Using RegExr to find all your citations in your Document

Are you ever working on a paper and you lose track of all your citations? Perhaps you haven’t kept a working reference list during your writing or you’ve grabbed parts of other papers and you’re not sure if there’s a sneaky citation that’s not in your reference list in there. Here’s a solution!


      • Head over to
      • Type this in at the top under “expression”: ([A-Z]\w+ \(\d{4}[A-Z]?[a-z]?\))|\((.*?)\)|([A-Z]?[a-z]+\s+[A-Z]?[a-z]+\s+[A-Z]?[a-z]+\.+ \(\d{4}[A-Z]?[a-z]?\)|([A-Z]\w+ \(\d{4}\,+\s+\d*\))|([A-Z]?[a-z]+\s+[A-Z]?[a-z]+\s+[A-Z]?[a-z]+\.+\s\(\d{4}\,+\s+\d*\)))
  • Copy and paste your document into the text area
  • Under tools, go to “List”
  • All your citations are there. Copy and paste this into a word document.
  • You’ll have to do some cleaning up since it will pick up anything between “(  )”, but all your citations are there. You can use this as a list and cross off the citations as you find them. I recommend using Zotero and keeping your citations organized.

How your citations need to be formatted:

  1. Author et al. ex: Pink et al. (2016)
  2. Standard Citation w/ page # ex: (Schreyer 2017, 101)
  3. Listing works ex: (Pink et al. 2016; Schreyer 2017)
  4. Single Work ex: (Nettle and Romaine 2000)
  5. Works with letters referencing item can be used too ex: (Schreyer 2011b)
  6. Author with Year in and page number in brackets ex: Schreyer (2016, 10) or Pink et al. (2016, 101)
  7. Website citations ex: (“Traditional Knowledge” 2016)

Note: don’t forget footnotes! Sometimes they don’t get copied into the document!

Are there any formats I forgot? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks to a team of archaeologists: Sasha Cuerda, Shawn Graham, and Sarah M. Rowe. The code above is an altered version of code that they shared. Thanks to Aidan Pine for sharing this Regexr!

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