Posts Tagged ‘references’

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Word: Change author/date citations to links to auto-numbered references

May 1, 2019

Warning: Long post! Lots of steps, lots of concentration required. I suggest printing it out, grabbing a cup of your favourite beverage (preferably nonalcoholic), and working through it step by step with no distractions until you are familiar with the process.

Issue

For many years, my main client used author/date citations (e.g. Smith, 2006) in their documents, with an accompanying References list that was sorted alphabetically by author (followed by date if there was more than one instance of an author, and an alphabetic designator if there was more than one year the same by the same author).  Because ‘author’ includes any authoring body, there was a problem—they cite many of their own documents, which meant you had citations such as ‘Company, 2010’, ‘Company, 2010a’, ‘Company, 2010b’ etc. If you have to refer to more than 26 documents by the same author in the same year, you run out of letters!

To help alleviate this issue and streamline their references and citations, about three years ago they changed their templates to include an auto-numbered References list, which meant the author/date method had to change to use cross-referenced numbers. It’s a far more efficient method and is easy to update if items are added to or deleted from the References list.

For new documents, it’s easy—just use the new method. But what about the older documents on the old templates that still use the author/date citation method? If the decision is made to transfer an older document to the current template, then that decision invariably includes updating the author/date citations and references to the numbered method.

Below I discuss how I do this. It’s a complex method that can take many hours (some of the references lists I deal with contain 200 or more items). It would be greatly simplified if the client used something like a networked EndNote or Zotero database, but they don’t and won’t in the foreseeable future, so that’s not an option. In the meantime, I do it manually. This process works for me—it may not work for you, or you may use a better method. Feel free to comment.

Solution

This process assumes you’re working with an existing document that uses manually entered author/date citations, and have an existing references list that holds the bibliographic details for those citations.

Unless you are required to track these changes, turn off Track Changes before you start.

Step 1: Add a Back button to your Quick Access Toolbar (one-off task)

If you don’t already have a Back button on your Quick Access Toolbar (QAT), add it. You’ll thank me later!

  1. Click the drop-down arrow at the far right of the QAT, and select More Commands.
  2. In the Choose Commands From column, select All Commands from the drop-down list.
  3. Scroll down the list to Back and select it.
  4. Click Add in the middle of the two panels to add it to the QAT. Optional: Use the up and down arrows on the right to place it where you want it to go.
  5. Click OK.

The Back button is now on your QAT. It is inactive at the moment and only becomes available once you’ve clicked a cross-reference link (e.g. to a heading from the table of contents, or to a section, table, figure, appendix, or reference list number), and gone to another place in the document. You can then click it to return to where you clicked the link.

Step 2: Create a blank auto-numbered References list (one-off task)

You’ll already have a References section in your document—in this step, you can either create a new section, or add the new auto-numbered table to the existing one. You’ll still need to keep the existing list until you’ve transferred all the bibliographic details to the new list.

  1. Optional: Add a new heading (References) to your document, and assign the Heading 1 style to it. (If you want to keep your existing References section, just add a couple of empty paragraphs above or below the current list and then follow the steps below.)
  2. Insert a multi-row, two- or three-column table in this section, and style it as you want:
    • Use two columns if you only need a column for the number and another for the bibliographic details of the reference
    • Use three columns if you also need a column for document numbers or other information
    • Apply table header row styling to the top row, and add column headings (I use Ref. No., Title, and Doc ID).
  3. Select all the cells (but not the header row cell) in the first column and apply auto numbering to them:
    • Use either the number icon on the Home tab, or another style you use for numbering
    • Make sure the numbering starts at 1.
  4. Add more rows (I typically start with 25 rows, adding more as needed).

