Word 2007: Citation and bibliography styles

January 7, 2010

Please note: This article is not about how to create a bibliography in Word 2007 — it’s about the limitations of the list of available bibliographic styles that come with Word.

The good

One of the neat new features in Word 2007 is the ability to create automated citations and bibliographies that follow a particular style, such as Chicago, APA, Turabian, etc.

The not so good

However, it soon becomes apparent that if you’re using some variation of these, or another style altogether (perhaps a house style), you’re very limited in what you can do. In fact, you may well abandon the whole idea of automated citations and bibliographies.

For example, the style my client uses for a citation is ([authoring body] [year of publication]), such as (Smith 2005). However, many of the default citation styles in Word 2007 use a format such as (Smith, 2005) — note the comma separating the author and the year. But that’s not how we do it where I’m currently working.

And when it comes to the bibliography or reference list, even the formatting that’s the closest to what we use is not exactly right. So we’re in a dilemma — do we take on one of the default styles provided in Microsoft Word 2007, or do we just not use the automated citation and bibliography function?

One final thing — the automated citations and bibliographic references in Word 2007 are all fields, but they are not clickable in Word so you can’t click a citation and go directly to that reference in the bibliography. In fact, that missing function was the reason I went on this hunt in the first place!

A possible solution

Being an inquisitive person, I hunted the Microsoft Word online help to see if there was a way to modify a style that was reasonably close, or to add a new style of my own. Well, the Help is not helpful on that at all, yet you can do it. How do I know? Because one of the resources the Microsoft Help pointed me to was BibWord (http://bibword.codeplex.com), which seems to be part of a Microsoft open source effort (no, that’s NOT an oxymoron!).

Here’s what the BibWord website offers:

  • A downloadable zip file of XSL documents for numerous other styles — just add these XSL files to your Bibliography Style directory (default: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\Bibliography\Style) and they are now all available to you in Word 2007. Pick the one you want to apply to your citations and bibliographies and off you go. For most people, this is all you would need. (You can download the zip file from here: http://bibword.codeplex.com/releases/view/15852)
  • A very small Extender executable file (available from the same page at the Styles, above), which, among other things, adds functions such as letter suffixes for multiple works by the same authoring body in the one year.
  • BibWord — the source code XSL Stylesheet that you can modify if you know a bit about XML. HINT: Make a copy before you start changing it! BibWord allows you to do lots of customization and modification, including defining the citation as being clickable, thus letting the user go directly to the referenced work in the bibliography. BibWord is available from: http://bibword.codeplex.com/releases/view/36507. There’s a 30 page user guide that you can download from this page too.
  • Finally, there’s BibType and its related schema and type definitions, as well as its own user guide, available from: http://bibword.codeplex.com/releases/view/15976. Again, you should be pretty familiar with XML before you go digging around in here.

Bottom line:

  • Using the BibWord styles, you can add more styles to the default list in Word 2007.
  • Using the BibWord XSL and XML files, you can create your own or modify existing style formats. But you DO need to know something about XML before you go fiddling around in them. PLEASE make a back-up of the original files before you fiddle with them! And follow the advice on the BibWord website, its documentation, and check the user Discussion area for help and guidance.
  • BibWord is free!

See also:

[Links last checked December 2010]


  1. thank you!

  2. Thank you!!!!

  3. Thank you! :-) I looked at the MS page and wanted to find a tall cliff. . . This won’t be so bad!

  4. thx, very useful!

  5. Thanks a lot !!!
    This article was immensely helpful !

    I could even find the Vancouver citation style used in Journals as “Physiology & Behavior” !

    With a little edition on the XSL file I could replace the parentheses () with brackets [], and the dots (1.) in the bibliography list with brackets [1].

    My questions:

    Is there any way to import my Bibliography from a doc or txt document into the XSL references file?
    In which folder is it located ?

  6. Hi Ak,
    I also want to use the vancouver style. I was able to import the style into the citations for MS word on my mac but not into the bibliographic style. In order to create a bibliography, I have to choose one of the orginal four citation styles eg. APA etc. which then automatically changes all the in text citations to that style.

    How can I get the Vancouver style to apply to the bibliography as well as the citations?


  7. U re just the bomb,i almost gave up when i could not find the style that i wanted and i tried all within my little knowledge to edit but i could not>> The internet was my next option and Google off course. Thanks man once again u is the bomb.

  8. […] time back I took a quick look at Word 2007′s Citation and Bibliography functions. At the time, I was checking if the referencing style my client used was available, and if not, […]

  9. […] the 10,000+ all time views (Word: Add/remove highlighting with the keyboard [posted Feb 2009] and Word 2007: Citation and bibliography styles [posted Jan […]

  10. Thanks so much! This has been so clear and helpful. I really appreciate it.

  11. Thanks ;). Really good and helpful

  12. thank you this what i’m looking for.

  13. Good info. How do you do it for a MacBook Pro?

  14. Hi Donald

    Sorry, I have no idea as I don’t own/use a Mac. It’s possible that it’s a feature that’s not in the Mac version.


  15. This is mostly very helpful. Unfortunately, I’m not very good with XML, and I find myself stuck between styles. The Turabian in MS word is not a true Turabian style, at least not the one I did my masters with. The MHRA footnotes is perfect for my footnotes, but has no associated bibliography style. MS Word’s Turabian style does fine on the bibliography, but not on the footnotes.

    Can anyone out there tell me how to mesh the two together? :)

  16. I have exactly the same problem as Chantal as she posted jun 3, 2011. Please help us

  17. Thank you very much :)

  18. I could not understand the sequence of operations. It would be better if you describe all in steps.

  19. Works like a charm (tried on Professional Plus 2010).
    Thank you (^o^)/

  20. This is the only web site that I find to useful. Thanks for the post.

  21. Thanks. Your reference was very useful. Specially it contain most of the bibliography styles used by the IEEE, ACM, etc.

  22. thank yoU!

  23. Thank you for this. I have a problem though. I downloaded and installed the bibliography styles then I did a in text citation and selected the Vancouver style, all of the styles I just added where there to choose from. Then I selected insert/document elements/bibliography to create a bibliography list at the end of the document. The elements gallery appears and then i am asked to confirm the citation style in a drop down menu on the left side of document. In the drop down menu none of the citation style I added from this download are there only the 4 default styles. Would please happen to know of a solution for this? It would be most appreciated. Thank you Andrew

  24. I can’t help you on this one, Andrew, as I don’t use any sort of automated citation/bibliography methods.

    This blog post was based on some experimentation I did a few years back, but it wasn’t a solution for my team as we needed a central database of references, not a different one on each person’s computer.


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