Changing Word’s bibliography style to use square parentheses

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One of my main activities right now is writing a white paper discussing how linked data potentially provides a solution to one of the problems that big data creates. I’m sure I’ll tweet the link when it’s published but, for a sneak preview of the main points, check out my lightning talk at CloudCamp London next week.

Unlike most of the stuff I create these days, it’s written for architects, rather than for a CIO/CTO and so the style is more of a technical journal than a piece of marketing collateral. That’s meant lots of graphics and fully-detailed sources. I’ve never used the citation capabilities in Microsoft Word before (I did write my dissertation in Word 2.0 for Windows, but that was in 1994 and it was still fairly feature-light then!) but I’ve been pretty impressed at its ability to create a bibliography for me.

Word lets me choose from a variety of bibliography styles but I have chosen ISO 690 (Numerical Reference). The only problem with this is that it uses normal round parentheses () rather than square parentheses [] which can be confusing when a sentence contains both text in parentheses (brackets) and a citation (1).

Custom Word 2007 bibliography styleA bit of googling turns up various solutions involving editing XSLT stylesheets but that all seems a bit of a pain. Then I found that “Yves” on CodePlex has already done the work and released ISO690NmericalSquare.XSL.  After downloading this to %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Office\Office12\Bibliography\Style and restarting Word (2007 in my case – there’s anecdotal evidence to suggest it would work for Office14/2010 too), I have a new option in the bibliography style dropdown and my citations are all labelled with square parentheses.