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NoodleTools How-to Guide: Create Citations

Tutorials that show you how to create a personal ID, work with projects, create citations, and do other tasks in NoodleTools

NoodleTools in 60 Seconds: Creating a Citation

How to Create and Edit a Source Citation


NoodleTools will help you create MLA, APA, or Chicago-style citations that follow the guidance of the most recent style handbooks.

NoodleTools supports auto-import in selected databases. See "How to Import a Source Citation from a Database." In databases that do not offer auto-import to NoodleTools, you may choose to use Quick Cite to copy/paste a preformatted citation. See: "How to Use Quick Cite to Copy and Paste a Preformatted Citation."

See also: "How to add or edit an annotation."

Step 1.

Navigate to the Sources screen. You can access it via two ways: 1) on the Projects screen, click the project's "Sources" icon in the "Contents" column,

How to create and edit a source citation, Figure 1

or 2) open your project by clicking on its title, which defaults to the Sources screen.

How to create and edit a source citation, Figure 2

Step 2.

Click the green New Source button in the upper-right corner.

How to create and edit a source citation, Figure 3

Step 3.

You will be prompted to select where the source is (in print, on the web, in a database, etc.) and then what it is (a book, a blog post, a journal, a TV program, etc.). The choices will vary depending on what project level you selected. Below is an example of one using Advanced level.

How to create and edit a source citation, Figure 4

Step 4.

Once you select a source type, the citation form appears.

How to create and edit a source citation, Figure 5

Note: if you selected in your profile to display "Show Me" help screens, a help screen will appear first for certain source types. "Show Me" is an online tutorial to demonstrate how to evaluate the source. "Source check" lists other related forms that may fit your source. If you are comfortable citing a particular type of source and wish to hide this additional help, check "Do not show help screen again" at the bottom of this help screen.

The form displayed is dynamic, showing you only fields that apply to your specific source. The fields change based on your project's style (MLA, APA, or Chicago) and level (Starter, Junior, or Advanced), as well as based on the source type and publication medium selected.

Step 5.

On the form, fill in as many details about your source as possible. Help text is often available when you put your cursor inside a field. Click on the blue information ("i") icon to view the tip.

How to create and edit source citations, Figure 6

Hint #1: A Guide at the top-right of the screen displays a formatting template. Click the blue tab to open the guide. As you enter information in the form, the corresponding element is highlighted in the template.

How to create and edit source citations, Figure 7

Hint #2: Fields that have a red * are required, but will not result in a complete/accurate citation on their own -- complete all fields for which you have information. If something isn't provided by the source (i.e. author, a publication date, etc.), it is okay to leave the field blank (do not type something like "none" or "N/A" into a field).

Hint #3: As you type into a field, NoodleTools automatically checks for common errors with capitalization, abbreviations, and more. When a yellow warning popup appears above the field, read the suggestions on how to correct the potential problem.

Hint #4:  By default, the new citation is added to your source list, but if for any reason you want to omit it from the list, uncheck the box "Include this source in my final works cited" at the bottom of the form.

Step 6.

Click Save to generate the source citation. If there are multiple citations in your source list, a link "Jump to a citation I just created" at the top the list will take you to the new citation that you just created (which is also highlighted in your list).

Step 7.

To edit a source citation, click the "More" (three dots) menu next to the entry and select "Edit." Modify the information about your source. You can:

  • Correct individual fields.
  • Use the dropdown list(s) at the top of the form to change the source or content types.
  • Modify the publication medium if necessary by selecting a different one on the left (e.g. "Website" instead of "Print"). Add any new data required if you have updated the publication medium or source/content type.

Click Save.

How to add or edit an annotation


After you create a source citation, you have the option to add an annotation. Check with your teacher if you aren't sure whether or not to annotate your sources. See also "My teacher has asked me to include annotations. What does that mean?"

Step 1.

When adding or editing a citation, scroll down on the citation form to the "Annotation" box.

How to add and edit an annotation

Step 2.

Type your annotation.

Important note: The annotation is auto-saved as you type if you are editing an existing citation. Since the annotation does not auto-save when you are creating a new citation, you may want to create the citation first and then edit it to add your annotation, if you are planning to spend more time writing a long annotation. To view or revert to earlier saved versions of an annotation, click the Manage versions toggle at the lower-right corner of the "Annotation" field.

