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Zotero Citation Management Tool

How to set up and use Zotero, a citation tool for saving, organizing, and formating references. Based on a guide by Marie Sciangula at SUNY Purchase

Versions of Zotero

These screen shots were taken using an older version of Zotero. The functionality is the same, but the exact interface may look different depending on the version of Zotero and Word that you are using.

Adding Citations

Zotero allows you to collect and organize all of your references and quickly add in-text citations to your Microsoft Word / Open Office / NeoOffice documents. You can also drag and drop your references into any word processor, an email message, a Google doc, or a blog post to automatically create bibliographies on the fly.

Microsoft Word / OpenOffice / Zotero Integrations:
Depending on which word processor you use, you will need to download to the Microsoft Word Zotero plug-in or the OpenOffice Zotero plug-in in order to link your Zotero library to your word processor. Using Microsoft Word, click on the Add-Ins tab to view the Zotero Custom Toolbar.

Zotero Word Integration

To insert an in-text citation from your Zotero references into your document:

  • Click the "Insert a Citation" button located on the upper right side of your word processing document; Zotero will automatically open as red field within which you can search for a resource to cite.

    I prefer to use the Classic View of inserting a citation, which opens in a pop-up window. If you'd like to use the Classic View, click on the Actions icon > Preferences > Cite > be sure to check the box next to Use classic Add Citation dialog > click OK, as seen below. If you do not have the word processor integrated yet, you can easily get it by clicking on the Get word processor plug-ins... link within the Cite preferences area.

    Classic View of Add Citation

  • Choose the bibliographic citation style you would like to use
  • Next, select the item from your library that you would like to cite and add the page number; click OK


Zotero will insert the reference according to the citation style you have designated. Click the 'Show Editor' button to preview how your citation will look within your document.

You can add multiple sources in the same citation by clicking on the 'Multiple Sources' button, selecting the desired sources, and clicking the green arrow to add them right column. Designate the appropriate page number for each source.

multiple citation

Click OK and all of the items you've selected and their respective page numbers will be appear in the context of your document, as seen below.

multiple citation