Zotero: Inserting Citations & Bibliographies


Getting Started

When you have all of your research in place you are ready to start writing.  Follow these steps when writing your paper to make full use of Zotero's citation management.

  1. Open Zotero - Zotero desktop app must be open while you are workin in order for the connector to move citations to your document
  2. Open your preferred Word Processor
  3. Make sure you see the Zotero toolbar in your word processor. 
  4. Set Document Preferences

Document Preferences

Click the Zotero toolbar before you start writing to set your document preferences.  This will allow you to pick the style you are using for the paper and will tell Zotero how to correctly format the citations and bibliography.





Inserting Citations

Adding Citations

As you write you will be adding citations according to the style you have chosen.  These may be parenthetical citations, footnotes or endnotes depending on the requirements for your paper.  Zotero will handle inserting and formatting this all for you!  All you have to do is click "Add Citation" from the Zotero toolbar and then select the source you are citing from.  Zotero will automatically add the correctly formatted citation to the document.


Generating Bibliographies

Adding a Bibliography

Once you finish writing your paper it is time to generate the bibliography of references you have made use of throughout the writing process.  You'll want to make sure that all of the citations you have included throughout your paper have a corresponding entry in your bibliography.  Once again you will want to make sure that the listing is formatted as specified by the style you are using.  Zotero makes generating this bibliography very easy!  Just place your cursor in the section of your paper where you want to put your bibliography and click "Add Bibliography" from the Zotero toolbar.  Zotero will check each of the in text citations you have created and automatically generate a corresponding list of references according to the style you chose.



Need Help?

We would love to help you with your specific questions on this and any future projects you are working on.  If you'd like to get help from a librarian please Ask Us.


Mistakes Happen

Before you are ready to turn in your paper ALWAYS double check your citations and your bibliography.  Zotero will generate your citations and bibliographies based on the data it has available, so your citations will only be as good as the bibliographic information Zotero has access to.  Maybe you forgot to type a publication date while manually entering a record, or maybe the bibliographic information you imported from that database had an author's name misspelled.  Catch these issues before your teacher does!

When you find a mistake in your bibliographic information correcting it is easy!  Resist the urge to make the correction in your word processor and instead go back to Zotero and make the correction there.  Once you correct the Zotero entry go back to your word processor and select "Refresh" from the Zotero menu.  The correction will be applied to every place your document needs it.  This will ensure that the correction is applied everywhere in your current document, but also in any future documents you create using the same citation.

Revision Steps

  1. Open Zotero
  2. Find bibliographic error
  3. Correct error
  4. Open Word Processor
  5. Click Zotero toolbar
  6. Click Refresh