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ReferenceChecker

Frequently Asked Questions and Troubleshooting Guide

1. ReferenceChecker. Why?

2. Will it help me in my copy-editing work?

3. Can I try ReferenceChecker for free?

4. What sort of references will ReferenceChecker recognize?

5. Does ReferenceChecker check numbered references as well as name+date-style references?

6. Does ReferenceChecker recognize APA-style references?

7. Will ReferenceChecker save me money?

8. How does your licensing system work?

9. Can my colleagues use my copy of ReferenceChecker?

10. What is your privacy policy?

11. Can I send you some feedback?

12. Which versions of Word does ReferenceChecker work with?

13. Is ReferenceChecker available for Macs?

14. Why does ReferenceChecker need to be run in Word?

15. I’ve clicked Go, but ReferenceChecker doesn’t seem to be doing anything. Why?

16. ReferenceChecker has reported a reference mismatch, but I can see nothing wrong. Why?

17. Why can’t I see line numbers in my Word document?

18. In the Word file, some of the reference items and/or citations appear with a dark grey background. What are they, and can ReferenceChecker deal with them?

19. Why does ReferenceChecker think a month is an author?

20. What if I have both a References section AND a Further Reading section? How will ReferenceChecker deal with this?

21. Can ReferenceChecker work with citations in tables and figure captions?

22. Do authors’ initials in the reference list need to have full points or spaces?

23. Does ReferenceChecker check citations in footnotes?

24. Can ReferenceChecker recognize phrases denoting publication status, such as “in press”?

25. Can ReferenceChecker recognize suffixes, such as “Jr.”?

26. Can ReferenceChecker deal with complicated surnames, such as “van der Waals”, “de Jong”, “LaPlace”, etc?

27. Does ReferenceChecker work with citations where the publication year is not always clear or when the author surname and year are split by a large number of words?

28. Does ReferenceChecker ever make changes to the Word document?

29. Can ReferenceChecker recognize Unicode / accented characters, e.g. à, á, é, Å, ö, ó, ł, ę, ñ, etc?

30. Can I run ReferenceChecker on more than one document at the same time?

31. Can ReferenceChecker check text AFTER the References section?

32. Can ReferenceChecker work on references in text that was not produced in Word?

33. Will ReferenceChecker conflict with any of my macros or templates in Word?

34. How do I uninstall (or re-install) ReferenceChecker?

35. ReferenceChecker sounds great, but I don’t want to spend large amounts of time learning another procedure. How long will it take to become familiar with using ReferenceChecker?

36. Why is ReferenceChecker so cheap? What’s the catch?

37. I’ve run ReferenceChecker, and there don’t appear to be any results in the Results window. How do I know ReferenceChecker has actually checked everything?

38. How do I know ReferenceChecker has not hung?

39. Can I use ReferenceChecker work with a 64-bit version of Word and/or on my 64-bit machine?

40. Can I run ReferenceChecker on a file in Word in a way that it ignores text after the References section?

41. Can I run ReferenceChecker on a Mac?

42. Can ReferenceChecker check citations and reference in a Word 2010 document that uses citations fields?

43. The Copy button/function does not copy the results after I have run ReferenceChecker.

44. ReferenceChecker appears to have disappeared from Word! How can I get it back?


1. [ReferenceChecker. Why?]

The idea for ReferenceChecker was conceived by a group of copy editors and a programmer. We’ve simply had enough of struggling over large reference lists for too long. How many times have you spent an hour or three, meticulously checking a HUGE reference list, only to find at the end that, well, only a few of many references had been cited? Or worse, the author was spot on – no uncited references and no non-matching citations! After several years in therapy, we’ve finally come up with a solution: get the machine to do the work. Now, this is important: as copy editors, we are highly protective of our profession. In no way do we advocate replacing our technical know-how and excellent skills as editors with a silicon mind in a beige box. We believe that where copy editing is concerned, the human copy editor reigns supreme. It is a skill built on years of experience . . . But reference checking is another ball game: it has to be done; we don’t like doing it; and ReferenceChecker does it better and faster. What makes ReferenceChecker particularly useful is that it can be run directly in Word. You do not need to run anything else in any other program.

