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Zotero - Citation Manager for Firefox, Safari, Chrome

A guide to using Zotero to manage your citations and format/output your bibliography.

Adding citation styles to Zotero

Zotero comes with only a few bibliographic styles, but many more are available to download.  Request custom styles at the Zotero forums.

To import a style to Zotero:

  1. Go to the styles page and download the style you want.
  2. Open Zotero.  Click the gear button and choose Preferences.
  3. Click the Styles button.
  4. Click the + button at the bottom right.
  5. Select the style file you saved in step 1.

Using Zotero to Create Annotated Bibliographies

As of 2015, there is only two bibliographic styles (Chicago and APA) for which Zotero provides the option to do an annnotated bibliography.

1. Go to the Zotero Style Repository and do a search for "annotated" to find Chicago Manual of Style (Annotated Bibliography) and APA (Annotated Bibliography), and install it.

2. When adding/edition citation info, use the "Extra" field (found way down at the bottom of the Info tab in the right column) to add your annotations.

3. When creating your bibliography, choose Chicago Manual of Style (Annotated Bibliography) or APA (Annotated Bibligraphy) as your style and Copy to Clipboard as your output format.

4. Paste your bibliography into a Word document.

Creating Your Bibliography: Straight From Zotero

It's easy to create a bibliography from your Zotero library.

Select the references or collections you want to include. Hold the control key and click to select multiple items. Right-click one of the selected items and choose Create Bibliography. Choose the bibliographic style you want, and select the output format: Save as RTF or HTML, copy to clipboard or print. (The RTF file format is compatible with all word processors.)

Zotero folder with right-click menu selected. "Create Bibliography from Collection" is selected.

Or you can just drag and drop references from Zotero into your document and they will turn into fully formatted citations. This works with any word processor including Google Docs. Change the default style under Preferences on the "gear" menu.

Google doc with a bibliography and a Zotero with five citations highlighted. Red arrows pointing to Zotero and to Bibliography, text reads "Drag and drop references into a word processor for Google docs!"

Creating Your Bibliography: While You Write Using the MS Word Plugins

The word processing plugin adds a Zotero toolbar to your word processor that allows you to add formatted citations to your document while you write and then create a formatted list of references from those citations.

To add a citation, click the first button ("Insert Citation") on the toolbar. Select the reference you want to cite and click OK. Zotero will add the citation at your cursor.

At the end of your paper, click the third button ("Insert Bibliography"). Your bibliography will appear, and new citations will be added automatically. Change bibliographic styles with the last button on the toolbar ("Set Doc Prefs").

Zotero panel in MS Word. Has icons for "Add/Edit Citation", "Document Preferences", "Insert Bibliography", "Edit Bibliography", "Refresh", and "Remove Field Codes"


If you're using MS Word 2016 for Mac, the Zotero Toolbar is found in the Add Ons tab

Add-ins tab on far left side

If you're using MS Word 2011 for Mac, you'll need to make your Zotero toolbar visible.

Microsoft word with a small toolbar of Zotero icons.

If you are using MS Word 2008 for Mac, then Zotero is installed in the script menu (to the right of the Help menu at the top of the screen)

Toolbar with Zotero menus under scroll icon.