The bibliography is one of the core elements of every Bachelor thesis. The creation of such costs but also a lot of time. It is especially cumbersome to manually enter bibliographic data and to comply with appropriate formalities such as the rules of the chosen citation style. Reason enough Microsoft Word to leave the creation of the bibliography. How to create such an automatic bibliography in Word even faster for your Bachelor thesis, we show you in this article.

How does Word help to create the bibliography for my bachelor thesis?

With Microsoft Word you create with just a few mouse clicks a bibliography and accompanying short references in the course of your Bachelor thesis. Literature sources are automatically formatted by Word in a citation style you choose (eg APA, Harvard, Chicago, etc.). All you have to do is keep track of your sources and make sure your bibliography, which is automatically generated in Word, is constantly updated. How it works exactly and fast, you read in the following step-by-step instructions.

Bibliography in Word: Even faster with the wildcard method

A bibliography in Word can be created in two ways:

The Full Source Method, where all the sources of literature used are first entered into the source manager of Word with their full bibliographic data, and then auto-abstracted in the text

The placeholder method, where short references in the text are first inserted as placeholders and then replaced with the full source references

How the Complete Source method works exactly is summarized in this blog article in a step-by-step guide. Today we want to show you how to use the wildcard method to get you to a perfect bibliography for your Bachelor thesis even faster.

3 reasons for the placeholder method in the bibliography creation in Word

1. Time savings

Writing a bachelor thesis is a scientific process. In the rarest case, this process runs completely as planned in advance. As you write your bachelor thesis, you may find other relevant sources of literature and reject others. With the placeholder method, you only include sources in the bibliography that you actually used in your work, saving you time and effort in incorporating literature that you may not even quote in the final version of your bachelor thesis.

2. Protection against form errors in citation

The procedure described in point 1 not only saves you time, but also protects you from typical mistakes in citation. Supervisors of Bachelor theses generally check randomly whether you have actually referred to the sources listed in the bibliography in the text section of your thesis. Discrepancies lead to the suspicion that you have artificially “expanded” your bibliography and that leads in any case to point deductions in the evaluation. You circumvent this risk by creating the bibliography according to the placeholder method.

3. Efficient writing flow

If you work according to the placeholder method, your write flow is hardly disturbed. You do not run the risk of interrupting your flow of ideas and write much faster and more efficiently, because you first concentrate completely on the writing of the text and only then take care of entering literature data. So you use your time optimally.

The placeholder method: step-by-step instructions

In the following, we show you the placeholder method for the automatic bibliography creation in Word step by step on an example article by Niklas Luhmann, which appeared in 1981 in an anthology of the VS publishing house for social sciences.

Step 1: Select citation style

On the way to the perfect bibliography in Word, it’s best to first take the citation style settings in the styles. Although these settings can be changed at any time, it makes sense to have your bibliography created directly in the desired style automatically in Word.

By the way, you will find out in this blog post which style is the right one in your subject.

The path References -> Style will lead you directly to the drop down menu, where you can choose the desired citation style. This will ensure that all shorthand references and the bibliography automatically generated in Word appear uniformly in that style throughout your research work. Already this function facilitates the later proofreading and prevents citation errors.

Step 2: Insert placeholder

As part of your writing process, you identify all foreign thoughts (irrespective of whether you quote directly or indirectly) with a short reference to the source from which the quote originated. To insert an auto-reference using the wildcard method in the text, do the following:

First, move the cursor to the end of the quote in your text. Following you follow the path References -> Insert quote -> Add new placeholder … This opens a small window in which you can give the placeholder a name.

It is important that you choose a unique name for your placeholder, so that you can actually find the corresponding reference later, if you complete the placeholder by the complete source. We have chosen a combination of the first three letters of the author of the source and the year of publication as a placeholder name. Click on OK to insert the placeholder in the desired position.

Since this is a direct quotation, the citation conventions require you to specify the page number on which the citation originated. A right click on the newly inserted placeholder makes it possible to add the page number to the quote. To do this, just click Edit Quote and enter the page number. By clicking on OK the short reference will be updated automatically.

Step 3: Add page numbers

Step 4: Replace wildcard with full reference

If you later want to supplement the placeholder with the correct and complete short reference, you can access the Source Manager via References -> Manage Sources. It contains two lists: The master list, which lists all sources of literature archived in Word – including those from other documents – as well as the current list in which you can keep all the sources you need for your current writing project. In this is now also the placeholder you put in the text. By clicking on Edit … you can deposit the complete bibliographic details for the placeholder.

Note: In our anthology case, all the fields shown here are sufficient to complete the bibliographic data. However, depending on the source type, it may be necessary to check the box labeled Show All Bibliographic Fields to show additional fields such as Edition or Series. Especially for journal articles, the simplified view does not show all fields for the required information, such as: B. the booklet number.

If you have entered all literature data, your placeholder will be replaced by the correct source name by clicking on OK in the source manager.

Step 5: Update Short References

Now you have already done most of the work on your way to the perfect automatic bibliography in Word. Right-click on the placeholder in the text to update it. It will now display the data you added in the Source Manager in the citation style you’ve defined.

Step 6: Create bibliography automatically

Almost done: Click References -> Bibliography to generate an automatic bibliography of all entries in the current list that you have managed in the Source Manager. The automatic bibliography in Word is complete!

The bibliography automatically created in Word appears uniformly in the selected citation style and in alphabetical order. If you add further sources or if you would like to change the citation style afterwards, click on Refresh quotes and Bibliography to automatically adapt the bibliography to all new features. Citation mistakes are history – and the bachelor thesis writing is faster and more efficient than ever!

You need more tips for the right quotation in your Bachelor thesis? Then take a look at this blog article! The Auratikum team wishes you success in writing!