2. [Will it help me in my copy-editing work?]

If you work on Word documents with name+date (APA / Harvard style) or number (Vancouver) references, ReferenceChecker will save you time in checking the reference items and citations. It will not perform any other copy-editing checks for such things as spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. (though, of course, some mismatches identified by ReferenceChecker may be a result of spelling or punctuation errors). In extensive tests on a large number and variety of documents, ReferenceChecker has been found to perform impressively and with a very high degree of accuracy. It is the responsibility of the user to deal with the results as they see fit, and the developers will not be held responsible for any errors arising as a result of its use.

3. [Can I try ReferenceChecker for free?]

ReferenceChecker has been discontinued and is no longer available for download.

4. [What sort of references will ReferenceChecker recognize?]

ReferenceChecker works with references cited and listed in the Harvard, APA and Vancouver styles, recognizing the following formats:

 Smith (2002)

 Smith (2001a) [but note that ReferenceChecker does NOT recognize "Smith, 2001 (a)"]

 O’Connor and Smith (1994, in press)

 Spiller et al. (2003)

 (FAO, 2001; UN, 2002)

 (e.g. Smith et al., 2000; FAO, 2002)

 (American Psychological Association, 2002)

 (Smith & Jones, 2001; Atkinson, 1998)

 (Brown & Green 2001, Atkinson 2003)

 (Atkins, Baker, & Giles, 1981–1982)

 (Atkins, Smith, et al., 1981)

 (Howard, 1934, p. 91)

 (ibid., p. 257)

 (see Longman, 2001, 2005a, b, forthcoming)

 xyz[2; 11-19]

 xyz[1-3]

 xyz1, 4, 7

 xyz[1], [6-8]

ReferenceChecker also recognizes items in the reference list where the first author is given, followed by “et al.”, e.g.

 Smith, K. et al. 2004, Etymology. Words Journal, 24, 89-92.

5. [Does ReferenceChecker check numbered references as well as name+date-style references?]

Yes. ReferenceChecker recognizes the following styles of number (Vancouver) references and citations:

 “ . . . as shown by Smith19

or

 “ . . . as shown by Smith [19]”

or even

 “ . . . as shown previously [1, 6-8]

6. [Does ReferenceChecker recognize APA-style references?]

Yes. APA-style references are recognized and understood fully by ReferenceChecker. For example, both “Atkins, Baker, & Giles, 1981” and “Atkins et al., 1981” are recognized by ReferenceChecker. In APA-style references, in works of three, four or five authors, all authors are cited the first time the reference occurs, and in subsequent citations, only the surname of the first author is given, followed by et al. and the year. The only exception to this is if two references with the same year shorten to the same form, e.g. in subsequent citations, “ Atkins, Baker, Smith, & Giles, 1981” and “Atkins, Smith, Baker, & Giles, 1981” would be shortened to “Atkins, Baker, et al., 1981” and “Atkins, Smith, et al., 1981”, respectively. Again, ReferenceChecker fully understands all of these forms, but it is the responsibility of the copy editor to follow the rules of APA and to ensure that the individual citations are in the appropriate style established by the APA. So, in the above example, if the form “Atkins et al., 1981” were always used in citations instead of “Atkins, Baker, & Giles, 1981” on first mention, ReferenceChecker would not query this.  

Tip: Try selecting "All" in the Output box and then copying and pasting the results into another document to see at a glance whether and where the author has adhered to the correct APA style of citing all authors initially and then et al. thereafter.

7. [Will ReferenceChecker save me money?]

Yes. ReferenceChecker substantially reduces the average time required to check and fix references: we estimate you will save 10-15% of time spent working on a manuscript and that ReferenceChecker will pay for itself after approximately 18 uses.

If you work on a large number of publications in electronic form, you will save time and time is money. It’s difficult to quantify exactly, but let’s say you copy-edit 15 average-sized papers (say, 30 folios, double-spaced equivalent, 5 folios of references) in any one working week. Assuming an average manual reference-checking time of, say, 15 minutes per paper, over a standard working year, this would equate to approximately 176 hours. If ReferenceChecker takes an average of 10 seconds to run each time, this would save you approximately 174 hours per year. Factor in your hourly rate, and you’ll see how much you would save.

