Retroactively formatting citations in Microsoft Word
November 12, 2016 11:04 AM   Subscribe

I am making edits to a document in Word that has citations indicated by numbered superscripts that correspond to a numbered list of sources. These were not created using the citation function in Word (or if they were, the version of the document I have no longer contains that formatting). My additions to this document contain new citations, which I have created using the citation function in Word. So the result is that I have a document that contains two separate citation lists that both start from number 1, and superscripts are not ordered numerically within the document.

Is there a way to retroactively turn the original citations into Word's citation formatting so that I can integrate the new source list and the old source list, and so the numbers will be sequential and not overlapping?
posted by i_am_a_fiesta to Technology (6 answers total)
Have you tried using the Format Painter? That usually works for this kind of thing.

Highlight a section of content that's in the desired format, select the Format Painter, and then highlight one or more sections of content that are in the non-desired format.

Hopefully if you do this with the first citation in your original list, it will have a flow-on effect to the rest of the citations in that list, since they're logically linked to the first citation in the list.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 12:40 PM on November 12, 2016

It sounds to me like whoever made the original document was using EndNote or Mendeley or another citation manager, but the file's been unlinked. Those programs can be finicky to troubleshoot even when things are running smoothly. Assuming that you can't find out what's going on from the original owner, and that you're dealing with dozens rather than hundreds of citations, I'd be inclined to bite the bullet and fix this manually by deleting the old citation superscripts and re-adding them in Word.
posted by une_heure_pleine at 12:50 PM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Dealing with 100+ citations and 70+ pages.

une_heure_pleine, I fear that's the only option. So, follow up question -- any way to use a pre-written citation rather than have to put each component (author, etc) into Word's form?
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 1:33 PM on November 12, 2016

Is doing it manually without using the Word citation manager an option? Just make a manual list? That's how we do reports this size. Flat files with just styled text are much more robust going back and for through editing, translation and eventual webbification.

Word isn't a hugely reliable citation manager in my experience past the size of a short essay. At 70+ pages/100+ citations, you're getting into the zone where trusting Word is risky.
posted by bonehead at 4:05 PM on November 12, 2016

Can you ask the other author what program they used to add these references? Then you may be able to export their references and add yours and update with the least work.
posted by Kalmya at 4:17 PM on November 12, 2016

It sounds as if it is a reasonable sized job - have you considered paying somebody to do it for you?
posted by koahiatamadl at 3:24 AM on November 13, 2016

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