Skip to Main Content

Citation Management with Zotero

Learn to use Zotero to manage your references and associated digital files.

Create Accurate Citations

As you prepare to use Zotero to create citations for your writing, be sure the references in your library are complete and accurate.If you use Zotero to cite something and notice the citation has errors, go directly to your Zotero library and make the necessary edits to the original reference to ensure that it will be accurate in the future.

Install the Microsoft Office 365 Apps

One of the main reasons to use Zotero is to have it auto-format references in your writing. Zotero is compatible with a number of word processing tools, including Microsoft Office 365, but only with the apps, not the web-based version. As a UMassD user, you can download the Microsoft Office 365 apps to your computer.

If you haven't already done so, to download the apps go to this link:

  1. Then, login with your UMassD credentials.
  2. In the upper-right corner of the Office portal page, click "Install Office," and choose "Office 365 apps."

  3. Follow the prompts to install your apps.

Cite with Zotero in Microsoft Word

Adding citations and a reference list to your Microsoft Word documents is easy with the Zotero toolbar.

First, open the Zotero client. Then open Word.

To add a citation:

  1. Click on the Zotero tab.

    zotero tab
  2. Put your cursor where you want to insert a citation within your writing.

    word cursor
  3. Click "Add/Edit Citation" in the Zotero tab.

    add citation
  4. Choose your preferred citation style for the document. You can always change this using the document preferences option in the Zotero tab.

    choose style
  5. In the red-bordered Z bar that pops up, search for a word (author name, title word, etc.) to locate the desired item in your Zotero library.

    z bar
  6. Click on the citation you want and press the Enter/Return key on your keyboard.

    z bar selected 1
  7. If you need to cite multiple items in the same citation, add each one in the Z bar using one search at a time, then hit Enter when they all appear.

    z bar selected 2

Customize your citation:

  • If you used the author's name in the sentence, and don't want it to appear in the citation, search for and select the item, then click on it in the Z bar. An option menu will pop up and you can choose the "Suppress Author" checkbox. Hit Enter to confirm, then again to add the citation to your writing.
  • If you need to add a page number to your citation, search for and select the item, click on it to get the option menu, and enter the page number. Hit Enter twice to confirm as above.

customize your citation

To see your whole Zotero library in order to add citations:

Click "Add/Edit Citation" in the Zotero tab. Then click the Z drop-down in the red-bordered Z bar and choose "Classic View."

classic view

In Classic View, you'll need to click the "Multiple Sources" button to cite more than one item at a time. It will initially cite the selected source; select another and click the green arrow to add it.

To edit an existing citation in your document:

  1. Click on the citation you want to change.
  2. Choose "Add/Edit Citation" in the Zotero tab.
  3. Make any necessary changes.

To add a bibliography/reference list:

  1. Put your cursor where you want the bibliography to appear.
  2. Click the "Add/Edit Bibliography" button in the Zotero tab.

add bibliography

If you notice errors in any of your citations or bibliography items:

  1. Go to your Zotero client and find the citation that needs fixing.
  2. Edit it and save your changes.
  3. Go back to Word and click Refresh in the Zotero tab.

If you need to include references in your bibliography that are NOT cited in the text of your writing:

  1. Click the "Add/Edit Bibliography" button in the Zotero tab.
  2. Choose the items to add and use the green arrow to move them to the References in Bibliography box.
  3. Click OK to update your bibliography.

This video is an excellent introduction to using Zotero in Word! It's 8 minutes long, but I strongly recommend you watch it.

Cite with Zotero in Google Docs

Using Zotero with Google Docs works largely as it does in Microsoft Word, so read through those instructions first. The major difference is that Word uses a tab menu and Google Docs has a standard drop-down menu and a button on the toolbar.

Zotero in Google Docs can be quite a bit slower than Word, but it has one major advantage: if you have a shared Zotero library, and will be working on a shared document with your Zotero collaborators, all of you can work in the Google Doc at the same time.

I've experienced some errors when attempting to use Zotero with Google Docs, so use at your own risk. Check the Zotero Forums (see the Help tab of this guide) for advice relating to Google Docs problems or error messages.

Cite Using Other Word Processors or Text Editors

Zotero has numerous plugins for word processors and text editors. You can use Zotero with Microsoft Word, LibreOffice, Google Docs, LaTeX, and more.

For Microsoft Word and LibreOffice, you can activate the plugins in the Zotero client:

  1. Go to "Edit" then "Preferences."

  2. Click on the "Cite" tab.

  3. Go to "Word Processors."

  4. Install one or both of the plugins, depending on what word processing software you use.

  5. For Word, this adds a Zotero tab to your ribbon. For LibreOffice, it adds a Zotero toolbar.

For Google Docs, installing the Zotero Connector for Chrome (which you would have done in the "Get Started" tab of this guide) automatically adds a Zotero menu to your Google Docs interface.

Create References in Zotero

If you just want to create a quick list of in-text citation or list of references, you can do so in Zotero.

  1. In the center pane, select the items want to include in your list of references.

  2. Right-click and choose "Create Bibliography from Items."

    • You can also right-click a Collection and choose "Create Bibliography from Collection."

  3. In the Create Citation/Bibliography pop-up, select your preferred citation style.

  4. Choose your Output Mode:

    • Citations/Notes (this wording depends on the citation style you use) will give you an in-text citation/footnote/endnote or whatever in-text format your citation style uses; if you've selected multiple references, it will treat them as all being referenced at the same time.
    • Bibliography will give you the list of references for the end of your document.
  5. Choose your Output Method. Copy to Clipboard is probably the easiest.

  6. Click OK.

If you keep Zotero open at the same time as your word processor or text editor, you can drag and drop references to cite them.

  1. Confirm that your preferred default style is selected in Edit → Preferences → Export.

  2. Select the item/s you want to cite.
  3. Drag and drop them into your document to create references.
  4. If you want in-text citations (or equivalent), hold down shift while dragging and dropping them.

Further Help Citing with Zotero

Ideally, the information on this page will suffice to get you up and running using Zotero with your favorite text editing tool. If you need additional help, contact your librarian! You might also consider reading the documentation found at the link below.

Health Sciences and Engineering Librarian

Profile Photo
Kari Mofford
chat loading...

Claire T. Carney Library
Room 238
285 Old Westport Road
Dartmouth, MA 02747