8. [How does your licensing system work?]

ReferenceChecker has been discontinued and it is no longer possible to buy a licence.

9. [Can my colleagues use my copy of ReferenceChecker?]

Everyone who uses your computer and your copy of Microsoft Word will be able to use your copy of ReferenceChecker as well. If you would like your colleagues and friends to try ReferenceChecker, feel free to give them your unlicensed copy to try. Please bear in mind, however, that a single ReferenceChecker licence covers one user on one computer.

10. [What is your privacy policy?]

We will never share your details with anyone and will never send out any spam or marketing mail. Your privacy is guaranteed.

11. [Can I send you some feedback?]

ReferenceChecker has been discontinued and is no longer maintained or supported.

12. [Which versions of Word does ReferenceChecker work with?]

ReferenceChecker works with recent versions of Word for Windows. It has been tested in Word 2000, Word 2003, and Word 2010 (32-bit only).

13. [Is ReferenceChecker available for Macs?]

ReferenceChecker has been developed and tested under Windows only. We are aware that there are significant differences between Word for Windows and Word for the Mac and between the versions of Visual Basic for Applications that the two platforms support. These differences may prevent ReferenceChecker from running on a Mac.

14. [Why does ReferenceChecker need to be run in Word?]

ReferenceChecker was developed and tested using Visual Basic for Applications. It is template-resident, functions as a Microsoft Word macro, and therefore needs to be run in Word for Windows.

15. [I’ve clicked Go, but ReferenceChecker doesn’t seem to be doing anything. Why?]

First make sure that the document to be checked is open in Word. If you have more than one document open in Word, make sure the document to be checked is active. If your document is large, has a large reference list, and/or has a large number of citations, it will take ReferenceChecker a longer period of time to run (rarely longer than 30 seconds to a minute). Please be patient while ReferenceChecker is working. Another consideration is processor speed and RAM. The faster the processor, the better; and the more RAM you have installed, the better, and the faster ReferenceChecker will run. We would recommend at least a 300 MHz Pentium processor and 256 Mb of RAM. On the vast majority of documents tested, reference checking took no longer than 3–10 seconds per document.

16. [ReferenceChecker has reported a reference mismatch, but I can see nothing wrong. Why?]

Look carefully at the author’s text. Although ReferenceChecker adopts a highly flexible approach to its checking procedure, it checks the EXACT spelling of surnames. For example, “Brown” from the reference list might be cited as “Browne”, so ReferenceChecker would correctly list this as a discrepancy. Similarly, if you have asked ReferenceChecker not to ignore case, if “van der Waals” is listed at the end as “Van der Waals”, again ReferenceChecker will point this out to you. 

In our tests, we have found that ReferenceChecker can miss citations and references because of corrupted formatting in the Word document. For example, a closing square bracket visible to the human eye was not visible to ReferenceChecker or to Word's Find utility in some of our sample documents, therefore ReferenceChecker missed a number of citations. Simply retyping the square brackets corrected the problem. In another case, a few references were merged into one uneditable paragraph. Removing all formatting and re-applying it allowed ReferenceChecker to extract all the references correctly.  

Is the year correct? Should it be “1961” instead of “1962”? 

Is there an extraneous space somewhere, e.g. “Smith and Jones”? 

Is there a missing period at the end of the reference in the reference list? It is important that the punctuation be consistent within the same reference item for ReferenceChecker to work properly. In particular, check the punctuation between surnames and initials, and around the year of publication. 

Does each entry under References comprise one, and only one, paragraph? If an entry has been split across two paragraphs, e.g.

Ringrose, S., Vanderpost, C. and Matheson, W., 1996, The use of integrated remotely sensed and

GIS data to determine the causes of vegetation cover change in southern Botswana. Applied Geography, 16, pp. 225–242.

then ReferenceChecker will assume these are two entries: in this case Ringrose et al., 1996 being one entry and “GIS data” the start of another. Any such split entries should be re-combined by the copy editor so as to minimize any mismatches.

