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In-Text Citations

There are two ways to use Zotero to generate your in-text citations.

1.  Use the  Zotero Add-in to Word that is included in all recent versions of Zotero. If you don't see the Zotero tab in Word, try closing and reopening both Word and Zotero. If that doesn't work, you may need to reinstall the add-in:

Open Zotero, and in the Edit menu, choose Preferences. Then choose the Cite section and the Word Processors tab within that section. Click the gray button to install or reinstall the Word Add-in.

2. Once you have a Zotero tab in Word, you will use the Add/Edit Citation button there to add a citation from your Zotero library.

3. Select citations from your Zotero database to add as you go along.

Alternately, you may use the "RTF Import" method.

Save your working document as a "rich text document" (.rtf) file.  Follow the instructions for RTF import, and all your citations will "magically" be formatted at the same time.  Instructions:

Bibliography Only

To create a bibliography in Zotero, highlight one or more references and then right-click (or control-click on Macs) to select “Create Bibliography from Selected Item(s).” Then select a citation style for your bibliography format and choose one of the following four ways to create your bibliography:

  • Save as RTF will allow you to save the bibliography as a rich text file.
  • Save as HTML will allow you to save the bibliography as a HTML file for viewing in a web browser. This format will also embed metadata allowing other Zotero users viewing the document to capture bibliographic information.
  • Save to Clipboard will allow you to save the bibliography to your clipboard to paste into any text field.
  • Print will send your bibliography straight to a printer.

For most users, the Save to Clipboard option is most common.  Once the items are saved to the clipboard, just hit "paste" in your document, and the formatted citations will be pasted in, in the correct order as specified by the style you select.

Zotero and Google Docs

Zotero can be used with Google Docs in the same way as with plain-text documents or emails. See the screencast on Zotero and Google tools.

  • To add a bibliography, simply select items in Zotero and drag them into the document.
  • To add a citation, hold the Shift key before dragging.

To use a different style, change your Quick Copy settings in the Export pane of the Zotero preferences.

At the moment there is no way to get an automatically updating bibliography in a Google Docs document. (There are several requests to the Google Docs team for allowing Zotero integration.)

For more about using Zotero with Google Docs, see Zotero's documentation on the subject.

Move an Existing Bibligraphy from Word to Zotero

Zotero and Scrivener

At the time of this writing (October 2021), Scrivener does not have a Zotero integration tool that makes it as easy to insert Zotero citations and bibliography as Word's Zotero plugin does, but researchers who like using Scrivener have devised and documented a couple of approaches to integrating Zotero into a Scrivener project.