Step 3: Find and highlight all citations (one-off task)

In this step, you’ll use the power of wildcard find and replace to find all author/date citations, replace them with themselves (i.e. make no change), add a designation for the cross-reference (in this example, (Ref. ), which has a nonbreaking space between the period and the closing parenthesis), and highlight them. The pattern you’re looking for is a year (the authors [and how the citation is written] will be different, so you can’t pattern match those, but the years are likely to start with only ’19’ or ’20’). Whether the citation is styled ‘(Smith, 2006a)’ or ‘Smith (2006b) found…’, this method will still find it.

  1. Go to the beginning of the document.
  2. Select a highlight colour you’re not using for anything else. You MUST select a highlight colour—if you don’t, then no highlight colour will be applied to the found text.
  3. Press Ctrl+h to open the Find and Replace dialog.
  4. Click More.
  5. Check the Use wildcards checkbox.
  6. In the Find field, type: (<19*>)
  7. In the Replace field, type: \1 (Ref.^s) (Note: There’s a space after 1)
  8. With your cursor still in the Replace field, click Format and select Highlight. ‘Highlight’ should be shown immediately below the Replace field.
  9. Click Find Next.
  10. If you find a citation, click Replace to highlight the date and add the partial text container for the cross-reference number (i.e. (Ref. ) ). This method finds ALL words starting 19, including measurement values, dates, etc. whether they are part of a citation or not, so NEVER click Replace All. Check every one, and keep clicking Find Next for each date you find that isn’t part of a citation, only click Replace for those that are part of a citation. Ignore the dates in the References list—they aren’t citations either.
  11. Once you’ve finished the 19xx dates, it’s time to do the 20xx dates. Go back to the top of the document. In the Find field change 19 to 20, leaving everything else the same (you should now have (<20*>) in the Find field, and the Replace field should still be \1 (Ref.^s), with ‘Highlight’ listed below it).
  12. Click Find Next.
  13. If you find a citation, click Replace to highlight the date and add the partial text container for the cross-reference number. The same rules apply as listed in step 10 above.
  14. Once you’ve finished, close the Find and Replace dialog.

You’ve now identified all the citations in the document. The next major step is the most time-consuming, so make sure you allow plenty of time for it. For a long document with many different citations, this next step could take many hours.

Step 4: Assign a cross-referenced number to each citation (repeat multiple times, once for each citation)

  1. If field shading isn’t turned on, turn it on:
    • Go to File > Options
    • Click Advanced
    • Scroll down to the Show Document Content section
    • Select Always from the Field Shading drop-down list.
  2. Go to the beginning of the document.
  3. Use your eyes to scan the text for the highlight colour you used for the citations. If you didn’t use a different colour, it may not be a citation, so check.
  4. Leave the author/date as it is for now, and put your cursor just inside the closing parenthesis, after the nonbreaking space.
  5. On the References tab > Captions group, click Cross-reference.
  6. Choose:
    • Numbered item from the Reference Type drop-down list
    • Paragraph number (no context) from the Insert Reference To drop-down list
  7. Scroll down the list of items to the References section, then select 1. immediately below it. (This is the row numbered 1 in the References list table you created earlier.)
  8. Click Insert.
  9. A cross-reference field for 1. is added to your citation—you should now have (Ref. 1). Because you turned on field shading in step 1, the number should have grey shading behind it, indicating it’s a clickable field (you’ll see this only after you remove the highlighting).
  10. Copy the original author/date citation (e.g. Smith, 2006), then Ctrl+click the cross-reference number. This takes you to the matching row in the References table.
  11. Paste the copied author/date citation into that row. You’ll add all the bibliographic details later—you don’t want to lose the original citation at this stage, so you’ll store it in the row that will later be populated with the bibliographic details for that citation. (Tip: If you only have a small list, then you could find the matching details from the old list and add them now)
  12. Click the Back button you added earlier to the QAT to return to the citation cross-reference.
  13. Copy the number you just inserted (the field) to the clipboard.
  14. Because a single citation could have been used several times in the document, you now need to search for other instances of that citation and add the cross-reference you copied in the step above:
    • Open the Find and Replace dialog (Ctrl+h)
    • Clear the Use wildcards checkbox
    • Clear the text from the Find field
    • Clear the text from the Replace field
    • Click No Formatting to clear the ‘Highlight’ wording from below the Replace field
    • In the Find field, type the original author/date citation (sometimes the author or the date may be enough)
    • Click Find Next
  15. If you find the citation used again:
    • Click out of the Find and Replace dialog
    • Paste the field (the cross-reference number) you copied at step 13 into the (Ref. ) placeholder, just before the closing parenthesis
    • Clear any remaining highlighting and delete any unwanted text and/or extra parentheses for this citation, including the author/date part—you no longer need this because you already added it to the References list back in steps 10 and 11.
    • Click back into the Find and replace dialog, and continue searching for other instances of that citation
    • For each one found, paste the field (as above) and clear the highlighting, extra text etc.
  16. Once you’re satisfied that you’ve found them all, go back to the first instance of that cross-referenced citation, delete the original author/date, any extra parentheses, and clear the highlighting.
  17. Repeat steps 3 to 16 above for the second citation, choosing 2 instead of 1 at step 7.
  18. Repeat steps 3 to 16 for every other highlighted citation, changing the number each time. Yes, this can take HOURS. Add more rows to the bottom of References list if you’re starting to run out.