17. [Why can’t I see line numbers in my Word document?]

If you wish to see the line numbers in your Word document (to help locate any reference mismatches), switch to Word’s Print Layout view. To do this, select View from Word’s menu bar, then click on Print Layout. Then, in ReferenceChecker, click the button labelled Toggle Line Nos or Alt+t. After working on the document, remember to switch off line numbers (again click on Toggle Line Nos or Alt+t), unless you want them to appear in the final form of the document.

18. [In the Word file, some of the reference items and/or citations appear with a dark grey background. What are they, and can ReferenceChecker deal with them?]

These are likely to be field codes, sometimes used by authors to link Internet/e-mail addresses or reference items/citations. ReferenceChecker gives you the option to remove ADD-IN field codes and leave the visible and editable Word text intact or to leave the codes in without running ReferenceChecker. However, for ReferenceChecker to be able to check all references and citations in a document, all codes should be removed. You can, of course, save a copy of the original file and then run ReferenceChecker separately on a version of the file from which you allow ReferenceChecker to remove the codes.

19. [Why does ReferenceChecker think a month is an author?]

Sometimes, a month followed by a year, can cause a false alarm. For example, “May (2000)” may cause ReferenceChecker to treat "May" as an author who published an article in 2000. It is impossible for ReferenceChecker to know that “May” in this case refers to the month of May, and in this case, ReferenceChecker would report this “citation” as having “NO REF” if there was no match in the References list. Similarly, a paper might even have a reference by an author called May actually listed in the References AND might mention “May, 2000”. There is no way of knowing the difference, and ReferenceChecker would rather alert you to this than gloss over it. The rule of thumb here is that ReferenceChecker would rather let you, the user, know of this, rather than to miss anything important. With experience, you will become familiar with how ReferenceChecker works and how to interpret its findings.

20. [What if I have both a References section AND a Further Reading section? How will ReferenceChecker deal with this?]

The best way to deal with two (or more) lists of references is to decide on which section is to be the definitive section and title. For example, if you have a paper with both a References section and a Further Reading section, you could use the References section as the main references section for ReferenceChecker to use, style that section heading accordingly (see Section 3(c) of Using ReferenceChecker), temporarily delete the heading for the Further Reading section, and then run ReferenceChecker. After you are satisfied and have dealt with ReferenceChecker’s findings, simply reinstate any deleted headings (in this case, the Further Reading section heading).

21. [Can ReferenceChecker work with citations in tables and figure captions?]

Yes, provided these appear before the References section. In addition, where number references are used, all the citations in the body text, including those in tables and figure captions, must be arranged in the intended final order (as they will appear in print).

22. [Do authors’ initials in the reference list need to have full points or spaces?]

No. ReferenceChecker’s flexible approach means that it can recognize author initials with or without spaces and full stops/periods.

23. [Does ReferenceChecker check citations in footnotes?]

Yes. ReferenceChecker checks citations in both the main text and the footnotes in a document. Any results for citations mentioned in the footnotes are mentioned at the end of the list of citations: “___(p. X, f. Y) Citation details”, where “X” denotes the page number, and “Y” denotes the footnote number.

24. [Can ReferenceChecker recognize phrases denoting publication status, such as “in press”?]

Yes. Phrases such as “in press”, “to be published”, “submitted”, “accepted”, “accepted for publication”, “received”, “forthcoming”, and “submitted for publication” can be used in place of the year. ReferenceChecker recognizes and treats these as if they were the year of publication.

25. [Can ReferenceChecker recognize suffixes, such as “Jr.”?]

Yes. ReferenceChecker recognizes surname suffixes such as “Jr”, “Sr”, “II”, “III”, etc.

26. [Can ReferenceChecker deal with complicated surnames, such as “van der Waals”, “de Jong”, “LaPlace”, etc?]

Yes. ReferenceChecker recognizes surnames that include prefixes and apostrophes and/or are in mixed case, e.g. van der Waals, de Jong, LaPlace, O’Malley

27. [Does ReferenceChecker work with citations where the publication year is not always clear or when the author surname and year are split by a large number of words?]

