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An introduction to Zotero

Zotero and Word Processors

Zotero and Word Processor plug ins

Zotero can be used with Microsoft Word, Libre Office and Google Docs.

For information on using Zotero with other text editors and programs, see this list of additional plug in options.

Word processor plug ins should automatically download with the Zotero program. If you can't see a Zotero tab in Word or Libre Office, follow the steps on this Troubleshooting Page (find your relevant Operating system and word processor version). 

In Google Docs, the Zotero menu item will appear when using Chrome or Firefox if you have added the Zotero connector to the browser. The first time you use Zotero in Google Docs, you will be asked to authenticate with your Google account details. 

Zotero options in Word Processors

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
Document Preferences Open the Document Preferences window, e.g. to change the citation style.
Refresh Refresh all citations and the bibliography, updating any item metadata that has changed in your Zotero library.
Unlink Citations

Remove Zotero field codes from the document. Field codes allow Zotero to generate your references in your chosen style within your document. 

Removing field codes changes your references in to plain text and prevents any further automatic updates of the citations and bibliographies. This is irreversible.

Choosing a referencing style

Choosing your referencing style

When you first add a citation, Zotero will ask you to select your referencing style. You can choose from the default list, along with any other styles you've installed, in a pop up window.

To change the citation style, click on Document Preferences to select a citation style

  • Where a footnote citation system is used, Zotero will create the footnotes at the bottom of the page. It is easy to change between in-text and footnote styles. 

Additional Citation Styles

Additional citation styles

Once Zotero is installed, access the Style Manager in the Preferences option.

  • Windows users: go to Edit.
  • Mac users: go to Zotero > Preferences > Cite.

Zotero has a style repository of over 9000 citation styles. Add an additional style by clicking the 'Get Additional Styles' link. This will open a new window and then search for the citation style by name. Use filters to limit to styles with certain formats, or styles used by particular academic fields.

To add a new style to Zotero, click the name of the style. This will add it to the Style Manager panel where you can select from a large list of available styles. 



Add citations

Add citations

Click on the Zotero tab in your word processor and click the Add Citation

Quick view - enter your terms (author, words from the title) in the search bar, the references  that match will be displayed. Click to select.

Classic View - displays your library. Select reference/s and click OK to insert them into your document

*Explain field codes at this point to lead on to next sections*

Adding pinpoint citations

Add multiple citations


To add multiple citations, enter the first citation

Enter the words from the next citation (ie author name, words from the title)

Repeat until you have added all required citations

Hit enter to insert them into your document.

entering multiple citations

Adding a bibliography

Add a bibliography

To generate a bibliography place your cursor where you want the bibliography and click the Add/Edit Bibliography button.

All sources cited in your document will be listed.

To add additional sources to your bibliography, click anywhere within your bibliography, click the Add/Edit Bibliography button. Select the references to be added and click the green arrow to add more sources to the right hand column. These will be added to your bibliography.

Edit citations and finishing your document

Edit citations

Click on Add/Edit Citations

In the Citation Bar, click on the citation you want to edit.

Add page numbers, and other text, or remove the citation .               



Removing field codes

Removing field codes should only be done when you are ready to finish and/or

submit your document.

It is an irreversible process.  You should save a back-up copy of your

document in case you do need to make changes.When you are ready, click unlink citations 




Allows you to create a one off bibliography. Go to

  • Add a URL, ISBN, DOI, PMID, arXiv ID, or title and Zoterobib will generate a citation for your bibliography
  • Add items manually

When finished export to RTF, HTML, RIS (for other reference managers), BibTeX or Zotero