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Zotero: Citation Manager

Zotero is a free citation management tool that collects, stores and creates citations for your research

Word Integration

Before the reading the following, please intall the Zotero plug-in for Word. Download directions

The Zotero tab contains these icons:
Add/Edit Citation Add a new citation or edit an existing citation in your document at the cursor location.
Add/Edit Bibliography Insert a bibliography at the cursor location or edit an existing bibliography.
Document Preferences Open the Document Preferences window, e.g. to change the citation style.
Refresh Refresh all citations and the bibliography, updating any item metadata that has changed in your Zotero library.
Unlink Citations Unlink Zotero citations in the document by removing the field codes. This prevents any further automatic updates of the citations and bibliographies.
Note that removing field codes is irreversible, and should usually only be done in a final copy of your document.

You can begin citing with Zotero by clicking the “Add/Edit Citation” () button. Pressing the button brings up the citation dialog.

The citation dialog is used to select items from your Zotero library, and create a citation.

Start typing part of a title, the last names of one or more authors, and/or a year in the dialog box. Matching items will instantly appear below the dialog box.

Matching items will be shown for each library in your Zotero database (My Library and any groups you are part of). Items you have already cited in the document will be shown at the top of the list under “Cited”.

Select an item by clicking on it or by pressing Enter/Return when it is highlighted. The item will appear in the dialog box in a shaded bubble. Press Enter/Return again to insert the citation and close the Add Citation box.

In the Add Citation dialog box, you can click on the bubble for a cited item, then click “Open in My Library (or the Group Library's name)” to view the item in Zotero. Items that are orphaned (not connected to any items in your Zotero database) will not have an “Open in My Library” button. Orphaned items can exist if they were inserted by a collaborator from their My Library or a group you don't have access to or if you they were deleted from your Zotero library.


Clicking the “Add/Edit Bibliography” () button inserts a bibliography at the cursor location.

You can edit which items appear in the bibliography by clicking the “Add/Edit Bibliography” button again, which will open the bibliography editor. See below. Manual edits made to the bibliography in Word will be overwritten the next time Zotero refreshes the document.

Document Preferences

The “Document Preferences” window lets you set the following document-specific preferences:

  1. The language to use to format citations and bibliography.
  2. For note-based styles (e.g., “Chicago Manual of Style (Note)”), whether citations are inserted in footnotes or endnotes.
    • Note that Word, not Zotero, controls the style and format of footnotes and endnotes.
  3. Whether to store citations as Fields or Bookmarks.
    • Unless you need to collaborate with colleagues using LibreOffice, you should always choose Fields.
  4. For styles that abbreviate journal titles (e.g., “Nature”), whether to use the MEDLINE abbreviations list to abbreviate titles.
    • If this option is selected (the default), the contents of the “Journal Abbr” field in Zotero will be ignored.
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