How to Update a Bibliography in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Update a Bibliography in Word

Updating a bibliography in Microsoft Word is simple. Follow the steps below to ensure that your references are up-to-date. This quick guide will show you how to refresh your sources, ensuring your bibliography reflects the most current information.

Step-by-Step Tutorial on How to Update a Bibliography in Word

This tutorial will walk you through the process of updating a bibliography in Microsoft Word, ensuring that your citations and references are accurate and up-to-date.

Step 1: Open Your Document

First, open your Word document that contains the bibliography you want to update.

Ensure you’ve opened the correct document on your computer. This is where all the magic happens.

Step 2: Go to the References Tab

Click on the "References" tab located in the top menu of Microsoft Word.

The "References" tab is your gateway to managing citations, footnotes, and bibliographies. It’s essential to get comfortable navigating this tab for any academic or professional writing.

Step 3: Click on Manage Sources

In the "References" tab, click "Manage Sources" to access the Source Manager.

The Source Manager is where Word keeps track of all the sources you’ve cited in your document. This is where you can add, edit, or delete sources.

Step 4: Update the Sources

In the Source Manager, review your sources and make any necessary updates.

If you need to edit a source, select it from the list and click "Edit." Here, you can update author names, publication dates, or other details. Make sure to save your changes.

Step 5: Refresh the Bibliography

After updating your sources, click on your bibliography in the document, and then click "Update Citations and Bibliography."

This step ensures that any changes you’ve made to your sources are reflected in your bibliography. Word will automatically refresh your reference list.

After you complete these steps, your bibliography will be updated to reflect any changes made to your sources. This means that all the citations in your document will be accurate and up-to-date.

Tips on How to Update a Bibliography in Word

  • Keep Source Information Handy: Always have your source details readily available to make quick updates.
  • Regularly Check for Updates: Periodically review your sources to ensure they are current, especially before final submission.
  • Use the Source Manager Efficiently: Familiarize yourself with the Source Manager for smoother updates.
  • Back-Up Your Document: Always save a backup copy before making significant changes.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: The more you use the ‘References’ tab, the more comfortable you’ll become with managing citations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I can’t find the "References" tab?

Make sure you’re using a version of Microsoft Word that includes the "References" tab. If it’s missing, check your settings or update your Word software.

Can I update multiple sources at once?

Yes, you can review and update all your sources in the Source Manager before refreshing your bibliography.

Do I need to manually edit the bibliography?

No, once you’ve updated the sources in the Source Manager, Word will automatically update the bibliography when you click "Update Citations and Bibliography."

What happens if I delete a source?

If you delete a source from the Source Manager, it will also be removed from the bibliography and any in-text citations will be affected.

Can I add new sources after creating a bibliography?

Yes, you can add new sources at any time. Just add them in the Source Manager and update the bibliography to include them.


  1. Open your document.
  2. Go to the References tab.
  3. Click on Manage Sources.
  4. Update the sources.
  5. Refresh the bibliography.


Updating a bibliography in Word is a straightforward process once you get the hang of it. By regularly checking and updating your sources, you ensure that your document is always accurate and professional. Remember, the key to mastering this task is practice and familiarization with the Word interface, specifically the "References" tab and Source Manager.

Following these steps not only improves the credibility of your work but also enhances your efficiency in managing citations. So, next time you’re working on a research paper or any document that requires a bibliography, you’ll know exactly how to keep it updated and precise. Keep exploring the features of Microsoft Word to make your writing process even smoother.