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Zotero for Citation Management

Manage your research and create bibliographies with Zotero.

About Word and LibreOffice Plugins

The word processor plugins for Zotero allow you to use it with Microsoft Word or LibreOffice to:

  • Create in-text citations, footnotes, and bibliographies as you write;
  • Compile your bibliography from your in-text citations and footnotes (you can be sure the bibliography will include all sources you cite in your paper, and no extraneous sources);
  • Link your citations with Zotero: edit a source in Zotero, and the change will also appear in your paper;
  • While using footnotes, Zotero will keep track of the first time you cited a source in your footnotes and will substitute in shortened forms or ibid. as needed.

Most importantly, using the plugin allows you to stop worrying about the details and nuances of each different citation style, and spend more mental energy on what you cite, why you cite it, and what your argument is!

About Google Docs Plugin

Zotero now has a Google Docs plugin, which works in the same way as the Word plugin, but relies on having the browser extension(s) installed, not on a separate installation.

For more information and instructions, see the documentation from Zotero.

Installing the Word Plugin


  1. In Zotero, go to your Preferences menu (on Mac, Zotero > Preferences; on PC, Edit > Preferences).
  2. Click  Cite.
  3. Click Word Processors.
  4. Click Install Microsoft Word Add-In (or Install LibreOffice Add-in).

Where is the Zotero menu in Word?

  • On a Mac, in MS Word 2016, the Zotero menu will appear in the toolbar.
  • On a Mac, in MS Word 2011, the Zotero submenu will appear under the Script menu (looks like a squiggle in the menu bar).
  • On a PC, in MS Word, the Zotero menu will appear in the toolbar.

Add Citations and Notes with Word Plugin

To add an in-text citation or footnote:

  1. In Word, from the Zotero menu, click Insert Citation (may be an icon). The Zotero dialog box will open.
  2. In the Zotero dialog box, search for your source.
  3. Select your source.
  4. To edit your in-text citation or footnotes, click the source again. You can now add page numbers, prefixes, suffixes (e.g., if you would like to add commentary to a footnote), or suppress the author's name.
  5. Hit your return key.
  6. The citation or footnote will be inserted.

To edit an in-text citation or footnote:

Note: do not edit a Zotero-inserted in-text citation or footnote directly.

  1. Click once on the in-text citation or footnote you wish to edit.
  2. In the Zotero menu, click Edit Citation (may be an icon).
  3. The Zotero dialog box will open.
  4. Edit the citation as desired and hit your return key.

Create Bibliography with Word Plugin

To create a bibliography:

  1. In Word, from the Zotero menu, click Insert Bibliography (may be an icon). Your bibliography will be inserted. (Note: this may take a few moments.)
  2. Review your bibliography for completeness and accuracy. If you need to edit your bibliography, we recommend editing the original item record in Zotero, then refreshing your bibliography to see the changes.

To refresh your bibliography:

  1. In Word, from the Zotero menu, click Refresh (may be an icon). Your bibliography will be updated to include any changes you made to your paper or to item records.

Advanced: Zotero for Right-to-Left Languages

One challenge of using Zotero citation management software when writing a paper with sources in more than one language is creating both citations with right-to-left text for sources in languages like Hebrew and Arabic, and citations with left-to-right text for sources in languages like English. Alphabetizing a bibliography with sources in different languages can be tricky, too.