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Create Notes and/or Bibliography While You Write

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


Microsoft Word

  • In the top "ribbon" menu within Microsoft Word for Windows, click on the Zotero tab.
    • The Zotero toolbar shows up underneath the Apple menu in Microsoft Word for Mac. Note: If you have MS Word for Mac 2008, then the toolbar shows up underneath the AppleScript menu located along the Apple menu bar).

Microsoft Word top menu, highlighting the Zotero tab


Add a citation

  • Click the Add/Edit Citation button on the toolbar.

Microsoft Word's Zotero menu, showing the Add/Edit Citation, Add/Edit Bibliography, and Refresh buttons


  • A red search box will pop up in front of your document. Search for the reference you want to cite -- it's easiest to search for part of the author name or title. Press Enter. Zotero will add the citation at your cursor.

red Zotero Search Box


  • The citation style will default to your preferred citation style. Change the style by clicking on the Z in the search box and choosing a new style. You can also change bibliographic styles with the Document Preferences button on the toolbar.


Insert a Bibliography, References, or Works Cited List

  • Click the Add/Edit Bibliography button. Your bibliography will appear at the bottom of your document, and new items will be added automatically as you add in-text references.

Microsoft Word's Zotero menu, showing the Add/Edit Citation, Add/Edit Bibliography, and Refresh buttons


Edit Citations and Bibliography

  • You may see errors when you add the citation to your document, so you may need to edit.
    • Remember that in most styles, for direct quotes you need to include a page number. Zotero doesn't add that automatically. In the in-text citation, in the appropriate place, simply type pp. ___ or whatever is needed to indicate page numbers in your style. 
    • The next time you hit Refresh, you will get this warning message: 

warning from Zotero, saying "you have modified this citation since Zotero generated it. do you want to keep your modification and prevent future updates? -- choose Yes if you want to keep your modifications. 


  • If you have made changes to your references within Zotero itself, you can update the citations and bibliography in your document by clicking on the Refresh button.

Microsoft Word's Zotero menu, showing the Add/Edit Citation, Add/Edit Bibliography, and Refresh buttons


Create Quick Bibliographies

If you want to create a bibliography that will be used elsewhere than in a word processing program -- for example, on a webpage or on a Powerpoint file -- you can do that as well from your Zotero library.

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

Right click on some references, then click the Create Bibliography from Collection option

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

Add Additional 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 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.


The content on this page has been adapted from Jason Puckett's Zotero Research Guide at Georgia State University.