Vancouver Referencing Style

Vancouver Numbered Referencing

The Vancouver referencing style is a numbered style used by journals in the health sciences to avoid clutter in the text, and improve readability. The in-text citations are superscript numbers, and the references at the back of the article are listed in the order of the numbers in the text, like endnotes.

Abbreviated titles

The Vancouver style requires the journal titles cited in the references to be abbreviated according to international agreement. If your source does not give the correct abbreviation of its title, you have to look it up.

You can find lists of titles here:


Digital Object Identifiers

Many journal articles have DOI numbers.

A very useful resource if you have a DOI number for your reference is the CrossCite website. It allows you to set the format to a wide variety of referencing styles, including Vancouver. Click the ‘Format’ button to see the formatted reference, click the  ‘Copy to Clipboard’ button to copy the result, and then paste it into your reference list. (You have to check that the program does not add commas to the author names – but it gives you a very good start, especially if there are lots of authors.)

DOI numbers are provided by the International DOI Foundation (IDF), a not-for-profit membership organization that is the governance and management body for the federation of Registration Agencies providing Digital Object Identifier (DOI) services and registration, and is the registration authority for the ISO 26324.

If you would like to find out about having your document and its Vancouver references edited, click here.

Headers and Footers Print Option

Headers and footers

What a marvelous print option

Switch on Headers and Footers (second from the bottom of the Print Options) when printing from a web page so you have a permanent record of where and when you got the information you are printing.

Microsoft Print to PDF – basic print option

Printed with header and footer

To save a soft copy to your hard drive in case the web page is deleted or changed, choose Microsoft Print to PDF as your printer.

Clutter-free Printing

Clutter-free Printing

What a marvelous print option

I found it down at the bottom of the Microsoft Office 365 print options. When printing from a web page, selecting it cuts out the side bars and the comments – automatically!

The example below was reduced from 41 pages down to 10 – amazing!

Was 41 pages

Now 10 pages


Subheadings make text easier to read

Improve readability with subheadings

Bite-sized chunks

Readers like to have their text broken up by subheadings into bite-sized chunks for easy digestion and scanning so I add lots of subheadings.

The subheadings are reflected in the table of contents, where your readers can see an overview of your argument and logic.

Beginning, middle and end

All the way through a document, you should tell the reader what the next chapter, section or subsection will cover, then you must say what you said you would say, and at the end of each section, you should summarise what you said.  Each reiteration reinforces your argument.

Learning by repetition

Reading a document is actually a learning process, and human beings learn by repetition, building on what they knew before.  The table of contents and the list at the beginning of each section both introduce a new idea, the middle of the section explains it, and the summary clarifies it.

By the time they read the concluding summary, your readers will have learned something new.

Understanding brings acceptance

Your readers are your target audience.   They may be examiners, customers, strangers, pupils, colleagues, friends…  Your document has to make sense to them.   If they can understand it, they can accept it.  You have made your point.

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