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Home / Tips and Tricks / Use Researcher in Microsoft Word for essays and papers

Use Researcher in Microsoft Word for essays and papers



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Microsoft wants to make your research easier. With the Word Researcher tool, you can close your web browser and retrieve resources for school essays, research papers and similar documents in a few clicks.

What can you do with a researcher?

The Researcher feature, powered by Bing, provides you with a handy search box to find people, events, places, and concepts. The results of your search provide you with relevant topics and top resources, including books, magazines, websites and images.

When you select the source you want, you will see an overview, history, location, images and other important details. And the best part is, you never leave your Microsoft Word document.

In addition to looking at the details of your topic, you can start an outline for your paper and add and quote text. Click on the main topic or one of the information sections and add it directly to your document.

Here we̵

7;ll show you how to reduce the time you spend on research and speed up the creation of your paper with the Researcher tool in Microsoft Word.

Note: At the time of this writing, Researcher is available with Word for Microsoft 365, Word for Microsoft 365 for Mac, and Word 2016. It is available to Microsoft 365 subscribers for Windows desktop clients.

Open Researcher in Microsoft Word

To use the Researcher tool, open the “References” tab of your Word document. Click on “Researcher” in the “Research” section of the ribbon.

When the panel on the right opens, enter a term in the search box and you’re on your way!

Click Researcher on the References tab

View relevant topics and key resources

You will receive results for your search with relevant topics at the top and Top Resources below.

Relevant topics

Some topics may only give you a few relevant topics. Click on “More Topics” below that section to view additional resources.

Click More Topics under Relevant Topics

If you click on one of the Relevant Topics, you will see a nice overview of the topic. Click “Read More” at the end of the “Overview” section for full details.

Click Read More for details on relevant topics

Depending on your topic, you will see different block sections packed with detail. This structure is useful for starting your outline with it, which we’ll outline below.

If the topic and relevant topic have images, you can click “Show all images” for a neat grid of photos and illustrations. Click on it to open your browser and view the image online. In addition, you can add it to your document, which we will also show you below.

Click Show all images for a relevant topic

Top sources

For even more options, the “Top Resources” area offers books, magazines and websites. Select one of these for the details.

Researcher Top sources

If you choose a relevant topic at the top first, you can filter your top sources by sub-topic. Click the dropdown for “All Topics” and choose one.

Click All Topics under a relevant topic

While most of the material is in Word, here and there you may come across a resource that you need to open in your browser. Click the link to open the source site in your default web browser.

Click Open in your browser

Add topic items to your document

In addition to viewing information about your topic, Researcher allows you to add headlines, text, and images directly to your document.

Add headings

You will see a plus sign in the top right corner of each source section. Click the “+” icon to add that section as a collapsible header for your document outline. Remember this only adds the heading, not the text, within the section.

Click the plus sign to add a heading

Add text

If you want to add a snippet of text to your document, you can do this too. Select the text from the source by dragging your cursor through it. When you let go, you’ll see a small box appear with options for ‘Add and Quote’ and ‘Add’.

Click Add and quote or Add

If you choose Add and Quote, the text will appear in your document with the source cited at the end of the snippet. The quote is automatically formatted so that you can easily add it to a bibliography.

Quoted text added

If you choose ‘Add’, the text will still appear in your document, but without the reference.

Text added

Add images

If your topic offers images and you click “Show all images”, you can also add one or more. This is super handy because you don’t have to track them down yourself.

Click the “+” icon in the corner of the image to add it to your paper.

Click the plus sign to add an image

It will appear in your document with the source below.

Image added with quote

Note: Please respect copyrights when using the available images for your purpose. If you are not sure whether you can use an image, click on “More information” above the image grid. This will take you to Microsoft’s legal webpage that explains copyright and provides FAQs. You can also check out our article on Creative Commons licensed images for those Creative Commons resources.


College essays and research papers are enough work in themselves. By using Researcher in Microsoft Word, you can lighten the burden of research for your document and jump-start its content.




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