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When writing papers, you need to generate a detailed and accurate list of all the sources you’ve cited in your paper. With Google Docs, you can easily find and then add citations to all of your research papers.

Fire up your browser, head over to Google Docs, and open up a document. At the bottom of the right side, click the “Explore” icon to open up a panel on the right.

Alternatively, press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+I on Windows/Chrome OS or Cmd+Option+Shift+I on macOS to open it using the keyboard shortcut.

RELATED: All of the Best Google Docs Keyboard Shortcuts

Click the Explore icon.

Explore is kind of like the Google Assistant of Docs. When you open the tool, it parses your document for related topics to speed up web searches and images you can add in Docs.

If Google Explore find related topics in your document, it will suggest them as soon as the tool opens.

If Explore isn’t able to find anything relatable in your document, type what you’re looking for in the search bar and hit the “Enter” key to search the web manually.

Otherwise, type what you're looking for into the search bar and hit Enter.

Click the three vertical dots and choose what style of citation you want to use. The options are MLA, APA, and Chicago styles.

Next, to choose what style of citation you want to use, click More, and then click one of the styles provided.

Next, highlight the text—or place the text cursor— where you want to add a citation to, hover over the search result in the Explore panel, and then click the “Cite as footnote” icon that appears.

Highlight some text or place the cursor where you want to cite something, and then click the quotations icon that appears when hovering over a link.

After you click the icon, Docs will number the citation and cite the link in a footnote of the page.

Google docs automatically places a superscript number at the cursor and places the source in a footnote in the style of citation you chose.


You can add as many as you need for your document. Redo the search and click the “Cite as footnote” icon beside each result to have Docs automatically compile citations for you.

Brady Gavin Brady Gavin
Brady Gavin has been immersed in technology for 15 years and has written over 150 detailed tutorials and explainers. He's covered everything from Windows 10 registry hacks to Chrome browser tips. Brady has a diploma in Computer Science from Camosun College in Victoria, BC.  
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