Hege Library & Learning Technologies

Digital Citation Management with Zotero

A guide to digitally managing citations using Zotero, an open-source, free, & easy-to-use tool that helps you collect, organize, cite, and share research.

Troubleshooting Issues with Zotero Toolbar in Word

On Guilford College campus computers, please open Microsoft Word before opening Zotero the first time you log in to a new computer. (This is a known issue that IT&S is working on resolving.) To troubleshoot this, and other issues with the Zotero toolbar in Word, it may be necessary to reinstall the Zotero toolbar. You can do so by going to "Tools" > "Add-ons" > "Extensions" > Zotero Word Integration Options (on PC) or Preferences (on Mac) > "Word Processors" > install add-in.

Video: Inserting Citations in Word

Video: Generating a Bibliography in Word

Citing Sources & Creating a Bibliography in Google Docs & Microsoft Word

The Zotero Google Docs integration works with Chrome and Firefox. The Zotero connector adds a Zotero menu to the Google Docs toolbar.

The Zotero Microsoft Word integration works with most recent versions of Word, and the Zotero software applications adds a Zotero menu to the Word toolbar. (If you experience any issues with the toolbar, you can troubleshoot these following the steps in the box at left, "Troubleshooting Issues with the Zotero Toolbar in Word.") You can download Microsoft Office on your own machine by logging in at http://login.microsoftonline.com with your Guilford username and network password. Please put in a ticket with the IT&S Help Desk if you have any issues downloading Office.

Here are the steps to take to begin citing work in Google Docs or Microsoft Word using Zotero:

  1. Make sure Zotero is open when you open your document to start writing.
  2. Before beginning to add citations, open up "Document preferences..." in the Zotero toolbar menu to choose your citation style. This can be changed at any time.
  3. As you write, add your citations to cite your sources: click "Add/edit citation..." in the Zotero toolbar menu. The Zotero search bar will pop up in its own little window: start typing any of your source information (title, authors, etc.) and select it from the dropdown. You can select multiple sources. To add page numbers, just click the source name in the pop-up window. When you're done adding sources, hit enter, and your citation will appear in your document.

Screenshot of the Zotero "add citation" bar with a dropdown of options to select.

  1. When you're done writing and are ready to generate your bibliography, click "Add/edit bibliography..." in the Zotero toolbar menu.
  2. You can use the "Refresh..." option in the Zotero toolbar menu to reflect any changes you have made it - here are some changes you might need to make:
    • if there are errors in the citation or bibliography (for example, typos or extraneous punctuation marks) - correct them in Zotero, then click "Refresh..."
    • if you want to add additional sources and see them reflected in the bibliography, click "Refresh..."
    • if you need to change your citation style for your document, go to "Document preferences..." in the Zotero toolbar menu and choose your new citation style, then click "Refresh..."

There is an additional step to take at the end when editing in a Google Doc:

  1. Once you’re finished editing, you’ll need to make a copy of your document and then unlink the citations to be able to download it as a PDF and have citations show up correctly. (You’ll get a warning from Zotero if you forget to do this.) You can make a copy of the document by going to "File" > "Make a copy" - and you can then unlink the citations from the "Unlink citations..." option under the Zotero toolbar.
    • You want to make a copy instead of unlinking citations on the original document so you still have this original copy linked to Zotero and can make changes as needed when things come up.

Limitations with Google Docs: anyone making changes to the document should have the Zotero Connector installed as well. For collaborative work, Zotero recommends creating a shared library, so that all sources being cited have the same information and are coming from the same place.

Exporting a Bibliography Directly from Zotero

You can export a bibliography - a full bibliography or a bibliography entry for a single item - directly from Zotero, if desired. This makes writing something like an annotated bibliography much easier.

To export a full bibliography from a Zotero collection:

  1. Right-click on the collection in the left-hand library menu pane.
  2. Select "Create Bibliography from Collection..."
  3. Choose your citation style, then your output mode ("Bibliography"), and finally your output method. Copy to clipboard lets you paste the text into your word processor, but you can also print directly from Zotero, or save the bibliography as a RTF or HTML file.

To export a bibliography entry for a single item, or a handful of items:

  1. Select the item or items in your library. To select multiple items, click on them while holding down the CTRL key (on Windows) or the CMD key (on Mac).
  2. Select "Create Bibliography from Item(s)..."
  3. Choose your citation style, then your output mode ("Bibliography"), and finally your output method. Copy to clipboard lets you paste the text into your word processor, which is likely the best option if you are just exporting a couple of entries.