It is something that many of us dread. Drafting a coherent and intellectually stimulating essay or in-depth report that challenges, informs and makes the reader look at a traditional subject in a radical new light. Whether you are a first year student penning a thesis or a business professional making an extended argument for a new working methodology the pressures involved in crafting such a document can be overwhelming. How about a Microsoft Word course?

And often the body of the work is only one aspect fraught with problems. Bibliographies and citations can cause as much if not more grief to a prospective writer as there are myriad different formats for different types of documents, all with their own stringent and inflexible rules on how to correctly reference a source.

Fortunately those considerate folks at Microsoft have provided an invaluable tool for collating and structuring reference documents which accounts for all the major styles of document referencing and makes the task of citing sources infinitely more straightforward.

One of the major headaches of creating a bibliography is making it conform to the appropriate style and this can be even more problematic if you are unsure of what that style should be. Microsoft Word 2010 contains templates for a whole host of different bibliography styles from MLA , which is heavily used in social sciences, to ISO, which is suited to more technical documents. By selecting the appropriate style template Word will automatically convert your sources into the precise format required by the organisation or sphere that you are writing for or about.

Once this is done simply click on the end of the sentence that requires the reference and select Insert Citation. If you opt for Add New Source a text box will appear with fields to be completed dependant on the media being quoted. For example, you can enter sources from journals, books or websites alongside relevant data such as publication year and press. Word will then sift the information and collate it in the appropriate style.

Alternatively, if you do not want to constantly stop and start the flow of your document by adding in references as you go you can instead select a placeholder citation and then go back at the end and add in all the details at that point.

As any stressed out student knows only too well bibliographies can rapidly become essays in their own right and constantly having to type in the minute details of all your sources can turn into the administrative equivalent of Chinese water torture. So Word also includes a master list of sources used in previous documents that you can click and select to save valuable time and hassle. Selecting Manage Sources brings up a Source Manager box which contains two separate fields: Master List, which contains all references used in previous documents, and Current List, which just details the citations in the document in progress.

No bibliography is going to be 100% trouble free but with the help of Microsoft Word you can focus on the meat of your arguments rather than worrying about the supplementary issues.