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Citation management

Overview of the most often used citation management software (RefWorks, EndNote, Zotero, WizFolio)

What's the best citation management software for me?

So how do you pick the best citation management software for you? There are many factors to consider. For example, if you are an undergraduate student, you might be looking for the fastest and easiest optionsomething with a short learning curve, which lets you grab citations and produce bibliographies in a snap. Oh, and let's not forget: it needs to be free or cheap.

If you're a graduate student or a faculty member, you might have different considerations: the software needs to work well with the databases you use frequently, it must be able to organize and filter a large number of citations, and it should be able to produce a bibliography in the primary style used in your discipline. If you're working on a research team, you'll also want to make sure the software allows you to collaborate with your colleagues smoothly.

We've put together a comparison chart below to help you examine the different features available and figure out the best option for you.

Comparison of features

 

RefWorks

Zotero

Mendeley

EndNote Basic (Web-only)

EndNote Desktop (X8)

Reference Manager

WizFolio

Papers

What does it look like?

Video tutorials

Video tour

Video tutorials

Overview video

Video training

Training videos

Quick start video

Welcome video

How much does it cost? Free while at UofT Free and open source Free for everyone Free $129.99 for UofT community $90 for UofT community Free for everyone (limited version with ads), more features for UofT community $79 USD (+40% student discount)
How do I get it?

Create or log into account

Group code for off-campus access

Downloads available upon logging in, under Tools menu

Create account

Download


Create account

Download desktop client

Install Web Importer

Install Word plugin: Windows or Mac

https://www.myendnoteweb.com

Purchase from UofT Bookstore Purchase from UofT Bookstore

Create account (use your utoronto.ca e-mail for full features)

Install WizAdd

Download WizCite

How to get Papers with student discount

How to enable Manuscripts feature

How to set up UofT proxy

How does it work? 

Web-based interface accessible anywhere

 

Plugin for Firefox or desktop client which can be linked to Chrome or Safari

Backup & sync via web-based account accessible anywhere

Desktop client (Win/Mac/Linux)

Web-based interface accessible through Web of Science

Desktop client (Win/Mac)

Desktop client (Win)

Web-based interface accessible anywhere

 

Desktop client (Win/Mac)

Will it work on my computer?

 

RefGrab-It plugin or bookmarklet for IE & Firefox

Write-N-Cite plugin for Word (Win/Mac)

 

Plugin for Word (Win/Mac), OpenOffice, & LibreOffice (Win/Mac/Linux)

 

Also works with Google Docs

 

 

Web Importer bookmarklet for most browsers

 

Plugin for Word (Win/Mac) and OpenOffice (Win/Mac/Linux)

 

 

Web Capture bookmarklet for most browsers or Firefox add-on

 

Cite While You Write plugin for Word (Win/Mac)

 

 

Cite While You Write plugin for Word (Win/Mac), OpenOffice (Win), & Pages (Mac)

 

See full system requirements here

 

 

Cite While You Write plugin for Word (Win)

 

See full system requirements here

 

 

WizAdd bookmarklet for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, & IE

 

WizCite desktop client with plugins for Word (Win, Word for Mac 2011 only), OpenOffice, & LibreOffice (Win/Mac)

 

Manuscripts plugin for Word (Win/Mac), Pages (Mac)

Can I use it on my mobile device?

RefMobile website (free)

Third party apps for iOS & Android (various prices)

iOS app (free) 

iPad app (Free)

iPad app (Free)

No

iPad-friendly website (free)

Papers Touch for iOS ($14.99 USD)
Can I save citations while I browse?

Yes: direct export from many popular databases, manual import using RIS/BiBTeX, or grab citations from some websites using RefGrab-It plugin/bookmarklet 

Yes: browser plugin grabs citations from many popular databases, manual import using RIS/BiBTeX

Yes: grab citations from popular databases using Web Importer

Yes: direct export from some databases, manual import using RIS

Yes: direct export from some databases, manual import using ENL/RIS

Yes: manual import using RIS

Yes: grab citations using WizAdd bookmarklet, manual import using RIS/BiBTeX 

Yes: manual import using RIS/BiBTeX
Can I search external databases?

Yes

Limited: ISBN, DOI, or PMID lookup

No (coming soon)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes
Can I attach PDFs or other files? Yes Yes: can automatically grab PDFs with citations, can add notes and other attachments, can retrieve citation data for PDFs, can archive web pages Yes: can organize and annotate PDFs, can retrieve citation data for PDFs No Yes: can attach PDFs and other files, can annotate PDFs, can retrieve citation data for PDFs Yes: can attach PDFs and other files Yes: can attach PDFs and other files, can retrieve citation data for PDFs Yes: can organize and annotate PDFs
Can I run a full text search on my account?

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

Yes
What citation styles are available? 3,000+ output styles 2,800+ citation styles (CSL) 2,800+ citation styles (CSL) 3,400+ output styles 5,000+ output styles 1,300+ output styles 1,000+ citation styles 2,800+ citation styles (CSL)

Can I collaborate with others?

Yes: can share folders publicly or privately with RefShare, can share account to collaborate on papers Yes: can share references through public or private group libraries Yes: can share references through public or private groups Yes: can share references privately via groups Yes: can share references privately via EndNote Basic (Web version) groups, can collaborate on papers Limited: can export and share reference list, can collaborate with others using "traveling library" feature Yes: can share references publicly or privately Yes: can share references publicly or privately through Livfe

Can I use it after I leave UofT?

Contact UofT's RefWorks admin Christina Tooulias-Santolin for more info

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Where can I find more help?

But wait... there's still more!

Other alternatives

While we've included the most popular examples on the table above, there are plenty more options out there. Some other options you might want to consider:

Check out another great Comparison chart of reference management software on Wikipedia for even more suggestions.

Online citation generators

Did you know there are online citation generators that let you create citations and bibliographies on the fly? These generators usually only offer a few citation styles and features, but if you're writing something short they just might do the trick:

Please note: online citation generators are usually less accurate and reliable than citation management software that has been vetted by many users. Always check your work before submitting it anywhere!