Writing essays can be a very daunting task. Brainstorming, drafting, researching, and referencing can sometime be unmanageable. Microsoft Word 2010’s reference function is a good productivity tool to manage citations and bibliography.

In this article we will show you how to create a reference list using Word 2010. We will also show you how to share you reference with your peers and how to create your own customized reference style.

Creating References

Microsoft Reference function is accessible from the reference tab.

Word 2010 comes with a list of default referencing style. Choose the referencing style that you want to use.

Click on the ‘Insert Citation’ button to open the add citation window.

Word 2010 allow us to add different source type such as ‘Journal Article’ for our essay.

Click on the insert citation button to view a list of your citation and click any of them to create an inline citation in your essay.

You can create a bibliography page by clicking on the ‘Bibliography’ button.

Sharing Your Reference List

Microsoft Word 2010 save your references under %APPDATA%MicrosoftBibliographySources.xml. Open your command line and type echo %APPDATA%. This will show you where windows store your APPDATA. In my case Microsoft Word 2010 store my reference list under
C:UserszainulAppDataRoamingMicrosoftBibliographySources.xml. Remember that this file will not exist unless you create a reference list.

You can copy this XML file to use your references in different computers. You can also copy other references into this XML file. We advise that you should back up Source.xml file periodically so you will not loose your reference list.

To merge other references into your reference list just copy any entry inside the <b:source> into the other Source.xml file. Just make sure that the <b:Tag> contains a unique value.

Creating Custom Reference Style

We can create our own referencing style by creating custom XSL files under ‘C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice14BibliographyStyle’. For those with exceptional XSL skills you can read Microsoft Word 2010 blog to learn how to create custom referencing style.

One of the challenge in creating our own XSL file for Microsoft word is that the XSL file itself is quite complicated and it might just be more productive to download a set of custom reference style from bibword and place the content of the zip file under ‘C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice14BibliographyStyle’ and restart your Microsoft Word. You should see some new reference style from your Word 2010.


Microsoft Word 2010 is a great editor that can help you to save time in creating references and citations. Microsoft Word 2010 Reference function is customizable and allows you to share your references with others.