How-To: Manage Citations in Word 2011


One of the advantages Word 2011 (s aapl) has over Pages ’09 (s aapl) is its stellar, built-in citation management; Pages’ integration is reliant on third-party tools. Word 2011 has its bibliographic tools baked right in. You’ll find them under Citations and References in the Document Elements section of the ribbon. Want to learn how to use them? We’ve got you covered.

A few things about references to get out of the way: Currently, most third-party citation software does not work with Word 2011. Luckily, Word’s citation tools are fairly good on their own. However, if you already have an extensive library in one of those apps, you’re going to be out of luck until they get upgraded.

Also, remember that to be able to keep editing the citations and bibliography after you’ve saved, you’ll need to make sure you’ve saved the document in .docx format, and not as a .doc.

Managing Citations

  1. To manage your citations, click on the Manage button in the ribbon and click the + button in the lower left-hand corner of the window. This will bring up the Create New Source dialog box.
  2. Fill it in with all the relevant information.
  3. After you enter the relevant info, the citation will appear in the document, and in the citation list in the “Manage” dialog box.
  4. To edit the page range of the citation, click on the arrow to the right of the citation, choose Edit this Citation and enter the page number.

    Choose "Edit This Citation"

    Enter in the page range

    Updated Citation


Once you’ve got your citations in, it’s time to build the bibliography.

  1. To create a bibliography, choose Bibliography from the Document Elements section of the ribbon and choose which type of bibliography you want to insert. Note: You’re probably going to need to insert a page break if you’re working within MLA requirements, as I most often am.
  2. The bibliography is now in the document as an object. If you insert more references, click the arrow next to it and choose Update Citations and Bibliography.

    In-place Citation

    How to Update Citation

Final Words

Citation management in Word 2011 is largely unchanged from Word 2008; the only big difference is you now invoke it from the ribbon. While citations are included in Word, there are advantages to using a third-party tool, like EndNote, but until it gets a compatibility update, doing your bibliographic work right in Word is probably your best bet.

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As someone who has been using Word to do research papers for Seminary (Masters Degree), I can tell you that I have had no need for an external “stand alone” citation manager. I have no need to export a source list to various formats or programs. That being said, I only recently even investigated such software – and did see what I had never been told before – that there are databases that can import bibliographical information for you. Sounds like a great concept, if the databases are comprehensive enough in my field to cover the vast majority of the sources I might encounter. That being said, the citation manager in Word 2008 was good. Even more valuable, it maintains your citation list for future work. the only real qualms I have had with it is that the Turabian Style is not accurate, and I had to manually adjust items. BUT – unlike in the Windows version, the Mac version of Word can insert footnotes/endnotes/etc. with a simple click with all the correct citation information… at least it could until Word 2011. Now when you try to insert a citation as a footnote, you just get a pair of brackets with author’s last name and date. A tech on the Office Mac board said that this is a known problem with their built-in style sheet formatting, and MIGHT be addressed when the first major update comes out, but no promises.

Thankfully, I am finished with the formal writing for my degree.


I have Word 2011 but have never used the citation manager. I really don’t know why anyone would want to use a citation manager that doesn’t produce an exportable bibliography. Entering all your citations into Word is a waste of time if you can’t export them to other programs later or download bibliographies from sites like WorldCat and JSTOR. I have a text version of my bibliography which cannot be imported into Word and am happy with that. Unless Microsoft produces a product which is compatible with Zotero and Endnote, I don’t think many students will use the citations manager.


Word 2011 is a huge disappointment in the citation manager. Word 2008 did a fair job of inserting references in the bibliography and footnotes – including full citations. While MS never seemed to actually check if their styles were correct, at least one could make very minor modifications to the auto inserted text (particularly footnotes – when you could just double-click and the footnote text would be there).

Word 2011 is broken in this regard – double click on the source and you get the abbreviated (Author last name, date).

There is no discernible way to get Word to insert a full citation in ANY style… This is the primary reason I used Word 2008 – that ONE feature, and now it appears to be gone.

The glowing review is rather hollow in that regard. Add in the instability that I have experienced (brand new MacBook Pro, 8GB Ram, fresh install of Office 2011… I’m not impressed, and in fact, pretty upset I spent the money for it. Right now, there is zero functionality benefit to using Office 2011 over OpenOffice or LibreOffice.

This is particularly troublesome with the heavy marketing to students…



I’m currently using just that feature of Word 2011 to write a paper. When compiling the references in the bibliography there seems to be no discernible order to it…it is not by author alphabetically as you’d expect and not by any other order as far as I can tell.

Do you by any chance know how to tell Word to sort the Bibliography by last name of author alphabetically? I just assumed it would automatically do that and am now stuck with a useless bibliography for a long paper.




Thanks for the article. I’d noticed that the current version of Word for Windows has citation management features, and had heard vaguely that Word 11 did, too, but for some reason it hadn’t occurred to me to look in detail.

One question: In the first paragraph you describe the tools as stellar, but by the 2nd paragraph your ardor has cooled considerably (“fairly good”); overall, how highly do you rate these tools?

Mark Crump

Gah, this is what happens when I edit and write a short piece over period. Originally, this article was going to cover both math tools and citation management, so ‘stellar’ was supposed to mean both of them.

I’d say somewhere in between fairly good and stellar, depending on your purpose. I really like them, and I love how easy they are to use.

Word 2008 and I really didn’t get along too well, so I didn’t use them much. I’m much happier with Word 2011 so I’ll be using them a lot more.

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