Insert Citations and Bibliographies into Documents

Creating a Bibliography

  • To copy and paste a list of citations or a bibliography from Zotero into Word or LibreOffice, select the citation(s) you want to include in the bibliography, holding down the control key to select multiple items, then right-click on one of the selected items and choose "Create Bibliography from Items..."
  • In the pop-up window that appears, choose the citation style you would like to use for your bibliography.
  • Select "Copy to Clipboard", click OK, and paste into your word processor.  You can also save the bibliography as an HTML file.
  • To insert a bibliography from Zotero into Google Docs, select the items in Zotero and drag them into the document.

Inserting In-text Citations into Documents

  • Zotero can insert in-text citations into Word and LibreOffice documents and automatically create bibliographies from those citations.
  • To allow integration with word processors, you need to download a plug-in from the Word Processor Plugins page.
  • The Zotero toolbar will now appear in your word processor.


    The Zotero Toolbar in Word



Adding In-Text Citations and Footnotes

Insert Citation

  • When you are ready to insert your first in-text citation or footnote in your Word document, click on "Add/Edit Citation" in the Zotero toolbar.  This will prompt you to choose the citation style for your paper (for example MLA or Chicago).  If the style you want to use is not on the list, go into the Zotero and click on the "Actions" (gear) icon. 

The Zotero Actions icon


  • From there, select "Preferences..." then the "Cite" tab and then the "Styles" tab. 



Zotero Style Preferences




  • To find a style that doesn't appear on the list, click on "Get Additional Styles" to go to a large list of styles.  You can change your selection later in Zotero by clicking the gear icon.           
  • After you select a style in Zotero, a window will pop up in your word processor allowing you to search for a reference in your Zotero library.

The Zotero search bar


  • If you click on the down arrow next to the Z at the left of this search bar, you can choose to search for the reference in Zotero using the "Classic View," which has more search features.



The "Classic View" Zotero search box





  • Click OK, and a properly formatted in-text reference, footnote or endnote should appear in your document.
  • Always check that the citation has appeared with all the correct features for the style you are using.  If it is not correct, it is best to go to the reference in Zotero and edit it, so that you have it saved with complete information for future use.
  • You can add page numbers for styles that require it, or choose multiple sources for a single citation.
  • To add an in-text citation in Google Docs, select the citation in Zotero and drag it into the document while holding down the Shift key.

Edit Citation       

  • You can also use "Add/Edit Citation" to edit an in-text citation, footnote or endnote you have already inserted into a document.  If you are using footnotes, click in the text of the footnote, rather than the superscript number.
  • Click on the in-text reference you wish to edit, and the "Add/Edit Citation" pop-up will appear again.

Inserting a Bibliography, References or Works Cited list

  • Place the cursor at the end of your document where you want to insert the bibliography, references, or Works Cited list (depending upon which style you're using). 
  • Click on "Insert Bibliography" in the Zotero toolbar, and a correctly formatted bibliography will be generated from all the citations you have inserted in the document.

Edit Bibliography

  • Click on "Edit Bibliography" to edit the bibliography you inserted in a document.
  • You can also use this button to expand your bibliography to include works consulted but not cited.


  • If citations don't appear correctly, you can edit them within Zotero itself.  After editing them, click on "Refresh" in the Zotero toolbar, which will refresh your citations and your bibliography to reflect the changes you made in Zotero.

Set Document Preferences

  • Click on "Document Preferences" to change the citation style of the references in the document you are composing. A window will appear allowing you to change citation styles.

Remove Field Codes

  • Click on "Remove Field Codes" to remove Zotero's codes from a word processing document if you are working with a collaborator who is using a different citation management tool or if a journal editor requires that codes be removed.
  • Since this action cannot be reversed, it is best is to save two copies, one with the codes and one with codes removed.

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