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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Citation Management Software Overview

What Do Citation Management Tools Do?

At their most basic, citation management tools allow you to:

  • Collect lists of articles, books, webpages (and lots more) for use in research.
  • Format and create bibliographies using a particular citation style, to export into a research document.

More advanced tools also allow you to:

  • Link to the source materials.
  • Store the source materials.
  • Insert in-text citations and bibliography entries while writing in Microsoft Word.
  • Collaborate with others.

Which Citation Management Tool Should I Use?

Each citation management tool has its own unique characteristics, and the tool that will be best for you will depend on your research and writing work style and preferences, the types of sources you usually cite, and where and how you do your research.

You can use this comparison chart to decide which citation management tool to try:

What Will It Do For Me?

A downloadable pdf version of this image is available at the bottom of this page. 

Also, see the "Where to Find Software Help and Training" section of this guide for more suggestions and resources to help you explore citation management tool options, and learn how to use them.

Library how-to guides for select citation management tools:

*NOTE* As of July 2016, RefWorks is no longer be available through the U of I Library. If you have any questions or require any assistance, please contact the Library's Citation Management Working Group at