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Zotero is software that helps you create citations and bibliographies. It's free and easy to use.


Triangular yellow caution symbolCaution: Automatically-generated bibliographies may contain errors. If you use Zotero to generate a bibliography, you should proofread the bibliography before you submit it to your professor.


It's easy to create a bibliography from your Zotero library.

Select the references or collections you want to include. (To select multiple items, hold the Control key.) Right-click one of the selected items and choose "Create Bibliography." Then, choose the bibliographic style you want, and select the output format.

Screenshot showing the right-click menu in Zotero

Or you can just drag and drop references from Zotero into your document! They'll turn into fully formatted citations. This works with any word processor, including Google Docs. You can choose your style (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.) by going to the Edit menu and selecting "Preferences."

Screenshot showing the drag-and-drop method for creating bibligraphies

Google Docs

Zotero works with Google Docs! You must have the Zotero Connector installed in Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Instead of a toolbar with buttons, as in the Word screenshot above, look for the Zotero menu in your Google Docs editor


  • If you've installed the connector, you'll see the Zotero menu in Google Docs. 
  • You have to grant Zotero permission to view your Google documents.
  • Zotero must be running in the background in order to work properly.


Microsoft Word

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

NOTE: In order to use the features in Word, you have to have the Zotero app running in the background.

Installation - Problems:

If you are having trouble getting Zotero to communicate with Microsoft Word, try checking these two items..

Open Zotero:

  1. In the Menu, click Tools, click Add-Ons, make sure the "Zotero Word for Windows Integration" is active.
  2. In the Menu, click, Edit, click Preferences, click the Cite icon,  click the Word Processors tab, and then check the Microsoft Word settings.

Installation - Success:

If the the plugins installed properly, you'll see a new tab in Word. Here's what it looks like in Word:


The Zotero tab in Word


Add Citations:

To add a citation, click the first button ("Add/Edit Citation") on the toolbar. Search for the reference you want to cite and press Enter. Zotero will add the citation at your cursor.

At the end of your paper, click the "Insert Bibliography" button. Your bibliography will appear, and new citations will be added automatically. Change bibliographic styles with the "Document Preferences" button.