Step 5: Populate the References list with the bibliographic details from the old References list (one-off task)

Once you’ve added all the citations, you’ll need to find their matching counterparts in the original References list.

  1. Go to the first row of the table.
  2. Check the author/date citation you pasted there earlier.
  3. Find the matching item in the original References list. Use the original author/date citation information to confirm you have the correct one. (Hint: Copy the original References list into a new document and show it on a second monitor, if you have one.)
  4. Copy/paste the original bibliographic details into the Title cell in the matching row of the numbered table, deleting  the original author/date citation placeholder. (If you’re not comfortable deleting the original citation just yet, leave it for now and highlight it for later deletion.)
  5. Optional: Delete any date designator (e.g. 2010b becomes 2010), and shift any document number etc. to the other column.
  6. Repeat the steps above for each row of the table that has an author/date citation.
  7. Delete any unused rows when you’ve finished.

Adding, deleting items from the new list and updating the list

Adding new references and citations

If you need to add new items to the References list table, the simplest way is to:

  1. Insert a new row at the end of the table.
  2. Add the bibliographic details.
  3. Create the cross-referenced citation to that new number.

If you want to add the item so that the cross-referenced citation is numbered sequentially in the main body of the document, in line with the other citations, it’s a bit more complex:

  1. Turn off Track Changes.
  2. Insert a new row where you want to add the new reference (e.g. you might want it to become citation number 24, so you need to add a new row after row number 23. This new row becomes 24 and the previous 24 becomes 25 etc.). The numbers in the table update automatically, but the citations in the main document don’t.
  3. Add the bibliographic details.
  4. Create the cross-reference citation to that new number.
  5. Update all the fields in the document to reflect the new number order of the other cross-referenced citations (e.g. the previous number 24 now becomes number 25, 25 becomes 26 etc.). See below for how to do this.

Deleting reference items

If you need to delete reference items from the table:

  1. Turn off Track Changes if you aren’t required to track this change.
  2. Go to the cross-referenced citation if it exists (e.g. press Ctrl+f and search for Ref. 23 [you have to search via the navigation pane as you can’t search for a field number from the Find and Replace dialog]).
  3. Confirm that this is the one to be deleted—Ctrl+click the number to go to that row in the References table.
  4. If it’s correct, click the Back button on the QAT, and delete the cross-referenced citation.
  5. Search for any further instances of this and delete them too.
  6. Return to the References table and delete the row. The numbers in the table will automatically update, but the citations in the main document won’t.
  7. Update all the fields in the document to reflect the new number order of the other cross-referenced citations (e.g. the previous number 23 now becomes number 22, 24 becomes 23 etc.). See below for how to do this.

