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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Zotero

Learn how to use Zotero, a free citation management tool.

Creating Your Bibliography from Zotero

To create a bibliography from your Zotero library:

  1. Select the references or collections you want to include.
  2. Hold the "control" key and click to select multiple items.
  3. "Right-click" one of the selected items and choose Create Bibliography.
  4. Choose the bibliographic style you want, and select the output format: Save as RTF or HTML, copy to clipboard, or print.

Or, for an even easier method, just drag and drop references from Zotero directly into your document and the references will turn into fully formatted citations. This works with any word processor, including Google Docs.

* Be sure to always check your reference! Automatically generated bibliographies are never perfect.

Creating a Bibliography While You Write

Zotero offers word processing plugins for Word and OpenOffice.

The plugin adds a Zotero toolbar to the either the "Add-Ons" tab or "Zotero" tab of your word processor, depending on which version you have installed. This toolbar allows you to add citations to your document while you write.

To add a citation:

  1. Click the first button ("Insert Citation") on the toolbar.
  2. A dialog box will pop up. Type the title or author of the item you wish to cite into the bar, and select it when it appears.
  3. If you want to add a page number to your citation, click into the citation in the dialog box and edit the page number field in the citation.
  4. To add another citation at the same place, click after the first citation in the dialog box and repeat step 2.

To insert a bibliography:

  1. Place your cursor where you want to bibliography to appear.
  2. Click the third button ("Insert Bibliography") in the Zotero toolbar.
  3. Your bibliography will be generated from the citations present in the paper.

Change citation styles with the "Document Preferences" icon, shaped like a gear.

Additional Bibliographic Styles

Zotero comes with the most common bibliographic styles, but additional bibliographic styles are available for download at the Zotero Style Repository page.

To install a style in Zotero for Firefox:

  1. Open the Zotero Style Repository page in Firefox. 
  2. Search for your desired bibliographic style.
  3. Click the "Install" link next to the style
  4. You may need to click the "Install" button to confirm installation.

To install a style in Zotero Standalone:

  1. Open the Zotero Style Repository page in Firefox.
  2. Search for your desired bibliographic style.
  3. Download the style by right-clicking the Install link and choosing Save As.
  4. Open your Zotero preferences. Under "Cite," click "Styles."
  5. Then click the "+" button to add the style you downloaded. The style should be available as a .CSL file.

After completing these steps, these styles should appear in Zotero's style lists.

Annotated Bibliographies

After you know how to add additional bibliographic styles, you can create annotated bibliographies using Zotero. Follow the instructions above to install styles either in Zotero for Firefox or Zotero Standalone. You will search for "annotated," and you can download either Chicago or APA annotated styles.

To use Chicago:

  1. Enter your annotation in the "Extra" field.
  2. Either select the citations in your library, right click, and "Create Bibliography" using the Chicago annotated style to copy/paste, OR
  3. Generate the bibliography within your document using the Chicago annotated style.

To use APA:

  1. Enter you annotation in the "Abstracts" field.
  2. Either select the citations in your library, right click, and "Create Bibliography" using the APA annotated style to copy/paste, OR
  3. Generate the bibliography within your document using the APA annotated style.