Zotero

Zotero is a free citation manager. This page offers information that will help you create and build a Zotero library, create and use groups to collaborate, and use Zotero to add properly formatted citations to your papers.

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Inserting Citations and Creating a Bibliography

To use the write and cite function of Zotero, you first need to make sure you have the Word Processor plugin installed. The Zotero word processor plugins are bundled with Zotero and should be installed automatically for each supported word processor on your computer when you first start Zotero.

Using the Zotero Microsoft Word Plugin

Installing the Zotero Word Plugin adds a Zotero tab to Microsoft Word on your computer (outlined in red). 

Zotero Microsoft Word tab

 

Add/Edit Citation (Add/Edit Citation icon)

This icon is for adding and editing citations. When you initially click this icon, you will be asked to select a citation style (demonstrated below). Zotero only provides a limited number of options initially. If you need another style, be sure to check their style repository for more styles to suit your needs.

Choose a citation style Zotero pop-up

When you select the Add/Edit Citation icon, a window will pop up like the one displayed below.

Add/Edit Citation pop-up window

Keep Sources Sorted is the default view when adding/editing a citation. In this view, you may type in either the author or title of the paper to select it for insertion. If you select the Classic View option, a window will pop up (demonstrated below) that will list all the papers in your library so you can select the paper you want to cite. The Classic View option is better if you want to include a page number in the citation.

Add/Edit Citation Classic View pop-up

Add/Edit Bibliography (Add/Edit Bibliography icon)

This icon is for inserting a bibliography into your paper. To edit your bibliography, click the Add/Edit Bibliography button again, which will open the Zotero bibliography editor.

 

Document Preferences (Document Preferences icon)

This icon is used to open a Document Preferences window, which allows you to update the following preferences:

  1. The citation style.

  2. The language used to format citations and bibliographies.

  3. For note-based styles (e.g., “Chicago Manual of Style (Note)”), whether citations are inserted in footnotes or endnotes.

    • Note that Word, not Zotero, controls the style and format of footnotes and endnotes.

  4. Whether to store citations as Fields or Bookmarks.

    • Unless you need to collaborate with colleagues using LibreOffice, you should always choose Fields.

  5. For styles that abbreviate journal titles, whether to use the MEDLINE abbreviations list to abbreviate titles.

    • If this option is selected (the default), the contents of the “Journal Abbr” field in Zotero will be ignored.

 

Refresh (Refresh icon)

This icon is used to refresh all citations and the bibliography in your paper. The Refresh icon will update any item metadata that you have changed in your Zotero library. 

 

Unlink Citations (Unlink Citations icon)

This icon is used to unlink Zotero citations in your document by removing the field codes. This will prevent any further automatic updates of your citations and bibliographies. Exercise caution when unlinking citations in Zotero; this action is irreversible and should only be done in the final copy of your document. 

 

Using Zotero with Google Docs

Support for Google Docs is part of the Zotero Connector for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari and requires the Zotero program to function.

Much like the Zotero Word Plugin, the Zotero Connector adds a Zotero menu to the Google Docs interface (outlined in red). 

Zotero Google Docs tab

It also adds a toolbar button for one-click citing:

Add/edit Zotero citation toolbar icon in Google Docs

 

Authentication

When you use Zotero with Google Docs for the first time, you will need to authenticate the Zotero Connector with your Google account. You should be automatically prompted to authenticate upon using Zotero with Google Docs. Be sure to select the Google account you used to create the Google Doc.

Once you have authenticated the Zotero Connector, you can begin inserting citations from your Zotero libraries into Google Docs.

 

Add/Edit Citation

This option allows you to add a new citation or edit an existing citation in your document where your cursor is located. You may do this by selecting Add/edit citation from the drop-down menu in the Zotero tab or by clicking the Zotero toolbar icon (Zotero toolbar icon). Either of these options will pull up the same pop-up window that displays for the Zotero Word Plugin. 

 

Add/Edit Bibliography

This option allows you to insert a bibliography where your cursor is located, or edit an existing bibliography.

 

Preferences

Open the document preferences menu to edit the following preferences: 

  1. The citation style.

  2. The language to use to format citations and bibliography.

  3. For styles that abbreviate journal titles (e.g., “Nature”), whether to use the MEDLINE abbreviations list to abbreviate titles.

    • If this option is selected (the default), the contents of the “Journal Abbr” field in Zotero will be ignored.

  4. Whether Zotero should automatically update citations for disambiguations, ibid, and numbering, or whether updating should be delayed until a manual refresh. Note that if you enable this mode, Zotero will insert your citations with a gray background to indicate that the citation text is not final. The citation will be finalized and the gray background removed once you click “Refresh” in the Zotero menu.

 

Refresh

Refresh all citations and the bibliography in your document; updates any item metadata that you have changed in your Zotero library

 

Unlink Citations

Unlink Zotero citations in your document by removing the field codes. This will prevent any further automatic updates of your citations and bibliographies. Exercise caution when unlinking citations in Zotero; this action is irreversible and should only be done in the final copy of your document

Customizing Citations

Once you have inserted citations into your document, you may customize them using the citation dialog box. Click on an existing citation in your document and select the Add/Edit Citation icon (Add/Edit Citation icon) to open the citation dialog box. Then, click on the citation again to open the cite options window to customize your citations (demonstrated below). 

Zotero Cite Options Window

If you want to add page numbers to your citation, you may so do by typing in the desired page number or page range into the dialog box below.  
Customizing citations with page numbersIf you want to write a sentence that only includes the year of the citation because you have used the author's name previously in the sentence, you may do so by checking the box next to "Suppress Author." 
Suppressing an author in a citation

If you need to add multiple authors to your citation, you may do so by adding them one after the other in the citation dialog box. After you select your first item, type in the name, title, or year of the additional item(s) you would like to cite. Press Enter/Return whenever you are ready to insert the citation into your document. 

Adding multiple authors