Updating the cross-referenced citations

Whenever you change an auto-numbered table, the numbers will automatically update, but the citations that refer to them don’t until you update all the fields in the document.

Unless you are required to track these changes, turn off Track Changes before you start.

To update all the fields in your document, do one of these:

  • switch to Print Preview view, then back to Print Layout view (quickest and easiest); or
  • press Ctrl+a to select the entire document, then press the F9 key; or
  • press Ctrl+a to select the entire document, then right-click on the selection and choose Update Field.

To update a single field, place your cursor to the immediate left of the grey shading, right-click, then select Update Field.

To check for broken fields, press Ctrl+f and search for Error!. If this message is in a cross-referenced citation, it means that Word can’t find the matching number in the References list. You’ll either have to add a new row for it (and reassign the correct number to the cross-reference), or delete the cross-referenced citation.

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Finding accurate bibliographic details for a References list

February 19, 2015

References. The bane of anyone writing a document that cites information from others. Gathering all the required bibliographic data for a reference can be painful, as well as formatting it according to the ‘house’ style.

However, one way to shortcut the process is to use a (free) internet service that searches out the information for you AND formats it to your house style, or close to your house style. All you need are a few words of the title, perhaps an author name, and the name of such a service.

The instructions below show how to use the WorldCat service to grab the complete bibliographic details of items in your References list. You won’t find everything in WorldCat, although with more than 2 billion catalog records from libraries around the world, you should find many. What you won’t find on WorldCat are your internal corporate documents and perhaps some of the more specialized documents from government departments etc. But if you’re looking to confirm the bibliographic details of published books, articles etc., then WorldCat is a good starting point.

  1. Go to http://www.worldcat.org/.
  2. Optional: Click the tab of the type of item you’re searching for (e.g. Articles); the default is Everything, but narrowing your search to a type of material will give you more targeted results.
  3. Type the title, or part of the title (try to include enough keywords so that you don’t get hundreds of results to skim). If it’s an article, you can add part of the journal’s name too, if you know it.
    worldcat01
  1. Press the Enter key.
  2. Optional: On the results page, you can further refine your search by selecting options from the left sidebar or adding words to the search field (e.g. an author’s name).
  3. When you find your reference, click its title.
    worldcat02
  4. Confirm that it’s the item you want, then click the Cite/Export link near the top of the page.
    worldcat03
  1. A popup window opens allowing you to select the referencing format.
  2. Click the + sign for the formatting style you want to use. Check them all to find the one that most closely matches your house style.
    worldcat04
  3. Select the details, then copy them (Ctrl+C) to the clipboard and paste them (Ctrl+V) into your References list in your document.

Note: You can view some articles etc. listed in WorldCat in their entirety if you need to check the reference further — these are indicated by a small orange circle with a white ‘e’ inside it.

worldcat05

There are other (free and paid) services available that also provide this sort of information (I’m aware of http://www.citationmachine.net/ but feel that it has more limitations in its reference formats than WorldCat). If you use any other free services, let me know and I’ll add them to this post.

[Links last checked February 2015]

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Quoting from other material

June 8, 2012

(adapted from a ‘Writing Tip’ email I recently sent to work colleagues)

***************

Bottom line:

  • Type the words exactly as written.
  • There are always exceptions to any ‘rule’!

Q: Can I change case in quoted text?

A: Not usually

‘C’ asked if she could change the case of some terms in a quoted piece of text so that the case matched what we used. The quote had the phrase ‘non-indigenous species and marine pests’; however, we use ‘Non-indigenous Species and Marine Pests’ in our documents to regulators as those terms have specific meaning under the Ministerial conditions of approval and possibly in one or more Acts of Parliament.

I asked ‘C’ where the quoted text was from and she said it was from one of the regulatory authorities. This emphasised to me that we SHOULDN’T change the case – this document has to go back to that regulatory authority for approval, and the last thing we want is for someone in the regulator’s office to pick up on this minor technicality and hold up the approvals process as a result. In this case, it was critical to know where the quote had come from and where the document was ultimately to go – it wasn’t just an easy yes/no answer about changing case.

