Check your document for similarity to online sources

Microsoft 365 for Education customers who have the A3 or A5 subscription can use Microsoft Editor's similarity checker in Word for the web to help create original work and cite the work of others. The similarity checker shows you how much content in your document is original, and it makes it easy to insert citations when necessary. With the mechanics of citations taken care of, you are freed up to focus on your writing. Your reader can tell what material originates with you, and the people you cite get credit where it's due.

Note: Similarity checker was announced in March, 2020 and is currently being released in Word for Windows for Microsoft 365 subscribers. It may take several weeks to reach your account. This feature is available only for English language text.

  1. On the Home tab, choose Editor.

    On the Home tab, choose Editor

  2. In the Editor pane, find Similarity, and click or tap Check for similarity to online sources.

    Check for similarity to online sources

    When the check is complete, Editor shows you how much of your content matches text that it found online (indicated as a percent), and the number of distinct passages in the document for you to review.

    Similarity checker shows percentage of potentially unoriginal text and the number of passages to review.

  3. To review the passages, click or tap Similarities reviewed. Editor takes you to the first passage, where you can choose whether or not to insert a citation. A link to the online content lets you judge for yourself whether attribution is warranted. If you decide not to add a citation, choose Ignore.
    Similarity checker lets you insert a citation or ignore the passage.

After a passage has been reviewed, Editor underlines it in green. Clicking or tapping in the passage opens the citation suggestion again, which is helpful if you want to re-read the online source or add a citation to a passage that you previously ignored.

Inserting citations

Inserting an in-text citation uses the citation style that you prefer (MLA, APA, or Chicago). Editor places the citation immediately following the passage. Depending on the situation, Editor might also surround the passage with quotation marks. If you don't want the quotation marks, just delete them.

If you choose to insert a citation for a passage that's longer than 40 words and exactly matches online content, Editor formats the passage as a block-quote. Be sure to introduce the block quote with your own words, and follow it with commentary of your own.

If your document includes a bibliography or a list of works cited, use Copy full citation, and paste the citation into the bibliography or the works cited.

Tip: If you switch to a different citation style, new citations will be in that style, but Editor won't update a citation that's already in the document. To update an existing citation, first delete it. Then click to open the suggestion, and insert the citation again.

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