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Citation Management with Zotero

Learn to use Zotero, a free, open-source citation management tool.

Create Accurate Citations

Accurate citations depend upon accurate data. Zotero, like any other citation manager, will produce citations based on the data it has. If there are errors or omissions in that data, the citations will be incomplete or inaccurate. Any time you see a mistake in a reference when importing or while writing, be sure to fix the original reference in Zotero to ensure it will be correct next time you use it.

Video Tutorial: Citing in Microsoft Word

This video shows the basics of citing in Microsoft Word using Zotero.

Install the Microsoft Office 365 Apps

Zotero is compatible with a number of word processing tools, including Microsoft Word, but you'll need the Word App, not Office 365 online, to use it. If you haven't already done so, follow the UConn ITS instructions below to download and install the Office 365 apps.

Cite While Writing in Microsoft Word

To add citations and references to your Microsoft Word documents, use the Zotero tab in the ribbon. Zotero must be open at the same time, but you don't need to be connected to the internet.

If you don't see the Zotero tab, you can reinstall it. In Zotero, go to Preferences, select Cite, and choose the Word Processors tab. Tap the button to reinstall the Microsoft Word Add-in.

To begin citing in a new document:

Put your cursor where you wish to insert a citation.

Tap Add/Edit Citation in the Zotero tab.

The Document Preferences box will appear. Select your preferred citation style. You can always change the style by using the Document Preferences button.

If you need a style that isn't listed, tap Manage Styles at the bottom of the box. Zotero's Preferences will open to the Cite menu. Choose Get additional styles.

Search for your desired style and click on the name when it appears in the list. After that, you'll be able to select your desired style for the document in Microsoft Word.

To add a citation:

Once again, put the cursor where you want your citation and tap Add/Edit Citation.

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.

You can cite from My Library or any of your group libraries when citing while writing. If a reference appears in multiple libraries, you'll see both copies of that reference and will need to choose between them.

Select the citation you want and press Enter/Return on your keyboard.

If you need to cite multiple items in the same citation, add each one in the Z bar using one search at a time. Press Enter/Return when they all appear.

Customize a citation:

You can make modifications to a citation in the Z bar. Click on the citation to see the available options. You can suppress an author name, add a page number, or add a suffix or prefix. Press Enter/Return twice to confirm the changes and revise the citation in your document. There is currently no way to suppress a year in an in-text citation.

To browse your Zotero library rather than search the Z bar:

In the Z bar, tap the Z icon all the way to the left and choose Classic View. In Classic View, you'll see all your libraries, including group libraries. To select multiple references, tap Multiple Sources to select the first item, then choose additional references one by one, tapping the green arrow for each to add them to the citation.

To edit an existing citation in your document:

Click on the citation you wish to change and tap Add/Edit Citation. Make any modifications and then press Enter/Return to save them.

To delete an existing citation in your document:

Use the cursor to select not just the citation but at least one space or character on either side of it. Press Delete or Backspace on your keyboard. You can tap the Refresh button on the Zotero tab to force an update of the bibliography immediately, but you can also wait until the document refreshes automatically.

To add a bibliography/reference list:

Put your cursor where you want the bibliography to appear and tap the Add/Edit Bibliography button.

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

Go to Zotero, locate the reference, and make the necessary edits. Return to Microsoft Word and tap Refresh in the Zotero tab.

If you need to include references in your bibliography that aren't cited in the text of your document:

Tap Add/Edit Bibliography in the Zotero tab. In the Edit Bibliography pop-up box, which looks like Classic View, select one or more items and use the arrows to move them to the References in Bibliography box. You can also remove items this way. Tap OK to save your changes.

Cite While Writing in Google Docs

When you install the Zotero Connector, Google Docs automatically installs the Zotero tab in your toolbar. Using Zotero with Google Docs works largely as it does in Microsoft Word. The main differences are that the tab is a drop-down menu, and that you can use the Z button on the toolbar to add citations if you prefer.

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

Cite with Other Tools

Do you use a word processor or text editor other than Microsoft Word or Google Docs?

For LibreOffice, go to Zotero's Preferences, select Cite, and choose the Word Processors tab. Tap the button to install the LibreOffice Add-in.

For other tools, like LaTeX, you can use the link below to locate a plugin that will let you cite using Zotero.

Create Bibliographies in Zotero

To create a quick bibliography or list of in-text citations in Zotero, select one or more items in the center pane. Right-click and choose Create Bibliography from Items. You can also do this for a collection by right-clicking the collection and selecting Create Bibliography from Collection.

In the Create Citation/Bibliography pop-up box, select your preferred citation style. Choose whether you would like citations or a bibliography, and how you'd like it to be exported. Generally, clipboard is the easiest option. You can then paste the output into an email or document.