Change the type of brackets in citations

Usually Word surrounds citations by the round brackets (see How to create a citation for more details). But you can insert a citation in the square brackets or use other symbols.

By default Word inserts citations in round brackets:

Round brackets in the citation Word 2013

First, you must specify the style that you will use for citations:

    1.    On the References tab, in the Citations & Bibliography group, select Style:

Citations and Bibliography Word 2013

    2.    Word proposes several styles. In this tip is used the APA Fifth Edition style.

To change the brackets type, do the following:

    1.    Open for edit the file APA*.xsl (for example in Notepad). The location of the file may vary, but it is usually located here:

C:\Program Files\MSOffice\Office15\Bibliography\Style\ or

C:\Users\***\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Bibliography\Style\, where *** is your user name

    2.    Find the following lines in that file (you can search for the phrase "openbracket" and "closebracket"):

<xsl:template name="templ_prop_OpenBracket" >
  <xsl:param name="LCID" />
  <xsl:variable name="_LCID">
   <xsl:call-template name="localLCID">
    <xsl:with-param name="LCID" select="$LCID"/>
   </xsl:call-template>
  </xsl:variable>
  <xsl:value-of select="/*/b:Locals/b:Local[@LCID=$_LCID]/b:General/b:OpenBracket"/>
 </xsl:template>

 <xsl:template name="templ_prop_CloseBracket" >
  <xsl:param name="LCID" />
  <xsl:variable name="_LCID">
   <xsl:call-template name="localLCID">
    <xsl:with-param name="LCID" select="$LCID"/>
   </xsl:call-template>
  </xsl:variable>
  <xsl:value-of select="/*/b:Locals/b:Local[@LCID=$_LCID]/b:General/b:CloseBracket"/>
 </xsl:template>

    3.    Change the type of brackets:

 <xsl:template name="templ_prop_OpenBracket" >
  <xsl:param name="LCID" />
  <xsl:variable name="_LCID">
   <xsl:call-template name="localLCID">
    <xsl:with-param name="LCID" select="$LCID"/>
   </xsl:call-template>
  </xsl:variable>
  <xsl:value-of select="/*/b:Locals/b:Local[@LCID=INITIAL_CONTENTLCID]/b:General/b:OpenBracket"/>
    <xsl:text>[</xsl:text>
 </xsl:template>

 <xsl:template name="templ_prop_CloseBracket" >
  <xsl:param name="LCID" />
  <xsl:variable name="_LCID">
   <xsl:call-template name="localLCID">
    <xsl:with-param name="LCID" select="$LCID"/>
   </xsl:call-template>
  </xsl:variable>
  <xsl:value-of select="/*/b:Locals/b:Local[@LCID=INITIAL_CONTENTLCID]/b:General/b:CloseBracket"/>
    <xsl:text>]</xsl:text>
 </xsl:template>

After you save this file, you can see square brackets (only in the APA style):

Square brackets in the citation Word 2013

NOTE:

  • We recommend you to create a copy of this file before you will begin to change it.
  • You can create your own style file:
    • copy APA.XSL file (on the same path)
    • change the type of brackets in it
    • choose you own style in the Style list (on the References tab, in the Citations & Bibliography group)

You can change other elements as you wish:

Custom brackets in the citation Word 2013