I also consulted the Australian Style Manual, where p113 had this note in the sidebar: ‘Accurate quotation: Great care must be taken to quote the work of another writer exactly.’

Q: What about changing spelling in quoted text?

A: Rarely, if ever

If you are quoting text with US spelling, the same convention applies – leave it as it is and do not change it to Australian spelling, as the quote is verbatim from the originating (US) author. For example, we refer to the ‘Risk Prioritization Matrix’ as it originates from the US and has that spelling in its title.

Q: What about changing punctuation in quoted text?

A: Rarely, if ever

Adding commas, semicolons, full stops, etc. to quoted text (or removing them) can change the meaning substantially, so we don’t touch those either.

Q: Does quoted text have to be in quote marks?

A: It depends on the length of the quoted piece

It depends…

  • Short (i.e. fewer than three lines of quoted text): Do not italicise short quotes – just surround the quoted text with single quote marks (convention used in the Australian Style Manual, which is our authority for such things).
  • Long (i.e. more than three lines): Set the quotation in its own indented paragraph, apply italics, but do not use quote marks.

Q: How do I omit some words from a quotation if they aren’t necessary to what I’m writing about?

A: Use an ellipsis ( … )

Despite the ‘rule’ to quote exactly, there are exceptions. For example, you can leave out words, phrases, even whole paragraphs from a piece of quoted text if those words etc. aren’t necessary to make your point. However, you can’t change the meaning of the quoted text when you omit such words (e.g. you can’t omit a word like ‘not’ without changing the meaning – ‘do not’ is the opposite to ‘do’).

You must also let the reader know that there are bits missing. You do this by using an ellipsis, which is a space, followed by three dots, followed by another space (i.e. … ). For example:

‘The results … suggest that Flatback Turtles may not travel to a single … foraging ground at the end of their breeding migration and that some may … forage in a range of areas before returning to … nest …’

(The original was: ‘The results also suggest that Flatback Turtles may not travel to a single (presumed) foraging ground at the end of their breeding migration and that some may in fact forage in a range of areas before returning to [location removed] to nest the following season.’

Q: How do I show that words have been changed or added to quoted text?

A: Surround the changes with square brackets

Even though the ‘rule’ is to quote exactly, sometimes the original author gets it wrong. For example, in one of the Ministerial Conditions documents, they incorrectly wrote ‘Marine Offloading Facility’ instead of ‘Materials Offloading Facility’, which they had used elsewhere throughout the document. If your quote needed to include that phrase, then you could correct it by surrounding the replacement word with square brackets: i.e. ‘the [Materials] Offloading Facility’.

You also use square brackets around words you’ve added to quoted text to clarify meaning; e.g. ‘The impacts [to marine fauna] from noise and vibration emissions are predicted to be limited to behavioural disturbances.’

***************

See also:

[Link last checked September 2012]

h1

Technical Writing 101: References and citations

September 23, 2011

If you are writing a scientific report, an academic paper, or a document where you make statements that you’ve acquired from somewhere else, you’ll most likely need to cite those references.

Why reference? You need to tell your readers where your evidence comes from so they can check for themselves and see if that evidence is valid and reliable for the point you are making. You also need to reference to make it quite clear which are your own ideas and which are borrowed from others. Statements of fact that are NOT common knowledge will likely need a reference.

Citations are the ‘hooks’ in the body of the document that are a shortcut to the full publication details in the References list; e.g. the citation (Johnstone and Storr 2005) is the hook to these full details: Johnstone, R.E. and Storr, G.M. 2005. Handbook of Western Australian Birds. Volume 2: Passerines (Blue-winged Pitta to Goldfinch). Western Australian Museum, Perth, Western Australia.