In any text for ReferenceChecker to work on, it must be clear exactly which year is the year of publication; otherwise, ReferenceChecker will report a mismatch, e.g. when the year of a later edition is given “(Carnap et al. 1929 [1973, p. 311])”. In dealing with cases when the author surname and year are split by several words, e.g. “Reeves realized that citations are not always simple (1963, p. 46)”, ReferenceChecker recognizes that “1963” relates to a publication by “Reeves”. ReferenceChecker can recognize such cases with up to 20 words between the author name(s) and the year.

28. [Does ReferenceChecker ever make changes to the Word document?]

The only changes ReferenceChecker will make to the Word document is when ADD-IN field codes have been detected and removed. This will not affect any visible and editable text. In short, however ReferenceChecker is run, the basic Word text will remain intact.

29. [Can ReferenceChecker recognize Unicode / accented characters, e.g. à, á, é, Å, ö, ó, ł, ę, ñ, etc?]

ReferenceChecker recognizes Unicode characters that represent the character sets of most European languages. This includes letters with diacritics that are variations on letters in the Latin alphabet.

30. [Can I run ReferenceChecker on more than one document at the same time?]

No. ReferenceChecker runs only on the currently active document in Word.

31. [Can ReferenceChecker check text AFTER the References section?]

Any text in which citations are to be checked must be positioned BEFORE the list of references. To avoid the possibility that ReferenceChecker will include spurious items under References in its output, and therefore a number of false mismatches, you can temporarily move appendices, tables, captions, etc. appearing after the References list to another file, or, if you want ReferenceChecker to search those items for citations, move them  temporarily before the Reference list.

32. [Can ReferenceChecker work on references in text that was not produced in Word?]

Yes. You can copy and paste the text from another application into Word: from Word’s Edit menu, simply select the option Paste Special, then select Unformatted Text from the list. As long as the text has no unusual codes or formats, and the characters have converted properly, ReferenceChecker should work fine. Also, make sure that none of the reference items in the list comprise more than one paragraph.

33. [Will ReferenceChecker conflict with any of my macros or templates in Word?]

No. ReferenceChecker will not conflict with any pre-installed or user-defined macros or templates. ReferenceChecker can be started in Word with a keyboard shortcut Alt+F2. If this keystroke combination has already been assigned to another task in Word, you can easily re-assign either by selecting from Word’s menu: Tools/Customize/Keyboard. Click in the box labelled Press new shortcut key, press Alt+F2, then backspace/delete to remove this keystroke combination, and then enter your preferred keystroke combination, e.g. Ctrl+r. Click on Assign, then Close.

34. [How do I uninstall (or re-install) ReferenceChecker?]

Please see Installation.

35. [How long will it take to become familiar with using ReferenceChecker?]

ReferenceChecker has been designed to be user-friendly and to require a minimum amount of familiarization time. This means that you, the user, will not have to invest huge chunks of your valuable time in getting to grips with ReferenceChecker. You will soon get used to how it all works. Try experimenting first on a “test file”, and see what you think. Try using ReferenceChecker’s different features, such as the Processing and Output options. We estimate that it should take no longer than half an hour initially to understand the basic workings. After a few runs on Word files, you will soon become familiar with its interface.

36. [Why is ReferenceChecker so cheap? What’s the catch?]

ReferenceChecker is a product aimed at copy editors and people in academia. We believe it should be both extremely useful and affordable to  potential users. We also believe that a user should be able to try before buying, with absolutely no catch, which is why we built a free 10-day trial into ReferenceChecker.

37. [I’ve run ReferenceChecker, and there don’t appear to be any results in the Results window. How do I know ReferenceChecker has actually checked everything?]

If you asked ReferenceChecker to output Errors Only, in the Results window, after “Citations” and “References”, if no items are listed, then ReferenceChecker has not found any reference mismatches. It can happen! However, if you want reassurance(!) that ReferenceChecker has done its job, you can of course, request to see All of the output (Alt+a) and then run ReferenceChecker again to see all the citations and all the reference items that it has checked.

38. [How do I know ReferenceChecker has not hung?]

