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Zotero - Collect, Organize, Cite and Share your Research Sources: Cite work & Create Bibliographies

Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources.

Cite Work & Create Bibliographies

Zotero can help you create footnotes, endnotes, in-text citations, and bibliographies in Microsoft Word, OpenOffice or LibreOffice. However for this guide, we will be concentrating on Microsoft Word.

Do not edit the references in your word processor! Always go back to Zotero to edit the references!

If you are in a hurry, check out the short video below to learn how to generate citations and bibliographies.

Citing and Creating Bibliographies with Zotero

  • In the Cite tab, click on Word Processors to get the latest version of the Microsoft Word or LibreOffice plugin. Choose the correct plugin (MS Word) to install.


  • After installing the word Processor plug-in, please check your Microsoft Word to see if it is installed properly


For Microsoft Word (2007-2020) Windows Version:

  • Please ensure that the Zotero toolbar in installed by clicking on the Zotero ribbon and checking if the Zotero toolbar is installed



For Microsoft Word 2016 and above (Mac Version)

  • Please ensure that the Zotero toolbar in installed by clicking on the Zotero ribbon and checking if the Zotero toolbar is installed

For Microsoft Word 2011 (Mac Version):

  • For Microsoft Word Mac 2011 version, please ensure that there is a Zotero toolbar in your Word

  • If the toolbar does not appear in word, click on View on the top of the taskbar, choose Toolbar and make sure Zotero Bibliographic Management is checked


Place your cursor where you'd like to add a citation and click Insert Citation or Add Citation .

There will be a pop-up. Key in either the author's name or the title of the reference in the pop-up and choose the correct citation you want to cite and press Enter

The first time you insert a citation in a document you will be required to choose a citation style. You can change the citation style at anytime.

For this example select Chicago (note). You can always change it later by clicking on Document Preferences. Zotero will insert a footnote with a formatted citation into your document.

If you do not see the style you want listed, you will need to click on Cancel and go into Zotero's Preferences. Under Cite select Styles. Click on Get additional Styles...

Find the style you want by doing a search and click on the title. Click on Install to install the style. Now you will see this style listed when you go back into Word to install the first citation.

Page numbers and other information about the item can be added to a citation when you first insert it into your paper.

Additional information can be added to your citations when first adding them to your document. After selecting the citation you want, click on the citation to add the page numbers. After adding the page numbers, press Enter to insert the citation.

You can also add multiple sources in 1 citation. After selecting the first citation, just search for the next citation you want to insert. After you are satisfied with the citations, press Enter to insert the citations

To add page numbers or other information to your citation after it's been inserted, place your cursor within the citation and then click the Zotero Edit Citation button

Do the neccessary changes in the popup window,

Creating Bibliographies:

When you are done adding citations, click on Add/Edit Bibliography.  Zotero will insert a fully-formatted and alphabetized bibliography in whatever style you have previously chosen

Creating Annotated Bibliographies:

You can use Zotero to create an Annotated APA or Chicago Bibliography.

Step 1: Before you can create an annotated bibliography, you need to download a new style from the Zotero Style Repository.

  • Open up Zotero. Click on Edit --> Preference --> Styles and then click on Get Additional Styles

APA: Download the style "American Psychological Association 6th edition (annotated bibliography with abstract)."

Chicago: Download the style "Chicago Manual of Style 16th edition (note, annotated bibliography)."

Step 2: Open your Zotero library and select the item that you want to annotate. In the "Info" tab on the right-hand pane, write the annotation in the "Extra" field. Repeat this step for each item that you want to include in the annotated bibliography.

Step 3: Open your word processing document and follow the standard process for inserting a citation into your document. When prompted to choose your citation style, select the Annotated Chicago or APA style that you downloaded.

Creating a Standalone Bibliography:

If you'd like to create a standalone bibliography, you can use Zotero's Quick Copy feature. First, you'll want to set a default style used for copying and pasting citations. In Zotero's Preferences, in the Export tab, choose a Default Output Format.

Now, you can select the items you'd like to add to your bibliography, and press Ctrl+Alt+A or hold down shift and drag the items into Microsoft Word or other supported Word Processors.

Alternatively, once you have selected the items, do a right click and select Create a Bibliography from Items to create a stand-alone bibliography.

When you finished working with your document, you might want to send it to your supervisor, a journal editor or a close friend. It is advisable to remove Zotero codes before you send the file to allow your readers to read your document.

However, before you decide to remove the Zotero codes, please save a copy of the file as Zotero will not create a new file when you choose to remove Zotero codes. To remove Zotero codes, click on Unlink Citations. The Zotero code will be removed automatically and you should save the file as a different file.

When making changes to the bibliographic information, make the changes in Zotero itself. After making the changes, you will want to click on Zotero Refresh to update the citations.

Making Zotero accessible to users around the world has always been a priority. Thanks to a global community of volunteers in the Zotero and Citation Style Language (CSL) projects, you can use the Zotero interface and also generate citations in dozens of different languages.

Previously, Zotero would automatically use the language of the Zotero user interface — generally the language of either Firefox or the operating system — when generating citations. While you’ve always been able to generate citations using a different language, doing so required changing a hidden preference.

You can now set the bibliography language at the same time you choose a citation style, whether you’re using Quick Copy, Create Bibliography from Selected Items, or the word processor plugins.

In the above example, even though the user interface is in English, the default Quick Copy language is being set to French. If an item is then dragged from Zotero into a text field, the resulting citation will be in French, using French terms instead of English ones (e.g., “édité par” instead of “edited by”).

The new language selector is even more powerful when using the word processor plugins. The bibliography language chosen for a document is stored in the document preferences, allowing you to use different languages in different documents — say, U.S. English for a document you’re submitting to an American journal and Japanese for a paper for a conference in Japan.

Note that, of the thousands of CSL styles that Zotero supports, not all can be localized. If a journal or style guide calls for a specific language, the language drop-down will be disabled and citations will always be generated using the required language. For example, selecting the Nature style will cause Zotero to use the “English (UK)” locale in all cases, as is required by Nature’s style guide.

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