Over the years, Google Docs has become a formidable alternative to Microsoft Word for the average user, but the one thing it’s lacked for no good reason is a native citations and bibliographies formatting tool. Adding these to documents can be time consuming. I usually recommend people use a Docs add-ons to fill the gap for this feature. Two such popular add-ons are EasyBib and Paperpile.
These two services are pretty incredible for what they offer, but they’re not perfect. For example, many users in the reviews for each frequently mention that they are slow to load and sometimes fail to add their citations whatsoever. They’re also not free. While they both have a free tier, EasyBib Plus costs $9.95 per month and Paperpile starts at $2.99 per month.
I’m pleased to announce today that Google Docs finally has their own built-in tool for quickly adding citations and bibliographies to your research papers! Also, it’s free. Because, well, Google. To get started with using the new tool, simply visit Google Docs and go to Tools > Citations. the right side panel opens up you can choose your format. Supported formats include MLA, APA or Chicago. You can do in-text citation and bibliography insertion from sources like books, websites, articles from newspapers and journals too. Initially, this feature rolled out to G Suite customers only, but we started to see non G Suite users who were able to pull use it shortly after. Now, it’s accessible to anyone with a Google account.
It should be noted that the paid versions of EasyBib and Paperpile offer more tools than Google’s built-in citations tool. You can scan your paper for plagiarism, perform advanced grammar and writing style error checks and more. Luckily, Google is developing an on-device grammar checking tool for Chromebooks and users can still use the Grammarly both in Google docs and the web using the Chrome web store extension and on Google Play apps. We will have to wait and see as Google’s new tools develop whether or not they will offer similar features to these third party add-ons. Until then, this could be a fast and easy way for students to increase their productivity before their homework is due! Let us know in the comments what your thoughts are as you dive in and play around.