What is a reference manager?
A reference manager is a piece of software that can help you keep track of the resources you've used in an assignment. This is especially helpful when you are using a large number of resources—if you're writing a long essay, research project, or thesis for example.
The software can insert in-text citations and reference lists in your work, though it doesn't always do so accurately and you will likely need to enter the information into the software manually anyway. The biggest advantage is that the software maintains a library of your resources and helps you organise them.
Common reference managers
Microsoft Word also has a citation/reference list function. However, it can be difficult to use accurately. Please note that as at October 2022, the Word tool has not been updated to the APA 7th edition.
Depending on which reference manager you choose, you will likely need to download its web browser and word processor extensions to get them to work correctly. You may also need to download the correct APA 7th edition referencing style.
Citation generators are online tools that can help you create in-text citations and reference lists. You don't have to download the software, and some allow you to save resources. However, the reference list entries generated by these tools are often inaccurate and you will likely have to enter the relevant information manually anyway. Always check computer-generated references against the APA guide.
Common citation generators
Pros and cons of reference management tools