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Zotero: Citation Manager

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

Working within Google Docs

Using Zotero with Google Docs

Zotero's powerful Google Docs support helps you easily add citations and bibliographies to the documents you create in Google Docs.

You can quickly search for items in your Zotero library, add page numbers and other details, and insert citations. When you're done, a single click inserts a formatted bibliography based on the citations in your document. Zotero supports complex style requirements such as Ibid. and name disambiguation, and it keeps your citations and bibliography updated as you make changes to items in your library. If you need to switch citation styles, you can easily reformat your entire document in any of the over 9,000 citation styles that Zotero supports.

Google Docs support is part of the Zotero Connector for Chrome and Firefox and requires the Zotero program to function. A version of the Zotero Connector for Safari that supports Google Docs will be available in the near future.

Using another word processor? Zotero also integrates with Word and LibreOffice.

Citation Interface
The Zotero Connector adds a Zotero menu to the Google Docs interface:

It also adds a toolbar button for one-click citing:

In the Zotero menu, you'll find the following options:

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.


Open the Document Preferences window, e.g. to change the citation style.


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.




Interacting with the Zotero functionality for the first time in a document will prompt you to authenticate the plugin with your Google account. Once authenticated you can begin inserting citations from your Zotero libraries just as you can with Word and LibreOffice.



You can begin citing by clicking the (“Add/Edit Zotero Citation”) button in the Google Docs toolbar or by selecting “Add/Edit Citation” from the Zotero menu, both of which will bring 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 when it is highlighted. The item will appear in the dialog box in a shaded bubble. Press Enter again to insert the citation and close the Add Citation box.

In the Add Citation box, you can click on the bubble for a cited item and then click “Open in My Library” (or another library name) to view the item in Zotero. Items that are orphaned (i.e., 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 they were deleted from your Zotero library.


Clicking the “Add/Edit Bibliography” menu option 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 Editing the Bibliography below for more info. Manual edits made to the bibliography in the document will be overwritten the next time Zotero refreshes the document.

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