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Citing with Zotero: Using Microsoft Word Plugin

Using the Zotero Word Plugin

Using the Zotero Microsoft Word plugin can be a time-saving method to insert in-text citations and generate a reference list. This is a helpful feature that can help simplify the citation process while you are writing. Many Zotero users see this feature as a game changer.



1. First, make sure that the Zotero app is open and running before citing in Microsoft Word. In your Word document, place your cursor where you want your in-text citation to go. Then, click Zotero in the menu bar and click Add/Edit Citation.

2. Zotero will prompt you to choose a citation style. Choose your style and then click OK

  • If the style you need is not listed, select Manage Styles...

3. A red search bar will pop up. You may type in an author's name, a keyword, or part of a title and Zotero will suggest relevant citations. You may also click the red Z and switch to Classic View

4. The Classic View will display your entire Zotero library so that you may select your desired citation and click OK to insert the citation into Word.

Citing Multiple Sources 

5. After clicking OK, your in-text citation will appear in your Word document. In order to cite multiple sources for one sentence, place your cursor where you want your citations to go, click Zotero along the toolbar, and select Add/Edit Citation. When the red search bar appears, click the red Z and switch over to classic view.

6. Click on Multiple Sources... at the bottom of the Add/Edit Citation box. Then, select articles one at a time and use the green arrow to the right of the citation to move articles to the right window. When you have selected all of your articles, click OK. Your citations will be added as in-text citations in your Word document.

Adding a Bibliography/Reference List

7. Place your cursor where you want your reference list to go. Then, go to the Zotero toolbar and select Add/Edit Bibliography. Zotero will automatically generate your reference list based on the citation style you selected earlier. You may continue to add or remove in-text citations and Zotero will update the reference list.

Changing Your Citation Style

8. If you have accidentally chosen the wrong citation style, you may change it quickly and easily by going to the Zotero tool bar and selecting Document Preferences, choosing your preferred citation style in the list and clicking OK. Zotero will automatically change the style of your in-text citation and reference list for you!

Fixing Citation Errors

9. If you see any errors in your citations or reference list, don't change them in the Word document at this point! Your Zotero citations are tied to your Zotero library and and any changes you make in Word will revert back to the original error. You have a couple of options to fix errors:

  • Fix errors directly in your Zotero library by clicking on the incorrect field on the right hand window and typing in any changes
  • Removing all citation coding from your Word document and editing the document afterwards

10. To remove all coding from your citations, go to the Zotero toolbar and select Unlink Citations. Word will warn you that if you remove all coding from your citations, you will not be able to update and edit any of your citations in the Word document (you will not be able to change the citation style or continue to add to the bibliography). Click OK

  • Once the citations are unlinked, you may edit the Word document and fix errors directly in the document.