If ReferenceChecker is taking a long time, check the Status line at the bottom of the user interface. While ReferenceChecker is working, the contents of this line should change rapidly, displaying information about the tasks the program is performing and, on the right, the elapsed time in seconds. You are not expected to be able to read the text on the Status line, but the fact that  the contents of the Status line change is a good indicator that the program is running. How fast ReferenceChecker can check a document depends on the number of references and citations in that document and on the processing power of your computer (the amount of RAM and processor speed).  

39. [Can I use ReferenceChecker work with a 64-bit version of Word and/or on my 64-bit machine?]

ReferenceChecker can be installed in Windows on both 32-bit and 64-bit machines. However, note that the Word add-in for ReferenceChecker cannot be installed in the 64-bit version of Word. Microsoft advises customers that most add-ins developed for 32-bit Word are not supported by 64-bit Office 2010 programs. For this reason, the 32-bit version of Office is Microsoft’s default and recommended installation on 64-bit computers. Unless you routinely work with very large files in Excel, the 64-bit version of Office need not be installed; 32-bit Office will suffice.

If you still have your Microsoft Office installation disk/file, are using 64-bit Word, and wish to change to 32-bit Word, the process is easy: simply uninstall Office, then reinstall it from the disk, choosing the 32-bit option. The 32-bit version of Word will be installed in the 32-bit directory on your 64-bit Windows machine, and when you add ReferenceChecker, it will also be installed in the same directory with full add-in compatibility.

40. [Can I run ReferenceChecker on a file in Word in a way that it ignores text after the References section? ]

Yes. This is useful if you have a section of text after the References section that you wish ReferenceChecker to ignore (and you do not want to move the text from its present position in the Word file). Simply select the text to be ignored after the References section, select font, and under "Effects", select "Hidden". The text disappears from view (don’t worry, Word knows it’s there). Run ReferenceChecker and when you’ve finished dealing with the references and citations, reverse the process of hiding the text after the References section to make the text visible again.

41. [Can I run ReferenceChecker on a Mac?]

ReferenceChecker has been designed to be run and has been tested on Windows PCs only. Software such as Parallels Desktop and CrossOver for Mac enables the user to run Windows programs on a Mac machine, but we have no means of verifying if this is an environment in which ReferenceChecker can function and therefore cannot offer support for it. As a general rule, two conditions must be true for ReferenceChecker to be able to run: 1) Microsft Word must be installed and functioning normally, and 2) Word macros (Visual Basic for Applications) must be fully supported.

42. [Can ReferenceChecker check citations and reference in a Word 2010 document that uses citations fields?]

ReferenceChecker handles citation fields like any other fields: it can check them only if they are converted to plain text. For this to be possible, you must tick/check "Unlink fields" in the ReferenceChecker's user interface. If you do this, ReferenceChecker switches to "compatibility mode" with Word 2003 when it comes across citation fields, which means the fields are converted to plain text. If you wish to preserve the original document, you can either run ReferenceChecker on a copy of the document or run it on the original, but remember not to save the document when you wish to close it and/or exit Word.

43. [The Copy button/function does not copy the results after I have run ReferenceChecker]

This is a known issue and possibly something to do with the way that Word or Windows deals with the contents of the clipboard when copying and pasting text, and something beyond the control of ReferenceChecker. If you are using any third-party clipboard software such as ClipX, you could try deleting any old entries from the clipboard. Alternatively, try restarting both Word and any other third-party clipboard manager software. Failing that, restart your computer, open the file you have been working on in Word, and re-run ReferenceChecker.

44. [ReferenceChecker appears to have disappeared from Word! How can I get it back?]

First, check that Word's macro security levels are set to low (trust all add-ins). Second, look at Word's "Templates and Add-ins" dialog box, and ensure that "EditAB.dot" is ticked/checked. If it is not, it will not appear in Word, so you need to click on the "Add" button and navigate to the file and select it, then make sure it is ticked/checked.

Note that in Word 2003, "Templates and Add-ins" can be accessed from the "Tools" menu, while in Word 2010, you can find it under "File"/"Options"/"Add-Ins", where you need to select "Manage" and then (from the drop-down list) "Templates", and finally click on the button labelled "Go".