How you cite and reference a source, and how you format it, will depend on the style set by the school, university, company, organisation etc. The citation above is a variation on the Harvard author/date style.

[Based on a Writing Tip I wrote for my work colleagues]

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Word 2007: Citation and Bibliography function

December 20, 2010

Some time back I took a quick look at Word 2007’s Citation and Bibliography styles. At the time, I was checking if the referencing style my client used was available, and if not, whether I could find something suitable and/or modify it. At that time I came across BibWord, but it all looked too hard.

Fast forward almost a year, and I got to investigate this function again as I may be working on a very large scientific report next year that will have multiple authors and potentially hundreds of references that those authors will have to cite. I wanted to see how hard it was to enter new references in Word 2007, whether I could modify a BibWord style that was close to what we require, and generally just put this Word 2007 function through its paces.

I must say I’ve been impressed with BibWord so far, and particularly impressed with the developer’s response to my many questions on their discussion forum about sharing references across multiple authors and multiple sections of the document.

However, I’m not as impressed with the Word 2007 functionality. At first glance it looks easy to use. But there are some serious usability issues with the dialog boxes that make it very cumbersome to use if you have a large list of references, references with particularly long titles, and references that include things like Acts of parliament or species names that typically take the opposite formatting of the title (e.g. if you have a title that contains a species name, you would italicize the main title but not the species name if you were entering the reference manually).

Here are some of the shortcomings I’ve found with the Manage Sources and Create Source dialog boxes, and the Insert Citation function in Word 2007. Most, if not all of these, should have been fixed prior to release as none of them are difficult fixes, in my opinion (I’m not a programmer, but I’ve been around enough programmers in software companies for the last 18+ years to have some understanding of what’s do-able and what’s not).

Manage Sources/Create Source dialog boxes

  • Title field is limited to <255 characters. However, I have several docs with LONG titles, including Government reports, names of Standards, corporate reports etc. e.g. Guidance for the Assessment of Environmental Factors Western Australia (in accordance with the Environmental Protection Act 1986) – Terrestrial Flora and Vegetation Surveys for Environmental Impact Assessment in Western Australia, No. 51. Or this one: State Water Quality Management Strategy No. 6 (SWQ6): Implementation Framework for Western Australia for the Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality and Water Quality Monitoring and Reporting (Guidelines No 4 & 7: National Water Quality Management Strategy). I cannot enter the full title because of this limitation.
  • Manage Sources dialog box cannot be resized by the user. This means that long titles that start with the same words (e.g. a long project title) cannot be viewed in full the top panels; they can only be viewed in the bottom panel after you select the reference.
  • You have to scroll to see more than four lines of a reference. This is crazy! When you select a reference in the top panel, only a couple of lines of it display in the lower section (including a blank line!) and you have to scroll to see it all, even if there’s only half a line that’s not visible. This is just BAD design.
  • No formatting can be applied to a title or any other field. So, if you have the title of an Act of Parliament in the title or the name of a species, you can’t specify that it is not to be displayed in italics.
  • You cannot specify an abbreviation of a long corporate author for the citation. For example, ‘Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council and Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand’ goes into the citation in full each time, whereas after first usage, my authors want to cite it as ‘ANZECC/ARMCANZ’.
  • Symbols such as en dashes cannot be inserted easily. For example, our style is to use an en dash to separate a page range. You can’t insert one in the field using the keyboard or a toolbar icon — the only way you can insert an en dash is to copy it from somewhere else and paste it in.
  • Non-breaking spaces and non-breaking hyphens cannot be inserted. Some titles include elements that shouldn’t split when they wrap to the next line (e.g. a value and its unit of measure, or a date in full in the title should not be separated), so I would normally insert use a non-breaking space or a non-breaking hyphen for these.
  • You cannot insert a reference into the document from the Manage Sources dialog box. It would be useful to have an Insert button on the Manage Sources window too so that you can select from list and immediately insert the citation. Same for an Insert Placeholder option from the Manage Sources window.
  • AutoCorrect doesn’t work in the fields on the Manage Sources window. If you’ve specified an AutoCorrect entry for common phrases etc. (e.g .epa for Environmental Protection Authority), it won’t work. This means you have to type the complete phrase in EVERY time, or copy/paste it.
  • AutoComplete doesn’t work in the fields on the Manage Sources window. There’s no ‘memory’ of previous data entry. This means you can make errors like entering both ‘Environment Protection Agency’ and ‘Environmental Protection Authority’ (or any other typos) and it won’t be picked up – you won’t see it until you notice similar entries in the bibliography and wonder why they are out of order.
  • You cannot duplicate an existing entry. Being able to duplicate and modify the duplicate then save it as a new entry would save a LOT of time in data entry! For example, we will have hundreds of internal reports that will be cited. They all have the same corporate author, place of publication etc. and many start with the same project title. Being able to copy an existing entry and modify it would save us bucketloads of time.
  • Sort by Author doesn’t work as expected. ‘Sort by Author’ is the default sort for items listed in the two panels on the Manage Sources dialog box, and the sources are listed by author then title then date. However, the sort doesn’t appear to be by author at all. At first I thought it was by title, then I thought it was by type of reference (e.g. reports before journal articles before books, before web documents), then by whether it’s a corporate author or a ‘normal’ author. But I’m really not sure — it appears to be random! Fortunately, the Insert Citation list is in author order, so is easier to navigate.

