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Zotero Guide: Using Zotero with Word

A guide to Zotero, the wonderful free open source citation manager.

Using Zotero with Word

By using Zotero in conjunction with MS Word, you’ll be able to format in-text citations, alternate between different styles, create bibliographies with only one click, and much more!

Integrating With a Word Processor

The plugin for MS Word (and all other common word processor programs, such as LibreOffice and Google Docs) is already bundled into Zotero and should install automatically when you first start Zotero. If the word processor plugin does not automatically install, then you can find troubleshooting instructions in the Zotero support page for Word Processor Plugins.

The Zotero Standalone also includes the MS Word plug-in and will be installed in the initial download of Zotero. If the plugin for Word does not appear, then see the support page for All Plugins/Platforms.

When you open MS Word, the Zotero plugin will be visible like this:


How to Insert Citations into a Document

In order to use Zotero while working in MS Word, your Zotero library must be open. Then to add a citation, simply click the Zotero tab and then “Add/Edit Citation,” on the left, like this:

The first time you use the Insert Citation button in the Zotero Toolbar, you will be prompted to choose your referencing style from a list that looks like the following:


After selecting the style, you can then enter the item from your Zotero library that you want to cite. Usually part of the title or author’s name is sufficient to pull it up, as in the example below:

Simply click on the item you want to cite, then press enter.

For citations involving multiple references, you can keep repeating this process. Here is an example of a citation involving multiple references:

Once you’ve finished with this stage, you can add in a page number. You do this by clicking on the item in the Zotero manager, and the following options will appear.

If you want to comment before or after an item (i.e., “see the research by…”) , then use the fields for “Prefix” or “Suffix.”

If you are adding a citation and you can’t remember the name of the title or author and want to explore your Zotero library, then click Z to select Classic View. Here is an example of what the classic view looks like.

To go back and edit a citation, click the citation, and then Zotero’s “Add/Edit citation icon” (the same icon you used for adding the citation) from the Zotero tool bar.

Creating a Bibliography

A helpful feature of Zotero is that it can automatically generate a bibliography for you, grabbing all the resources you cited and putting them in an alphabetized bibliography. Simply place the cursor at the end of your document and click the icon for “Add/Edit Bibliography.

You only need to do this once for the document. From thereafter, each time you insert a citation it will be added to your reference list in the correct order. If you change styles, the Bibliography will automatically update!

Editing a Bibliography

The bibliography is automatically generated from every item you cite. But maybe you want to add an item that you didn’t cite, or perhaps move one that you did cite. Again, the process is simple. Just go to the “Add/Edit Bibliography” icon, and your Zotero library will appear on the left, and all the items in your bibliography will appear on the right. Use the arrows to add or remove items.

"Unlink Citations"

Some people find it easier to edit their footnotes and bibliography if the document is unlinked from Zotero. It is best to do this as a final step before submitting the document. Since unlinking from Zotero is permanent, first save a backup copy of the document. Then, click the “Unlink Citations” button (Unlink citations button) to disconnect your document from Zotero and convert all citations and the bibliography to regular text.

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