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Instructional Videos

Zotero Series: Part 4 - Citing Sources

(MS Stream Video, New College Library)

This video provides instructions and a demonstration for adding in-text citations and a bibliography using the Zotero add-on for Microsoft Word; editing and removing in-text citations; changing citation styles; exporting a bibliography from the Zotero application; and adding and removing citation styles.

Creating Quick Bibliographies

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

  1. Select the references or collections you want to include. Hold the control key and click to select multiple items.
  2. Right-click one of the selected items and choose Create Bibliography.
  3. Choose the bibliographic style you want, select Copy to Clipboard, click OK and paste into your word processor.

This method works with any word processor (or anywhere you can paste text).

Screenshot of the desktop Zotero window, cropped to show the My Library sidebar list on the left side. The first Collection folder is selected and the right click options menu is open. In this menu, the Create New Bibliography from Collection command is highlighted.


MS Word: Adding In-Text Citations & Bibliographies

Zotero offers word processing plugins for Word and OpenOffice. The plugin adds a Zotero toolbar ribbon to your word processor that allows you to add citations to your document while you write.


Red warning icon.IMPORTANT: 

The Zotero Standalone application must be open to use the word processor plugins. 

Add an In-Text Citation in Word

To add a citation, place your cursor in the location you want to add a citation:

  1. Open the Zotero toolbar ribbon in Word top navigation menu
  2. Click the 'Add/Edit Citation' button in the toolbar

Screenshot of the Zotero ribbon in Microsoft Word. The Add/Edit Citation button is highlighted.

The first time you add a citation, the Document Preferences pop-up window will open and prompt you to select the citation style for the document (e.g., American Psychological Association - APA, Chicago Manual of Style, Modern Language Association - MLA).

Click the "OK" button at the bottom of the pop-up window to continue. 

Screenshot of the Zotero Document Preferences window in Microsoft Word. The window contains a list of citation styles, with the selected style highlighted in grey.

  1. The Zotero search bar will pop up, search for the reference you want to cite (by author, title, year) and press Enter on the keyboard to insert the citation. 

Screenshot of Zotero search bar.

This search bar allows you to add the in-text citation in 2 ways:

a) Classic View

  • Click on the Z (left side of the Zotero pop-up search bar) and select "Classic View". This approach allows you to view all of your Zotero collections and provides a field to optionally enter page numbers.                                                           Zotero Search Bar with Z button open and Classic View option highlighted.
  • Clicking "Page" will open a pop-up window containing a drop-down menu to view all the folders in your Zotero library and there are additional options for cite specific information such as page number, chapter, figure, or paragraph. 

Zotero Add/Edit Citation Classic View window. Above the OK button in the right bottom corner, there is a field to enter Page number(s).

b) Cite Options Window 

  • Add a citation search for the reference you want to cite (by author, title, year). Then, click the blue bubble in the search bar to add details to the citation. This will open the Cite Options window (a compact version of Classic View) with three fields to add to the citation (Page number, Prefix, or Suffix). 
  • Clicking "Page" will open a drop-down menu with additional options for cite specific information such as, chapter, figure, or paragraph. 

Zotero Search Bar with the Cite Options window opened below the blue citation bubble.

Learn more about citation details and customizing.

Edit an In-Text Citation

  • To edit a citation, click on the in-text citation to highlight it in grey.
  • Once highlighted, click the "Add/Edit Citation" button again to pull up the search bar again.
  • Follow the same steps in the Add an In-Text Citation section above to change or customize the citation.  

Add a Bibliography 

Red warning icon.IMPORTANT:

In-text citations must be added first before your bibliography can be created. Your bibliography will appear and reflect the in-text citations you have in your document. . 

  • Scroll to the end of your paper and add a heading to mark the start of your bibliography. Be sure to add the heading title that is appropriate for the citations style you have selected: MLA (Works Cited), Chicago Style (Bibliography), APA (References)
  • Below the bibliography heading, click the second button "Add/Edit Bibliography". Any in-text citations that were already added will appear in that section formatted in the citation style and new info will be added automatically when you add any new in-text citations. 

Screenshot of the Zotero ribbon in Microsoft Word. The Add/Edit Bibliography button is highlighted. Red underline identifies the corresponding author names in both the in-text citations and the bibliographic entries in the Works Cited section.

Learn more about creating and editing bibliographies. 

Google Docs: Adding In-Text Citations & Bibliographies

Zotero also works in Google Docs so you can create in-text citations and bibliographies while you write. With the Connector installed, a Zotero tab will appear in the toolbar. 

Red warning icon.IMPORTANT:

You must have the Zotero Web Connector installed to use Zotero in Google Docs. For instructions on installing Zotero Web Connectors, please visit Install ZoteroZotero menu in Google Docs.


Adding In-Text Citations and a Bibliography

  • Click on Zotero tab to open up all the options and select "Add/Edit Citation" 
  • When you first click on "Add/Edit Citation", you will be prompted to select the citation style. The instructions will be the same as the steps described for MS Word.
  • Once citation(s) has been added, scroll to the end of the document to the spot where you want to add the Bibliography and add heading to mark that section. Select "Add/Edit Bibliography" to add the code to format a bibliography. 
  • For full details to learn how to create and edit your in-text citations and bibliography, visit Zotero's documentation "Using Zotero with Google Docs"

There is also the option to use the "Z" button for one-click citing:

Add/Edit Zotero Citation toolbar button in Google Docs


Learn more about Zotero for Google Docs.

Adding additional citation styles to Zotero

Zotero comes with the most common bibliographic styles, but many more are available to download.

To install a style (Zotero Standalone):

  1. Go to the Zotero Style Repository page.
  2. Search for the name of the citation style you need.
  3. Download the style (right-click the Install link and choose Save As).
  4. Open Zotero preferences. Click Cite, then Styles, then the "+" button, and select the style you downloaded (a .CSL file).

The new style will appear in Zotero's style lists. Visit Zotero to view tips for installing, managing and editing citation styles

Change Bibliographic Style

  • To change bibliographic styles, click the button "Document Preferences" on the toolbar menu to open the pop-up window.
  • The citations and bibliography you have in your document update to the new style you select by pressing the Refresh button located below the Document Preferences button in the ribbon. 
  • Select the citation style you want to change