    These are all corporate authors and they are all reports, but they aren’t sorted by author

  • Sort by Title doesn’t ignore initial articles. Therefore titles starting with ‘The’ are listed under T, not the second word as is standard practice (same for titles starting with A and An).

    The second title ‘A new…’ should be listed under ‘N’ not ‘A’

  • Finding a reference in a long list is very difficult. It’s very hard to find an author or title in a LONG list (and I’m talking hundreds of references – our manual master references list is over 100 pages, with anything from 10 to 15 references per page!). Sorting helps to an extent (see the limitations I’ve listed above), but with a window that cannot be resized, it’s trial and error to find the correct reference.
  • Minor quibbles about the layout of the Manage Sources and Create Sources dialog boxes. Some fields should be small in width (e.g. a year is only ever a maximum of four numbers, yet the Year field extends across the form). The option to Show All Bibliography Fields may not be needed if the window was resizable — for some reference types, clicking this option only displays one extra field, so it seems a bit strange.

Insert Citation list

  • Very difficult to find/jump to items in a long list. When you’ve added more than about 12 sources, the selection list on the Insert Citation list gets a scroll bar and it can be difficult finding the reference you want. I expect my long document to have a few hundred sources, so this could be painful…. As far as I can tell, you can’t type a letter to jump to that section of the list, so scrolling to find the W authors in a sea of hundreds of citations every time I want to insert that citation would become really tedious really quickly.

Bibliography

  • You cannot edit a source from within the  bibliography. You can right-click on a citation and get the option to edit it from there, but you can’t right-click on an entry in the automated bibliography and get the option to edit that entry on the Manage Source dialog. This means you either have to either find the citation and right-click on it, or open the Manage Source dialog and hunt for the reference there to edit it.

Bottom line:

With some real-life usability testing, I suspect most of these issues would have shown up to developers BEFORE they released this feature of Word 2007. I suspect that no-one tested it with hundreds of references (as would be used in a thesis or major scientific report) — if they had, they would have realized that it has severe limitations from a usability perspective.

Anyone know someone in the Microsoft Word team? If so, can you pass this blog post on to them.

See also:

[Links last checked May 2019]

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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 (https://archive.codeplex.com/?p=bibword), which seems to be part of a Microsoft open source effort (no, that’s NOT an oxymoron!) [Update May 2019: This BibWord site seems to be archived, many of the links are broken, and has had little or no development on it since 2009; however, you can still download the archived files. There also seems to be another site on the GitHub site, which seems to have all the files: https://github.com/codingo/BibWord].

