references and easily reuse them in future documents.
  3. Update Citations: If you modify a source, update the citation by refreshing the source list or manually editing it.
  4. Use Placeholder Citations: When gathering information, use placeholder citations to mark where a source will eventually be referenced.
  5. Generate a Bibliography: After inserting all citations, use the "Bibliography" button in the References tab to create a fully-formatted bibliography.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I edit a citation in Word?

You can edit a citation by clicking on it, then selecting "Edit Citation" from the dropdown menu. Make the necessary changes in the dialog box that appears.

Can I change the citation style after adding citations?

Yes, you can change the citation style by selecting a different style from the Style dropdown menu in the References tab. Word will automatically update all citations.

What if I need to add a citation to a footnote?

Place your cursor in the footnote, then follow the same steps to add a citation. The process is identical to adding citations in the main text.

How do I remove a citation?

Click on the citation you want to remove, then press the "Delete" key. The citation will be removed from the text, but the source will still be in your Manage Sources list.

Can I add multiple citations to one reference?

Yes, you can add multiple citations by selecting "Insert Citation" and choosing additional sources one after another at the same point in your document.


  1. Open your Word document.
  2. Go to the References tab.
  3. Click "Insert Citation."
  4. Choose "Add New Source."
  5. Fill in source details.
  6. Insert the citation.


Adding a citation in Word is a straightforward process that ensures your work is properly credited and formatted. By following the steps outlined above, you can efficiently manage sources and create a polished, professional-looking document.

Citations are not just for academic papers; they also lend credibility to business reports, articles, and any content where referencing external sources is essential.

For further details, you might explore Word’s in-built help resources or online tutorials. After mastering how to add citations, you’ll find creating a bibliography or works cited page is just a few clicks away.

Don’t forget, accurate citation is crucial for avoiding plagiarism and maintaining the integrity of your work. So, keep practicing, and soon, adding citations will become second nature.