Step 3.

Click Save to save both your citation and its annotation.

See also:

How to Restore an Accidentally-deleted Source Citation


When deleted, sources are moved into a recycle bin (not trashed permanently), so no matter what happens you can be assured that your hard work is not lost!

Hint: If you don't remember deleting the source, you can take a look at the project's 30-day log to identify the date/time it happened.

Step 1.

On the Sources screen, click the "More options" icon button (three dots) and select "Undelete."

How to restore and accidentally-deleted source citation, Figure 1

Step 2.

In the "Restore deleted citations" window, check the box next to the citation you want to restore. Click the Undelete button.

How to restore and accidentally-deleted source citation, Figure 2

Step 3.

The restored citation appears on your Sources screen.

How to Sort a Source List in Alternative Ways


By default, NoodleTools orders your source list alphabetically (using letter-by-letter alphabetization). Each of the style guides has slightly different rules for alphabetizing. Unless your instructor specifically requests otherwise, a source list should always be submitted using NoodleTools' default sort order. However, it can be revealing and instructive to be able to group or sort your list in other ways.


On the Sources screen, to the far right, select an option from the "Sort" dropdown or click on one of the sortable column headers.

How to sort a source list in alternative ways

Alphabetical (or click "Citation" column header) The default sort order. Letter-by-letter alphabetization of entries.
Currency Citations are ordered in descending order of publication or copyright date (most recent first). Sources for which no date is known or provided are listed at the bottom when this sort order is selected. 
Media type (or click "Media Type" column header) Citations are grouped into general, pre-defined groups indicating the type of publication: Periodicals, non-periodicals, audio-visual materials, websites and other e-sources, legal sources, and unpublished/other. Within each of these groups, entries are ordered alphabetically.
Primary, secondary (or click "Tag" column header) Citations are grouped based on whether they have been labeled by the user as a primary, secondary, or tertiary source. See also "How to Identify and Tag Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Sources."
Red, Green, Blue Citations are grouped by color label. The meaning of the colors are up to the user, so this is a flexible way to group sources. See also "How to Add Color Tags to Source Citations."
Collaborator In a collaborative project, citations created by a member of the team are grouped together.

When you export your source list, the sort order will be maintained.

How to Add Color Tags to Source Citations


You may tag citations with a color, allowing you to group them as needed when you export. For example, you might create a working bibliography with every source you consider using, then apply the color green to the sources that you actually use in your paper (so that you can export just those sources as a Works Cited list).

Step 1.

On the Sources screen, mouse-over the area next to your citation in the "Tag" column and click the "+" icon that appears there (on an iPad, you may need to press once to display the "+" and then press again on the "+"). A menu appears with three colors: green, red, and blue.

How to add color tags to source citations, Figure 1

Step 2.

How to add color to source citations, Figure 2


To remove a tag, click the color label and deselect the tag in the menu.

To sort your citations into groups of color, open the "Sort" menu at the top right of the Sources screen and select "Red, Green, Blue" When you export the source list via the Print/Export option, you have the option of selecting which color(s) of sources to include.

How to add color tags to source citations, Figure 3

How to Change the Citation Style of a Project


When you initially create a NoodleTools project, you are required to choose the citation style you want to use in it. Later, if you realize that you selected the wrong style, you can easily update it to the desired style.

Step 1.

On the Projects screen, click the "More" (three dots) button next to a project and choose "Change style." Or underneath the project's name, click the project's style. NoodleTools opens a new panel.

How to change the citation style of a project


Step 2.

Under "Change Citation Style," select the new citation style for your project. NoodleTools will first create a backup copy of your current project, in case you need to refer to it. 

Step 3.

Click Submit. A green notice will confirm the project's style has been updated.


If the option to change the citation style is disabled, there are a few possible reasons:

  1. You are using the free MLA Lite tool (where MLA is the only available style).
  2. It is a collaborative project, and someone else is currently working on it. Once they have opened a different project or logged out, you'll be able to make the change.
  3. It is a an old project, created with old citation forms from 2012 or earlier. Those old projects cannot be converted between styles.
  4. The project has not been converted to the current edition of the style. For example, we currently use MLA 9th edition formatting, so if you have an older MLA project and you haven't opened the project yet to allow it to auto-convert to 9th edition formatting, the citation style cannot be updated until you open the project and convert it.

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