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How to Use Microsoft Word inbuilt Reference Tool (With VIDEO)

Microsoft word inbuilt reference tool is the best referencing tool and compares with no other.  let me discuss the issue of referencing first before i say why. Referencing has often been the hardest part in academic writing, some academic writers have lost clients because of making referencing mistakes and those who work for academic writing websites have had their accounts closed. It is also referencing problem that has driven many students to look for academic writers. This makes is important to address the referencing issue.

In this discussion, I will demonstrate how easy it is to add in text citation as well as reference using a tool already available in Microsoft word; it is Microsoft word inbuilt reference tool. This tool is available in all modern versions of Microsoft Word i.e. 2010, 2013, and 2016. Using this tool, I will show you how easy it is to add references in all styles as well as how to convert work cited in one reference style to another; for instance, from Harvard to APA. This is very beneficial as there are times the tutor will ask the student to change the reference style used. In other occasions, you as an academic writer may make a mistake in style chosen.

Holy Grail of academic writing

Using this tool makes referencing so easy such that anyone even a grade school kid can use it. The tool has the following benefits

  • You can add the same in text in several paragraphs by the click of a button
  • You can Auto-change from one reference style to another
  • Creation of a bibliography that is clear and precise with 0% mistakes
  • Possibility of updating word with more reference style libraries read more here
  • For any writer disinterested in learning a lot about the reference styles he/she can just use this tool and still write an A+ paper.

Video Tutorial

you can choose to watch the video or simply read through the picture tutorial

Picture tutorial

Note Microsoft inbuilt reference tool only works with .docx and not .doc

Here is a picture tutorial of how to use it

Stage 1: references section

When inserting an in text, highlight the area to add it

highlight the area to intext

Notice where the cursor is positioned; it is at the end of a sentence between the last word and the full stop.

Stage 2: click ‘insert citation.’

On Microsoft word tabs, locate the reference section and click on insert citation.

insert citation

Stage 3: in text popup

After clicking the ‘insert section’, the above popup will fill the screen. Now visit either the journal site, website, or book that you are to reference. From the chosen source, you will find answers to the popup above. This can be journals books websites or other publications; however, I recommend a peer reviewed journal; for instance, from Ebscohost.

in text popup

 Stage 4: visit the journal site

Visit ebscohost and login or any other source of references chosen

visit the journal site


Point to Note:

  • 80% of all references must be peer-reviewed journals unless otherwise instructed or when an order needs website references for specific purposes
  • The journal site I have introduced you to, EBSCOhost, was made specifically to be used together with the inbuilt Microsoft word reference tool.

Stage 5: search term

Enter a search term that relates to the topic discussed in the paragraph selected. In the sample below I have chosen the search term, “marijuana legalization.

search term



Notice the results in the pic above, now select the journal article you have chosen and paste the info in the pop up available in Microsoft word remember stage 3.

Stage 6: paste EBSCOhost in word in text citation pop-up

Note I had said earlier that EBSCOhost was made specifically to be used together with word; thus, you will need to copy details in EBSCOhost as they are without editing a single word and paste in the pop-up.

paste EBSCOhost in word in text citation pop-up

Ebscohost journal

Note I have just copy pasted the info to fill the blanks. if the article has no issue info just use “1’ since it means this is the first issue in that journal volume. The first section in brown color is the title, followed by authors then journal name; this is mostly italicized but not in all cases. Volume and issue can be presented in the biblical format as done above or the full info format where they use vol. to represent volume and issue for issue and the page numbers.

Stage seven: the birth of an in text

After completing the above step click, okay and you will see the in text appear in the doc.

the birth of an in text

Note etal has been used to represent many authors.

Stage 8: Auto generate the bibliography

Now after adding all the required in texts go to the last page and either update the reference or just generate them. This is by clicking the bibliography section in the reference setting.

Auto generate the bibliography

You will get a drop down menu, choose what is appropriate; for Harvard, and APA choose references and for MLA choose Works cited. Only choose bibliography if you add a reference that does not appear in the in text. You will need to know that this is not possible when using word reference tool.

Bibliography section

Here is the result in bibliography as per our case of marijuana legalization

Harvard AGPS sample reference

The above is in Harvard AGPS, the same can be updated to APA

Sample APA reference

Notice, the reference has been completely converted


In time by regular use of the Microsoft word inbuilt reference tool you realize how easy referencing is.

How To Convert References From One Reference Style To Another Using Microsoft Word Reference Tool

From above I have demonstrated how to generate references as well as cite them via in texts. Converting references is important too, since there are cases when you may just need to convert them, or you may use the wrong style, or you may receive a revision instructing you to change the reference. Traditionally you would have to microscopically comb through your essay editing in texts and then complete with the references. This is tedious work I used to do this before I discovered Microsoft inbuilt reference tool.

Stage 1: Visit this section and click the drop down

References drop down


Stage 2: Now choose the style to convert to

Reference styles

Select it automatically everything converts very simple in texts change as well as references.


In time by regular use of the Microsoft word inbuilt reference tool you realize how easy referencing can convert one reference style to another as well as use multiple in text citations for the same reference with ease. Microsoft inbuilt reference tool is at the top in the list list of methods of references and compares with no other tool

5 thoughts on “How to Use Microsoft Word inbuilt Reference Tool (With VIDEO)”

  1. Edwin says:

    Thank you for this man

  2. Pingback: Academic Referencing Styles | How to Cite and Reference (With SAMPLES) - Researcher Perfect Blog
  3. Trackback: Academic Referencing Styles | How to Cite and Reference (With SAMPLES) - Researcher Perfect Blog
  4. Pingback: Learn academic writing in 10 easy steps - Researcher Perfect Blog
  5. Trackback: Learn academic writing in 10 easy steps - Researcher Perfect Blog
  6. Dan kings says:

    Thanks Hila. I keep on sharpening my skills from your blogs.

    1. Hilary Maingi says:

      You are welcome Dan

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