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Zotero Tutorial

Step by step instructions for the use of Zotero citation management software.


It is important that you examine the bibliographic info produced with Zotero for accuracy, double check:

  • Names
  • Dates
  • Capitalization
  • Punctuation

Make any needed adjustments prior to using these items to create in-text citations/footnotes or when building reference lists.

Using the MS Word Plugin for Zotero

Zotero can be used in conjunction with word processors to format in-text citations and reference lists. Zotero Standalone version 5.0 includes the MS Word plug-in the initial download of Zotero.

To check that the plug in is installed, open MS Word, you should see a Zotero toolbar which allows you to use your Zotero library with MS Word:

ms word document highlighting the zotero tab

NOTE: If you are working with an older version of MS Word, you will need to install the word processor plugin yourself.

In-text Citation & Bibliographies

Add In-Text Citations / Footnotes

Open a new word document (Ms Word, Google Docs, LibreOffice) and be sure your Zotero Standalone is open (this will not work by being logged in to Zotero Online). Begin writing your paper and when you get to the point where you are ready to add an in-text citation/footnote, follow these steps to pull citations from your Zotero Library:

  1. Place your cursor in the spot where you want to add your citation/footnote
  2. Click the Zotero tab
  3. Select Add/Edit Citation button and choose your citation style format
  4. In the pop-up, start typing the authors name or title of the item you are citing and double click on the citation when it appears in the dropdown.
  5. You will now see the in-text citation/footnote added to your paper.

MS word doc, highlighting the process of adding in-text citations as described in steps 1 through 5

When creating a Reference List, start with a blank page:

  1. From the Zotero tab of your word document. click the Add/Edit Bibliography button.
  2. This creates a fully-formatted reference list from the in-text citations/footnotes used throughout your paper.

ms word document, highlighting steps 6-7 to create a bibliography as described above.

Creating Your Bibliography: Straight From Zotero

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

  1. Select the references or collections you want to include.
    1. You can create a bibliography from a Zotero collection (see OPTION A below) or
    2. Hold the control key (Ctrl) and click to select multiple items (see OPTION B below)
  2. Then Right-click one of them and choose Create Bibliography from the dropdown.

zotero standalone interface, highlighting steps for creating a bibliography as described above.

create citation pop up example, as described under step 3 and 4



  1. When prompted, choose the citation style you want (APA, MLA, Chicago Manual, etc.,)


  2. Select the output format: Save as
    1. RTF (compatible with all word processors)
    2. HTML
    3. Copy to clipboard (will paste text in proper format)
    4. Print





word document, showing pasted citations as described in step 5

  1. Paste your citations into your word document (compatible with both MS Word & Google Docs)


Or you can just drag and drop references from the Zotero Standalone into your document! They'll turn into fully formatted citations. This works with any word processor including Google Docs and MS Word.

The following .gif shows items being dragged from Zotero Standalone and dropped into a Google document as fully formatted citations.
* Video has no sound.