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Lesson 32: Adding Citations


Adding citations

Google Docs has a tool that can create and add citations automatically. In this lesson, you'll learn how to search and cite sources from your document using the Explore tool in Google Docs.

Watch the video below to see how you can add citations to your document.

To create a citation:

  1. Open the Explore tool by clicking the icon at the bottom-right of the page. Alternatively, you can go to Tools > Explore.
    Selecting explore tool bottom left of page
  2. The Explore tool works just like a normal Google search. You can search for a word or phrase, and then click on any of the links to visit the full website.
    Selecting link
  3. If you already know the website that you want to use, you can copy and paste the URL into the search bar. Select the URL you want to use, then press Ctrl+C (Windows) or Command+C (Mac) on your keyboard to copy the URL. Place your insertion point where you want the text to appear, and press Ctrl+V (Windows) or Command+V (Mac) on your keyboard to paste the URL into the search bar. Then press Enter.
    URL pasted into search bar
  4. To change the citations format, click the three dots next to Web Results. You can choose between MLA, APA, and Chicago.
    Changing citations format
  5. To add the citation, hover over the result that you want, and click the Quotation Mark.
    Clicking question mark to add citation
  6. The citation is added as a footnote, with the proper formatting.
    Citation added with proper formatting


Although citations are useful, they do have some limitations:

  • You can only cite as a footnote, which means that you won’t be able to use this tool to create your bibliography.
  • Citations are only created for web sources. To cite books or magazines, you still have to do it yourself. Go to Insert > Footnote then type in the citation manually.
    Selecting footnote button