Here’s what the BibWord website offers (Note: As at May 2019, some of these may not be available from either site):

  • 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.
  • A very small Extender executable file, which, among other things, adds functions such as letter suffixes for multiple works by the same authoring body in the one year.
  • 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.
  • Finally, there’s BibType and its related schema and type definitions, as well as its own user guide. 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 May 2019]

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Editing: Terms and citations in long documents

July 28, 2009

Do you have a long document to edit online? Perhaps an academic thesis, a scientific report, a government document — one with long lists of terms and references, as well as citations throughout the document for those references.

One of the difficulties in checking terms and citations against their respective lists in long documents is the painful process of moving around the document — you’re forever flipping from one end of the document to the other, then trying to get back to where you were up to in the editing process. Yes, there are techniques to minimize this, but they aren’t entirely satisfactory.

One method is to use Word’s ‘highlighter pen’ to mark up all the terms and citations as you’re editing, then come back and check them with another pass (or two) over the document. But this takes quite a bit of time, especially on a large document. And you’re forever grabbing the highlighter tool to add highlighting, then to remove it after you’ve checked the term/citation. (See Add/remove highlighting with the keyboard for a quicker way than the toolbar icon.)

If you use the method I describe below, you can speed up the process and do the checks as you edit the document.

NOTE: This method is most effective if you have two or more monitors or one very wide monitor.

Create your supplementary documents

  1. Open the large Word document.
  2. Find the list of terms and copy it.
  3. Paste the list of terms into a new document (e.g. terms.doc).
  4. Highlight all the terms in the terms.doc document and save the document. Do not close it — move it to the other monitor.
  5. Go back to the main document, find the list of references, copy it, then paste it into another new document (e.g. refs.doc). Again, highlight the entire list of references in the refs.doc document, then move this document to the other monitor too.

You should now have three Word documents open — the main (long) document, and two much shorter documents (terms.doc and refs.doc). The two small documents should be fully highlighted.

What you’re going to do as you’re editing is remove the highlighting for any term or citation you find that matches one in the relevant list.

Check off the found terms and citations

  1. Start editing the document as you normally would.
  2. As you come to a term (abbreviation, acronym etc.) in the main document, check if it’s in the terms.doc list.
  3. If it is, remove the highlight from that term. At this stage you ARE NOT checking the correctness of the definition — just whether the term is listed in the terms list or not. (See below for tips to deal with terms that aren’t in the list.)

    Remove highlight from found terms

    Remove highlight from found terms

  4. Do the same for any citations you come across — check that the item is in the refs.doc and remove the highlight if it is.

    Remove highlight from found terms

    Remove highlight from found references

  5. By the end of editing the main document, you should have few, if any, highlighted terms or references left in their respective documents.
  6. If you have no highlights, you’re now ready to check the two smaller documents for their accuracy (i.e. check all definitions are correct, check all references are formatted according to house style, etc.)
  7. Once you’ve completed step 6, copy and paste the two lists back into the main document, overwriting the existing lists. And you’re done!

Things that can go awry

  • Term in main document is not in the terms list:  Add it to terms.doc and perhaps highlight it in another color if you think you won’t pick it up later (unlikely as you will go through the terms list verifying the definitions later anyway). You may need to add the definition (if you have it), or alert the author that the definition is missing.
  • Citation in main document is not in reference list: Alert author to it; it’s their responsibility to make sure the reference is included, or to delete the citation if it’s no longer applicable.
  • Term is still highlighted in terms.doc:  Do a Find (Ctrl+F) just in case you missed it. If it’s really not there, alert author to it for possible deletion from terms list.
  • Reference is still highlighted in refs.doc:  Do a Find (Ctrl+F) just in case you missed it. If it’s really not there, alert author to it for possible deletion from reference list, or as a reminder that they may have forgotten to add a citation.

[Links last checked October 2009]