Did you know that you can use Microsoft Word to manage all of your MLA works cited in academic and general research papers? According to a formatting and style guide published at the Purdue Online Writing Lab, the MLA (Modern Language Association) style is used for formatting papers and manuscripts (typically in liberal arts and humanities topics) and citing sources used in those papers. While entire books have been written describing the MLA style, most notably the MLA Style Manual, Microsoft Word 2007 comes with a built-in utility that’s useful for managing MLA citation formats and inserting an MLA works cited section at the end of the document.
Managing MLA Citation Formats with Microsoft Word 2007 or 2010
First, go to Word’s Ribbon and click on the References tab. Look for the group of tools labeled “Citations & Bibliography.” Here you’ll find several commands including: Insert Citation, Manage Sources, Style, and Bibliography. Start by choosing the dropdown field next to Style. Select MLA from the list. Note that in addition to MLA formatting citations, Word also supports APA, Chicago, and ISO styles (and many others).
Next, click Manage Sources. If you’ve previously entered sources into Word, a dialog box appears listing your past sources. This is useful when you tend to reuse many of the same sources across multiple documents. To enter a new source, click New.
From there, choose the type of source from the dropdown box such as Web site, journal article, report, sound recording, and film. Now enter the source details by filling in the blanks. At the end of this article, you’ll see an MLA example of the sources cited that was generated by Microsoft Word based on the techniques described.
Inserting MLA Citations
Once you’ve entered your sources, inserting citations is a simple matter of placing your cursor where your citation goes, clicking Insert Citation, and choosing the appropriate source from the list. For example, here’s what an MLA citation looks like when inserted into the text (Stewart). The author’s name of the souce cited is listed in parentheses alongside the text that references that source. This in-text citation matches the list of MLA works cited at the bottom of the document so that readers can refer to the source information as needed.
Inserting MLA Works Cited
Finally, you’ll need to insert a works cited section at the end of your document. Microsoft Word makes this nice and easy. Place your cursor where you want to insert all of the MLA works cited and then click Bibliography. Choose the Works Cited option if you want the ability to update your sources dynamically; choose the Bibliography option if you want a static display only. Word automatically lists, and uses the appropriate MLA citation formats, your sources cited in the document.
Using Microsoft Word to manage MLA citation formats and sources and insert MLA works cited is simple both now as well as in any future documents that may reference the same sources.